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Quebec Premier François Legault says he has asked the province’s police force to help any candidates in the provincial election who feel unsafe given a wave of threats and harassment.

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec made the comment Thursday during an ongoing national debate on the safety of politicians and the harassment of journalists, particularly those from racialized communities.

Earlier this week, a Liberal incumbent in a Montreal provincial riding disclosed a man called her local police station last week and told them to go to her street, saying they would find her dead body there. A man has been arrested and released in the case. Story here from CBC.

Referring to threats against politicians, Mr. Legault said, according to the Montreal Gazette, that there are more threats, some on social media and others “real threats” and that the trend is not acceptable.

“I have asked the Sûreté du Québec to make themselves available for all candidates who feel threatened. It think it’s important for the SQ to actively supervise,” Mr. Legault said in the city of Trois-Rivières.

He added that everyone has a responsibility to avoid stirring up anger. “I am thinking of candidates and leaders and even the population in general. This is not the kind of society we want, to see such threats. It seems to be this is not the Quebec we love.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday the harassment of journalists and other public figures is a systemic issue that the country’s police officers need to take seriously.

At a news conference in Winnipeg, Mr. Trudeau said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino would be conveying that view to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in a meeting also scheduled for Thursday.

He called a pattern of threats against journalists, especially racialized journalists, “absolutely unacceptable’ and said he agreed with the view of an open letter from the Canadian Association of Journalists that individual complaints against journalists should not be seen in a vacuum.

“When the Minister of Public Safety sits down with the association of national chiefs of police, this afternoon, he will be bringing forward an expectation that police forces across this country take seriously, very seriously, not just individual issues but as a systemic issue, this pattern of intimidation attacks on people who serve their country lie journalists,” said Mr. Trudeau.

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

NEW COVID-19 VACCINE APPROVED – Health Canada has approved a new COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna that targets both the original strain of the novel coronavirus and the Omicron variant. Story here.

QUEBEC ELECTION – François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, is standing by his party’s language law reform despite criticism from business leaders who say the legislation will make it harder to recruit talent and will cause enormous damage to the economy. Story here.

ATLANTIC PREMIERS SEEK MORE TIME ON CARBON PRICING – A day before the deadline for provinces to submit their plans to the federal government for how they will price carbon until 2030, Atlantic premiers are asking for more time. Story here from CBC.

SUGAR-SWEETENED DRINKS TAX LAUNCHED – Beginning today, consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will be paying 20 cents more per litre for sugar-sweetened drinks as part of a new tax. Story here.

DELAY IN ORTIS TRIAL – The trial of RCMP employee Cameron Jay Ortis, accused of breaching Canada’s secrecy law, has been delayed a year after a new defence lawyer took on his case. Story here.

RODRIGUEZ BREAKS SILENCE – Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has broken his silence over his department’s funding of an agency whose senior consultant posted a series of tweets about “Jewish white supremacists,” more than a week after the government cut off the money. Story here.

TRUDEAU DEFENDS CSIS – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending the Canadian Security Intelligence Service after details contained in a new book revived controversy over its overseas operations and how it used informants to gain insight into the Islamic State. Story here.

IRONIC BIKE THEFT – A Winnipeg mayoral candidate had his bicycle stolen this week less than 90 minutes after announcing a cycling-infrastructure plan that included plans to reduce bike theft. Story here from CBC.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is campaigning virtually. Jean Charest is in Montreal. Leslyn Lewis is in Scarborough, Richmond Hill and Brampton. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There’s no word on the campaign itinerary of Roman Baber.

PLAIN LANGUAGE PLAN – Pierre Poilievre, as prime minister, would force the federal government to stop using overly complex bureaucratic wording by passing a law that will require the use of “plain language.” Story here from The National Post.

`CONSERVATIVE’ DROPPED FROM ORGANIZATION TITLE – Rick Peterson, a former candidate for the leadership of the federal Conservatives, explains here why the Centre Ice Conservatives group is dropping `Conservatives’ from the title of their organization.

