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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says ministers are working to the last minute today on deciding whether his government will appeal a court ruling from last month that upheld two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders on Indigenous children.

Today is the deadline for Ottawa to appeal the Federal Court’s decision. Fulfilling the terms of the CHRT orders could end up costing billions.

During a visit to the Netherlands, Mr. Trudeau said ministers are trying to figure out how to proceed.

In 2019, the tribunal ordered Ottawa to provide up to $40,000 to each First Nations child unnecessarily taken into care on or after Jan. 1, 2006. The order would also require payments to parents or grandparents, and children denied essential services. The following year, the tribunal released findings that broadened the criteria for Jordan’s Principle, which requires that First Nations kids get access to services without delays caused by jurisdictional issues.

“There will be an announcement later, but there isn’t one right now,” Mr. Trudeau told a bilateral news conference he was attending with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

As Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup writes, the Liberal government’s choice is being closely watched as a measure of its commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

And here’s a story on where things stand today.

During today’s news conference, Mr. Trudeau said that Canada remains committed to compensating Indigenous people harmed as children in child and family services, and is committed to systemic change to ensure children at risk stay in their cultures and are cared for by their communities.

Mr. Trudeau is in Europe to attend the G20 summit in Rome, and will, after that, be travelling to Glasgow for the COP26 environmental conference.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands announced its support for a new NATO centre of excellence to study the security threats posed by climate change Friday. There’s a story here.

And in a speech to Dutch parliamentarians, Mr. Trudeau warned that disinformation campaigns and extremism are a serious threat to global economies and democracy.

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.


$9.8B FEDERAL DEFICIT - The federal government ran a $9.8-billion deficit in August, according to the latest monthly federal tracking figures for Ottawa’s bottom line, which show the fiscal shortfall is on pace to come in smaller than it was at last year’s dramatic pandemic peak.

TRIAL DATE SET FOR JONATHAN VANCE - Former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance’s obstruction of justice case will go to trial in May 2023.

MEXICAN OFFICIAL CONCERNED ABOUT U.S. TAX CREDITS ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES - Mexico’s top official for North American affairs says his country shares Canada’s concern over an American proposal to offer tax credits to people who buy electric vehicles that are assembled in the United States.

VACCINATION WILL BE NECESSARY TO ENTER SENATE - The Senate of Canada will require all Senators who attend in-person meetings of the chamber to be fully vaccinated.

HERITAGE DEPARTMENT DETAILS HALF-MAST FLAG POLICY - The Department of Canadian Heritage says the national flag will remain at half-mast until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decides otherwise.

CARR RESPECTS PM CABINET DECISION - Jim Carr says he respects Justin Trudeau’s decision to drop him from cabinet.

NEWEST JUSTICE TOUTS PLURALISM - The newest member of Canada’s highest court says the only unifying principle that seems to stitch his life together is an abiding belief in pluralism.

N.S. POLITICAL STAFFER FIRED OVER RACIST COMMENTS - Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston fired a political staffer after learning they made racist comments about a Liberal MLA, who is Black, in a social-media exchange. From CBC.

ALBERTA CABINET MINISTER COMMENTS ON HARASMENT CASE - Alberta’s jobs minister says he heard rumours about his chief of staff raising a sexual harassment issue, which she alleges led to her being fired by the premier’s office. “A lot of that information was new to me,” Doug Schweitzer said.


Steven Guilbeault, now on his fourth day as Canada’s environment minister and heading into his first international environmental conference in the role, says he’s not expecting there to be winners and losers at next week’s COP26 environmental conference.

“Sometimes we have a tendency to see these conferences as being sort of like hockey or a football game. Will there be winners or not,” Mr. Guilbeault told a news conference in Ottawa today. “In reality, I think the most prudent approach to take when there are negotiations on climate is to see it as a continuum. Sometimes it goes better. Sometimes not so well.”

There’s a Globe and Mail explainer here on the Glasgow climate talks, which will run over the next two weeks as leaders talk about the state of climate change and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Today’s edition of The Decibel podcast features The Globe and Mail’s Asia Correspondent, James Griffiths, talking about China and COP26.

Mr. Guilbeault, who was a high-profile environmentalist before he became a politician, said it is challenging to prepare for his ministerial responsibilities at the conference, even though he has been to many such gatherings before. “There is that part of the job that I have to learn very quickly in the coming days,” he said.

