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The Conservative leadership race has been swirling with rumours for weeks about who would run to replace Andrew Scheer. Now the first heavyweight has stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Peter MacKay announced this afternoon that he would run for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

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Mr. MacKay was the last leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives before it merged with the Alliance in 2003. He then served as a cabinet minister under Stephen Harper in a variety of senior portfolios.

Only one other serious contender has emerged, though more are expected to announce in the coming weeks. Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu said last week she would run for the leadership, before the race officially kicked off this week.

The Conservative vote happens at a convention in Toronto on June 27.

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.


Three European nations have triggered a dispute mechanism in the agreement with Iran meant to curtail the country’s nuclear ambitions. Now Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is raising the possibility that European soldiers will be “in danger.

The RCMP says it is investigating two cases of alleged foreign corruption that could possibly lead to deferred prosecution agreements. DPAs were a key part of the SNC-Lavalin affair that broke last year, as the Quebec company had successfully pushed for the Liberal government to include DPAs in legislation that passed in 2018. Ultimately a DPA was not granted to SNC-Lavalin, triggering the controversy.

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The Ontario government says it will reimburse parents for childcare costs if a strike goes ahead next week at some school boards. The government says the initiative will cost $48-million a day. The unions say the government will be saving $60-million a day anyway because they won’t be paying wages.

The U.S. and China are set to ink Phase One of a trade deal designed to cool the tariff war the two countries have waged over the last year and a half. On the eve of the deal, Human Rights Watch released a report deploring the human rights situation in the country. The Chinese government dismissed the criticism as entrenched bias against China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is introducing constitutional changes that could, in effect, make him ruler-for-life. His current term as President is set to expire in 2024.

And the security bill to protect royals Meghan and Harry could easily reach $10-million a year, one former Mountie says.

Alireza Nader (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s future relations with Iran: “Many Iranians may have been outraged at the killing of Gen. Soleimani by a foreign power. Many more are angry at their own security forces killing Iranians with impunity. The following few weeks and months are likely to see even bigger demonstrations and acts of bravery by citizens seeking to overthrow 40 years of tyranny. The Western world, especially Canada, has a strategic and moral duty to support Iranians’ struggle for freedom.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the value of political experience: “The current idea, by contrast, that politics is basically easy, a business for amateurs and ingenues – that it is possible to enter politics, indeed, at the leadership level, even as a rank beginner – is rooted in a more general decline in respect for expertise of all kinds, at least where it conflicts with our biases and prior assumptions.”

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Justin Ling (National Post) on the dearth of information in Trudeau’s daily public itineraries: “This exercise in faux-transparency is emblematic of the government more broadly. Trudeau swore up-and-down that Canada’s access to information laws would be reformed to provide journalists and researchers with more power to obtain government documents, within reason, including within the prime minister’s office. He lied about that, unfortunately, and his emails are still out of reach from the public. The government is publishing more material by default, including mandate letters to cabinet and some scripts for question period, but those are essentially written to be press releases.”

David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on the U.S. Democratic debates: “Even the most progressive Democratic candidates, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, are not socialists by European standards, though Mr. Sanders describes himself as a ‘democratic socialist.’ Indeed, the two more nearly reflect Liberals in Canada than the Labour Party in Great Britain. The only true socialist to have a real impact in American presidential politics was Eugene V. Debs, who ran for the White House five times, once from prison. His greatest showing was in 1912, when he attracted 6 per cent of the vote.”

Dale Smith (Maclean’s) on giving Meghan and Harry a fair share of royal patronages in Canada: “While making Harry the GG in a few years—when Julie Payette’s term expires—would only temporarily solve the couple’s woes when it comes to sorting out what kind of life they want to lead after stepping away as ‘senior royals,’ it would feel like a step back from ‘Canadianizing’ the institution. While it was de rigueur in the 19th century to have the Queen’s relatives offered posts like this, the position of GG has since become much more about what kind of face Canada wants to present to the world as well as who represents Canada in a ceremonial capacity (the latter part being something that Payette has famously been struggling with).”

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