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politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

When Canada officially legalized cannabis last month, it was just the second country in the world to do so. Now No. 3 is coming up not far behind.

Mexico says it plans to legalize marijuana shortly, with legislation coming as early as today. The proposed new law will regulate the production and sale of the plant for recreational purposes. The new government hopes that the measure will do something to help the country’s overtaxed justice system, crowded prisons and brutal gang violence.

And the timing is not a coincidence: sources tell The Globe that Olga Sanchez Cordero, the incoming interior minister who drafted the bill, was part of the Mexican cabinet delegation who came to Ottawa last month, and her major interest was learning how Canada had set up its system.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa. It is exclusively available only to our digital subscribers. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


U.S. President Donald Trump has finally done what he’s long threatened and fired Jeff Sessions as his Attorney-General. Mr. Trump also put oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller into the hands of the acting attorney-general, raising concerns that the Mueller probe into possible Russian collusion in the last election could be reined in. With the Democrats set to take over the House in the new year – one of the two chambers of Congress – Mr. Trump threatened to attack members of the party if they pressed ahead with any investigations of him.

U.S. auditors says billions of dollars in aid from Western countries that has gone to reconstruction in Afghanistan has been lost to waste and corruption. Canada alone has given $3-billion to the two international funds that were examined. “Our findings are that basically the World Bank did not know how the money was being spent and …even the Afghans were saying some of the programs were really stupid,” Special Inspector-General John Sopko said.

Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier (itself no stranger to government aid) is selling off its Q400 turboprop business and eliminating 5,000 jobs.

Tony Clement has left the Conservative caucus over a sexting scandal and complaints from women about their online interactions with him. Sources tell The Globe that Mr. Clement was hit with an alleged extortion attempt by an individual or group trying to make a quick buck, not because he was a politician with access to national-security secrets.

And Maclean’s profiles Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and the four conservative premiers he is working with to try to thwart the Liberal carbon-tax plan. The magazine cover, proclaiming the five mainstream men to be “the resistance,” has attracted a certain amount of derision online.

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on the U.S. midterms: “But that’s U.S. politics for you. Just when all seems lost, a door opens and lets in a little sliver of light. That door also opened in these midterms and let in at least 108 women, the highest number elected to Congress in the country’s history. As of this writing, with some races still to be settled, 12 women were elected to the Senate, 96 to the House of Representatives, and nine as governors, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University (CAWP)."

Barrie McKenna (The Globe and Mail) on the midterms' effect on the free-trade deal: “The big question now is what House Democrats, who have traditionally been less supportive of free trade, might try to ‘extract’ from the White House and Republicans in return for supporting the new trade deal.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party: “He is taking aim at one of the Conservatives’ great assets, their solid political base. It’s not just about votes. Every time Mr. Scheer moves to the centre, Mr. Bernier will be chipping at his image as a leader. And he’s willing to go places Mr. Scheer won’t.”

Christie Blatchford (National Post) on Tony Clement’s online habits: “Clement, to use a golf term, did not go to school on the many men who went before him. He must have imagined that he would be the one guy who wouldn’t get caught or trapped or found out. Well, there aren’t many of those guys about any more.”

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