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politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

Patrick Brown may now be the Mayor of Brampton, a Toronto suburb, but his shadow still looms large over the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Questionable campaign tactics that took place while Mr. Brown led the Progressive Conservatives continue to haunt Premier Doug Ford’s party. Privately, top party strategists raised concerns that multiple candidates during the campaign, including some who now sit as MPPs, had links to Snover Dhillon, a political operative who has previously been convicted of fraud. According to an investigation by The Globe’s Karen Howlett and Jill Mahoney, Mr. Ford’s transition team considered ties to Mr. Dhillon during private deliberations over cabinet appointments. The Globe interviewed nearly two dozen party insiders and reviewed e-mails and banking records. According to internal e-mails, Mr. Brown’s advisers had developed a strategy to address allegations of fake memberships, ineligible voters and ballot-box stuffing in two nomination races but did not put it into action. The Progressive Conservatives later overturned nomination results in six races after Mr. Brown’s resignation amid allegations of sexual misconduct. There are two active police investigations underway – one by Hamilton Police into allegations of fraud and forgery and the other by York Regional Police’s major fraud unit into a data breach. Although nomination races are how parties across the country determine their candidates for elections, there is no oversight conducted by federal or provincial watchdogs.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Mayaz Alam in Toronto while Chris Hannay is on vacation. It is exclusively available only to our digital subscribers. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The Federal Liberals will be looking to boost funding for job-training programs after senior government officials were warned about Canada falling behind on its efforts to train workers.

Enbridge will be receiving a $14.7-million refund from the federal government to cover the fees that it paid the National Energy Board to monitor the construction and operation of the Northern Gateway pipeline project. The Liberals pulled the plug on the project in 2016.

Speaking of the National Energy Board, a new study from the regulator estimates that Western Canada’s oil oversupply is 202,000 barrels daily.

Population growth in Nova Scotia will almost match the national average for the first time in a generation, signalling a brighter future for Atlantic Canada’s biggest province after more than two decades of economic struggles.

In a pilot project, Vancouver will start offering pharmaceutical-grade opioid pills in the latest effort to prevent overdose deaths. Nearly 1,400 people died due to illicit drug overdoses in B.C. in the first 11 months of this year and the deadly substance fentanyl was detected in the vast majority of deaths. People will be able to ingest hydromorphone on site as staff observe them as an alternative to using street drugs.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal can get through Parliament as long as the EU clarifies that the “backstop” for Northern Ireland will be temporary, according to Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt. The key issue at hand is preventing the return of a hard border between Ireland, which is a member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom.

Forty-seven per cent of Americans blame U.S. President Donald Trump for the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government compared to 33 per cent who blame Congressional Democrats, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. Republicans currently hold the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is ordering a cabinet shuffle after the gruesome killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Ibrahim al-Assaf, who previously served a long tenure as finance minister, will become the new foreign minister. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s powers are unchanged following the shakeup.

And in case you missed it, Rideau Hall has announced 103 new Order of Canada appointments. Among the new appointees is former Nunavut premier Eva Aariak, whose work promoting Inuit culture and language is being recognized.

Globe and Mail Editorial Board on ‘Albexit’: “The rest of the country is not out to get Alberta. The Trudeau government does not have a secret plot to kill its own pipeline. Being a part of the Canadian federation can sometimes test a province’s patience, but that’s not a reason to indulge in paranoid conspiracy theories and overheated talk of separation.”

David Frank (The Globe and Mail) on the Saudi arms deal: “Canadians do not like to be seen as one of the world’s largest arms exporters. At the same time, we are proud of our expertise and skill in building advanced equipment of many kinds. And we have a responsibility for existing jobs, including those at General Dynamics in London, Ont., where the LAVs are manufactured. Canadians know there must be better ways to utilize our industrial capacity than by supporting repressive regimes and promoting the international arms trade.”

David Mulroney (The Globe and Mail) on China: “For too long the preferred approach to each successive China crisis has been to get back to normal as quickly as possible without doing or saying anything that might possibly harm China’s delicate feelings – or cause it to change its behaviour. It’s time for a new normal.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Syria: “There is a real danger that Mr. Mattis’s departure and the Syria pull-out mark the beginning of a series of decisions by Mr. Trump that truly destabilizes the global order. But it would be premature to make that conclusion now. Mr. Trump may be more strategic than he gets credit for if he gets U.S. allies, including Canada, to take seriously his threats of a broader withdrawal of the thousands of U.S. forces stationed around the globe. Until now, they haven’t.”

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