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Canada is stepping up its efforts to evacuate Canadians from embattled Sudan, cabinet ministers said on Wednesday.

Two C-130 Hercules aircraft in the region are prepared to conduct evacuation flights of Canadian eligible persons and other personnel, Defence Minister Anita Anand told journalists on Parliament Hill.

And Ms. Anand said about 200 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed to the region to help out with the effort.

At this point 150 Canadians have been able to leave Sudan with the help of allies to Canada, the minister said.

“The Canadian Armed Forces are ready to begin conducting evacuation flights and will do so once conditions on the ground permit,” said Ms. Anand.

Countries around the world have been scrambling to airlift their citizens out of Sudan, which has spiralled into chaos amid fierce fighting between two rival generals.

Without being specific, Ms. Anand said conditions on the ground have to be right for Canadians to be evacuated via Canadian aircraft.

“As we ascertain those conditions and make sure they’re right, we are also working with our allies to get Canadians on those planes.”

She said Global Affairs Canada is in contact with those registered online and Canadian Forces will evacuate those ready to depart.

Earlier Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said that, as of Wednesday morning, 1,800 Canadians have registered on the department website.

She thanked Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom for their help.

She said Canada is including dual nationals, namely permanent residents, and families such as spouses, dependent children and the children of their dependent children.

Senior parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase reports here on how the conflict in Sudan has left Canadians stranded not only inside the East African country but thousands of kilometres from the hostilities.

Federal government officials are scheduled to provide a technical briefing at 4 p.m. ET on the situation in Sudan. Please watch The Globe and Mail for updates.

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.


BANK OF CANADA CONSIDERED APRIL INTEREST-RATE INCREASE: MINUTES - Bank of Canada officials considered whether to raise interest rates again on April 12, according to a summary of the deliberations ahead of the latest monetary policy decision – a sign that the central bank is leaning more toward rate hikes than cuts as it waits for inflation to fall. Story here.

FORTIER FRUSTRATED WITH PSAC DEMANDS - Talks to resolve the cross-country strike by federal government employees appear to have taken a turn for the worse Wednesday as Treasury Board President Mona Fortier expressed frustration with what she described as unreasonable and unaffordable union demands. Story here.

GOVERNMENT DROPS PIECE OF ASSAULT-WEAPON BAN - The federal government will permanently drop one part of its controversial plan to legislate a ban on assault-style weapons, but will propose a new amendment to its gun-control bill that will define what types of firearms are to be covered by the ban. Story here.

LIBERAL PARTY DROPS SOFTWARE USE - The Liberal Party of Canada has ceased using a controversial form of software it had been using to double-check the images of party members attending online nomination meetings against their own photo-identification documents, according to B.C.’s Privacy Commissioner. Story here.

BROADCASTING REGULATOR LACKS EXPERTISE ON ONLINE NEWS BILL: FORMER CHAIR - Canada’s broadcasting regulator lacks the expertise to oversee the federal government’s online news bill, says its former chair, warning C-18 could take years to implement. Story here.

PARTIES NEED DETAILED INFO TO DROP CANDIDATES ON SECURITY GROUNDS, MPS TOLD - Directors from past Liberal and Conservative campaigns told a House of Commons committee concerns raised by national security officials would not necessarily be reason enough for them to drop a candidate from their rosters. Story here.

20 PER CENT OF SPENDING FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL LANGUAGES PLAN TO SUPPORT ENGLISH IN QUEBEC - About 20 per cent of the $1.4-billion over five years that Ottawa is adding to its action plan on official languages will support English in Quebec, the federal government said on the same day that third reading debate begins on Bill C-13 to modernize the Official Languages Act. Story here from CTV.

SENATE STUDY LOOMS ON ANTI-BLACK RACISM AT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - The Senate will launch a study next week probing complaints of racism at the Canadian Human Rights Commission Story here from CBC.

BAINS APPOINTMENT TO ROGERS PROMPTS QUESTION TO LOBBYING COMMISSIONER - The lobbying commissioner is being asked to appear at a House of Commons committee to explain why the appointment of a former industry minister to an executive role at Rogers doesn’t break the lobbying code. Story here.

LEGAULT DEFENDS STAND ON THIRD LINK - Faced with frustration from members of his caucus and voters, Quebec Premier François Legault is defending his government’s decision to scrap plans to build a third link for automobiles between Quebec City and Lévis on the south shore. Story here from CBC.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, April 26, accessible here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY - “Singing is not allowed. Whether it is good or bad, it’s not allowed” - Commons Speaker Anthony Rota to Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre after Mr. Poilievre, in Question Period, begins singing the 1944 song “New York, New York” in a query to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

COMMITTEES - International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan is set to appear before a meeting of the standing committee on citizenship and immigration on the government’s response to a final report of a special committee on Afghanistan. Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne is at an industry and technology standing committee meeting on Bill C-34 to amend the Investment Canada Act.

