Skip to main content
politics briefing newsletter

Hello,

Official Opposition Leader Candice Bergen has announced a series of changes to her party’s team of critics, with new roles for the party’s former house leader and and a new finance critic to replace leadership prospect Pierre Poilievre.

Alberta MP Shannon Stubbs, who was the subject of workplace harassment complaints first reported in The Globe and Mail, including an allegation that she pressured employees to paint her house, also has a new role, according to the statement on critics roles released Tuesday.

The Lakeland MP will be critic for rural economic development and rural broadband. Former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, ousted from caucus in a vote earlier this month, has asked the House of Commons to investigate the complaints against Ms. Stubbs. The situation is detailed here.

Tuesday’s announcement continues changes in the roles and professional assignments in the ranks of critics, and in the opposition leader’s office since Mr. O’Toole’s departure. For example, Ms. Bergen named William Stairs, who previously had senior roles in the last Conservative government, as the new chief of staff to the opposition leader.

Quebec MP Gérard Deltell, who was replaced as house leader in early February after Ms. Bergen became leader, is the new critic for innovation, science and industry. Former finance critic Ed Fast, a B.C. MP, is back in the role, replacing Mr. Poilievre, who is the only declared candidate in the race to succeed Mr. O’Toole.

Ms. Bergen also said Ontario MP Ben Lobb, who is the critic for digital government, will take on a new role as her special adviser on blockchain technologies and crypto assets.

And the leader is putting Alberta MP Michelle Rempel Garner and B.C. MP Rob Morrison forward as prospective appointees to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

The multiparty committee, created in 2017, reviews national security and intelligence activities carried out across government to ensure that the legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence.

Mr. O’Toole chose not to recommend the participation of any Conservative MPs, citing a dispute over access by the opposition to documents on the firing of two scientists from Canada’s highest-security laboratory, the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

“We will continue to work towards substantial reforms in NSICOP to make it fully accountable to Parliament,” Ms. Bergen said in a statement. “We will also continue demanding answers and documents related to the national microbiology lab in Winnipeg. In the meantime, Michelle and Rob will be strong additions to the NSICOP committee.”

Also announced Tuesday is Saskatchewan MP Warren Steinley as the new Caucus-Party Liaison, essentially replacing Ontario MP Eric Duncan, who was caucus secretary to the party.

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

NO BAIL FOR LICH - Tamara Lich, who was instrumental in organizing a convoy of trucks that blockaded the country’s capital for more than three weeks, was denied bail on Tuesday after her arrest last Thursday. Story here.

POLICE OPERATION AT OTTAWA MALL - A police operation is under way in and around Ottawa’s Rideau Centre mall, which had just opened to the public Tuesday for the first time in three weeks after protests in the capital. A heavy police presence appeared around the mall early Tuesday afternoon. In a statement issued just after 1 p.m., the police said the situation was ongoing. Story here.

COMMONS VOTES FOR EMERGENCIES ACT - The House of Commons has voted 185 to 151 to authorize emergency measures under the Emergencies Act, with the NDP supporting the Liberals even as some of Mr. Trudeau’s own MPs questioned the need. The Conservatives and Bloc Québécois voted against the government. Story here.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE FOR CONBOY PROTESTORS - Convoy protestors are now uncertain about the future after Ottawa blockades ended with no resolution. At a truck stop about an hour east of Ottawa on Monday afternoon, some said they want to maintain the community they discovered together during the protest, but they aren’t quite sure how to do so. Story here.

QUESTIONS ABOUT TORY MP’S CLAIMS - The RCMP, banking sector and federal government say account-freezing powers bestowed under the Emergencies Act to help authorities deal with convoy protests do not affect donors to the protests, despite unsubstantiated claims by a Conservative MP that a constituent had her bank account frozen over a $50 contribution. Story here.

TORY SENATOR APOLOGIZES - A Conservative senator from Nova Scotia has apologized in the Senate for comments he made about the reaction of Ottawa residents to the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration that had occupied the city’s downtown for three weeks. Story here from CTV.

