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The federal Liberal government released its long-awaited online harms legislation today, launching what is expected to be a tough debate on the issue.

The bill, introduced by Justice Minister Arif Virani, includes a new standalone hate-crime offence, giving the courts the option of imposing penalties of up to life imprisonment for particularly egregious cases, It would also raise penalties for hate-propaganda offences from five years to life imprisonment for advocating genocide.

Online platforms would also have 24 hours to remove revenge porn, child sexual abuse material, as well as content that bullies or sexually victimizes children or induces a child to harm themselves.

Failure of tech platforms to comply could lead to fines of up to $10-million, and those who persistently ignore demands to obey the new law could face penalties of up to $25-million. The bill could also mean that some victims of hate speech could gain up to $20,000 in compensation.

A story by The Globe’s Marie Woolf, with details of the bill and initial reaction, can be found here.

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.


Head of mayors’ group pushes back on Poilievre, says Canadian cities are “not gatekeepers”: Scott Pearce made the comment about the Conservative Leader at a news conference the federation held in Ottawa today ahead of the spring budget, as the group calls for more federal infrastructure spending.

More to do on defence, Trudeau says after meetings with Polish leaders in Warsaw: “I recognize Poland stepping up significantly in its own military spending. But so will Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Pharmacare will not jeopardize Canada’s fiscal standing, Freeland says: The Finance Minister’s comments mark the first time anyone from the government has commented on the agreement that became public on Friday, when NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh confirmed the two parties had reached a deal.

Canadian judges are casting aside their deference to government with recent rulings: Federally appointed judges have asserted themselves in a series of cases in which they have stood up to the executive and legislative branches in Ottawa and the provinces, striking down some laws and ordering other laws put on hold until constitutional issues can be decided.

Ontario boosts postsecondary education funding by more than $1-billion over three years: But the new spending falls short of what an expert panel had recommended to stabilize postsecondary funding in the province as a number of schools face financial difficulty.

Ambassadors raise alarm as government staff abroad struggle to access health coverage: All of Canada’s top diplomats have taken the extraordinary step of writing a joint letter to their superiors warning of an “untenable” situation, as their health insurance provider fails to process claims for Canadian staff working abroad, CBC reports.

Half a century ago, Ontario got its youngest-ever cabinet minister: Steve Paikin of TVO on the story of Dennis Timbrell, who still maintains the distinction of being the youngest-ever provincial cabinet minister.

Rideau Canal Skateway closed after only 10 days skating this year: Unpredictable weather limited skating this year along the path considered the world’s largest skating rink, leading to the shortest season in its history aside from last year when it never opened at all. CBC reports here.


“Russia must win this war … sorry, that Ukraine must win this war against Russia.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference in Warsaw today with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

“Canadian mayors are not gatekeepers. We’re community builders. I don’t build houses. Developers build houses. With the interest rates at what they are, it’s more difficult to have builders build.” – Scott Pearce, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, today on criticism of municipal leaders by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.


Conservative nominations: Sue McFadden, a Mississauga city councillor now in her fifth term, has been named as the Conservative candidate in Mississauga—Streetsville, now held by Small Business Minister Rechie Valdez, who win the riding with 47 per cent of the vote in 2021. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, the chair of the ABC Vancouver party led by Mayor Ken Sim is stepping down from her post in municipal politics to seek the Conservative nomination in Vancouver-Granville. Marie Rogers announced her interest in a statement today. The riding first came into effect in 2015, and was initially represented by Jody Wilson-Raybould, elected initially as a Liberal, who served as justice minister. Since 2021, it has been represented by Taleeb Noormohamed, a Liberal. Also in B.C., Dan Ashton, a member of the BC United party in the legislature, is seeking the Conservative nomination in the riding of South Okanagan-Similkameen-West Kootenay.

Today in the Commons: Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Feb. 26, accessible here.

Deputy Prime Minister’s day: Chrystia Freeland, in Poland with Justin Trudeau, joined the Prime Minister for meetings with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Ministers on the Road: Defence Minister Bill Blair is in Paris where he attended a conference on support for Ukraine, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Commons Committee Highlights: Caroline Maynard, Canada’s Information Commissioner, and Gregory Lick, the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, are among the witnesses appearing before the national defence committee on transparency within the department of national defence and Canadian armed forces. Celyeste Power, president and chief executive officer of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, is among the witnesses appearing before the public safety committee on what the committee describes as the growing problem of car thefts in Canada.

Senate Committee Highlights: Major-General Greg Smith, director general of international security policy for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, was among the witnesses scheduled to appear before the national security committee on issues related generally to national security and defence.


After a weekend visit to Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion, Justin Trudeau was in Warsaw for talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Trudeau and Tusk held a news conference before Trudeau departed to return to Canada, arriving this evening.


Green Party Leader Elizabeth May attended the House of Commons.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a news conference on Parliament Hill ahead of Question Period, attended Question Period and, in the evening, was scheduled to speak at the launch of Black Activist, Black Scientist, Black Icon: The Autobiography of Dr. Howard D. McCurdy.

No schedules released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.


Globe and Mail reporter Colin Freeze was on the podcast today to discuss the precedent-setting ruling in the case of self-described white nationalist Nathaniel Veltman, whose targeted attacks on a Muslim family in 2021 have been deemed by Ontario Superior Court last week as a ”textbook” example of terrorism. The Decibel is here.


The Prosperity Problem: Don’t fix the labour crunch, embrace it

“Along with almost every other developed nation, Canada is experiencing severe labour shortages. We have known for decades that this was coming: with a birth rate well below that needed to maintain a stable population, it was clear that eventually there wouldn’t be enough young people entering the labour force to replace those who were retiring from it. ‘Eventually’ is now.” – The Globe and Mail Editorial Board.

Serious questions and cartoon politics about internet regulation

“There is one message Canada’s major political leaders want to send you about their opponent’s internet policies: Be afraid. The only thing more dangerous than the evils of the internet, they tell us, is what their opponent will do about it.” – Campbell Clark.

These days, Canada’s politics are defined by doom and gloom

“There’s no immediate federal election on the horizon in Canada, but it feels like a mean-spirited campaign is already in progress. Last week, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was in Kitchener, Ont., where he spent nearly 30 minutes attacking the Prime Minister on issues ranging from the ArriveCan app scandal to the carbon tax to ‘screwing over the middle class.’ Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau was in Edmonton to deliver a housing announcement and a narrower, more defensive criticism of federal (and provincial) Conservatives.” – Kelly Cryderman.

The Senate should say no to yet another delay in expanding MAID

“The Senate is facing an institution-defining question this week: should it allow another delay to the expansion of medically assisted death for patients with mental illnesses? Will the Senate defer to the House of Commons in passing Bill C-62, or will it respect the Charter and the rights of people with mental disorders and reject the legislation?” – Jocelyn Downie

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