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A group of senior bureaucrats responsible for overseeing the 2021 federal election never shared critical information about Chinese state interference aimed at electing sympathetic MPs and targeting Conservative candidates, the public inquiry into foreign interference heard today.

Documents tabled at the commission of inquiry show that the Security and Intelligent Threat to Elections Task Force, known as SITE and comprised of senior civil servants, had classified intelligence that outlined sophisticated China influence operations in Canadian democracy.

A July, 2021 document, written before the election was called on Aug. 15, said the People’s Republic of China “is highly capable, motivated, and acts in a sophisticated, pervasive manner in carrying out foreign interference operations … to further party state interests.” Political parties didn’t receive the intelligence.

Full story by Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife and senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase.

Open letter to Canada’s political leaders calls for greater civility in public discourse

Dozens of former politicians, academics, artists, religious leaders and human-rights advocates argue in an open letter that many Canadians are afraid because of their identities or beliefs, as public aggression and overt hatred have increased alongside geopolitical event. Alanna Smith reports on the letter.

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.


Trudeau announces $6-billion housing program ahead of federal budget: Part of the announcement specifies signing infrastructure deals with provinces that require them to allow fourplexes broadly, putting the federal government on a collision course with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who spoke recently against allowing more density in neighbourhoods.

New law on reporting forced-labour sows confusion over who the legislation covers: With the filing deadline just two months away, some companies are still struggling to understand their reporting obligations under Canada’s new modern slavery in supply chains legislation.

Ontario Attorney-General declines meeting over naming ‘like-minded’ judges: The request for a round table meeting with both Doug Downey and Ontario Premier Doug Ford came from the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, and was sent last month on behalf of a list of 14 other groups.

Trans Mountain to finish final segment of oil pipeline expansion in April: The corporation filed a construction schedule with a regulator this week detailing the milestone for the Canadian government-owned $34-billion pipeline expansion.

Ottawa mayor headed for London: Mark Sutcliffe will be joining officials with Ottawa Tourism and Invest Ottawa for a trip to London this month, promoting Ottawa as a tourism destination and running in the London Marathon. CTV reports.


“This carbon tax has to go or in a year and a half, the Prime Minister is going. It’s simple as that. He will be going. I’ll guarantee you. He will not be there.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford at a news conference today in the town of East Gwillimbury, on cnncerns about federal carbon pricing.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that humanitarian workers were killed by Israeli forces.” – Justin Trudeau, at a news conference today, in Halifax on an Israeli strike on aid workers in Gaza.


Commons, Senate: The House of Commons is on a break until April 8. The Senate sits again April 9.

Deputy Prime Minister’s day: Chrystia Freeland, in Kitchener, Ont., was scheduled to tour a rental housing development and make a housing announcement in advance of the 2024 federal budget.

Ministers on the road: With the Commons not sitting, a number of ministers are out across Canada, making announcements on government affordability policy. Treasury Board President Anita Anand and Justice Minister Arif Virani in London, Ont. Defence Minister Bill Blair in Toronto. Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault in Calgary. Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne in the Quebec City of Trois-Rivières. Public Services Minister Jean-Yves Duclos in Quebec City. Tourism Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada, in Montreal. Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings in Moncton. Harjit Sajjan, president of the King’s Privy Council, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and Sport Minister Carla Qualtrough in Richmond, B.C. Small Business Minister Rechie Valdez, Diversity Minister Kamal Khera and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Ya’ara Saks in Mississauga.

Also, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is in Paris to meet with Stéphane Séjourné, France’s new minister for Europe and foreign affairs. Joly is also scheduled to meet with Jean-Yves Le Drian, French President Emmanuel Macron’s special envoy to Lebanon.


In Halifax, Justin Trudeau made a housing announcement ahead of the release of the 2024 federal budget this month, and, later, visited a local daycare facility and meet with families. An interview with Trudeau was scheduled to air on CBC’s Mainstreet Nova Scotia with Jeff Douglas.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is touring the Gaspé Peninsula this week. He’s meeting today with Nathalie Lajeunesse, executive director of the Haute-Gaspésie Chamber of Commerce, and Paule Menard-Pelletier, president of Couleur Chocolat.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was scheduled to travel to Winnipeg from Vancouver to continue a tour.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in London, Ont., visited the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, met with the team that runs Lunchbox London to discuss school meals for children, and spoke with Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath.

No schedule released for Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.


Reporter Jason Kirby is on The Globe and Mail podcast today to explain why housing affordability and opportunity is at a historic low. Kirby was on a team that recently broke down the reasons why most Canadians can’t afford a home right now. The Decibel is here.


Tory lead over the Liberals slips: Nanos Research says a 20-point Conservative lead over the Liberals has fallen to 12 points in the past four weeks.


The Liberals race to win back younger generations that have left them in droves

“Before the last federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government spent billions to hand out a $500 precampaign bonus cheque to Old Age Security recipients and increased payments to those over 75. That money is gone, but now the Liberals are finding their political problem is a completely different age group: the under-40s, who have abandoned the party in droves. Now Mr. Trudeau’s government is racing to offer them measures that will give them a little disposable income.” Campbell Clark.

The genius of Junius

“The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures – Junius.” Those words first appeared on the front page of the first edition of The Globe, on March 5, 1844, and they’ve been in the paper ever since, now on the editorial page. Junius is, and always has been, the notional author of the newspaper’s unsigned editorials.” – Tony Keller

A timely reminder that the courts need to keep their noses out of individuals’ medical decisions

“The doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct, and having the courts second-guess the clinical judgment of physicians and nurse practitioners is inappropriate. That’s the key message that emerges from the high-profile case of an Alberta father trying to block his adult daughter from accessing medical assistance in dying.” – André Picard

Best hope to lead the Quebec Liberals? Here’s my vote

“To me, the best hope is Karl Blackburn, president and CEO of the Conseil du patronat du Québec, the most important employers’ group in the province. Blackburn is a party stalwart. I’ve known him for decades and he’s truly one of the best people that I’ve known in politics.” – Tom Mulcair, The Gazette in Montreal

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