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The operations of Canada’s Governor-General have been hit by an internal network breach, prompting the involvement of the national authority on cybersecurity.

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) said Thursday it was on the case after the Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General reported “unauthorized access” into its internal network.

CCCS leads the government’s response to cybersecurity events, working with the private and public sector to solve complex cyber issues.

The Governor-General’s office offered few details in a statement, but noted that it had reached out to the CCCS for an investigation and “immediate action” to strengthen their network, and also contacted the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

“The nature and scope of the incident are still under investigation, so we are not able to share additional information at this time,” Josephine Laframboise, a senior communications advisor to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General, said in a statement.

There was no answer to a question from The Globe and Mail about previous such incidents targeting the operations of the Governor-General.

The CCCS said the government of Canada, like every other government and private-sector organization in the world, is subject to ongoing and persistent computer-networking threats.

“We continue to be vigilant in monitoring this situation, and encourage all government and non-government partners to use cybersecurity best practices.”

In response to The Globe’s inquiries, Evan Koronewski, a spokesperson for the Communications Security Establishment, the federal agency providing the government with IT security and foreign signals intelligence, said he could not say anything more about the incident.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

BREAKING – Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will present an Economic and Fiscal Update in the House of Commons on Dec. 14 at about 4 p.m. ET. It will provide information about the current state of the economy and the government’s continued support for Canadians and Canadian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from her office.

NO MORE TROOPS TO UKRAINE - Canada has no plans to send additional troops to Ukraine amid that country’s escalating border crisis with Russia, as the head of the Canadian military acknowledged concerns that an expanded NATO presence in Ukraine could provoke, rather than deter, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon reports from Kyiv here.

NO FULL ACCOUNTING OF $600B SPENDING - The Liberal government is asking Parliament to approve billions in new spending during a brief four-week sitting in Ottawa, but is facing questions because it has not released a full accounting of how it spent more than $600-billion last year during the peak of Canada’s pandemic response.

NG IN WASHINGTON TO COUNTER PROTECTIONIST MEASURES - International Trade Minister Mary Ng flew to Washington on Wednesday to try to head off a slew of protectionist American measures, including looming tax credits for U.S.-made electric vehicles that could devastate auto assembly in Canada, as well as a doubling of softwood lumber duties announced last month. Story here.

UNANIMOUS APPROVAL FOR ANTI-CONVERSION BILL - The House of Commons has unanimously approved a Conservative Party motion to fast-track legislation banning conversion therapy. Story here.

CABINET AND CAUCUS MUST BE VAXXED: MANITOBA PREMIER - Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says Progressive Conservative members of the legislature will be removed from her caucus and cabinet if they are not vaccinated by Dec. 15. Story here.

PBO PUTS PRICE ON CLEAN DRINKING WATER - The Parliamentary Budget Officer has put a price tag on providing clean drinking water in First Nations, saying in a new report that the federal government still has a shortfall to make up.

CALL FOR PROBE ON DECLINING PERMITS FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS - A group of academics of Nigerian descent are calling on the Immigration Minister to investigate the declining number of study-permit approvals for applicants from Nigeria, arguing that the English proficiency test is discriminatory and that racism within the department is affecting applications.

TITLE CLAIM VERY SERIOUS, N.B. PREMIER SAYS - The Premier of New Brunswick says a title claim filed by six Wolastoqey chiefs that involves 60 per cent of province’s territory is very serious and has far-reaching implications. Story here.

SUPER HORNET OFF CANADIAN SHOPPING LIST - The federal government has confirmed Boeing’s Super Hornet fighter jet is out of the running to replace Canada’s CF-18s. Story here from CTV.

KENNEY’S OFFICE DENIES WORKPLACE ALLEGATIONS - Premier Jason Kenney’s office is denying allegations a former staffer was wrongfully fired after speaking out about a toxic workplace environment, including alleged sexual harassment. Postmedia obtained a copy of the statement of defence from the Premier’s office. Story here from The Calgary Herald.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS - Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Dec. 2, accessible here.

