As hundreds of federal Conservatives gathered in the Quebec capital for a policy convention, Pierre Poilievre made an appeal for support from Quebeckers, urging them to rally around his party which has been surging in the polls.
Speaking to the party’s national caucus on Thursday morning, the Conservative Leader – in remarks open to the media – ridiculed Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, for attending a conference in Barcelona this week on political self-determination.
In particular, he said Mr. Blanchet had flown to Spain while asking Quebecers to support a federal carbon tax, which has been a key target for the Conservatives.
Mr. Poilievre, in French, said only the Conservative Party works in the interests of Quebecers, especially in the regions, and will eliminate the carbon tax, and deficits that the Tories link to inflation. He also criticized the Bloc for supporting the Liberals on justice policies.
There are 78 federal seats in Quebec. The Liberals have 35, and the Bloc has 32. The Conservatives have nine, down from the 10 they won in the 2021 election. There is one Independent – former Conservative Alain Rayes – and one New Democrat.
In Ottawa, Bloc Québécois House Leader Alain Therrien shrugged off the Conservative criticism.
“I think we’re trying to always be above the fray when we’re talking about, or speaking for Quebecers,” Mr. Therrien told journalists on Thursday, adding he expects Quebecers expect that of the sovereigntist party.
“There are negative comments made about us, but we don’t really want to respond. The fact that right now, in polls, they are in a favourable position means that they are possibly trying to attack us for all kinds of things that don’t really reflect what we do in the House.”
The full story is here.
Also Thursday, the federal Conservatives unveiled a new logo for their party.
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.
Quebec appeal court judge to lead foreign-interference inquiry - Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Marie-Josée Hogue has agreed to head a public inquiry into foreign interference by China and other hostile states after months of negotiations with the opposition parties, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced Thursday. Story here.
Bank of Canada’s Tiff Macklem says inflation target ‘now in sight,’ but doesn’t rule out more rate hikes - Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said Thursday that the central bank’s 2-per-cent inflation target “is now in sight” and that interest rates “may be sufficiently restrictive,” but warned that his team could raise rates again if consumer price growth remains stubborn. Story here.
Long-term care inspections in Ontario stopped for at least seven weeks at start of COVID-19 pandemic: report - Ontario’s long-term care inspection system “collapsed” during the first wave of the COVID pandemic, putting the safety of residents at serious risk, a new report from the province’s Ombudsman says. Story here.
Trudeau eyes Indo-Pacific trade deals to avoid China’s aim to ‘play us off each other’ - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that Canada’s rocky relations with China have stabilized, while telling business leaders in Singapore that Ottawa has committed to a timeline for trade deals with the region. Story here.
Prosecution in trial of Lich, Barber plays video from social media in court - Crown prosecutors played video in court on Thursday from the TikTok account of truck convoy organizer Chris Barber, including one that called for supporters to “get to Ottawa,” as part of the third day of his joint criminal trial with fellow organizer Tamara Lich. Story here.
Carbon-capture projects are too costly, have ‘questionable’ benefits, report finds - Technology the oil industry is counting on to reduce emissions – carbon capture and storage – is too expensive and difficult to deploy quickly enough to help Canada meet its climate commitments, a global environmental think tank says. Story here.
Ottawa urged to beef up national-security measures to protect Canadian business - A group representing many of the country’s largest employers is asking Ottawa to beef up its national-security powers to protect against “unprecedented dangers” facing Canadian business from foreign states including China, Russia and Iran. Story here.
Hockey Canada summit to tackle toxic masculinity as a root problem in sport’s culture - Sheldon Kennedy feels the weight of what will be discussed at Hockey Canada’s summit in Calgary. The two-day “Beyond The Boards Summit” on Friday and Saturday is designed to tackle one root cause identified at the heart of racism, sexism, homophobia, discrimination and exclusion in hockey. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
Summer break – Both the House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks. The House sits again on Sept. 18. The Senate sits again on Sept. 19.
Deputy Prime Minister’s Day - Chrystia Freeland, in, Montreal, held private meetings and participated in a fireside conversation, closed to the media, hosted by Rio Tinto to discuss the government’s plan to invest in the clean economy.
Ministers on the Road -Defence Minister Bill Blair, in Halifax, officially opened the inaugural Halifax International Fleet Week and visited Canadian Forces Base Halifax. Health Minister Mark Holland, in Edmonton, announced funding on sexual and reproductive health services. Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, made a clean-energy announcement in Owen Sound. Later, in Orillia, Ms. Tassi announced support for a sustainable manufacturing company.
