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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre defended his practice of largely avoiding reporter questions on Parliament Hill Wednesday, as he took part in Vancouver in a rare news conference with journalists.

Mr. Poilievre, who won the party leadership on Sept. 10, has not answered questions from reporters on Parliament Hill in nearly two months.

Speaking at a Vancouver grocery store, he said it is important for politicians to get out of Ottawa and pledged to resist what he described as efforts by the Parliamentary Press Gallery to control the agenda of political discourse.

While Mr. Poilievre regularly answered questions from reporters in Ottawa in his previous position as finance critic, he has largely avoided the news conference room on Parliament Hill since becoming party leader.

Unlike other party leaders, Mr. Poilievre does not routinely take questions from journalists, who are members of the press gallery, on Parliament Hill. The Parliamentary Press Gallery consists of 302 members from 48 agencies and outlets, including national and international organizations, not counting freelance journalists.

Full story here.

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

DETAILS OF INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY – Ottawa’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy will call out China as an increasingly disruptive global power, in a reversal of the government’s previous policy of avoiding confrontation with the world’s second-largest economy. Story here.

NO HELP FOR RCMP ON TOW TRUCKS – The RCMP requested help from more than 100 tow truck companies in Canada and the United States to dismantle the Coutts, Alta., border blockade but they all refused, says an RCMP report tabled with the inquiry examining the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. Story here.

PROVINCES REJECT FEDERAL HEALTH PROPOSAL – Canada’s provinces and territories have rejected a proposed increase in federal health care funding, in part because Ottawa tied the offer to the creation of national human resources and data collection programs. Story here.

QUEBEC TAKES ON FEDERAL POSITION ON HEALTH SPENDING – Quebec’s decision to give most residents a second cash payment to help them deal with inflation isn’t a reason for Ottawa to deny the province additional health care funding, Finance Minister Eric Girard argued Wednesday. Story here.

SMITH WINS BY-ELECTION – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has won a by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat, which will allow her to personally introduce her proposed sovereignty act after the legislature resumes at the end of the month. Story here.

NEW DETAILS ON CANADIAN KILLED IN UKRAINE – A Saskatchewan man has been killed fighting in eastern Ukraine, the second Canadian known to have died defending the country against a Russian invasion. Story here.

N.B. GOVERNMENT DRAWS PM REBUKE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rebuked New Brunswick’s premier for naming a minister known for his past criticism of bilingualism to a committee that will review the province’s Official Languages Act. Story here.

PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES ENDORSE PLAN TO END GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE – Canada’s provinces and territories have endorsed the national action plan to end gender-based violence at a federal-provincial meeting in New Glasgow, N.S. Story here.

SUZUKI Q&A – David Suzuki has such boundless energy, and his place in the Canadian firmament is so fixed, that audiences were surprised in October to hear he was retiring from his CBC series The Nature of Things. There’s a Q&A here on his past, present and future.

THIS AND THAT

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IS NOT SITTING AGAIN UNTIL NOV. 14.

DAYS SINCE CONSERVATIVE LEADER PIERRE POILIEVRE TOOK MEDIA QUESTIONS IN OTTAWA: 57

FREELAND IN CALGARY – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, in Calgary, held private meetings, participated in a round table discussion with union workers and leaders, toured a union training centre and held a media availability. Ms. Freeland, also the Finance Minister, also participated in an armchair discussion at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

MINISTERS ON THE ROAD – With the House of Commons on a break, ministers are travelling across Canada. They include Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, in Hamilton, to make a funding announcement related to the city’s port; Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, in Saskatchewan, to talk about the production of low-carbon concrete, and highlight the fall economic statement during an event at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies; Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, to highlight the fall economic statement; Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in Boston, delivering remarks to the 30th Annual U.S.-Canada Executive Energy Conference organized by the New England-Canada Business Council.

Elsewhere, Women’s Minister Marci Ien, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, was highlighting the fall economic statement during an event at Acadia University and also visiting New Glasgow for an announcement on gender-based violence following the 40th annual meeting of the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Forum of Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women. In Iqualit, Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal was announcing new renewable energy initiative to adopt an Inuit-led approach to natural resource development.

GUILBEAULT IN EGYPT – Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, with an agenda that includes opening the Canadian pavilions at the conference and a press conference. The conference runs through to Nov. 18.