BOOKS - Huda Mukbil says her decision wear a hijab was the beginning of the end for her career as a Canadian intelligence agent.

To be more specific, she writes in her new book that she was an “unprepared fool” for the consequences of her decision, a reasonable action for a Black Arab-Canadian Muslim woman – the first to join the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

As Ms. Mukbil writes in Agent of Change: My Life Fighting Terrorists, Spies, And Institutional Racism (McGill-Queens University Press), her choice led to on-the-job harassment that would eventually lead her to depart under duress following 15-years service.

Ms. Hukbil, who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Ottawa, joined CSIS in 2002 as an intelligence officer. She came to the job able to speak English, Egyptian and Yemeni-dialect Arabic, French, and Ethiopian-dialect Harari. She had a remarkable run that included a secondment to MI5, the British Security Service, following the July, 2005, co-ordinated suicide-bombing attacks in London that left 52 people dead.

However, she left the organization in 2017 after participating in the launch of a civil lawsuit with other CSIS agents against the organization over discrimination claims. The matter was settled, but Ms. Mukbil is legally forbidden from discussing the terms of the settlement. She now works as an author, security consultant, and instructor at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute’s National Security and Intelligence certificate program.

Why do you write that you were “an unprepared fool” for wearing a hijab?

When I started at CSIS, I had only a superficial understanding of the workplace culture and norms. The sharp suits, spotless floors, shiny elevators, and collegially social atmosphere initially led me to think that CSIS was an ideal, progressive workplace. However, many of its senior managers came up through the ranks of the RCMP; I soon learned that the organizational culture is conservative and hierarchical and that the old-boys network is fiercely resistant to assertive expressions of diversity.

When I began wearing the hijab, I was surprised at how efficiently my managers were able to mobilize the system, the leadership, human resources, and internal security to cast me out through a persistent campaign of harassment. I was made to feel that I could not be both Muslim and an officer; that tension and isolation saddened me and gnawed at me. I stood to serve my country and to save lives and yet was being met with persistent push-back.

What would you say to a diverse person who told you, today, that they were looking to join CSIS and asked your advice on whether to do so?

My advice to racialized Canadians is to join CSIS cautiously, aware that there will be speed bumps ahead but that with patience, change will come, however slow. With Agent of Change, I will continue calling for greater equity, diversion and inclusion as I have for many years.

Why was it important for you to tell your story in a book?

Agent of Change offers proof, through lived experience, of how essential substantive diversity is for the trustedness and quality of national security work. As a Black/Arab Muslim woman and a senior intelligence officer at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, I faced systemic racism – despite making remarkable contributions, both in Canada and the United Kingdom, where I received recognition from the deputy prime minister John Prescott.

What can you say about the process of writing the book?

I started this journey by reading the biographies of former CIA officers, then took a creative writing course and committed to the craft daily. Mindful of my ethical and legal obligations to protect former colleagues’ identities, CSIS sources, and investigative methods, I used open-source information like court documents and oversight committee reports to provide readers with “behind-the-curtain” insights. I profiled information that I knew would be intriguing: my experiences with the recruitment process, what it felt like to work and live in the shadows, and the way in which CSIS works within the Five Eyes intelligence community. I am also frank about the racism I experienced and the intensity of my struggle as a racialized woman in a white male-dominated environment and as a Muslim in the aftermath of 9/11. While it was difficult to re-live these moments and describe them in vivid detail, I felt it was necessary as readers expect that level of honesty.

What does your experience and the experience of similarly affected colleagues say about CSIS’s ability to fulfill their duties to Canada?

The security and intelligence world relies on information gathered by persons and signals intelligence. Only Canadians with diverse linguistic, technical, and cross-cultural communication skills can do both. Our society is multicultural and has individuals that can operate in Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, or Farsi. And yet, if we do not urgently prioritize inclusive and diverse work environments in the security and intelligence community, we will not be able to attract and leverage the country’s brightest minds.

You had varied assignments at CSIS, but how would you describe the day-to-day of the work you did for the service? What was it like to be an agent?

For four years, I worked at the Ottawa headquarters in the counter-terrorism program. My daily tasks included analyzing reports from regional offices nationwide and receiving and inputting domestic and foreign partner intelligence reports. It also involved liaising with domestic partners like the RCMP and Global Affairs and international partners like the CIA, FBI, MI5 and MI6. Additionally, I routinely drafted briefing notes for executive management and wrote and reviewed warrant requests to the federal court on operational matters.

An intelligence officer is also expected to work as an investigator in a regional office. I worked in the counterintelligence China program and at the counter-terrorism desk in Toronto, CSIS’s most prominent and well-resourced office. It was fun to drive a different car daily and to interact with members of the security and law enforcement community and the public.