PROFILE OF ROMAN BABER – The 42-year-old candidate for the leadership of the Conservative party is a folk hero to people who oppose COVID-19 lockdowns, but dismisses the idea that he ever engaged in misinformation. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

COMMONS NOT SITTING – The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

NEW SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SWORN IN – Michelle O’Bonsawin was officially sworn in as a Supreme Court of Canada justice on Thursday in what a statement from the court described as a small private ceremony. She is the first Indigenous judge to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada. Marsha McLeod reported here on Justice O’Bonsawin’s appearance last month at a hearing in Ottawa where parliamentarians from both the Senate and House of Commons questioned her.

FREELAND IN TORONTO – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is holding private meetings in Toronto.

BENNETT IN SUDBURY – Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett, in Sudbury, announced funding to prevent and address family violence in the City of Greater Sudbury, and held a media availability.

DUCLOS IN GASPE- Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos held a virtual news conference, from Gaspé, on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination heading into the fall.

FRASER IN NEW WATERFORD – Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, visited an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada application processing centre and took media questions.

GUILBEAULT IN WEST VANCOUVER – Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in West Vancouver, announced more than $926,000 in federal funding for the Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound Biosphere Region to protect nature.

THE DECIBEL

Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast deals with issues around the health impacts of alcoholic drinks. A new report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction says if you have three or more alcoholic drinks in a week, you’re putting your health at risk. Dr. Catherine Paradis – co-chair of this new report – talks on the Decibel about lessons on how alcohol impacts health, the new guidelines the CCSA hopes Canadians will follow and why they want mandatory portion labels on alcoholic drinks. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

In Winnipeg, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with students at Université de Saint-Boniface, took media questions, met with Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, and was scheduled to meet with parents and children at a children’s centre.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

OPINION

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on the harassment of Chrystia Freeland and the perils of the public-facing politician: Back in June, I chatted with Ms. Freeland about her freewheeling tendencies. Yes, she confirmed, she bikes alone – staff meet her at her next meeting or event, but no one comes along for the ride. No, she confirmed, her team isn’t super happy about it. But the time alone is important to her, both personally and professionally. It clears the head, provides some alone time, gives her a sense of normalcy and control of her life. (Who wouldn’t want that, right?) She acknowledged there are dangers. A couple of times, she has been “doored” – knocked off her bike by a careless driver opening a car door into her path. She has simply called her staff on her cellphone from the curb, to explain why she was about to be late for the next meeting.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the Doug Ford government is betting Ontarians won’t care about relocating seniors without their consent: “Just imagine the howls that would emanate from the opposition benches if an Ontario Liberal government rammed through legislation, bypassing committee hearings and public consultation, to expedite the transfer of patients from hospitals to long-term care homes. The Progressive Conservatives would be apoplectic: “This arrogant Liberal government thinks it knows best when it comes to our vulnerable seniors,” they’d huff, citing their own party’s fidelity to the conventional democratic process. “Instead of listening to families, to health care professionals and to advocates for the elderly, they are taking a ‘government knows best’ approach to people’s lives. This is totally wrong!” Alas, we all know that indignation is contingent on which team is bypassing conventional democratic processes and which is standing impotently on the sidelines. That’s why members of the PC caucus are apparently A-okay with rushing through legislation without the input of stakeholders and experts.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec’s parties breaking the bank to woo voters in a fight (so far) for second place: The Quebec election campaign is only a few days old, but the five main parties – yes, five – vying for seats in the National Assembly are breaking the bank with promises of tax cuts and free money that threaten the province’s hard-won fiscal health. The Quebec Liberal Party got the ball rolling even before Sunday’s official launch of the campaign by vowing to reduce the tax rate on income below $92,000 by 1.5 percentage points. The Conservative Party of Quebec outdid the Liberals by promising a two-percentage-point cut, a move it said would mean savings of more than $2,700 a year for a family earning $80,000.”

Amit Arya and Samir Sinha (Contributed to the Globe and Mail) on how forcing seniors into long-term care is not the solution to the hospital crisis: If the Ontario government was serious about addressing the health care crisis, they would start by addressing the biggest problem, which is not directly related to a lack of beds, but rather, a lack of available staff to care for the people in those beds. Instead, they are pitting sectors against each other and proposing to strip the fundamental right of being able to consent around key health care decisions. This puts physicians like us in a situation where even allowing our patients to become designated as ALC in hospital could potentially cause them unnecessary harm and suffering. Finally, blaming vulnerable patients who don’t want to be waiting in hospitals as long as they can get into the LTC homes of their choice is more than deeply disturbing – it is ageist and ableist.”

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