Editor’s note: The Politics Briefing newsletter was deployed before the Israeli military denied responsibility for the explosion at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City and said the hospital was hit by a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group. We’ve updated this digital version of Tuesday’s Politics Briefing newsletter.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has provided initial Canadian reaction to news that hundreds of people have been killed in an explosion Tuesday at a hospital in Gaza City.
“The news coming out of Gaza is horrific and absolutely unacceptable,” Trudeau told journalists as he arrived for Question Period. “International humanitarian and international law needs to be respected in this and in all cases. There are rules around wars.”
Initial reports from the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip say at least 500 people have been killed in an explosion that it says was a result of an Israeli airstrike. If confirmed, the attack on the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City would be by far the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars fought since 2008.
Hundreds of people were seeking shelter at the al-Ahli Hospital at the time of the blast, the latest violence in a 10-day-old conflict that began with Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel.
Also Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said an Israeli woman with ties to Canada and missing since Oct. 7 is now confirmed dead.
On her way into the Liberals’ weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Joly offered condolences to the family of Tiferet Lapidot.
She said the woman was one of three people that Canada reported as missing after Hamas initially attacked southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and setting off a war that has left more than 4,000 dead on both sides. Five Canadians were among those casualties and two Canadians remain missing.
Joly said that during her recent trip to Israel, she met with Lapidot’s Canadian father in Tel Aviv, as well as Lapidot’s uncle, who described her as a “brilliant, beautiful young woman.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs described Lapidot as an Israeli woman with Canadian parents, saying in a statement that her family asked that news of her death be shared with media.
Meanwhile, as Israeli air strikes continue to pound the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected Israeli ground invasion, hundreds of Canadians are among the 2.3 million people facing limited options for escaping a humanitarian disaster.
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.
Canada’s inflation rate dips to 3.8% in September, surprising analysts – Canada’s annual inflation rate unexpectedly slowed to 3.8 per cent in September and underlying core measures also eased, new data shows, prompting markets and analysts to trim bets for another interest rate hike next week.
China lodges protest over intercepted Canadian plane – China’s Foreign Ministry says the Canadian military plane intercepted this week violated China’s sovereignty and national security, and it has lodged solemn representations with Canada.
Federal task force to weigh mammogram screening age amid debate over starting at 40 – Should routine breast cancer screening begin at the age of 40 or 50? What may seem like a straightforward question is at the centre of a highly charged debate that’s been playing out in recent months as a national task force prepares a long-awaited update to Canada’s screening guidelines.
McGill warns of consequences from Quebec’s plan to double out-of-province tuition for English students – McGill University’s vice-chancellor warned that the plan could jeopardize the status of the medical school, while Bishop’s University principal and vice-chancellor predicted a “catastrophic” impact that could wipe out a quarter of its budget.
How French immersion inadvertently created class and cultural divides at schools across Canada – As affluent white families drive demand for francophone programs and immigrant diasporas urge schools to teach in other languages, officials and parents are struggling to redefine what equitable education looks like.
Quebec labour unions in health care, education vote 95 per cent for strike mandate – A common front of four major Quebec labour unions has voted 95 per cent for an unlimited general strike mandate.
Ottawa’s offer of money for housing density gets mixed enthusiasm from cities – The offer is simple: Allow a bit more density everywhere in your city and we’ll give you money for housing. Not every Canadian municipality is willing to play along.
Accused in London, Ont., attack says he explored attacking Muslims in Toronto – The man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family in an alleged act of terrorism told a jury that he drove to Toronto a day before the attack to explore the possibility of targeting Muslims in that city.
Saskatchewan human-rights commissioner resigns over province’s pronoun bill – Heather Kuttai says she spoke with her son before she decided to resign on Monday over the province’s proposed pronoun legislation.
Ottawa plans for oil and gas emissions cap still on the agenda despite Supreme Court decision – Ottawa will press forward with a pair of contentious new regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite last Friday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision that the government overstepped its constitutional bounds with one of its existing environmental laws.