RUSSIA TARGETED FOR MILITARY MOVE AGAINST UKRAINE - Western allies have begun taking aim at Russian banks, oligarchs and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project in a series of moves aimed at punishing Russia for its military incursion in Ukraine. But critics are already saying the sanctions don’t go far enough and will do little to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin. Story here. Watch here for updates on the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.

CHAREST URGED TO ENTER TORY LEADERSHIP RACE - Former Quebec premier Jean Charest is being urged to enter the race to lead the federal Conservatives by a mix of Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia MPs, as well as other prominent Tories, who have made their views clear in an open letter. Story here.

HOUSTON CRITICIZES INQUIRY COMMISSIONERS - Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston says the commissioners leading the inquiry into the 2020 mass shooting that claimed 22 lives in his province are treating the victims’ families with disrespect. Story here.

FORD CHANGES LICENCE POLICY - Premier Doug Ford says Ontario is eliminating licence plate renewal fees and the requirement for drivers to have a licence plate sticker, effective March 13. Story here.

B.C. BUDGET OUT TUESDAY - B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson says making sure communities have the resources they need to deal with the effects of climate change will be a focal point of her budget on Tuesday. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS - The House of Commons is adjourned until Feb. 28 at 11 a.m. Details here.

THE DECIBEL - On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Investigative reporter Tom Cardoso discusses a Globe analysis found that Indigenous, Black and other racialized men are less likely than their white counterparts to be paroled within the first year they’re eligible. He also interviews Renford Farrier who was given a life sentence for killing a man, and believed he’d be out on parole after 10 years. Thirty years later, he’s still in prison and believes racism is partly to blame. The Decibel is here. Meanwhile, Mr. Cardoso’s story is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings. The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Incident Response Group on the blockades and the situation in Ukraine.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on whether the future of clean energy includes nuclear power: “As Canada and the world presses toward a net-zero emissions future, one that requires lots more power generation as transportation and other sectors are electrified, nuclear power seems like an ideal part of the equation, even with its costs and long-term waste storage questions. Nuclear is part of the future – but there’s an important asterisk: Nuclear isn’t the future.”

Lawrence Herman (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how President Joe Biden’s White House will fight hard against Alberta’s $1.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline lawsuit: “As the process unfolds, the case could raise the temperature in the bilateral relationship, not only because it’s brought by a Canadian provincial government, but because it strikes at the centre of Mr. Biden’s fossil-fuel reduction and climate-change plans. It’s about much more than the compensation claim of $1.3-billion itself, admittedly a hefty sum. One also wonders what impact the suit will have on Alberta’s ability to influence American policy makers in other areas of provincial interest. While there’s a view that governments can litigate against one another without it spilling over into the wider political domain, given the nature of this case, Alberta could face both legal and political headwinds.”

Nicole Jauvin (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how MAID awaits her and she is a little nervous, but also grateful: You may wonder why I speak of my good fortune. First, I am thankful that I have been able to access world-class health care even during a pandemic. Just as important, perhaps more so, because I am Canadian, I can opt for the Medical Assistance In Dying procedure. Having access to MAID, as it is commonly known, has provided enormous relief to me, and given me strength to face the uncertainty that comes with the management of this disease. When you receive a diagnosis like mine, the impact on family and friends is almost as devastating as it is for the patient. The outpouring of love, support and encouragement was immediate and overwhelming and has continued to soothe me and bring me much relief. I am grateful to all my loved ones for all they have done for me, and to my beautiful husband who was propelled overnight into a relentless and demanding caregiver role.”

Iain Reeve (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, to fully benefit from immigration, we need to boost newcomer supports: As the system stabilizes and Canada aims to welcome record numbers of immigrants, the work is only just beginning. Government and the immigration sector must turn their minds toward ensuring the successful settlement and integration of immigrants who have arrived in Canada during the pandemic. Without bringing similar flexibility, innovation and hard work to this part of the process, our record influx of immigrants won’t achieve their full potential. One of the best things Canada can do to help immigrants settle successfully is to select individuals who are most likely to integrate quickly and effectively into the economy.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated B.C. MP Rob Garner was one of two new appointees to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. In fact, B.C. MP Rob Morrison will be one of two Conservative picks for the committee, not Rob Garner.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop