Good morning. We start today with a dispatch from Ottawa columnist John Ibbitson:
The Canadian Club of Toronto goofed. Having invited media to attend a speech by Stephen Harper that’s happening today, organizers were forced to issue a retraction. “This is a closed event,” they tweeted yesterday. “The previous media advisories were sent in error…PLEASE NOTE NO MEDIA WILL BE ALLOWED AT TOMORROW’S EVENT.”
We get the message.
Mr. Harper is plugging a new book, Right Here, Right Now, which warns his fellow conservatives that if they continue to ignore the insecurities of working-class voters, populism on both the right and left will continue to grow.
“The populist trend will not stop until the issues driving it are effectively addressed,” he warns in the book. “…We must build an agenda that, while based on enduring values, is focused on the issues that working people and their families are facing today.”
To drive home that message, Mr. Harper has been appearing on American media. Canadian media, not so much.
“Strange how a former Canadian prime minister is plugging his Right Here Right Now book almost exclusively in US media,” tweeted Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play. “Wrong Country, Wrong Market.”
With respect, Don, not so. The book’s intended audience is American, which is why the former prime minister is largely limiting himself to American media (although he wrote an essay for the Globe and the National Post printed an excerpt from the book).
But there is also no shortage of bad blood between Mr. Harper and the Canadian media. It goes all the way back to the founding of the Reform Party in Winnipeg in October, 1987, which the local and Toronto press ridiculed as a gathering of evangelical whiners.
Fifteen years later, when Mr. Harper became leader of the Canadian Alliance, the press gallery wrote him off as a right-wing ideologue who could never win the country. In power, he was accused of leading an autocratic regime. (Note to those critics: Please look south of the border to see what the real thing looks like.)
Mr. Harper is correctly focusing his attention on the media outlets that will do the best job of getting his message out to American influencers.
But, yeah, he also doesn’t think much of the Canadian press.
China says it is still seeking a free-trade deal with Canada, and China’s foreign minister recently called up Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to tell her so. Exploratory talks began in 2016, but little progress has been made in the last year.
The Globe’s Africa correspondent, Geoffrey York, has a fascinating look at how China has exerted more and more political influence in Africa as it invests more financially.
Auto-parts magnate Frank Stronach is suing his daughter, businesswoman and former federal cabinet minister Belinda Stronach, for $520-million.
SNC-Lavalin’s bid to settle corruption charges with the federal government appears to have failed.
The United States government says Canadians who are employed in the country’s legal cannabis industry won’t have problems at the border if they aren’t entering the country for their work. There have been fears that American border guards could deny entry to cannabis-sector workers or even slap them with lifetime bans.
A Vancouver-area real estate and immigration lawyer who was accused of professional misconduct by British Columbia’s law society is running for a city council seat in Richmond, B.C. In April, 2016, Richmond lawyer Hong Guo reported to the law society that $7.5-million she was holding in trust for clients was missing. She insisted the clients' money was stolen by two of her employees who then fled to China.
A B.C. First Nation is suing the federal and B.C. governments over a fuel spill off their coast in 2016. The Heiltsuk Nation off the central coast says the sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat and subsequent spill decimated its members' livelihoods and its clam fisheries.
And the Alberta government is tightening rules for the trucking industry, including requiring more training for new drivers, in the wake of the bus crash that killed 16 people connected to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team earlier this year. The announcement came as Alberta’s transportation minister announced that the owner of the small Calgary-based trucking firm involved in the crash has been charged with safety violations. The driver of the truck has also been charged.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Michaëlle Jean: “Now, her tenure at the Francophonie is ending ugly. The way it is ending demonstrates she doesn’t have the political judgment for her quasi-political job.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the carbon tax: “Fighting climate measures such as the carbon tax makes good politics at the moment, even as the smartest people in the world, including Nobel laureate and climate researcher William Nordhaus, is saying the most efficient remedy for shrinking greenhouse-gas emissions is a worldwide carbon tax. Don’t tell that to Mr. Kenney. He apparently knows better.”
Jen Gerson (Maclean’s) on Conservative opposition to the carbon tax: “The tax crystalizes so many other priorities and concerns; fears for the economy, high unemployment in resource regions, perceived mismanagement of the pipeline file, antipathy to the oil and gas sector, out-of-touch liberal elites, years of frustration—of a sense that those in less generously electorally endowed regions just can’t get ahead, and are never meant to.”
Robyn Urback (CBC) on Bill Clinton and #MeToo: “If there is one person in North America who is massively overdue for a #MeToo reckoning, it is him. He is the practical embodiment of everything the movement was designed to reject: abuse of power, privilege, double standards, harassment, sexual abuse and trauma.”
Andrew Coyne (National Post) on Stephen Harper’s new book: “What are presented as iconoclastic insights, in which the rise of populism is explained in terms of the failings of conservatism — former Conservative prime minister breaks with decades of conservative orthodoxy! — are a mix of received wisdom and undergraduate shibboleths, many of them long debunked.”
Jennifer Tory (The Globe and Mail) on allies of the LGBTQ community: “In acknowledging this year’s National Coming Out Day, let’s accept the essence of what U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin referenced in 2016: That those who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our time. They are no less heroic than suffragists, abolitionists, Freedom Riders, Stonewall demonstrators and today’s environmentalists.”