Breaking news late this afternoon from Ottawa, where The Globe’s Kristy Kirkup has learned that former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Murray Sinclair will facilitate high-stakes compensation talks related to the welfare of Indigenous children, with the goal of reaching a settlement by the end of the year.
Mr. Sinclair, who left the Senate last January, will help to guide talks now underway in Ottawa, a source with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Globe. The Globe is not identifying the individual because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Meanwhile, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he’s confident that MPs who are not vaccinated will be effectively kept out of the House of Commons once full vaccination becomes the rule on Nov. 22.
“I believe the building is pretty well equipped to prevent somebody from entering the building if he or she is not supposed to,” Mr. Blanchet told a news conference today on Parliament Hill.
Mr. Blanchet did not elaborate.
Last month, a House of Commons committee said all MPs will need to be fully vaccinated to attend the House in person when it sits on Nov. 22. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has said all his MPs who show up for the House of Commons will be fully vaccinated, but he would not say how many are unvaccinated.
The Bloc leader said the path ahead is clear. “If you are fully vaccinated, you enter the building. If you are not fully vaccinated, you don’t enter the building,” Mr. Blanchet said. “That’s pretty simple.”
Mr. Blanchet said the Bloc agreed to the notion of a hybrid Parliament earlier in the pandemic due to “good reasons” for the approach that are no longer relevant.
“These reasons are now becoming pretexts – pretexts to avoid coming to Ottawa; an excuse, really, to tone down or reduce accountability,” he said.
During the news conference, Bloc Québécois house leader Alain Therrien said it’s time for MPs to get back to work.
“Everybody should be in the House. Canadians expect members who have been elected by them to actually turn up for work,” he said.
“If you can go to the movies and be part of a huge crowd, I don’t see why Parliament would be an exception. If you are fully vaccinated, you should be in the House.”
The Bloc is the third-place party in the Commons, with 32 members.
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.
THREE AMIGOS SUMMIT LOOMS - U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Nov. 18 in Washington amid growing concerns about U.S. protectionism, according to two sources. This is the first get-together of the leaders of North America since 2016. Story here.
CANADIAN FIRMS SELF-REPORTING ISSUES TO RCMP - More Canadian companies are self-reporting allegations of bribery and corruption to the RCMP to avoid criminal prosecutions that could land executives in jail and damage their businesses.
BANK OF CANADA GOVERNOR DEFENDS BANK ACTIONS - The Governor of the Bank of Canada has laid down an argument for the central bank’s actions during the pandemic, hours after the country’s Opposition Leader suggested the bank stay in its inflation-targeting lane. Story here.
HARPER CRITICIZES TRUDEAU’S GREEN POLICY - Stephen Harper is criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate-change policy for unfairly singling out “certain parts of the country,” as the Liberal government proceeds with a hard cap on oil and gas emissions that are expected to particularly affect provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan.
SINGH TALKS LIBERAL-NDP CO-OPERATION - Jagmeet Singh left the door open on Tuesday to a more substantive working arrangement with the Liberal government, but made it clear that for now his party plans to approach legislation in the House of Commons on a vote-by-vote basis.
CODERRE’S FUTURE - What comes next for former federal cabinet minister Denis Coderre after his failed bid to regain the Montreal mayoralty? Story here, from the Montreal Gazette.
BC LIBERAL RAPPED FOR COMMENTS - A BC Liberal leadership candidate who referred to “token diversity” in the NDP isn’t backing down, despite being criticized for minimizing the impact of people of colour in politics. From CTV. Story here.
SASKATCHEWAN A NATION, MOE SAYS - Premier Scott Moe is calling Saskatchewan a “nation within a nation,” posting the phrase on social media and telling reporters that Saskatchewan wants similar powers to those Quebec already has, including on taxes and immigration. The provincial NDP dismissed the stand as a distraction from the government’s COVID-19 record. Story here from The Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
MANITOBA PRESSERS GET CINEMATIC - CBC’s As It Happens interviewed Paul White, who moderates Manitoba government press conferences with a “big, boomy voice” akin to the narrator of a movie trailer.
THIS AND THAT
PAUL DEPARTS GREEN PARTY - Although she announced her exit as leader of the Green Party of Canada on Sept. 27, Annamie Paul said in a social media post today that she has just sent the “formal notice of my resignation” to the party. She also says she will be ending her membership in the organization. “It was an honour to work for the people of Canada, and I look forward to serving in new ways.”