As I progressed as a senior intelligence officer, I enjoyed drafting directional assessments, training security partners, and conducting interviews overseas. My work was rewarding, which is why I stayed for all those years.

You write that being an intelligence officer was in your blood. How has the work affected you now as you go about your life?

My training included interviewing techniques, how to detect deceit, trust my instinct, and to create, leverage, and exploit opportunities. Having technical intercepts on bad actors through warrants provided an open window into people’s lives. These skills are unique to the security and intelligence community, and they are useful in other life circumstances. In my private life, let’s just say that my kids find it difficult to fib to me.

The Globe and Mail reached out to CSIS to provide an opportunity to respond to Ms. Mukbil’s criticisms of the Service. CSIS spokesperson Eric Balsam responded with a statement that, in part, said: “Director [David] Vigneault has been very clear in stating to both employees and Canadians that, unfortunately systemic racism exists everywhere across Canada, including at CSIS. In remarks to the National Security Transparency Advisory Group, the Director reiterated this fact and spoke about how CSIS is working to address these issues. … While the work of making CSIS more diverse and inclusive is ongoing, we are proud of the significant strides that have been made in recent years and credit employees in helping drive that change. CSIS has a culture of continual learning and improvement and we believe our efforts to develop and implement our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy are making us a better organization.”


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, delivered remarks at a launch of the Official Languages Action Plan. He then attended the national caucus meeting, attended Question Period, and then departed for New York City where he was scheduled to attend the Global Citizen Now conference.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, in Ottawa held a media availability on Parliament Hill regarding election interference by China’s government. Mr. Blanchet also attended Question Period.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, attended the NDP caucus meeting, and took questions from journalists at Parliament Hill before attending Question Period.

No schedule released for other party leaders.


On Wednesday, Globe columnist Doug Saunders talks about climate migration in Vietnam and what really happens when climate change forces someone from their home. This episode is part two of Undercurrents – The Globe’s year-long series devoted to the global migration crisis. You can find part one here. Wednesday’s Declbel is here.


ALBERTA ELECTION - As the start of the Alberta provincial election looms, Abacus Data says the two main parties – the United Conservative Party and the NDP – are deadlocked. Details here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Ottawa needs to fix how it appoints Parliamentary officers: Ottawa needs to create an independent appointments commission for the nine Parliamentary watchdog positions. No politicians or their staff should sit on it. Its role should be to create a small short list of qualified candidates that it presents to an all-party, bicameral committee, the members of which would have the final say through a public vote. The Trudeau government has it all wrong. Canadians deserve to have full confidence that officers of Parliament are watchdogs, not lapdogs.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how it’s still murky just what CSIS told the Liberals about Chinese interference in 2019:There is, as everyone watching probably expected, still a murky thing left unaddressed about what Canada’s spy agency told the Liberals about one of their candidates in the 2019 federal election, even after senior party officials testified at a parliamentary committee. When Jeremy Broadhurst was asked Tuesday about what the Canadian Security Intelligence Service told the Liberals, the party’s 2019 campaign manager wouldn’t say what was said because he couldn’t reveal the contents of intelligence briefings. But he did say that he decided to inform Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about it the next day. The Liberal Leader was in the midst of an election campaign, and had to be briefed in a secure fashion. But as it happened, Mr. Trudeau was in Ottawa the next day. (It was a Sunday.)”

Alexander Dalziel and Henri Vanhanen (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on what Canada can learn from its new NATO ally Finland: For years, opinion polls showed Finns were cautious about NATO membership, but also showed that if their leaders felt NATO was the best way to protect their country, they would follow. And ultimately, it was centrist conservative President Sauli Niinistö and a progressive social democrat, Sanna Marin (who resigned as prime minister earlier this month) who came together to bring accession to the finish line, demonstrating a master-class in leadership and coalition-building for guiding a citizenry through change. That elected office is a matter of leading public opinion, and not just conforming to it, is a lesson Canada’s politicians might ponder at length.”

William O’Connell (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why we need to pay civil servants more:A 13.5-per-cent raise over three years, as requested by civil service unions in current negotiations, might seem outrageous to most Canadians, who think these workers are already are overpaid and underworked – and doing a subpar job. This is misguided. Civil servants have, in fact, long been underpaid. If you have complaints about the quality of federal services, it might be because the government can’t retain its top talent. If we want a better public service, it is in all of our interests that civil servants be paid more.”

Naheed Nenshi (CTV) on how Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has surpassed all expectations, but not in a good way: A few weeks from an election in Alberta, and Danielle Smith has surpassed all expectations – not in a good way. Nonetheless, she remains the favourite to win, albeit with a very narrow victory. While there has been much news lately on recent items such as her botched affordability payments plan, or wasting $80 million and counting on off-brand children’s medication from Turkiye that no one is buying, it’s worth taking a look back at her record since coming to power just six months ago. Her time in office has been so delightfully wacky there’s just too much to cover.”

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