GREEN PARTY LEADERSHIP DEBATE – The Green Party of Canada was scheduled, Wednesday night, to hold an English-language leadership debate.

PHILPOTT AND WILSON-RAYBOULD – Former federal cabinet ministers Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould, both critical of the operation of the Liberal government, were scheduled Wednesday night to participate in a conversation about advancing true reconciliation held by the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Ms. Philpott was scheduled to host the talk on the issue with Ms. Wilson-Raybould, the author of the new book True Reconciliation: How to be a Force for Change.

THE DECIBEL

On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Jeff Gray – one of the Globe’s correspondents at the Ontario legislature – explains what has factored into the swift change of events that saw Ontario Premier Doug Ford promise to repeal legislation that revoked the right to strike for educational workers in the province. That wrapped up the walkout by CUPE members after two days. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, received his bivalent COVID-19 booster dose and the seasonal flu shot at a pharmacy, and chaired a meeting of the Incident Response Group on the situation in Haiti.

LEADERS

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre held a media availability in Vancouver.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, continuing a trip to Berlin accompanied by NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Heather McPherson, met with German MP Metin Hakverdi, spoke with Germany’s Housing Minister, Klara Geywitz, and was scheduled to discuss the climate emergency with Bengt Bergt, the deputy speaker for climate protection and energy. They were also scheduled to discuss foreign policy with the speaker for the German Parliamentary Group on Foreign Policy, and tour the Reichstag Building that houses the lower house of Germany’s parliament.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how health care needs a bit more money and a lot more reform: “The provinces aren’t exactly making a great case for themselves. Nevertheless, the country’s health care system is in a bad way, marked by such things as a shortages of nurses and decades of deliberate underinvestment in hospital capacity. The big fix is going to require major reform, which nobody wants to talk about, and minor increases in spending – which governments would prefer to focus on. This week, at a federal-provincial health ministers meeting in Vancouver, Ottawa said it is prepared to increase the Canada Health Transfer, but it asked for a modest quid pro quo: a national health data system that all provinces contribute to, and a national human resources action plan. And yet not even something as sensible as that is a given in Canada: The provincial ministers rejected the conditions on Tuesday, and the money that went with it. Canada has a health care crisis whose root cause is a leadership crisis.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how courts make mistakes, but that’s not an argument that governments should override them: The courts started it! That is the most common defence offered for Doug Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause to pass Bill 28, legislation imposing a contract on Ontario’s education workers and forbidding them from striking in response. He had no choice, according to his defenders. Assume that banning strikes was a necessary and proportionate response to the situation. Had he not invoked the clause, the bill might have been found unconstitutional on Charter of Rights grounds.”

Marsha Lederman (The Globe and Mail) on how rich countries aren’t doing enough as climate change demands a united, global response: We are all connected, and arguably never more so than when it comes to the climate emergency. We can feel a (false) sense of safety and security in our North American bubble, but halfway across the world, vulnerable nations are enduring the consequences of our overconsumption, right now. “Africa should not pay for crimes they have not committed,” Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadéra told COP27. “Like other islands, our contribution in the destruction of the planet is minimal,” added Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan, “yet we suffer the most.” Mr. Ramkalawan also called for wealthier countries to help repair “the damage you caused to us.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond owes an explanation about her Indigeneity claims: I think Ms. Turpel-Lafond owes it to UBC and the broader Indigenous community to offer a detailed response to the allegations that have been levelled. UBC, for its part, should launch its own investigation and suspend Ms. Turpel-Lafond until it is completed. This is an extremely serious situation that concerns someone of near-iconic status among certain groups. There is a dark veil of mistrust hanging over her right now – one that will remain until a bright light is shone on the entire affair.”

Stephen Poloz (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the problem of the low-flying loonie and what could revive the Canadian dollar: The U.S. and Canadian economies are in a similar situation and financial markets have given the federal government’s fall economic statement a passing grade. So why is the Canadian dollar trading in the low-70s against the U.S. dollar? This is more than a matter of national pride. While weakness in the dollar may help boost exports, it has also contributed to our inflation problem. When the Canadian dollar slides from around 80 US cents to 73 to 74 cents, that boosts the prices of imports by 8 per cent to 9 per cent for anything from toys made in China, to lettuce grown in California, to Caribbean vacations, even without supply chain issues.”

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