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It was NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s turn to have his private audience with Justin Trudeau today, as the Prime Minister strategizes about how his minority government will survive the Throne Speech and beyond.

Mr. Singh emerged from the meeting trying to play up his own party’s position to wield the balance of power, insisting the NDP were the natural partner for the Liberals on national, progressive projects. He said Mr. Trudeau had a choice between seeking support from him, or trying to work with the Conservatives.

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Left out of that equation: the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc has 32 MPs in the new Parliament, to the NDP’s 24. Either party has enough seats to help the Liberals get more than the 170 votes needed to pass a bill in the House of Commons.

But Mr. Singh is eager to show that, while his New Democrats may have lost nearly half their seats in the election, their influence in the House has gotten bigger.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

The Parliamentary Budget Office updated its baseline budgets this morning, warning that weaker economic growth ahead is like to deepen the federal deficits.

There is much to say about Alberta today. Premier Jason Kenney says he is still waiting to hear back from the federal government about a request made 14 months ago for $252-million from the Fiscal Stabilization Program – and he’s hoping Ottawa will lift the $60-per-person cap on the fund so the province could get upward of $1.7-billion. As a mark of the energy industry’s hard times in the province, oil drillers say their activities are headed toward all-time lows. Experts say the Premier might be right that the province’s younger population could benefit from a separate provincial pension plan, but setting one up would not be easy. And, meanwhile, the province’s opposition NDP say Mr. Kenney’s principal adviser has rung up big travel bills in his short time in office.

The federal Liberal government says it is open to input from western provinces on the implementation of its controversial environmental-assessment law, but it is not reopening the bill in the legislature.

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David MacNaughton, until recently Canada’s ambassador to the United States, says he expects the free-trade deal to be ratified by U.S. Congress in the next month – unless impeachment gets in the way.

And senators who were kicked out of the Liberal caucus in 2014 by Mr. Trudeau, but who have continued to call themselves Liberals, are finally rebranding as the Progressive Senate Group.

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau’s foreign-policy challenges: “Foreign policy in the immediate future must focus primarily on containing threats from friends, as well as foes. First and foremost, that means surviving Donald Trump’s disruptive presidency, which has undermined the foundations of the postwar world order. With the Republican Party now at least as protectionist as the Democrats, Job 1 is to keep the border open, which starts with securing U.S. ratification of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement that the United States, Canada and Mexico signed in 2018.”

Amy Lai (The Globe and Mail) on her experiences visiting Hong Kong this year: “Although I was not denied entry, I felt like I was placed under surveillance. I felt unsafe both indoors and outdoors. Only when I came back to Canada in late July did I begin to feel at ease. In retrospect, what happened to me this spring and summer seemed like a prelude to the escalating violence that soon swept my birth city.”

Ross Holden (The Globe and Mail) on violent crime in Winnipeg: “Chief of Police Danny Smyth has stated that much of the violent crime is linked to the methamphetamine and opioid crisis currently gripping the city. But the roots of the crisis go much deeper: residential schools, the Indian Act and reserve system, dislocation from lands and resources, loss of language and culture, and systemic racism have all taken their toll. It’s no secret that Winnipeg’s North End and other neighbourhoods are the destination of First Nations and Métis youth from surrounding reserves and northern settlements looking to escape the conditions in their home communities. They arrive without the education or skills to succeed in the city, only to be preyed upon by gangs.”

David McLaughlin (Policy Options) on a compromise between Ottawa and provinces on the carbon tax: “Each of these western premiers has set out the basics of a way to bring the country together on carbon pricing at this critical juncture. It is disarmingly simple: cap the tax at $30 per tonne next year and until the planned first ministers’ review is completed in 2022.”

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Erica Ifill (Maclean’s) on Don Cherry’s comments about immigrants: “Support for Cherry has largely been divided down political lines, despite the fact that many believe that Cherry’s views on hockey and his value as a talking head were increasingly outdated, which points to Canada’s increasing political polarization. It’s a signal to those who are inclined to believe that their ‘way of life’ – their whiteness – is ‘under attack.’ In reality, the browning of Canada has been happening slowly for decades, it is only now, after being asked to adjust to this demographic, that they notice.”

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