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Ontario Premier Doug Ford is pressing the federal government to get public servants in Ottawa into their offices more regularly as a means of helping the downtown core of the capital.

Ford made the point today as he announced a “new deal for Ottawa,” a financial package of more than $500-million in operating and capital funding to help the city on a number of files.

“As the largest employer in the city, the federal government needs to do its part to help rebuild the city’s economy,” Ford, accompanied by Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, told a breakfast gathering.

In 2022, however, the federal government mandated that federal public servants return to the office at least two to three days a week. The Treasury Board Secretariat said the mandate would take effect on Jan. 16, 2023, with employees having to fully comply by the end of March, 2024.

Ottawa is the second-most populous city in Ontario after Toronto.

“I know a lot of people love working at home, and that’s fine, but we need the federal government to get government workers back into the office – even a few days,” Ford said to applause from an audience of hundreds at Ottawa’s downtown convention centre.

A return to the office would be helpful to the city’s transit system and its downtown economy, he said. “Without the people down there, the economy starts dying and the restaurants start hurting and everything else starts hurting so hopefully the Prime Minister will start calling people back to work.”

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.


Chief Electoral Officer acknowledges he lacks authority to properly investigate foreign interference allegations: Stéphane Perrault says his agency looked into the allegations but could not find enough evidence to forward the matter to the office of the Commissioner of Elections, which has the mandate to investigate and enforce election laws.

Supreme Court rules collective rights of Indigenous communities trump individual Charter rights in some cases: A majority of the court ruled the Charter applies to self-governing Indigenous communities, but that where Section 25 is in a real and irreconcilable conflict with individual Charter rights, it trumps those rights.

Ontario’s 2023 sunshine list shows more than 300,000 public sector workers make more than $100,000: Treasury Board President Caroline Mulroney says the largest year-over-year increases in the number of public sector workers who were paid more than $100,000 were in the hospitals, municipalities and postsecondary sectors.

How some Muslims view Pierre Poilievre’s stance on Israel-Hamas war: A spokesman for a regional Muslim advocacy group says the federal Conservative Leader’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war could complicate his party’s relationship with Muslim Canadians.

Four Ontario school boards sue Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok owners for $4.5-billion: The Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Peel District School Board accused social-media companies of employing “exploitative business practices” and choosing to “maximize profits” at the expense of the mental health and well-being of students. Caroline Alphonso reports.

Trudeau announces plans to expand $10-a-day child care: During an announcement in Surrey, B.C., the Prime Minister said the government plans to provide more than $1-billion in low-cost loans, grants and student loan forgiveness to expand child care across Canada. CBC reports.

RCMP admits it made mistakes during response to N.S. mass shooting in 2020: RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme also insisted the Mounties are making progress on changes, a year after a public inquiry identified a series of disastrous failures and called for an overhaul of Canada’s national police service.

Conservative-controlled committee invites premiers Moe, Higgs and Smith to testify on the carbon price: The Conservative chair of the government operations committee and an Alberta MP changed the witness list to allow Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to testify this week, and also scheduled another meeting today to hear from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

Larger ArriveCan investigation is under way, RCMP commissioner says: Mike Duheme says the RCMP has received multiple referrals to investigate ArriveCan, “and we are investigating.”


“The MPs don’t really know very much at all about what any of the provinces are doing to reduce emissions. They have a number of preconceived notions thinking that the only solution is to put a retail carbon tax on people, which is in, our view, a punishing tax that doesn’t achieve the outcome.” – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, during a news conference in Edmonton today.

“You know who is having a tougher job than the mayor is my teleprompter guy Rico because I am all over the map. I haven’t even looked at the teleprompter. Rico. I apologize. Go have some bacon and eggs. I am going to be back with you in a minute.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford, while delivering remarks at a breakfast event in Ottawa today, accompanied on stage by Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.


French PM visits: Gabriel Attal will be in Canada from April 10 to the 12, with a stop in Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for talks on climate change, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other issues. He’ll also meet with Governor-General Mary Simon, then goes on to Quebec City and Montreal.

GG in Nunavut: Mary Simon and her partner Whit Fraser are visiting Nunavut from April 1 through April 4 to mark the territory’s 25th anniversary. The trip includes stops in Iqaluit, Kimmirut and Qikiqtarjuaq.

Commons, Senate: The House of Commons is on a break until April 8. The Senate sits again April 9.

Deputy Prime Minister’s day: Chrystia Freeland is in Winnipeg where she made a child-care infrastructure announcement.

Ministers on the road: Across Canada, ministers were making child-care and affordability announcements today. Public-Services Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was in Quebec City; Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutching and Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor were in Halifax; and Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez and Immigration Minister Marc Miller were in Montreal. Also today, International Trade Minister Mary Ng is in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, leading a Canadian trade mission that concludes today.

Commons committee highlights: New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith appear before the government-operations committee on carbon pricing.


Justin Trudeau made a child-care announcement in Surrey, B.C., ahead of the 2024 federal budget.


Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was scheduled to hold a rally on carbon pricing in Winnipeg.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May attended the weekly breakfast gathering of the Rotary Club in the Vancouver Island town of Sidney by the Sea.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, spoke to the national committees meeting of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

No schedule released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.


On today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Rébecca Robillard, neuropsychologist at the University of Ottawa and co-chair of the Canadian Sleep Research Consortium, goes deep into the science of sleep and why it’s vital for cognition and brain health. The Decibel is here.


Immigration is more than a numbers game

“If anyone needed more proof that the Liberal government has lost control of immigration, it came this week in the form of a new Statistics Canada report on the number of temporary residents in the country. Last Thursday, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said there were 2½ million temporary residents in Canada, and that they make up 6.2 per cent of the population.” – The Globe and Mail Editorial Board

The inquiry gets a personal lesson in foreign interference

“If the inquiry on foreign interference grew out of allegations about elections, Mehmet Tohti personalized its mission. Mr. Tohti was there to talk about what Uyghur Canadians have been through and he drew a picture through some of his own experiences.” – Campbell Clark

Provincial finances are a future crisis in the making. It’s time to start work on a solution

“A decade or so ago Europe was in the throes of a political and economic crisis over the finances of a single, tiny country: Greece. Though it accounted for a mere 1.5 per cent of the European Union’s GDP, Greece’s massive debts, arthritic economy and dysfunctional politics provoked speculation that it would default on its debts, withdraw from the euro, or both. And if Greece might, would other member states? Would the EU bail it out, to avoid this fate? Or would this amount to rewarding Greece for its fecklessness, and thus simply invite others to follow its example?” – Andrew Coyne

Canada’s foreign policy and its domestic politics on Israel’s war against Hamas are shifting

“The vote in the House of Commons last week on Israel’s war against Hamas represents a shift in both Canada’s foreign policy and its domestic politics. The Liberal government is now markedly more supportive of the rights of Palestinians and less supportive of the state of Israel than in the past. That shift mirrors changing demographics, and the increasing importance of Muslim voters within the Liberal coalition.” – John Ibbitson

Canada must empty its cupboards for Ukraine

“It is estimated that Ukraine could run out of anti-air ammunition in a matter of days. If that happens, the devastation is going to be severe: And it will be our fault. A failure to deliver this critical aid is emblematic of how blasé some NATO countries have become about the state of the war. From the very beginning of the conflict, we have transferred enough aid to help Ukraine defend, but not enough to help it win. Today, however, we are failing to fund even its defence.” – Justin Ling

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