Skip to main content
politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

As prescription opioids are blamed for fuelling a crisis that has killed thousands of Canadians, five pharmaceutical companies including Purdue Pharma have heeded a call from the federal government to stop marketing those painkillers.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor had asked for drug makers to voluntarily suspend their promotional activities relating to opioids while Health Canada develops policies aimed at restricting the marketing and advertising, expected in 2019.

The other four pharmaceutical companies that have agreed to stop advertising have not been publicly identified.

Purdue’s introduction of OxyContin in 1996 is seen as the root of the current crisis, as the company promoted the drug as safer and less addictive than other opioids.

In February, Purdue’s parent company stopped promoting prescription painkillers in the United States, where it has previously acknowledged misleading marketing and paid more than US$600-million to settle criminal and civil charges. A growing number of American states and cities have filed lawsuits against the company for deceptive marketing.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and James Keller in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


Canadians are looking for their own way to hit back back against Donald Trump’s trade war. A majority of respondents to a new poll conducted for The Globe and Mail by Nanos Research said they were likely, or somewhat likely, to avoid travelling to the United States or to boycott American stores and products.

Congress members in Illinois are warning that the Trump administration’s tariffs on Canadian newsprint are jeopardizing American newspapers that are already in financial danger.

The Conservatives out-fundraised the Liberals in 2017, new Elections Canada data show.

Quebec shipbuilder Chantier Davie Canada Inc. has been taken to court over allegedly unpaid bills, a charge the company denies. The ship at issue has been a source of controversy, and is linked to the removal of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman from his post as the military’s second-in-command.

Ontario’s newly elected premier, Doug Ford, has already set work dismantling some of the previous government’s policies. In just a few days, Mr. Ford’s Progressive Conservative government has frozen new measures on police oversight, ticket scalping and vaping, while also firing Ontario’s new chief scientist.

Mr. Ford’s campaign promise to cancel cap and trade is prompting the federal government to say it’s reconsidering $400-million in funding. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the end of cap and trade in Ontario is akin to withdrawing from the national climate change framework.

B.C.’s premier is leaving open the possibility of calling a public inquiry into money laundering, which has infected the province’s casinos and possibly the real estate market. Premier John Horgan says the findings of a recent review into money laundering in casinos were “absolutely horrifying” and he’s looking for additional tools to get to the bottom of what’s happening.

A number of advocacy groups, including Amnesty International, say the Canadian government’s probe into how Canadian arms were used in Saudi Arabia was insufficient and a proper investigation should be ordered up.

A prominent Venezuelan human-rights activist says other countries should follow Canada’s example and condemn President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. Francisco Valencia, the activist, has been a major voice for improving the South American country’s health-care system, which has collapsed.

And Canadian soldiers are helping to train Jordan’s only all-female squad of soldiers. The platoon is tasked with going into situations where groups of men would not be welcome.

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on gun crime in Toronto: “The mayor’s belief that “answers are easy” if the city just throws enough police at the problem is indicative of a failed mindset that has prevailed in Toronto for too long.”

Kent Roach (The Globe and Mail) on self-defence: “We need to examine whether the 2012 changes to our self-defence laws have made it too easy for people to use guns to defend property, self and others. ”

Naomi Lakritz (Calgary Herald) on the allegations against Mr. Trudeau: “So, shouldn’t Trudeau now be true to his own words and actions, and step down? If ‘I don’t remember’ wasn’t sufficient for those other male politicians, then it shouldn’t suffice for him, either.”

Petra Molnar and Stephanie J. Silverman (CBC) on detention of immigrants: “The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) oversees a legal and physical architecture of jails, immigration holding centres and police cells. The CBSA says detention is used as a last resort, in situations where, for example, officers need to complete an examination, or have security concerns, or have grounds to believe the individual will not appear for an immigration proceeding. The problem is, detention is being used too often, too readily, and with dramatically harmful results.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on what Trump might target next: “Mr. Trump reiterated his criticism of Canada’s defence spending in a letter sent last month to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He sent similar missives to other Western alliance leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, in advance of next week’s NATO summit in Belgium, suggesting both Ms. Merkel and Mr. Trudeau are in for a dressing down by the U.S. President in Brussels.”

Allan C. Hutchinson (The Globe and Mail) on the U.S. Supreme Court: “No matter how the criticism is packaged, the appointments battle will be about the nominee’s politics. It is well past time to accept that the Supreme Court is a political institution and deal with it accordingly.”

Help The Globe monitor political ads on Facebook: During an election campaign, you can expect to see a lot of political ads. But Facebook ads, unlike traditional media, can be targeted to specific users and only be seen by certain subsets of users, making the ads almost impossible to track. The Globe and Mail wants to report on how these ads are used, but we need to see the same ads Facebook users are seeing. Here is how you can help.

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

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

Check Following for new articles