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Politics Politics Briefing: Liberals reject most senators’ changes to C-69

Good morning,

In the House today, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will explain why her government is rejecting virtually all the amendments Conservatives senators made to the Liberals’ environmental assessment bill, while retaining some of the changes made by independent senators. The bill, C-69, has, along with the carbon tax, been one of the most contentious issues between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a number of small-c conservative premiers, including the leaders of Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

And the Senate has been the place that many government and private member’s bills go to, if not die, at least stay a while. One of the senators responsible for these lengthy studies is Conservative Whip Don Plett, who said of C-69: “As far as slowing things down, yeah, we tried to slow Bill C-69 down. We don’t like the bill.” His colleagues insist he’s got a softer side that’s not visible to the public; fellow Conservative Senator Linda Frum said he’s one of the “top criers in the Senate.”

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

Mark next week in your calendars: a Senate committee studying the failed prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman is set to hear from Canada’s top soldier, General Jonathan Vance, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about the case. More witnesses may yet testify, including Vice-Adm. Norman himself. The senators are planning to report back to the Senate at large days later.

Also next week: a federal tourism agency, Destination Canada, is hosting a Canada Day-themed gala dinner in Beijing, despite the tensions between Canada and China right now. “Celebrating with lobster, beef and [music] while two Canadians are facing execution by the home country’s rigged judicial system? Seems like our priorities are screwed up and that Trudeau and the embassy are trying to pretend it’s business as usual,” NDP MP Nathan Cullen said.

Members of Parliament will soon get 12-month parental leave.

SNC-Lavalin, the embattled Canadian engineering and construction firm, is looking for a new CEO.

A majority of Canadians think Chinese telecom giant Huawei should be barred from helping to construct Canada’s 5G wireless network, a new poll suggests.

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You’ll have more time to vote in this fall’s election. You may be more inclined to vote after hearing from the social-media influencers that Elections Canada hired and is debuting next week.

And Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, is suing MPP Randy Hillier for defamation. Mr. Hillier had been kicked out of the Progressive Conservative caucus earlier this year.

Sylvain Charlebois and Tony Walker (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberals’ proposed plastics ban: “But the plastics legacy in food goes beyond the discussion about pollution that we have all seen in the media. As a cheap material, plastics have kept food affordable and safe, and have reduced the amount of food waste we all generate. As much as plastics have become this despicable monster to our society and our current course remains unsustainable, eliminating plastics in the food industry is no easy task.”

Don Braid (Calgary Herald) on the war of words between Trudeau and six premiers: “[The premiers] urge the Liberals to accept all Senate amendments to Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, and kill C-48, the so-called Tanker Moratorium. But to Trudeau, it’s apparently a national unity threat even to challenge federal legislation, point out its flaws and warn of negative impacts.”

John Geddes (Maclean’s) on climate change and extreme weather: “The shift from pussyfooting around how climate change leads to more extreme weather events to talking about it so forcefully hasn’t happened by chance. It’s the result of a concerted effort by researchers to create a new field called “attribution science.” The challenge they faced was that climate is so complicated that teasing out a single cause for, say, a flood or a fire is impossible. So they devised methods for calculating how much climate change had contributed.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on China’s collapsing birth rate: “In part, this birth dearth is the result of the country’s one-child policy, implemented in 1980 to slow a threatened population explosion, then relaxed in 2016 after authorities realized that explosion might be turning into implosion. It is also the result of China’s rapid urbanization, which has increased the education and autonomy of Chinese women. Everywhere in the world, when women are able to control how many children they have, the birth rate goes down.”

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