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Politics Politics Briefing: Hurricane Dorian expected to hit Atlantic Canada soon

Hello,

With an election call expected in the next week, there’s one unpredictable element at play: what’s going to happen when Hurricane Dorian touches down in Atlantic Canada this weekend.

The hurricane has already devastated the Bahamas, killing at least 30 people (including one Canadian) and destroying neighbourhoods.

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It’s now sweeping along the east coast of the United States and is expected to hit Nova Scotia late on Saturday. From there, forecasters see the path continuing through Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday, and back out into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday.

The Prime Minister may be reluctant to trigger an election at the same time as a region of the country is in the midst of a natural disaster. We’ll find out on Sunday.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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

Canada added 81,100 net jobs in August, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada. Many of those gains were driven in part-time work. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.7 per cent.

Companies in Canada’s meat sector say losses in the industry are nearing $100-million because of China’s ban on beef and pork imports. The ban was put in place as part of tensions in the Canada-China relationship that began when a Chinese businesswoman was arrested in Vancouver in December.

The New Democratic Party was in possibly its worst financial shape in a generation in 2018, according to new filings with Elections Canada. The party reported negative assets of $4.5-million. The party said those numbers don’t take into account the value of the building they own in downtown Ottawa and that fundraising this year has been brisker than usual. “The key for them is to use the campaign to raise as much money as possible, in order to not end up at the end of the campaign with a debt that is out of control,” said Karl Belanger, a former national director of the party.

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Globe writer and book author John Ibbitson reviewed two books on Justin Trudeau that were released in this pre-election season. His verdict: whether you like Trudeau: the Education of a Prime Minister by John Ivison better than Promise and Peril: Justin Trudeau in Power by Aaron Wherry depends on whether you would like to praise the Prime Minister (the latter) or bury him (the former).

And Robert Mugabe, the long-time dictator of Zimbabwe, has died at the age of 95. Mr. Mugabe died in private luxury hospital in Singapore which, as correspondent Geoffrey York writes, stands in stark contrast to the limited medical resources left for those he ruled for many years.

Jonathan Manthorpe (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s new ambassador to China: “It has been evident for months that what Canada needs in its embassy in Beijing is not a new ambassador, but a hostage negotiator.”

Melissa Salfi (The Globe and Mail) on new surrogacy regulations: “By restricting and defining the categories of reimbursable expenses, the opportunity for customization is limited. Every pregnancy and fertility arrangement is different and it is difficult to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach or anticipate what expenses might be incurred. For instance, it might be necessary for a surrogate mother to obtain insurance that extends beyond her delivery in the event that she experiences complications resulting from the labour or delivery, but the new regulations do not permit this.”

Don Martin (CTV) on slinging mud: “The other reason Scheer is being targeted so personally is that this election is increasingly likely to be a Trudeau-erendum on the Prime Minister’s performance. That forces the Liberals to demonize their key opponent, who only boasts an uneventful record as a House of Commons Speaker, as a social conservative wolf loosely disguised as a politically-correct sheep.”

Kelly McParland (National Post) on the tone of the precampaign so far: “But that’s where we appear to be headed in this campaign, which, even before it is formally launched, is in danger of being overwhelmed by personal attacks, smear jobs, gross exaggerations and the usual social media displays of mindless partisanship. Policy has nothing to do with it. Reasoned discussions of issues are nowhere to be seen.”

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Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on the tone of social media: “During an election, social media becomes a hotbed of lunacy, a playground for trolls and meme-makers and politicians with itchy Twitter fingers. We should all get off it, now – voters and politicians alike. There is no one who has put down her phone after a half-hour on Twitter and said, ‘I feel one step closer to enlightenment! Thanks for that engaging policy debate, Libtard45329.’”

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Editor’s note: Editor's note: Due to a typo, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the size of the NDP's debt. It is, in fact, just $4.5-million in debt, not $4.5-billion. This version has been corrected.
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