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Andrew Scheer faces a crucial test today, as the new Conservative caucus meets for the first time since a disappointing election loss.

Now, his MPs may consider adopting a measure that would give them the power to oust him as leader of the party. Discontentment with his leadership has grown, after losing what some Tories considered a “winnable” election — his MPs have pressed him to reorganize his top personnel, including removing his chief of staff, sources say.

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After each general election, the Reform Act requires all party caucuses to vote on whether to give themselves the power to fire their leader. Mr. Scheer will face a leadership vote at the party’s April convention in Toronto, but his caucus could give itself the power to replace him, without consulting members before that date.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Sierra Bein. 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.


Conservative senators held an election for the role of Opposition leader during their first meeting since the federal election campaign. Conservative Senator Don Plett, was elected the new Opposition Leader in the Senate in an evening vote Tuesday. Larry Smith, who previously had the role, said last week that he would not seek re-election.

Meanwhile, China has reopened its markets to importing Canadian pork and beef, a move that will significantly help Canadian farmers. China, the world’s largest pork producer, has had its pig herd reduced by millions due to an outbreak of African swine fever.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also cited “positive momentum” in The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, or USMCA.

Quebec takes a step back on proposed changes to a popular immigration program, which would have forced hundreds to thousands of students in the province to be sent home.

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South of the border, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland revised his testimony to say he told a top Ukrainian official the U.S. would keep withholding US$400-million in promised military aid until Kyiv agreed to investigate a company tied to the son of former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden. This provides further evidence in the investigation on whether President Donald Trump abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 vote.

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on a meeting for legislation for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: “Ultimately, the question is: How has the current system worked in terms of getting certainty around resource development? The answer can only be it hasn’t, especially when it comes to First Nations involvement. So why not try a different methodology? Will it be the end of litigation? No. But it will force parties to sit down in a more meaningful way that could help avoid the courts."

Denise Balkissoon (The Globe and Mail) on the Ontario government’s ban on cellphones in classroom: “Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives are making online high-school classes mandatory, even though they carry many of the same risks as cellphones for developing adolescent brains. Plus, both the elementary and secondary teachers’ unions are poised to strike, meaning children may lose out on schooling entirely. While this week’s pseudo-ban on classroom cellphone use may do some good, it won’t make up for the many ways the provincial government keeps mucking up the education file.”

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the 37-year-old gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., turned Democratic candidate hopeful Pete Buttigieg: “It’s presumptuous for him to think of becoming president at such a tender age; he would be the youngest ever. But the more people see of him, his composure, his broad perspective, his balance of mind, the more they’re convinced he is exceptional. That’s why he’s gone from unknown with an unwieldy name to the candidate with the Big Mo. He could have waited to go for the top job until he has more seasoning; but because Mr. Trump is in power, the timing is right. In many ways, he is the perfect counter to this President.”

Chuck Strahl (The National Post) on why Mr. Scheer’s MPs should consider giving him more time as party leader: “That’s not to say that the analysis and critique of the past election shouldn’t happen, and if, when, and where Scheer and the party fell short of expectations, he’ll need to plot a course correction and make it obvious. Apparently the consultation and gathering of input from party members is already in the works, and between now and next April’s party convention there will be plenty of time for that. But it might pay to remember how perilous things were for the party in the lead-up to the evening Scheer took over the reins three years ago.”

Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on Justin Trudeau’s re-election: “Declining Conservative vote and increasing Liberal vote means the margin of victory got wider. The squeakers of 2015 became romps in 2019. Think about that in context. After the India trip and SNC-Lavalin and the Aga Khan vacations; after constant roadblocks on the road to a new pipeline; after Trudeau was scolded on the world stage by Greta Thunberg; after the historic collapse of provincial Liberal parties in Ontario and Quebec; after multiple adventures in the land of blackface—after all that, most Liberal MPs had an easier time getting re-elected in 2019 than they did getting elected in 2015.”

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