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The Canadian government last week said it was concerned with Saudi Arabia’s renewed crackdown on dissidents, and the Middle East country has responded by cutting ties with Canada. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Ottawa and dismissed the Canadian envoy in Riyadh. Now the country is planning to recall thousands of students it is sponsoring in Canada and cut flights between the countries.

Bessma Momani writes that Saudi Arabia’s move has nothing to do with Canada: “The Saudi Crown Prince wants to signal to the world that interference in Saudi domestic affairs and criticism of the country will come with economic consequences.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay and Mayaz Alam. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh may be entering the House of Commons sooner than expected. The CBC reports the former member of Ontario’s legislature may be running in a federal by-election in Burnaby, B.C., that is set to be called in the coming months.

A new federal probe in Prince Edward Island is examining whether hundreds of people gained permanent residency in Canada by using fake addresses under a provincial business immigration system that has been criticized for its loose oversight.

The U.K. is preparing for economic turmoil amid growing fears that it could leave the European Union next year without an agreement on Brexit. British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered her country’s exit from the economic and customs union last year, starting a two-year countdown that ends with Britain leaving in March, 2019. Talks have been stalled despite ongoing negotiations and the U.K. could end up seeing food shortages and disruption in airline activity due to Brexit.

Rick Gates, one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s former deputy, testified that he helped Mr. Manafort commit crimes. Mr. Gates plead guilty earlier this year to two felony charges and has agreed to co-operate in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mr. Gates was also a high-ranking official in the campaign and was a long-time associate of Mr. Manafort’s. In addition to telling jurors that he committed crimes with Mr. Manafort, Mr. Gates also said he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his former colleague.

U.S. President Donald Trump now acknowledges that his son met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin in order to collect information about Hillary Clinton, his political opponent. When news of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr., several Trump campaign officials and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer, broke last year, the official rationale given for the meeting was that the parties “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago.” The statement was released under Mr. Trump Jr.’s name but was dictated by his father.

North Korea is calling on the U.S. to drop sanctions, claiming it has demonstrated good faith by halting its testing of nuclear weapons and returning U.S. soldiers’ remains. The United Nations concluded in a report in recent days that the North hadn’t halted its nuclear and missile programs.

Venezuela has detained six people and is looking for other potential assailants linked with the plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro with drones packed with explosives. The South American country’s government alleges that the suspects conspired with people in Miami and Colombia to murder Mr. Maduro.

The United Kingdom is prepared to ask Russia to extradite two suspects it believes carried out the nerve agent attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The poisoning, which British intelligence believes was conducted by Russia, has led to a diplomatic standoff between the two countries.

The trade war between the U.S. and China could have catastrophic impacts on the world economy and the tit-for-tat battle has already harmed some farmers and manufacturers. But, the tariffs and retaliation have meant big business for international trade consultants.

U.S. Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections later this year have been warned by their party to not use electronic devices made by ZTE and Huawei, two Chinese telecommunications companies, because they pose a security risk.

And a man has been charged with taking a pickaxe to Mr. Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: “Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused the Liberals of attacking Mr. McCauley to squeeze political gain from stalled NAFTA talks. But the real advantage for the Liberals is in making their opponents fear they will pay, politically, if they deviate from the government line.”

Former minister of citizenship and immigration Christopher Alexander in The Globe and Mail on asylum seekers: “To ensure the front door is open, we need to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement – an arrangement we have only with the United States. Those now crossing unsafely, on back roads and snowy trails, deserve the chance to make their claim at points of entry, as asylum seekers from other countries now do.”

Tim Marshall (The Globe and Mail) on walls: “The primary purpose of the walls appearing throughout Europe is to stop the wave of migrants – but they also say much about wider divisions and instability in the structure of the European Union and within its member nations. President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is intended to stem the flow of migrants from the south, but it also taps into a wider fear many of its supporters feel about changing demographics.”

Daniel Malleck (The Globe and Mail) on cannabis: “It is entirely reasonable to expect governments, once they see how the cannabis law is operating, to modify it to make it more suitable to social expectations. In the course of these changes, old stereotypes will be discarded and new ideas of this legal substance will be implemented into law.”

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on basic income: “Enrolling a child in college; buying a car; taking exercise classes; signing a lease on an apartment. These are all things that would probably have, in the long run, made them less dependent on government income, which I thought was a conservative ideal.” (for subscribers)

Evelyn Calugay and Kimberley Manning (The Globe and Mail) on Filipino domestic workers: “It is time for Canada to move beyond an undervalued and precarious patch work program of care and invest in a more holistic, humane, and yes, feminist approach to care – an approach that not only systemically recognizes and compensates care work, but also provides protected paths to citizenship and family reunification.”

Denise Balkissoon (The Globe and Mail) on family politics: “On one side is Justin Trudeau, the first Canadian to follow in a parent’s prime ministerial footsteps: During his 15 years on the job, Pierre Trudeau blazed a path as the first cerebral show boater from Quebec. On the other are the Manuels, an Indigenous family less likely to be named in classroom textbooks, but equally set on having a political voice. The two families have been on opposing sides of Indigenous self-determination struggles for decades and the acrimony is flaring up again this hot summer.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Emmanuel Macron: “Most world leaders, with the possible exception of Germany’s unaffected Angela Merkel, are obsessed with their public image. But no current leader seems quite as involved with himself and the image he projects as French President Emmanuel Macron. The superstar chef d'état makes Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau look like monks in comparison.”

Robert Rotberg (The Globe and Mail) on Zimbabwe: “Whether the new president can deliver a much-touted economic revival of long-impoverished, long underperforming Zimbabwe remains to be seen. If his electoral win is declared tainted by outside observers, and if opposition street protests continue, investors will not come and the country’s weak economic management and performance will persist.”

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