REMEMBRANCE DAY FLYPASTS - The Department of National Defence has released details on flypasts for several Remembrance Day commemorations throughout Canada on November 11. They will be carried out throughout the day by aircraft from Royal Canadian Air Force Wings across the country. During the flypasts, the aircraft will fly at minimum altitudes above the highest obstacle in their path. Details here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Private meetings. The Prime Minister, along with National Defence Minister Anita Anand and Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Jacqueline O’Neill, met with the 2021 class of the Halifax Peace With Women Fellowship. Mr. Trudeau was also scheduled to be sworn in as the Member of Parliament for Papineau.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet holds a news conference on Parliament Hill.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is being sworn in as MP for Burnaby South.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the prospect of a Liberal-NDP deal: “The Liberals and the NDP are coming together; the Conservatives are coming apart. While negotiations continue on some sort of pact between the two main progressive parties, the Conservatives are consumed by internal divisions – among other things, over vaccine mandates. A nascent leadership revolt, in the form of a “civil liberties” caucus devoted to upholding the rights of vaccine resisters, appears to have been stifled for now, the ringleaders forced to recant and/or denied critics’ posts. But this is unlikely to be the end of it. That the two should be happening at the same time may not be entirely coincidental. The Liberals and the NDP are coming together because the Tories are coming part. With little fear of losing votes to their right, the Liberals can afford to tack left, and yet still own the centre. Indeed, so strong is the Liberal position in this Parliament that it’s difficult to see the point of a deal with the NDP.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Premier Scott Moe’s “embarrassing” request for Saskatchewan nationhood: “This week on the Roy Green radio show, Mr. Moe made this very case, suggesting his province deserved to have special status within Confederation because, well, it deserved it. Now one could take this statement seriously or recognize it for what it is: preposterous pandering to a party base that hasn’t exactly been thrilled with the Premier’s performance of late. It’s Mr. Moe creating yet another distraction from his government’s gross mishandling of the fourth wave of the pandemic. And the way you deal with that is you talk about “independence” instead. “We’re going to flex our autonomy,” Mr. Moe told Mr. Green’s radio audience. “Flex our provincial muscle, if you will, within the nation of Canada.” Go ahead and flex, Mr. Premier. Mr. Moe said he wasn’t proposing separation (phew!), but rather greater autonomy from a federal government that is working “against the best interests of the country.””
Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on how a climate emergency declaration boosts Calgary’s economic recovery: “Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s declaration of climate emergency won’t face much trouble from her new council. It’s likely to pass by 12-3 or better when the vote comes Nov. 15. About time, too. More than 500 Canadian cities, towns, hamlets and the federal Parliament have already passed this resolution. Edmonton did so in 2019. By failing to sign on, Calgary risks looking like a climate change denier. That would harm the city’s reputation – and economy. Premier Jason Kenney, exercising his knee-jerk reflex to almost anything coming out of Calgary council, scolded Gondek when she announced her intention. “In a city that has been suffering from near double-digit unemployment, that has gone through five years of deep economic adversity, I find that a peculiar priority,” Kenney said. “I would have thought that the mayor of Calgary’s top priority would be getting Calgarians back to work,” he said. “That’s certainly my top priority.” But this climate declaration is very much about jobs. It’s a signal to the country and the world that the city is open to investment in technology and innovation, as well as the oil and gas industry’s transition to net-zero emissions.”
Allison Hanes (The Montreal Gazette), reflecting on the Montreal mayoral race, and why politicians facing the agony of defeat deserve our respect: “Spare a thought for those experiencing bruised egos, electoral hangovers and crash landings after the frenzied pace and all-in commitment of running for election. For newbies experiencing their first thrashing or incumbents swept aside by the winds of change, the winner-takes-all nature of politics still hurts. They don’t need our pity, of course, but they do merit our respect. We too often regard politicians with such cynicism we forget they’re human beings with feelings. We shouldn’t lose sight of this kernel of truth, especially at a time when governing has become such a thankless task and social media exposes officeholders to a steady stream of toxic abuse. Even if we have no regrets about our choices and the people have spoken loudly and clearly, we can take a moment to recognize their courage and sacrifice. It’s not that there’s no room for criticism, for that is also part of the game and why politicians require rhinoceros hides. But if there’s a time to acknowledge that, too, can take a toll, it’s in the aftermath of defeat.”
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