Governor-General out and about in Ottawa - Governor-General Mary Simon had several events in Ottawa on Thursday, meeting with Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, visiting the Carty House safe space for refugee women, and then the Ottawa Food Bank’s Community Harvest Farm, which grows and collects local produce for clients.
Duncan provides health update - Former federal cabinet minister Kirsty Duncan provided an update here on her treatment for cancer. The Etobicoke North MP announced in January that she was taking medical leave because of a “physical health challenge.”
On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Dr. Werner Kurz, a senior research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, explains how wildfires are changing Canada’s forests, what it means for Canada’s emissions and how to lessen the damage from wildfire seasons in the future. This year’s season has broken all kinds of records – including on emissions. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed Jakarta, where he has been attending this week’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to visit the Republic of Singapore. He met with four business leaders. They were: Pillay Sandrasegara, the executive director and chief executive officer of Temasek, a government-owned global investment company; Lim Chow Kiat, the chief executive officer of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, named GIC; Vijay Iyengar, the chairman and managing director of Agrocorp International, a global agri-commodity firm, and Tan Chong Meng, chief executive officer of PSA International, one of the largest port operators in the world. Mr. Trudeau’s last official commitment was to deliver remarks and participate in a conversation with the editorial director from Bloomberg New Economy, Erik Schatzker.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is on a trip to Barcelona for a conference on political self-determination that includes Catalan independence politicians. The trip runs through Sept. 11.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, attending the Conservative Party policy convention in Quebec City, addressed the national Conservative caucus with remarks open to the media.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, in Vancouver, joined BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau and deputy BC Green Leader Sanjiv Gandhi as Dr. Gandhi announced he will run in the next provincial election in the new riding of Vancouver Renfrew where the incumbent is Health Minister Adrian Dix.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, attended the second day of the NDP caucus meeting, and took media questions,
Peter C. Newman - The noted journalist who went from a Czech refugee to a chronicler of Canadian rogues and adventurers in big business and politics, has died, aged 94 of complications of Parkinson’s disease. There’s an obituary here.
OPINION - BANK OF CANADA INTEREST-RATE ANNOUNCEMENT
David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on the Bank of Canada looking determined to undersell its shift in policy direction: “If the Bank of Canada just made a major policy pivot, it sure didn’t do much of a job of selling it. Maybe that’s because the central bank isn’t sold on it itself. In the bank’s interest-rate decision Wednesday, it announced that it held its policy rate steady at 5 per cent – halting the hikes that it had resumed in June. It then laid out one of the weakest cases you will ever see in support of its decision.”
Steve Ambler and Jeremy Kronick (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the Bank of Canada was right to hit pause on interest rates: “The Bank of Canada held its policy rate at 5 per cent Wednesday – a smart move. Although the central bank’s governing council may have made its decision ahead of the weak GDP numbers released last week, those numbers underlined the reasons to hold. Real GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 0.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2023 and fell 0.2 per cent month-over-month in June (annualized as well).”
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on a bank merger that makes the case for competition law reform: “Few people have ever looked at banking in Canada, dominated by five large lenders, and thought: Wow, there’s a vibrant market brimming with competition. Yet last Friday, after the Competition Bureau reviewed Royal Bank of Canada’s proposed takeover of HSBC Bank Canada – the industry’s largest company scooping up the seventh-largest name – the conclusion was predictable and disheartening. The deal, the bureau said, would eliminate one of Royal Bank’s few rivals but it wouldn’t make the lack of competition in banking substantially worse.”
Sheila Copps and. Ken Grafton (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the future of 24 Sussex Drive should be based on facts, not fiction: “The idea of a new building also runs roughshod over the fact that the prime minister’s residence is designated by an act of Parliament and enjoys the highest level of heritage building classification. Multiple levels of government review would be required to build a new one – meanwhile, 24 Sussex would continue to degrade. Not to mention, any demolition or tree removal involved at a new-build site would have a far higher carbon footprint than the known environmental benefits of restoration. It would be difficult to make the argument that this project is fostering sustainability during a climate crisis.”
Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) on how Justin Trudeau’s only real strategy is to wait for something to happen: “It’s not that Trudeau hasn’t been throwing huge volumes of stuff at walls to see if anything sticks. But the massive summer cabinet shuffle hasn’t changed the narrative. The Liberal caucus meeting in Prince Edward Island closed without any action on housing, the political issue of the moment. Nor is this week’s foreign jaunt, long the refuge for any leader struggling at home, likely to produce any major uplift. And so, Trudeau must wait and hope that something turns up. To be fair, sometimes things do turn up.”