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MP Leslyn Lewis has become the second candidate to enter the race to lead the federal Conservatives, launching her campaign with a Twitter post on Tuesday.

The Ontario MP, who placed third in the 2020 leadership race after a campaign that advanced social-conservative themes, said in a tweet that, “I’m running to lead our party and our country based on hope, unity and compassion.”

The tweet also features video of Ms. Lewis speaking in Parliament about how Canadians are desperate for hope and calling for unity. She added in the video that guarding freedom and upholding democracy means a need for “compassionate hearts” and “listening ears.”

Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre entered the leadership race on Feb. 5, declaring he was running for prime minister to give supporters control of their lives. Ms. Lewis is the second prospect into the race, whose results are to be known by Sept. 10.

Ms. Lewis, MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, a lawyer and one of few Black members of Parliament, joins the race as former Quebec premier Jean Charest is expected to launch his own leadership campaign this week.

The Globe and Mail has reported that Mr. Charest, who served as Quebec’s premier from 2003 until 2012, plans to enter the leadership race.

The 63-year-old former leader of the Progressive Conservatives is scheduled to hold an event in Calgary on Thursday night, as part of what a campaign notice obtained by The Globe bills as his Building to Win tour.

Other candidates considering a run for the Tory leadership include Brampton, Ont., Mayor Patrick Brown and Michael Chong, the party’s foreign affairs critic.

The Conservative Party has confirmed that the outcome of the leadership race will be announced by Sept. 10. Prospective candidates have until April 19 to enter. Voters require party membership, and they have until June 3 to get it.

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.



TRUDEAU OPEN TO MORE DEFENCE SPENDING – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened the door to increasing his government’s defence spending, which trails allies and sits below the NATO target, as he acknowledged the “context is changing rapidly around the world.”

TRUDEAU MEETS WITH NATO LEADER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Latvia Tuesday as he tours Eastern Europe and pledges Canada’s support for countries on the front lines with Russia. Story here.

LATVIA WOULD WELCOME CANADIAN LNG – Latvia would welcome shipments of Canadian liquefied natural gas to help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian gas in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, says the Baltic state’s new ambassador to Canada. Story here.

Please watch check here for live updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.


BANKERS DISCLOSE NEW FROZEN ACCOUNTS – The Canadian Bankers Association told MPs Monday that a “small number” of additional accounts were frozen under the Emergencies Act based on the banks’ own “risk-based” reviews and were not on a list of names provided by the RCMP. Story here.

LICH GETS BAIL – An Ontario judge ruled Monday that Ottawa convoy protest organizer Tamara Lich can be released on bail, reversing a prior court ruling. Story here.

B.C. STILL CONCERNED ABOUT TMX – British Columbia has amended the conditions of its environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and told the federal government it still has concerns about its response to potential marine oil spills. Story here.

ALBERTA SUSPENDING FUEL TAXES – Alberta will temporarily suspend provincial fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel on April 1 to provide relief at the pump for customers, as premiers across the country face pressure to respond to rising oil prices and inflation. Story here.

NEWFOUNDLAND MAY CHANGE `COLONIAL’ NAME OF VINTAGE LEGISLATURE – The Newfoundland and Labrador government is considering renaming the Colonial Building historic site – the province’s former legislature in St. John’s – with an information note from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation suggesting the idea “as part of government’s ongoing efforts in support of Indigenous reconciliation and in keeping with current public sentiment/discourse surrounding the concept of ‘colonialism.’” Story here from CBC.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons is not sitting again until March. 21.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – Various political and other leaders spoke out Tuesday to mark the occasion.

”Women, girls, and gender diverse people play an invaluable role in building a fairer and more inclusive future with equal opportunity for everyone, here in Canada and around the world. Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women and girls that have helped shape the world we know today and we recommit to ensuring that everyone has the chance to reach their full potential, regardless of their gender identity, race, ethnicity or religion.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We live in a great country. Canada has become a place where women are equal and hold leadership roles in every sector and every area of our country – a place that protects women because of the laws that we have. We’re far from perfect. As Canadians, we still have a lot of work to do to encourage, promote and protect women, particularly Indigenous women and girls and visible minorities. Today I’m thinking of women and girls who live in countries around the globe where they have little to no value and few rights.” – Conservative Leader Candice Bergen.

“March 8 is an opportunity to highlight our pride in being a woman, to examine how far we have come and what we still have to do. Many advances have been made by women in Quebec, but recent history has again shown us that nothing should be taken for granted. Precariousness, violence, abuse, inequality and the overload of family responsibilities are still too often the lot of women.” – Andréanne Larouche, Bloc Québécois critic for the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women, girls, and non-binary people and to reflect on what we can do better to build a more equitable, safe and just society. At a time when we face multiple challenges – growing humanitarian crises, the climate emergency, the rising cost of living and the aftermath of a global pandemic – we must act more urgently to make sure women, women living with disabilities, girls and non-binary people aren’t left behind.” – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

“My mother and grandmother taught me and my siblings about strong and independent women. Yet, early on in my career, men dominated any room. Often, I was the only woman. It took years before this started to change. Before the voices of other strong and independent women were heard. And when they were heard, the conversations started to change.” – Governor-General Mary Simon.

