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politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

A statue of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, is set to come down in Victoria as communities across the country struggle to deal with the troubled past of historical figures. The city’s mayor says it’s in the spirit of reconciliation with the region’s First Nations, but supporters of the former prime minister say it’s impossible to wash away his contribution to the founding of the country.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and James Keller in Vancouver. 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.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will not apologize to Saudi Arabia for his government’s criticism of the poor Saudi human-rights record. So far the Saudi moves to cut ties have had little effect on Canada’s economy, though a few large companies might feel the pain.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he plans to target disaffected supporters of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he seeks a seat in Parliament in an expected by-election. Mr. Singh says he’ll run in the B.C. riding of Burnaby South, where the current MP won by fewer than 600 votes in 2015 and where he’ll need to convince voters that he’s not simply parachuting in.

The Ontario Progressive Conservative government says there will be a “lengthy and compassionate runway” for those relying on government funding in the cancelled basic-income pilot.

British Columbia’s Health Minister says his department is reviewing its disciplinary process following a Globe and Mail investigation that found one of the province’s highest-earning doctors was under investigation for five years until he resigned. Adrian Dix says he’s concerned about the delay it took to reprimand Winston Tuck Loke Tam, who faced concerns from patients about his care.

The Trump administration’s steel tariffs are hitting farm equipment on the Prairies, with Canada’s largest dealer’s shares falling by more than seven per cent. Rocky Mountain Dealerships Inc. says it expects lower sales of new products in the second half of 2018 as tariffs push prices up.

And Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion says fines for public office holders who flout conflict-of-interest laws are just too low. “I’m not a sports fan, but when I see an NHL player who is given a fine of $500 for having slapped his hockey (stick) in somebody’s face, I find that it’s not credible because I know how much the hockey player earns,” Mr. Dion told the CBC.

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Trump and the media: “They all need to get over themselves. Yes, journalists are essential to democracy. But so are politicians and the American public doesn’t think particularly highly of them, either.”

Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on Saudi Arabia: “This is a merciless totalitarian regime with draconian laws that suppresses free speech, brooks no dissent, treats women like second-class citizens, abuses prisoners and has a history of sponsoring terrorism.”

David Mulroney (The Globe and Mail) on Saudi Arabia: “We seem to be doing far more talking than listening, favouring a form of megaphone diplomacy that only seems to work with smaller countries that need our diplomatic support or our aid dollars.”

Amarnath Amarasingam and Iyad El-Baghdadi (CBC) on Saudi Arabia: “Canada is perhaps a Western country that Saudi Arabia could take aim at, as a signal to other countries who may wish to speak out about human rights in similar ways. Canada was a safer target economically, as the Saudi state has extensive trade deals with both the U.K. and the EU, while the U.K. benefits from hundreds of billions of pounds spent by Saudi tourists.”

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Canada’s critique of Saudi Arabia: “The position Ms. Freeland took – that women should not be arrested for campaigning for basic freedoms, such as the ability to move unaccompanied by a male guardian – is uncontroversial from a Canadian perspective. To grovellingly retract it in the face of petulant pushback would send a terrible signal about this country’s values.”

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Jagmeet Singh’s by-election run: “Mr. Singh isn’t assured of victory in Burnaby South. The NDP won the seat narrowly in 2015. But it’s good news for his party, and the country, that he’s taking his best available shot at bolstering the NDP’s voice in Parliament.”

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