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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.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is worried about the situation involving Enbridge’s Line 5 cross-border pipeline – key energy infrastructure that Michigan’s governor is threatening to shut down.

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“We are very concerned about the possible closure of Line 5,” the prime minister told a news conference on Tuesday – a day ahead of the deadline set by the U.S. state for taking action.

For that reason, he said Canada has been working for months with counterparts in the United States, and encouraging direct mediation between Enbridge and the state of Michigan.

Steven Chase and Emma Graney report on the state of the dispute here.

Mr. Trudeau said Canada is intent on a solution that will maintain energy security on both sides of the border.

The Prime Minister also said he has raised the issue with U.S. President Joe Biden. “It is an issue we discussed, the security of our energy exchanges and pipelines, but we recognize that it is a process that is currently under mediation between Enbridge and the Michigan government,” he said.

Shortly after the news conference, the office of Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan announced that Canada has filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, supporting continued mediation between Enbridge and the State of Michigan and conveying Canada’s belief that federal court is the proper venue for hearing the case between the two parties.

In a statement, three Conservative opposition MPs urged the Prime Minister to call Mr. Biden to invoke the 1977 transit pipelines treaty, which guarantees the uninterrupted flow of energy between the two countries to ensure Line 5 remains open.

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“The clock runs out tomorrow,” said the statement from natural resources critic Greg McLean, foreign affairs critic Michael Chong and house leader Gerard Deltell.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

BILL C-10 - Members of Parliament on the Canadian Heritage committee are suspending their line-by-line review of Bill C-10, which updates the Broadcasting Act, in order to hear new testimony from the Ministers of Justice and Canadian Heritage and other experts in response to concerns the bill will curtail freedom of speech online. Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s comments in a CTV interview last Sunday caused some confusion on the bill. Details here.

B,.C. SICK-PAY PLAN - The B.C. government will introduce legislation on Tuesday to establish sick pay benefits, just three weeks after it learned that Ottawa would not expand its own program. The plan, detailed Tuesday morning, commits to three days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19, such as having symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result. According to a statement from the province, employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the province will reimburse employers without an existing sick leave program up to $200 per day for each worker to cover costs.

OPP ON LTC FILE - The Ontario Provincial Police says it is examining whether a criminal probe is warranted into nursing home residents who died from neglect during the pandemic.

ALEXANDER HONOR - Canada’s first Black MP and cabinet minister now has a law school named after him with Ryerson University bestowing the honour on the late Lincoln M. Alexander. From TVO.

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WHERE’S PHARMACARE? - Doctors and nurses on the front lines of Canada’s health care system are sounding the alarm after the Liberal government appears to have put its promise of a national pharmacare program on the back burner.

MILITARY MONITORING BLM - Canadian Forces intelligence officers compiled data on the Black Lives Matter movement in Ontario as part of the military’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

PRIVACY COMMISSIONER ON C-11 - Canada’s Privacy Commissioner says federal legislation updating private-sector privacy laws does not go far enough to protect the public from facial-recognition technology, and requires “significant amendments.”

PM INTERVIEW - Former CTV and CP24 reporter Brandon Gonez has a 30-minute interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his YouTube channel, available here. Topics include what happens to those who choose not to get vaccinated, the grade Mr. Trudeau would give Canada’s COVID-19 response, and anti-black and systemic racism. Mr. Gonez previously did an interview with federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, available here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings. The Prime Minister will speak with the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. He also holds a media availability on COVID-19. And he attends Question Period.

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LEADERS

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a news conference and media availability on the Goldboro liquid natural gas project in Nova Scotia as well as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to shut down the Line 5 pipeline.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a news conference on paid sick leave, and attends Question Period.

POLLING

As Scots contemplate becoming an independent country again – just seven years after deciding against it in a 2014 referendum – Quebec seems further away from independence than it has been for decades. From the CBC.

OPINION

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The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how arguing about patent waivers misses the real issue with vaccine inequity: “Barring high levels of vaccine hesitancy, many wealthy countries will have fully vaccinated their populations by the end of 2021. Poor countries, according to an analysis done by the Economist Intelligence Unit, will have to wait until 2024 to achieve mass immunization, ‘if it happens at all.’ For wealthy countries, that’s a moral failure. It’s also a failure to protect their self-interest. Standing idly by while billions of people continue to catch and transmit COVID-19 will prolong the pandemic and provide a crucible for new, possibly more deadly variants.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on whether we ditch AstraZeneca before it drags down the whole vaccine campaign?: “Bottom line: We’re left with the perception that AstraZeneca vaccine is second-rate. In the public/political realm, perception matters more than science, especially when you’re trying to vaccinate 38 million people. Those who rushed out to get the AstraZeneca vaccine (mostly GenX-ers, who are the most ardent vaccination supporters) are feeling burned. They are left with the impression that decisions have been driven more by supply issues than science.”

Andrew Cohen (Ottawa Citizen) on Joe Biden’s short time to act, tiny margin to legislate and narrow window to sell his program: “Biden is the oldest elected president in history. At 78, he’s close to the lifespan of the average American white man. The pandemic has spared him the rigours of the election campaign and overseas travel. He’s had fewer chances to misspeak. Can he seriously run again in 2024? Time does not extend before him as it did before FDR (12 years) and LBJ (five years). In effect, Biden has four years to make his mark, maybe two. He cannot afford to become ill, weak or mute.”

Don Braid (Calgary Herald) on Alberta’s Justice Minister saying the NDP, media and Ottawa want a health-care crisis to further political ends: “This statement is not just vicious. It’s grotesquely wrong. Although Rachel Notley’s New Democrats are often overly harsh with their own rhetoric, they have demanded tougher pre-emptive measures for many months – so often that Premier Jason Kenney has accused them of pressing for total lockdowns. Only last week the premier was calling for less political division. Now [Justice Minister Kaycee Madu] suddenly gaslights in the most divisive way, projecting onto others the failings of his own side.”

(Newsletter Author’s Note: At a news conference today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked about Mr. Madu’s remarks, said, “It’s a shame to see people pointing fingers and laying blame, and suggesting that anyone in Canada wants anything else than to get through this pandemic as safely as possible everywhere. Last week, I reached out directly to the premier of Alberta, to the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton to continue to offer all the help that the federal government could possibly offer to help Albertans and indeed all Canadians get through this.” )

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It's not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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