The minister said Canada will be presenting its national targets and international contributions to climate finance, as well as commitments announced by the Liberals during the recent election campaign, but that the government will not be announcing any new measures at the conference. “We’re not presenting a new target at this COP,” he said.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has announced the responsibilities that his caucus members will take on in the upcoming Parliamentary session. There’s a list here.


The Prime Minister, in the Netherlands, held private meetings, delivered an address to parliamentarians, and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. In Rotterdam, Mr. Trudeau participated in a roundtable discussion on climate leadership. In the Hague, he met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and then held a joint press conference with him. Afterwards, he participated in a question-and-answer session with students at Leiden University. He attended a dinner given by Mr. Rutte. The Prime Minister was scheduled to depart for Rome in the evening and arrive there at 10:50 p.m. local time.


No schedules released by party leaders’ offices.


Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on whether Canada’s Green Party has become irrelevant, because climate policy is mainstream now: “Yes, Ms. Paul’s leadership likely had something to do with the party’s showing in the recent election, but it may also be that the party doesn’t have ownership over the environment the way it once did. The Greens were a place for Canadians angry at mainstream political parties for their lack of action on climate change to park their vote. There’s less incentive to do that now. Unsurprisingly, [Elizabeth May] does not agree. She doesn’t think the Greens are facing an existential crisis. ‘There isn’t a political party in this country advocating for the level of change that is required to keep the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degree Celsius,’ she said. ‘We have to be prepared to go off fossil fuels, we need to ban fracking. This is why the Green party is necessary.’”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how Jason Kenney is meeting Alberta’s real grievances with theatre: “Back in 2019, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney promised that an inquiry would reveal – and somehow apprehend – a nefarious network of global actors including environmental interest groups, foreign governments and Hollywood celebrities who have been actively conspiring to landlock the province’s oil. ‘Alberta will no longer allow hostile interest groups to dictate our economic destiny,’ he said at the time. The promise became a long-heralded, serially extended, scandal-plagued $3.5-million inquiry into the alleged foreign efforts. But when the 657-page report was finally released publicly, Mr. Kenney was not available to speak to its findings. Maybe he was doing his hair, or washing his car. Or maybe the fable that this inquiry would reveal information upon which the province could meaningfully act to resuscitate global interest in Alberta oil was too ridiculous for even Mr. Kenney to stand behind.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on whether Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault will be able to handle the heat of the gig he wanted: “In August, while campaigning for re-election, Mr. Guilbeault told Le Devoir that a Liberal government could cap oil and gas sector emissions at the 2021 or 2022 level and reduce the cap annually going forward in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. ‘If [new oil and gas] projects are unable to respect these caps, they will not be approved,’ he insisted. Now, as Environment Minister, Mr. Guilbeault will face huge pressure from his former comrades in the environmental movement to simply turn off the oil taps. Many of them voted Liberal last month for that reason alone. One of them was Équiterre co-founder Laure Waridel. ‘Steven, I have confidence in you,’ she wrote last month in the Journal de Montréal. ‘Please, don’t disappoint me.’ But there is no way for Mr. Guilbeault to avoid letting her down without reviving bitter memories of the National Energy Program in Alberta. It’s all about to get very hot for Mr. Guilbeault. Can he stand the heat?”

Ken Boessenkool and Mike Moffatt (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why carbon taxes are here to stay: “After more than a decade of hard, public democratic debate between the ‘no carbon tax’ crowd and those advocating for a ‘carbon tax now,’ the latter has won. Today, in Canada, there is no credible winning political coalition for any party that can be constructed without some form of carbon tax. And that, we think, is worth a bit of a victory lap.”

Jean Charest, Sharleen Gale, Don Lindsay, Bill Yardley and Jeff Zweig (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can lead at COP26 on the unfinished business of the Paris Agreement: “As leaders, we look forward to supporting government in building policy bridges between our domestic net-zero undertakings and a rational system of international rules. These matters cannot be the only part of Paris left behind. As Glasgow beckons, it’s time to assume the international leadership role for which Canada is rightly famous.”

Vaughn Palmer (The Vancouver Sun) on how Premier John Horgan’s news about surgery today explains his unusually low profile in the fall legislative session: “Thursday’s news from Horgan – biopsy surgery followed by a pathology report and possible followup treatment – invited obvious questions about his future. ‘It is certainly treatable, I’ve been told,’ he advised reporters. ‘I am confident I will make a full recovery.’ He’s been on this path before. Thirteen years ago this week, the premier, then a rookie NDP MLA, had surgery for bladder cancer.”

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