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Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says transgender women should not be allowed in women’s change rooms and public washrooms, but as prime minister he would not have the reach to introduce legislation implementing a ban.

Poilievre also said women’s sports should be off-limits to transgender athletes, when asked about the issue by a Rebel News reporter at a news conference in a Kitchener, Ont., health food store today.

“Female spaces should be exclusively for females, not for biological males,” Poilievre said. “Female sports, female change rooms, female bathrooms should be for females.”

But he noted many of those spaces are provincially and municipally controlled. “So it is unclear what reach federal legislation would have to change them.”

The Conservative Leader’s comments align with a policy endorsed at the party’s convention in Quebec City last fall “protecting female sports, intimate spaces and women’s rights.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced Poilievre’s remarks during a news conference in Edmonton, where he also announced $175-million in funding to fast-track new housing units.

Trudeau said Poilievre and politicians like him are very good at creating division, anger and wedges between people, but terrible at putting forward any concrete solutions to challenges that Canadians are facing.

He said Poilievre would “rather pick a fight with trans kids,” but that he would rather do whatever is possible to protect vulnerable people in Canada.

“That’s what Canadians expect,” he said. “I am not going to get dragged into culture wars about this when the fact is Canadians expect their governments to roll up their sleeves and deliver for them, and that’s what we’re doing.”

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.


Liberals have not agreed to fully fund diabetes medications in pharmacare talks, Jagmeet Singh says: The NDP Leader said at a news conference in Toronto that diabetes medications remain a sticking point in negotiations on pharmacare.

Quebec turns to Supreme Court to stop asylum seekers’ access to subsidized daycare: Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette says the government will seek leave at the Supreme Court to appeal a Feb. 7 decision that found the province’s daycare rules are discriminatory.

Conservative government would require websites to verify age to watch porn, says Pierre Poilievre: When asked at a news conference in Kitchener, Ont., whether his government if elected would require porn websites to verify the age of users, the Conservative Leader gave a one-word answer: “Yes.”

More humanitarian aid needed for Gaza, Ahmed Hussen says: The movement of aid is nowhere near what’s needed, the International Development Minister said he learned during his recent trip to the Rafah border crossing, where he discussed the crisis with humanitarian workers.

Suspended public servants ask court to block internal border agency probe: Cameron MacDonald and Antonio Utano have filed the notice of application for judicial review in Federal Court after the Auditor-General delivered a report on federal outsourcing at the Canada Border Services Agency that decried a deficit in basic management and contracting practices.

Newly appointed human rights commissioner vying for Sask. Party nomination: Mubarik Syed is seeking a nomination for the governing party in a Saskatoon riding and abstaining from work on the commission until the completion of the nomination and resigning if nominated, the Regina Leader-Post reports.

Bank of Canada Governor highlights inflation fighting errors, lessons learned: The surge of inflation over the past three years has been a “stark reminder” that central banks can’t always ignore supply shocks and hope price increases stabilize on their own, Tiff Macklem wrote in an essay.

B.C. government promises financial relief in budget, despite near-stagnant economic growth: With the next provincial election no more than nine months away, the Throne Speech emphasized the need for new measures to help with a rising cost of living.


“That core choice about who we are as Canadians is so fundamentally important that I could not be the person I am and choose to step away from this fight right now when it is so important just because it’s getting a little difficult or people are wondering if they’re not tired of me or whatever.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today in an interview on Ryan Jespersen’s Real Talk show in Edmonton on the question of whether he will quit ahead of the next election.


Online harms legislation bill next week: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today in Edmonton that his government will table a long-awaited online harms bill next week. “I look forward to putting forward that online harms bill, which people will see is very, very specifically focused on protecting kids and not on censoring the internet.”

Commons and Senate on a break: Both the House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks until Feb. 26.

Deputy Prime Minister’s day: Private meetings in Toronto.