INITIAL PENALTIES IN CANCUN FLIGHT – Transport Canada has issued initial penalties as the result of a Montreal-to-Cancun flight, with 154 passengers, that caused controversy last December. Videos of the Dec. 30 charter voyage from Montreal to Mexico, amid the pandemic, shared on social media showed unmasked passengers clustered together singing and dancing in the aisle and on seats, some holding bottles of liquor. Six passengers who were not fully vaccinated when they boarded the flight have received penalties that could reach a maximum $5,000 each, according to a statement Tuesday from Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. But the statement said the investigation continues, and more penalties are expected in coming days and weeks. There’s a story here with more information on the incident.

THE DECIBEL On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, international affairs columnist Doug Saunders helps listeners understand what people in Russia are hearing about the war with Ukraine, the two different ways they could react to sanctions, and what Russian President Vladimir Putin might do next. The Decibel is here.

TRIBUTE – Bruce Carson, a former aide and adviser to prime minister Stephen Harper, has died, according to Ian Brodie, who was a chief of staff to Mr. Harper. “The obituary notice refers to his role in the Indochinese refugee crisis during the [government of former prime minister Joe Clark], which was a bit before my time. I will remember his tireless, caring and essential work to produce the residential schools apology,” Mr. Brodie wrote in a tweet. “His advice on policy and legislation was valued across the Senate and House, as well as in PMO. His relentless optimism about politics and Canada was an inspiration to me, and I will miss his warmth and humanity.”


In Riga, the Prime Minister met with Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Kariņs, and then with Mr. Kariņs, and (virtually with) Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. The Prime Minister then met with Latvian President Egils Levits. At the Parade Square Adazi military base, the Prime Minister participated in a welcoming ceremony and met with members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as troops from NATO Allies contributing to the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group. The Prime Minister also held a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and then met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The Prime Minister then departed Riga International Airport for Berlin.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Vancouver, virtually brought greetings to the Vancouver District Labour Council Women’s Committee’s International Women’s Day event.

No schedule released for other party leaders.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on there being no no-fly zone over Ukraine in order to avoid starting World War 3: ”For the past week, the question has been widely asked: Why isn’t NATO doing the same thing in Ukraine? Why won’t NATO “close the sky,” as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has begged it to do? The short answer: nuclear weapons. Russia has the world’s largest arsenal of them, and we don’t want to start a nuclear war. As the old saw goes, the only thing that can guarantee that there will never be a World War IV is an atomic World War III. The verb placed before the term “no-fly zone” is always “impose.” In the 1990s, it wasn’t particularly difficult for the massive military might of the American-led alliance to impose one on Iraq. It was a similar story in 2011 over Libya. Gaddafi’s forces succeeded in shooting down zero coalition aircraft. A no-fly zone over those countries was a low-cost and low-risk policy, at least for our side. Russia is a rather different story.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the unintended consequence of sanctions may be to fuel further Russian nationalism: “In Russia, the Ministry of Education recently announced that all schoolchildren would receive a lesson on “why the liberation mission in Ukraine is a necessity,” which would include background information on the persecution of citizens in Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as “the danger that NATO represents to our country.” The hope, of course, is that children and their parents will heed that lesson when they pass by a boarded-up Ikea in Moscow, or when certain payment systems stop working, or when they can’t find or buy the goods they need in the weeks to come. Those inclined to seek alternative media will understand that Russians are suffering because their autocratic leader launched an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. But those who won’t or can’t may simply double down in their belief in the need for “Fortress Russia.” For years, Mr. Putin has warned his citizens about the threat the West poses to his country. And now, through the crippling effect of sanctions and corporate exits, those warnings are seemingly coming to pass.”

John Bell and John Zada (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how military aid to Ukraine will likely provoke and not deter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression: ”The Western reaction, although understandable and appropriate at many levels, has also fallen into a binary “them or us,” “either/or” mode derived partly out of the “cancel culture” reflex that has recently pervaded Western society. The initial high emotional reactions are to some degree natural, but they may not be the best basis for effective action: It is equally as important not to inflame Mr. Putin into further extreme violence as it is to dissuade his behaviour in the future. Western leaders and the news media must remember that this is much more Mr. Putin’s war than Russia’s, and that an omnibus approach of sanctioning “all Russian things” in response is unwise. It does unnecessary damage to the manifold interpersonal and co-operative relationships that matter for the future links between Russia and the West, including for conflict mitigation in Ukraine and elsewhere.”

Jane George (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the federal government must step up to help Iqaluit after the territory has endured six months of water woes: “If you’ve been focused on truck convoys, COVID-19 and now, understandably, Ukraine, you may not have realized that Nunavut’s capital remains frozen in a state of crisis. To change that, the government of Canada must step up and write a cheque for at least $180-million, the estimated lowball cost to bring the city’s water system back to safe functionality. Iqaluit’s water woes are nearing their sixth month – the city first said that water coming out of the taps wasn’t safe to drink because of the suspected presence of hydrocarbons in October. Since then, nearly 8,000 residents have endured the darkest and coldest time of the year, often under a pandemic lockdown, with no trusted water supply.”

Khorshied Nusratty and Lauryn Oates (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the suffering of Afghan women is the suffering of Afghanistan itself: ”Though all of Afghanistan is suffering, Afghan women and girls are suffering the most. They have been prevented from participating in public life, working or pursuing an education above a sixth-grade level. All of the hard-won gains and civil liberties fought for by Afghan women over the past 20 years have disappeared almost overnight.”

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