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Hello,

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.

BREAKING - Green Party MP Jenica Atwin is crossing the floor to sit with the Liberals less than two years after her breakthrough election for the Greens in New Brunswick, The Globe and Mail has learned.

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Ms. Atwin’s triumph in Fredericton in the fall 2019 election over Liberal Matthew DeCourcey was a key victory for the Greens that they hailed as a sign of a growing footprint for a national party that had until then only held seats in B.C.

Parliamentary Reporter Marieke Walsh reports that a source said Ms. Atwin’s defection is expected to be formally announced later today. The Globe and Mail is not disclosing the person’s identity because they were not permitted to discuss the matter publicly.

But the party also fared worse than it hoped and recent disagreements over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have pitted new leader Annamie Paul against her caucus, including Ms. Atwin.

Until today, the federal Greens had three seats in Parliament.

More to come.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The federal privacy watchdog says the RCMP broke the law by using cutting-edge facial-recognition software to collect personal information. In a report Thursday, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says there were serious and systemic failings by the RCMP to ensure compliance with the Privacy Act before it gathered information from U.S. firm Clearview AI. The report is here.

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JAGMEET SINGH CALLS FOR HATE CRACKDOWN - NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the federal government must act quickly to combat hate speech online in light of this week’s deadly attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont. Concrete steps should include long-promised legislation that forces online platforms to quickly remove illegal hate speech upon notice, he said. Other measures could include new guidance for Canada’s police and national security forces.

KEYSTONE XL TERMINATED - Calgary-based TC Energy Corp is terminating the Keystone XL pipeline, ending a project that appeared to have run out of options after Joe Biden pulled its permit as one of his first official acts as U.S. President. Wednesday’s decision formally ends a 13-year regulatory odyssey that saw the proposed pipeline blocked twice by former president Barack Obama and revived by his successor Donald Trump.

FORD GOVERNMENT USES NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE - Premier Doug Ford’s government is calling back the Ontario Legislature to invoke the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause and override a recent court ruling that tossed out new rules limiting third-party political advertising before elections.

NDP PUSHES LIBERAL CLIMATE BILL - NDP environment critic Laurel Collins says her party will help the Liberals get the government’s climate accountability bill to the Senate as soon as possible, even though the bill isn’t as good as she thinks it could be.

PROPOSED SETTLEMENT ON RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS - Former students who attended residential schools during daytime hours and their children have been recognized for the harms they experienced in a proposed settlement agreement after a 14-year legal battle.

QUEBEC POLITICIANS PUSH BACK ON BILL 21 Politicians at the National Assembly have cautioned media and politicians outside Quebec from making simplistic links between the tragic events in London, Ont., and the adoption of Quebec’s state secularism law, Bill 21. But a top Trudeau cabinet minister took the debate up a notch, telling the CBC he believes Bill 21, Quebec’s state secularism law adopted in 2019, is indeed fuelling an anti-Muslim backlash. From The Montreal Gazette.

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HORGAN ACTS ON OLD-GROWTH LOGGING - The B.C. government has suspended old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed and in the nearby central Walbran at the request of local Indigenous communities, seeking to quell a dispute that has led to months of civil disobedience and mass arrests by protesters who say they are protecting a rare ancient rainforest in a region where most valleys have been subject to clear-cuts. Premier John Horgan announced the decision Wednesday, calling it a transformational moment for the forest industry as the province allows Indigenous communities to shape land use decisions.

ALSO TODAY:

Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez says he plans to use “every parliamentary tool” at his disposal to push three government bills through before Parliament rises for the summer on June 23, a move that would ensure the government passed major pieces of legislation before a widely speculated fall election.

Ottawa Reporter Menaka Raman-Wilms reports that Mr. Rodriguez made the comments at a press conference on Thursday morning. He said the Conservatives have been delaying progress on “important legislation,” the government wants passed during the next 10 days of parliamentary work.

