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Statistics Canada wasn’t expecting to create a stir when it created a plan to get the detailed financial records of Canadians from their banks and credit unions. To the number-crunchers at Statscan, the data would help create a better picture of Canada’s economy and would be better than older methods, such as surveys, that were becoming less reliable. But when the plans became public, concerned citizens gave Statscan an earful.

Now Canada’s statistics agency says it is putting those plans on hold. TransUnion will no longer have to hand over credit records, a practice that started a year ago, and neither will banks, which were going to start giving over financial information in January.

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That’s for now, at least: The projects are on pause while the federal Privacy Commissioner looks into it all. Those collection methods could start up again once the commissioner’s study is completed.

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

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Doctors and opposition critics are urging the federal government to provide more support for the 1,200 Yazidi refugees who came to Canada from Iraq. Many of those people have suffered a rare medical condition that is said to get worse because they are separated from their families.

Raj Grewal says he will remain as the Member of Parliament for Brampton East, at least until January. Mr. Grewal said nearly two weeks ago that he was resigning from his job in order to focus on his health and the multimillion-dollar debts he had racked up because of his gambling activities. Mr. Grewal now says he has repaid the debts, though he did not say how. He also said there is nothing “sinister” about the activities. The Liberal Party has, however, kicked him out of their caucus.

The Central European University is being forced out of Hungary because it ran afoul of the nationalist government of Viktor Orban. The university’s president is Michael Ignatieff, former leader of Canada’s Liberal Party.

In Alberta, Premier Rachel Notley is set to order the province’s biggest oil producers to cut their output by about 325,000 barrels a day in the new year. The move had been asked for by some of the companies as a way to lower the amount of supply that had contributed to the very low prices of Alberta oil.

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In Ontario, Environment Minister Rod Phillips says his government’s new climate plan is about making a cleaner environment more relatable to people. The Progressive Conservatives scrapped the province’s carbon pricing system and scaled back planned reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, but the new plan does introduce an official day dedicated to picking up litter. “Of course these things are not solely about climate change, but they relate to climate change,” Mr. Phillips said.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he will tear up the North American free-trade agreement so that the incoming Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has no choice but to approve the new deal he helped negotiate. “I’ll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time. We get rid of NAFTA. It’s been a disaster for the United States,” Mr. Trump said. The G20 summit that wrapped up on the weekend was notable for not going as badly as it could have.

And former U.S. president George H.W. Bush died on the weekend at the age of 94. Canadian politicians remember him as an ally of the country. “An extremely important dimension of his relationship with Canada, perhaps unique, was the extent to which he involved us in all major decisions,” former prime minister Brian Mulroney told The Globe.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal government’s red-tape-cutting drive: “In political terms, Scott Brison is often the minister of thankless tasks. The President of the Treasury Board handles internal government rules and processes, cost controls and contract negotiations with public servants. Now Mr. Brison is taking on one of those things governments have launched over and over again: a deregulation drive.”

Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal government’s oil-extracting drive: “Canada’s failure to get pipelines built looks ludicrous to outsiders. It is a policy-induced catastrophe that is directly attributable to the Trudeau government, which has killed and blocked new pipelines and tanker traffic at every turn."

Martha Hall Findlay (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal government’s environmental-regulation bill: “Yet this bill, if passed, would create enormous uncertainty, more red tape and increased court challenges. And not only for the energy sector: The IAAct, which includes a variety of untested requirements, will apply to virtually every major infrastructure project in Canada for years to come.”

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John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Canada-U.S. trade: “By announcing he is terminating NAFTA, Mr. Trump is saying to House Democrats and Republicans who control the Senate: Ratify the new agreement before June or face the consequences of no trade agreement at all."

David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on the passing of George H.W. Bush: “Denied a second term, largely forgotten as a transitional figure between Mr. Reagan and Bill Clinton, often overshadowed in memory by his own son (whose administration has yet to enjoy a spike of revisionism), Mr. Bush nonetheless was the classic American figure of the 20th century and had a cameo or starring role in the great dramas of the era, from the Second World War to the recurrent U.S. military involvement in Iraq; from the green shoots of modern Republican power in the onetime solidly Democratic South to the GOP triumphs of the Reagan years; from Watergate to the Washington battles over taxation that persist to this day.”

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