Feds, two Atlantic premiers agree to ‘modified’ Atlantic Loop project – Nova Scotia and New Brunswick scaled back plans for the Atlantic Loop electricity grid to expanding just one existing connection between their two provinces, rather than also building multiple new lines linking their provinces with Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Lavish trip for group of Conservative MPs in ethics spotlight – The trip, sponsored by an interest group and a Hungarian think tank, could soon come under the microscope by the House of Commons ethics committee, with the NDP ethics critic serving notice of plans to introduce a motion for the committee to take a closer look at the trip to London.
Two community newspapers in B.C. wind down – Two newspapers in British Columbia are publishing their last editions this week, eliminating coverage by community papers for a large swath of the province’s northeast.
Markham, Ont., library apologizes after manager tells staff by e-mail to not ‘actively promote’ Islamic Heritage Month – The public library in the Toronto-area city of Markham is apologizing after the e-mail surfaced on social media.
New roof needed on Olympic Stadium: Legault – Quebec Premier François Legault is calling for the installation of a new roof on Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, saying it’s time to stop seeing the complex as a negative symbol.
THIS AND THAT
Today in the Commons – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, accessible here.
Deputy Prime Minister’s day – Chrystia Freeland held private meetings, attended Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, and was scheduled to make an announcement and hold a media availability with Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, and Treasury Board President Anita Anand. Later Tuesday, Freeland was scheduled to meet with representatives from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
Commons debate on Middle East – MPs held an expansive debate Monday night on the situation in the Middle East. The Hansard transcript is available here, and begins with the heading: Situation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
Wynne appears as witness at Senate committee – Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne was among the witnesses Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate’s national finance committee looking into Bill S-233 to develop a framework for a guaranteed livable basic income. Details, including a videolink here. NDP MP Leah Gazman introduced the legislation, which would require the federal finance minister to consult widely to develop a framework for implementing a guaranteed livable basic income. Wynne has been a proponent of the idea.
Speaker on the run – The new Commons Speaker is launching a running tradition. Greg Fergus announced Tuesday that, as of Wednesday, he will be inviting MPs and staff to join him for five-kilometre morning runs. There’s a 10-kilometre option for “enthusiasts.” Amélie Crosson, a spokesperson for the Speaker, said the runs will be a new regular feature, subject to Fergus’s schedule.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the weekly cabinet meeting and Question Period, and was, in the evening scheduled to deliver remarks at the Antisemitism: Face it, Fight it Conference of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet attended Question Period.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre attended Question Period.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is participating virtually in Commons proceedings from her Vancouver Island riding.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended Question Period.
On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Carly Weeks, The Globe’s health reporter, talks about the heated debate on whether cancer screening should begin at the age of 40, not 50, as suggested by current guidelines. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the fight against addiction needs data, not spin: “Canada’s first pilot project decriminalizing possession of some illicit drugs began in British Columbia in January. A major retreat, in the form of provincial legislation setting limits on public drug use, followed eight months later. The rollback offers a clear lesson for the governments responsible for this important trial.”
Ruth A. Ross (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the question of why the health effects of marijuana are so hazy five years after its legalization: “When the Canadian federal government legalized cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018, its stated goal was protecting public safety. Researchers like myself were promised that in the new regime of destigmatization and decriminalization, our quest to understand the benefits and harms of cannabis would flourish as never before. Five years later, cannabis research in Canada is still fraught with bureaucratic red tape and is chronically underfunded.”
Jeffery Vacante (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Quebec Premier François Legault’s tuition hike shows he thinks anglophone universities don’t contribute to Quebec: “In the end, this latest announcement that out-of-province students will be forced to pay significantly more to attend an English-language university in the province appears designed primarily to demonstrate that the government is no longer willing to pretend that Bishop’s, Concordia, or McGill are real Quebec institutions that have much of value to contribute to Quebec society.”