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Hello,

The federal government is lifting the predeparture COVID-19 test requirement for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents who are abroad for fewer than 72 hours, Parliamentary Reporter Marieke Walsh reports today.

But the government is keeping the testing rules in place for all other travellers – against the advice of its own expert panel.

On Friday, federal ministers announced a suite of changes to the rules governing travellers at Canada’s air and land borders.

Ms. Walsh reports here on today’s developments.

Watch The Globe and Mail: Canadian, World, Politics and Business News & Analysis for updates.

Also today, Health Canada has approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 in Canada. More details on that development are here.

NEXT WEEK: The House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday for the first time since June, 2021. This new session comes after the Sept. 20 federal election where the Liberals were re-elected with a minority government. Day One will see the election of a speaker. All MPs except cabinet ministers and leaders of recognized parties are candidates unless they rule themselves out by contacting the Clerk of the House in writing by Sunday. At least five MPs, including Northern Ontario MP Anthony Rota who has been speaker, are in the running as was covered here. On Tuesday, Governor-General Mary Simon will read the Speech from the Throne, announcing the Liberal government’s agenda for the parliamentary session.

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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

BIDEN RULES OUR BUY AMERICAN CONCESSIONS - U.S. President Joe Biden was unwilling to offer concessions to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico on proposed Buy American provisions, including tax incentives for U.S.-made electric vehicles that could cause future production of the vehicles to move away from Canada.

BRITISH COLUMBIA FLOODS - Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are expected to begin construction Friday on a levee in the agricultural hub of Abbotsford, B.C., much of which is under water after this week’s catastrophic floods, with more heavy rain in the forecast. Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan tells Global News that, amidst flooding and mudslides, he has put in a formal request to the Canadian government to ask the United States to access secure gas reserves. Story here.

BATTERS STILL A MEMBER OF CONSERVATIVE SENATE CAUCUS - Denise Batters remains a member of the Senate Conservative caucus, even though Erin O’Toole ousted the Saskatchewan senator from the national Conservative caucus earlier this week for challenging his leadership of the party. Story here.

CANADA PRESSED TO ACT ON BELARUS - The foreign-affairs envoy for Belarus’ exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya paid a visit to Ottawa this week to ask the Canadian government to exert more economic pressure on the Eastern European country whose President used violence last year to stifle protests over a disputed election.

NEW FISHERIES MINISTER OUTLINES APPROACH - Joyce Murray, the new federal Fisheries Minister, talks about her agenda with Newfoundland journalist Barb Sweet. “I’ve been breathing, eating and sleeping and dreaming of fisheries issues for the past few weeks with a lot of briefings and a lot of discussions with various people,” says Ms. Murray. Story here.

MOUNTIES CLEAR B.C. ROAD - A British Columbia access road that had been blockaded by Indigenous protesters since Sunday has been cleared by the RCMP and can now be used to bring water and other supplies to more than 500 pipeline workers, Coastal GasLink says. Story here.

TOUGH POLITICAL WEEKEND LOOMING FOR KENNEY - Political scientists say Alberta Premier Jason Kenney faces a no-win situation at his party’s annual meeting in Calgary this weekend over mounting questions about his leadership. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

APOLOGETIC VUONG PROCEEDING WITH WORK AS MP - Toronto MP Kevin Vuong, dropped as the Liberal candidate for Spadina- Fort York over a withdrawn sexual assault charge, is apologizing to his constituents, supporters, former Liberal colleagues and the Prime Minister. Despite the controversy, Mr. Vuong won the riding and will sit as an Independent. “I regret not disclosing the charge that was withdrawn,” he said in an interview - his first since the Sept. 20 election - on the Toronto radio show Moore in the Morning that you can listen to here.

INFLATION AND OTTAWA’S FINANCES - In his Tax and Spend newsletter, tax and fiscal policy reporter Patrick Brethour writes here about why inflation is a major headache for households, but not for Ottawa’s finances.

TORONTO’S MOST INFLUENTIAL RESIDENTS - Toronto Life magazine has issued its list of the year’s “Influentials” accessible here. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland - she represents a Toronto riding - ranks Number Two “For her grace under pressure—and ability to master just about any portfolio” ahead of Ontario Premier Doug Ford at Number Three “Because he finally listened to the scientists.” Other politicians in the Top Five are Defence Minister Anita Anand at four “Because she secured the vaccines,” Toronto Mayor John Tory at Number Five “Because he made life a little more livable for stressed out Torontonians.” Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole ranks at Number 19 “Because he won the popular vote and is holding Trudeau to account.”