Ministers on the road: Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree, in Abbotsford, B.C., appeared with Alice McKay, chief of Matsqui First Nation, to announce a settlement that, according to a department statement, addresses a historic wrong. Later, he held a media availability in Burns Lake with Chief Murphy Abraham, along with other Lake Babine Nation representatives, about a new funding agreement to support the Wit’at and Tachet communities. Public Services Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, in Quebec City, made an announcement regarding the Canadian Coast Guard fleet on behalf of Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier. Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings, in St. John’s, with Tourism Minister Martinez Ferrada, and provincial Tourism Minister Steve Crocker, announced details of a federal-provincial initiative to support the Atlantic Canada tourism industry. Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, in Montreal, announced federal financial support to combat vehicle theft at a news conference with Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme, and Montreal Police Chief Fady Dagher. In Mississauga, Filomena Tassi, minister for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, announced $2.4-million toward the growth of three Southern Ontario food manufacturing companies.

Commons committee highlights: Auditor-General Karen Hogan appeared before the public-accounts committee on the ArriveCan app. Caroline Maynard, the Information Commissioner of Canada, appears before the government-operations committee also on the ArriveCan app.


Justin Trudeau, in Edmonton, visited a housing development with Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, made a housing announcement, and took media questions. Later, Trudeau participated in a roundtable discussion with members of the LGBTQ community.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, concluding a tour of the city of La Malbaie, met with Mayor Michel Couturier, then held a news conference.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre held a news conference in Kitchener, Ont.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, with deputy leader Jonathan Pedneault, was scheduled to hold an evening gathering with supporters in Kitchener, Ont.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Toronto, held a news conference on the NDP pharmacare plan, met with the executive committee on the Ontario Federation of Labour and spoke to the 2024 convention of the Service Employees International Union.


Today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features The Globe’s Kelly Grant and Tu Thanh Ha, who have found that, as health care systems across Canada struggle with staffing shortages, the provincial use of private nursing agencies has recently skyrocketed. The Decibel is here.


A new kind of affordable housing in B.C.

“In mid-2022, when David Eby was cruising toward an easy victory in the NDP leadership race in B.C. – and set to become the province’s next premier – housing was his primary policy focus. His main idea was provincial intervention in housing, to push cities to loosen their overly strict zoning rules to allow for more construction. Mr. Eby, however, also advocated for using government’s heft, from land to financing, to build “housing for the middle class on public land, using public resources.” It was a more expansive view of affordable housing, a political euphemism that generally means homes for lower-income Canadians.” – The Globe and Mail Editorial Board

Must Canada leave a mountain of debt to future generations?

“The 2023 fall economic statement projected large deficits through 2028-29 and a net debt-to-GDP ratio that rises in 2024-25 and then declines only slightly, remaining well above the prepandemic level through 2028-29. Interest payments eat up almost 14 per cent of revenue. The 2024 budget must correct this imprudent treatment of risk. Debt’s risk is lost opportunity. When servicing costs rise, more tax dollars have to go toward financing the debt, leaving less room for more meaningful expenditure. The federal government justified the deficits and debt by showing the net debt-to-GDP ratio declining through 2055-56. This is not credible.” – Don Drummond

Public lands can help unlock the housing crisis – and our governments hold the key

“By any measure, Canada needs to build more housing in the next decade – more than we’ve ever built in the past. Adding more supply will relieve the pressures being felt on all ends of the housing continuum, with middle-class homeowners feeling insecure about the stability of their housing, young people losing sight of a path to home ownership altogether, and newcomers struggling even to pay rent, as homelessness continues to surge. Today, the average price of the average home in Vancouver, for example, is 12 times the average Canadian salary. And yet our housing starts are actually slowing.” Jennifer Keesmaat

To avoid ArriveCan-style fiascos, the Canadian government should create a COO position

“By almost any objective measure, the public service has not adapted to meet the heightened demands of citizens when it comes to service delivery.” This isn’t a quote from last week’s damning report on the ArriveCan app scandal by the Auditor-General, but it could have been. It’s from a December report to the Clerk of the Privy Council – Canada’s top public servant – on values and ethics in the public service. The ArriveCan scandal was a failure of public servants, not politicians. While ministers are still accountable to Parliament for this failing, the public service was responsible for the fiasco.” – David McLaughlin

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