Those bills are C-6, which adds conversion therapy to the criminal code, C-10 to amend the Broadcasting Act, and C-12, setting national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He added that the government’s budget bill also must be passed.

When asked by reporters if this sets up the government for a potential election in the coming months, Mr. Rodriguez said that the Liberals do not want to go to the polls,” but we don’t control everything,” he said, adding the opposition parties could trigger an election.

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PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

The Prime Minister departs for the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain.

LEADERS

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a press conference in Ottawa on the COVAX global vaccination program and the G7 agenda.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds media availability on NDP housing policy for Hamilton Mountain, and also participates in the Progressive Governance Digital Summit 2021, and the Windsor—Tecumseh federal NDP nomination meeting.

PUBLIC OPINION

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Nearly three in four Canadians oppose or somewhat oppose Quebec’s push to amend the federal Constitution, according to a new Nanos Research survey.

After a disastrous April, polling shows that Doug Ford is back in the game. Fresh data from Maru offers some encouraging signs for a party that was almost down and out two months ago. Story here by Steve Paikin, TVO

OPINION

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the lack of an easy fix for American extremism infiltrating Canada: “Fringe groups of the right and left have been around for a long time. The change now, says pollster Frank Graves, who authored a study on authoritarian populism in Canada, is that they have been validated, legitimized and popularized by the Trump Republican Party. They are newly empowered, with pervasive social-media platforms at their disposal. The hard right in Canada, those who align with Trumpism, number roughly 20 per cent of the population, Mr. Graves said in an interview. Our media, he said, underestimate their potential impact. They constitute a “dangerous threat.” Don’t be surprised, he added, if the next Canadian election brings on allegations of fraud with legions from the losing side doing a Trump and refusing to accept the outcome.”

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on a farewell to Egerton Ryerson’s statue at the Toronto university - and his name too: “It was Egerton Ryerson who laid the groundwork for that system in his thinking and writing. We didn’t learn that in our mandatory Canadian history class at Ryerson. Was his name mentioned at all? Perhaps briefly as an early Canadian educational reformer, on fire with missionary zeal. But his zeal to assimilate Indigenous populations by removing their children to misery factories? Nothing on that. Nothing at all. Maybe I was forgetting something. Much of that time is lost in a beer haze. Surely we were taught something about the most consequential policies of the man our school was named for? I reached out to two friends who’d been in the program with me and they confirmed it. Our history class was a Ryerson-free zone.”

Omer Aziz (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) on how Islamophobia begins with ideas and always ends in violence: “There is a special sort of fear that every Muslim feels as we move about the world. It is a fear grounded in the experience of being insulted and stereotyped for how we look and dress. It is a fear borne out of the fact that for 20 years, day after day, our people have been depicted as terrorists. It is a fear heightened in Muslims who wear the shalwar kameez or hijab, knowing that danger lurks around them. The fear resides in the body, in the reality that our lives can be stolen at any moment simply because we are Muslim.”

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Allan Rock and Glenn O’Farrell (Contributors to The Globe and Mail) on the merits and one big flaw of Quebec’s Bill 96: “Thus, Bill 96 provides an opportunity to demonstrate that the Constitution enables changes that both recognize Quebec’s linguistic reality, and also reflects a Parliamentary resolution adopted overwhelmingly years ago. It shows that Confederation is supple and flexible enough to accommodate the aspirations of its partners. And it demonstrates that progressive constitutional change need not mean years of fruitless debate, but instead can be made by any province in cases such as this.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on hydrogen development being possibly politically buoyant for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney: “Premier Jason Kenney’s overall approval rating from Albertans is down again, to 31 per cent. Hot air won’t lift him up. Maybe hydrogen will, unless he and his ministers are hit with more scandals around COVID-19 rules. Wednesday’s announcement of a $1.3-billion hydrogen project in Edmonton’s Heartland area was just the kind of news the UCP government needs.”

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