ANAND ATTENDS SECURITY FORUM - Defence Minister Anita Anand is in Halifax through Sunday, attending the 13th annual Halifax International Security Forum where she will deliver opening remarks, participate in a fireside chat and engage in bilateral meetings. She is accompanied by Deputy Defence Minister Jody Thomas and General Wayne Eyre, the acting chief of defence staff, and the forum she is co hosting.

NOVA SCOTIA PREMIER MEETS WITH TRUDEAU - Tim Houston is making his first trip, as Nova Scotia premier, to Ottawa on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The visit will come as the House of Commons resumes sitting for the first time since June 23, 2021. According to a statement from the premier’s office topics for discussion include climate change, increasing immigration and working with Ottawa to increase Nova Scotia’s population, now about923,000 people, to two million people by 2060.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

The Prime Minister departs Washington and returns to Ottawa after Three Amigos summit.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh joins community leaders in Peel Region, in Ontario, to celebrate Gurpurab, one of the most important celebrations in Sikh spirituality.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on a not-Trump North America summit where Trudeau has to settle for maybe later: “And for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it was at best a not-Trump summit. He didn’t get the big thing he wanted on trade: a commitment from the U.S. to curb a “Buy American” proposal for electric vehicles that is now moving through Congress, and that has Canada’s auto sector worried. He had to settle for the hope that maybe, now that Joe Biden is in the White House, the new, friendlier President might somehow fix it, some day. Will he? Will the U.S. President find some common ground that will ease Canadians’ fears? “The answer is I don’t know,” Mr. Biden said as he welcomed Mr. Trudeau to the Oval Office. “And I don’t know what we’re going to be dealing with, quite frankly, when it comes out of legislation, so we’ll talk about it then.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how there is a word for a system that demands unanimous support for the leader and it isn’t democracy:A strong leader, or at least a realistic one, does not insist on unanimous shows of support. Unanimity is not found in democracies (although it is found in the Liberal caucus, which last week voted unanimously not to arm itself with any of the Reform Act’s four powers), and in any case support is usually best offered rather than demanded. If Mr. O’Toole feels he has the support of the party, he has no need to hide from its judgment. He should welcome a review of his leadership, and the sooner the better. Or if he does not have the support of the party, why is he still leader?”

Arno Kopecky (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why B.C. flooding isn’t just a regional catastrophe, but also a warning that climate change is coming for everyone:So while B.C. rebuilds, while the Glasgow Climate Pact gets debated in a hundred parliaments and congresses, while 1.1 degrees ticks up to 1.2 then 1.3 – what should we be doing? One painful truth that feels essential to acknowledge: Canada’s contribution to global emissions is so tiny, less than 2 per cent of the world’s total, that anything we do will be largely symbolic. There are very good arguments for investing in public transit or eliminating free parking (two measures Vancouver recently rejected), but reducing global emissions sadly isn’t one of them. Canada could cease all production of oil and gas today, and the atmosphere’s concentration of carbon dioxide would hardly flutter. You know what would flutter, though? The world’s imagination. At this point, climate change is a crisis of imagination above all – a failure to imagine both the consequences of runaway global warming, but also the possibility of a different future. We’ve finally reached a point where we don’t have to imagine the former – nature is spelling it out for us, now. But what about the positive flip side? Imagine if Canada were to seize this moment and turn it into something truly radical – maybe, say, mandate a cap on fossil fuel production?”

Murray Mandryk (Regina Leader-Post) on why MLAs in Saskatchewan need to tell people being unvaccinated is wrong: Has anyone in this Saskatchewan Party government ever told anyone: “You’re wrong to choose not to be vaccinated”? We’re talking about MLAs doing something more than posting shots of their “Stick it to COVID-19″ stickers on their Twitter accounts or politely suggesting we all should get vaccinated. We are talking about showing true leadership and publicly — or perhaps even more crucially, privately — taking on the vaccine-hesitant by telling them that, except for a few rare medical situations, people are wrong not to get a COVID-19 shot. We’re talking about MLAs (and this also applies to New Democrat MLAs who could better take a strong message to First Nations and other communities) delivering this unequivocal message. We need to hear politicians bluntly saying that going around unvaccinated is a poor choice that (at best) is based on misinformation or (at worst) is a decision that’s selfish, self-centred, lazy or uneducated.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how Canadians should avoid extreme measures to coerce the unvaccinated:The frustration with those who continue to refuse vaccination and extend the duration of this pandemic is real. But the answer is not to resort to such coercive, anti-democratic measures that we lose sight of – and compromise on – our most basic fundamental principles. Canada has used both carrots and sticks to get people to follow public-health instructions. While other countries might use tasers, it’s not something we should hope to emulate.”

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