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politics briefing newsletter

Editor’s note: This is the Politics Briefing newsletter for Monday, Nov. 25. You may have earlier received Friday’s newsletter in your inbox in error.


The Liberal government is in court today for a case that has become a flashpoint for Justin Trudeau’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous people.

During this fall’s election, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the federal government should compensate First Nations children who were unnecessarily taken into care. The federal government applied to the Federal Court for a review of that decision, arguing, in part, that the bill would run up to billions of dollars to compensate all those affected.

That decision sparked immediate outrage from Indigenous leaders. Today’s court hearing is on whether the tribunal’s ruling should be stayed while the courts consider the judicial review.

The Liberal government tried to pre-empt today’s hearing with a message that, although they would continue this court challenge, they would support Indigenous children in a different case. They said they would support the certification of a class-action lawsuit launched earlier this year.

During the election, the Conservatives said they would also have challenged the tribunal’s ruling in court. The NDP, however, have said dropping the judicial review was one of their major asks of the Liberal government.

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.


The CN rail strike is stretching into its sixth day as businesses urge the federal government to recall Parliament early and pass back-to-work legislation.

Nearly four weeks ago, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was asked by party members to dump some of his top aides after a disappointing election result. Now Mr. Scheer has acted, by firing his chief of staff and director of communications.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says he told his Chinese counterpart during a one-hour meeting that China should release two Canadians who were detained last December.

Leaked classified documents outline the extent and brutality of Chinese camps in which Uyghurs and other minorities are held and subjected to “re-education.”

Pro-democracy candidates for Hong Kong’s district elections won in a landslide, in what is seen as a rebuke to the Chinese government and support for the months of protests that have gripped the nation.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan is starting his new portfolio with frequent trips to the Prairies.

Scientists say they are disappointed there is no longer a dedicated science minister.

And what exactly does a Minister of Middle Class Prosperity do? It’s not clear. New minister Mona Fortier says being middle class is all about what you can afford. “They have a quality of life, and they can have, you know, send their kids to play hockey or even have different activities," she told CBC. "It’s having the cost of living where you can do what you want with your families.”

Melanie Paradis (The Globe and Mail) on the CN rail strike: “Put into everyday terms, this disruption could quickly affect a wide range of sectors and regions across the country. Construction sites in Toronto may have to halt work for lack of materials. Agricultural products in the Prairies could go bad sitting in depots. Mining jobs in northern communities could feel the effects of stockpiles of minerals unable to get to market. Chemical jobs in Sarnia, Ont., could be pinched, and across Canada, gas prices could increase as supply becomes limited.”

Lezlie Lowe (The Globe and Mail) on public washrooms on Parliament Hill: “There’s a particular onus on the parliamentary precinct to be accessible and welcoming. It is a signifier of who we are as a country. This was no doubt the motivation for an addition to the original bathroom in 1984, which added women’s stalls for the first time, thereby conceding that women were, in fact, living and working and walking among men of the modern world. The least Parliament could do today is ensure that there are not merely some places for women to pee, but actually enough.”

Anne Kingston (Maclean’s) on takeaways from the new cabinet: “Trudeau kept a gender-balanced cabinet with 18 women and 18 men. Traditional power portfolios like finance, defence, and justice remained held by men, with the addition of a male foreign affairs minister. The spanner is Freeland, whose role as deputy PM indicates significant power as Trudeau’s proxy. But history also indicates that being deputy PM, a title created by Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1977 to recognize his long-serving minister Allan MacEachen, isn’t a route to the top.”

Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on electoral reform: “It’s baaaaaack. Like the zombies of big screen and small, shuffling with not-quite-living but very much un-dead energy into the national debate post-election – determined to eat our brains once more – the spectre of electoral reform has returned.”

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on the British election: “With the web of trust stretched gossamer-thin between the governed and those elected to govern, here was an indication that the very idea of a good-faith bargain was ridiculous. Of course they lie – and it’s in that resignation, that casual acceptance, that poison lies. The rest of the world should have its eyes on Britain, which is increasingly starting to look like one of the republics we used to call banana.”

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