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Politics Briefing: MPs begin hearings on Facebook data

Good morning,

Do you really know what happens to the information about you on social media?

The House of Commons access to information, privacy and ethics committee begins a two-week study today of the misuse of Facebook data, a project inspired by recent revelations of what political actors have been doing. Already there are some calls for the work to cover the huge amount of data that Google has, too.

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Speaking of that, don’t forget about this opportunity:

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.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa, –n Toronto 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 –


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in France today, but he carries on to London later this week and takes part in the biennial meeting of the Commonwealth. As Paul Waldie writes in The Globe, the group of countries has many important issues to discuss, from next year’s Brexit to who will succeed the Queen as leader of the organization.

Mr. Trudeau’s national security adviser, Daniel Jean, says it was his idea to give a controversial briefing to reporters during the Prime Minister’s trip to India.

Canada is recalling the families of diplomats serving in Cuba.

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Seamus O’Regan says his battle with alcoholism has given him perspective that’s helped him as Veterans Affairs Minister.

Alberta is facing pushback for pressing ahead with plan to punish B.C. over that province’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Alberta’s NDP government has revealed how it plans to restrict fossil-fuel shipments to British Columbia as the showdown over the pipeline escalates. B.C. says the move is unconstitutional and it will sue, while the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association warns the measures could have unintended consequences.

Special prosecutors have been appointed to handle the cases of two MPs – Green Leader Elizabeth May and New Democrat Kennedy Stewart – accused of violating a court injunction ordering protesters to stay away from Kinder Morgan’s terminal in Burnaby, B.C.

Calgary city councillors have approved a key vote that keeps the bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics alive.

B.C. is bolstering the powers of two regulators to tackle white-collar crimes. New legislation will allow the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association the ability to enforce penalties as court orders against investment dealers who wrong investors. A Globe and Mail analysis last year found both agencies are owed millions of dollars in unpaid fines.

CBC reports that the government has walked away from mediation in a $27-million lawsuit brought by Abousfian Abdelrazik.

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Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is moving to sue the Winnipeg Free Press for a story critical of him, and demanding the paper tell him its sources.

The Royal Canadian Mint is suing the Royal Australian Mint for patent infringement.

And the National Gallery of Canada confirms that the painting it wants to buy, and for which it is selling a Marc Chagall work for millions of dollars is...the 1779 Jacques-Louis David piece Saint Jerome Hears the Trumpet of the Last Judgment. The only catch? Two other Quebec museums want it, too.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Daniel Jean: “As media-briefers go, Daniel Jean may be the world’s most incompetent. At least, judging by what the Prime Minister’s national security adviser told a Commons committee on Monday.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the Trans Mountain pipeline: “But the Liberal Grand Bargain may fail. Apart from the challenges to the carbon tax, the government faces substantial headwinds in completing the pipeline. For one thing, Kinder Morgan, which owns it, might find the guarantees insufficient.”

Stewart Muir (The Globe and Mail) on pipeline politics: “In order to get our resources to the world market, we have to be able to get them to a port. That’s really what this pipeline expansion project is all about – getting Canada’s oil to the world market so we can maximize the return on our commodities.”

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star) on the hurdles: “If anything, this weekend’s meeting with the feuding premiers mostly demonstrated the limits of the power of a prime minister to force a province into line. When it comes to Trudeau’s signature climate change compromise, it could be the first of many such demonstrations.”

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on decision making: “Reasonable people will differ on the merits of Trans Mountain. But whatever anyone’s opinion, there is a lawful process for deciding these things, and lawful authority to decide them. In the present case, those lawful authorities are the National Energy Board, the federal cabinet, and the courts.”

Barrie McKenna (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: “This chaos would be comical if it wasn’t serious business for Canada and other countries caught up in Mr. Trump’s vortex.”

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