NEWLY CREATED AFRICAN-CANADIAN SENATE GROUP - Seven African-Canadian senators are forming the African-Canadian Senate Group to fight racism and discrimination, with priorities for the ongoing 44th Parliament that include advocating for a more inclusive committee process in the Senate and collaborating with community members to make progress on issues related to justice, health and economic fairness. Senator Rosemary Moodie is the chair. The members are Wanda Thomas Bernard, Bernadette Clement, Amina Gerba, Mobina Jaffer, Marie-Françoise Mégie and Mohamed Ravalia. The new group will contribute and partner with the existing Parliamentary Black Caucus, and the Canadian Congress of Black Parliamentarians.

GARNEAU RECOVERING - Former federal foreign affairs minister Marc Garneau is recovering from hip surgery. In a tweet on Wednesday, the former astronaut said he had received a prosthesis for his left hip at the Montreal General Hospital. “From the moment I arrived until I left 8 hours later, everyone I encountered was a true professional. Thank you to all of you,” he wrote.

ATHLETES NOT TOOLS OF DIPLOMACY, MP SAYS - Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden, an Olympic gold medalist sprint kayaker who carried the flag for Canada at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, is wary about athletes being involved in a boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. The MP for the Toronto-area riding of Milton said he will leave it to diplomats and “the leadership” to decide on a boycott of the Games. “I’m just insistent that our athletes ... are not tools of diplomacy,” he said. “We have lots of different ways to work thoughtfully as government, but our athletes are meant [to be] non-political.”

GLOBE COLUMNIST HONOURED - Globe and Mail health columnist André Picard has been awarded the 2021 Sandford Fleming Medal for excellence in science communication by the Royal Canadian Institute for Science. Story here.

NO TRAVEL FOR SINGH - NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tells CBC News why there is absolutely no travel on his agenda for the forseeable future.

THE DECIBEL - Today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features Kareem Smith, a reporter for the online publication Barbados Today, talking about Barbados’ future after the country declared itself a republic and replaced Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state with its recently elected president, Sandra Mason. Listen here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

Private meetings. The Prime Minister will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Private meetings. And the Deputy Prime Minister attends Question Period.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh met with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Inuit Tapiritt Kanatami. He was also scheduled to attend Question Period, and to attend the Broadbent Institute Progress Gala this evening.

No schedules provided for other leaders.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Canada’s ‘act now or never’ Omicron border choice: “You don’t dive headfirst into a lake if you can’t see how deep it is. You don’t floor the gas pedal when whiteout conditions hide the road. And you don’t blindly open your border if you lack the tools to confirm that those crossing it aren’t carrying the latest version of COVID-19. The steps the Trudeau government announced this week include ordering that travellers to Canada, except from the United States, be tested on arrival, and isolate for a short time, possibly a day or two, until the return of negative test results. These moves are necessary, but also insufficient. The new policy has three defects, each more significant than the last.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why you can make as good an argument for raising the voting age as lowering it: But in fact we do not impose any similar test of intellectual capacity on adult voters. You can vote if you are illiterate, or mentally ill, or drunk, or senescent: the only requirement is that you be 18 and a citizen. If we aren’t willing to discriminate between adults in this regard, it’s unclear why we should be any more willing to discriminate between adults and children – or between children of different ages.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on a House united fully backing a ban on conversion therapy, making life a bit safer for sexual and gender minorities in Canada: “For those who believe that our society has become impossibly polarized, that political parties are not able to work together for the common good, that we are past our best, Canada’s House of Commons had an answer Wednesday, when it unanimously approved legislation to ban conversion therapy. And that it was the Conservatives who made this possible is nothing short of astounding. “We’re all fighting back tears.” Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters after the vote. He wasn’t the only one. What a great day. And what an unexpected one.”

Rachel Pulfer (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why NGOs and veterans are a crucial part of the solution in fast tracking Afghan settlement: “The Government of Canada has already shown leadership: a major commitment to resettle 40,000 Afghans under a special humanitarian program. (For comparison, that’s the same number as the spaces made available by the entire continent of Europe.) Yet the number of Afghans that have actually arrived in Canada is only 3,500. Reasons for the slow pace include the extreme difficulty of determining eligibility, the bureaucratic fog of visa processing, and the challenge of ensuring a safe departure. Unfortunately, Afghans don’t have the luxury of time. Evacuees share experiences of being actively hunted down. Their loved ones are tortured for information about their whereabouts, even killed.”

Correction: A headline in yesterday’s Opinion section of the newsletter referred to the 30th anniversary of the leadership convention that elected Dalton McGuinty as leader of the Ontario Liberals. It should have referred to the 25th anniversary.

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