Pierre Poilievre says he will not remove three members of his caucus who had a three-hour lunch last month with Christine Anderson, a German politician the Conservative Leader has criticized for having “vile” racist views.
“No,” he said Monday when asked about the issue at a Parliament Hill news conference.
Mr. Poilievre had previously avoided speaking in front of television news cameras about the Feb. 21 meeting between the three MPs and Ms. Anderson. She sits in the European Parliament as a member of Alternative for Germany, a far-right party that has espoused anti-immigrant views and at times trivialized the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust.
In a written statement issued by Mr. Poilievre’s office on Feb. 24, he said “Christine Anderson’s views are vile and have no place in our politics.”
“The MPs were not aware of this visiting member of the European Parliament’s opinions, and they regret meeting with her,” the statement added. “Frankly, it would be better if Anderson never visited Canada in the first place. She and her racist, hateful views are not welcome here.”
Ms. Anderson has said her views were well known, and she has ridiculed Mr. Poilievre’s claim that the MPs would not have been aware of her political background.
The three Conservative parliamentarians who met Ms. Anderson are Haldimand-Norfolk MP Leslyn Lewis, a two-time candidate for the leadership of the Conservatives; Oshawa MP Colin Carrie; and Niagara West MP Dean Allison.
When Ms. Anderson met with the MPs, she was in Toronto as part of a tour of Canada that also took her to Calgary and Hamilton, for rallies focused on her opposition to vaccine mandates and her support for last year’s convoy protests.
An organizer of the tour said the lunch included discussion about the ways Germany and Canada had handled the pandemic.
On Monday, Mr. Poilievre did not talk at length about Ms. Anderson, and he has not posted about the controversy on his busy social media accounts.
Asked about his decision not to punish the three MPs, given his pointed condemnation of Ms. Anderson, Mr. Poilievre said only that he is concerned about the “vile and racist views” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom he noted had worn blackface makeup in the past. (Mr. Trudeau admitted during the 2019 federal election campaign that he had worn such makeup occasionally as part of costumes, after a photo surfaced of him with a blackened face at an Arabian Nights-themed party in 2001.)
BREAKING - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to make an announcement on Parliament Hill and take media questions at 5:15 p.m. ET. Please watch The Globe and Mail for updates.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
MANY SENATORS MISSING VOTES: GLOBE ANALYSIS - The Senate has sat for 104 days since November, 2021, but about 25 senators on average have missed each of the 37 legislative votes over that time, according to an analysis by The Globe and Mail. And several members have cast fewer than four of the 19 votes since Parliament resumed sitting in the fall of last year. Story here.
MORE ACTION NEEDED AGAINST FOREIGN INTERFERENCE IN ELECTIONS: REPORT AUTHOR - The federal government needs to do more to address foreign interference in Canada’s elections and should consider calling a public inquiry, says the author of a report reviewing Ottawa’s efforts to protect the integrity of elections. Story here.
EX-OPSEU PRESIDENT SAYS HE’S UNDER POLITICAL ATTACK BY RIVALS - Warren (Smokey) Thomas, the former president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, says in court documents that recent allegations of financial improprieties against him are part of a political campaign by his rivals that exploded after he appeared alongside Premier Doug Ford to announce an increase in the provincial minimum wage. Story here.
BANK OF CANADA EXPECTED TO HOLD BENCHMARK INTEREST RATE STEADY - Almost exactly one year ago, the Bank of Canada embarked on its most aggressive rate-hike campaign in a generation. That drive to raise borrowing costs will likely grind to a halt on Wednesday, with the central bank widely expected to hold its benchmark interest rate steady, rather than increasing it, for the first time in 12 months. Story here.
TORY MP TO SEEK REPEAL OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IN DYING FOR MENTALLY ILL - Conservative MP Ed Fast said Monday he will soon table a bill to repeal a Liberal law that allows the mentally ill to access medical assistance in dying. Story here from CBC.
CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS NATIONAL SECURITY, PROSPERITY: CSIS - Canada’s spy service warns that climate change poses a profound, continuing threat to national security and prosperity, including the possible loss of parts of British Columbia and the Atlantic Provinces to rising sea levels. Story here.
ONTARIO LIBERALS SCRAP DELEGATED LEADERSHIP CONVENTIONS - Ontario Liberals have voted to scrap their system of delegated leadership conventions, in a decision that unofficially kicks off a race to pick the new face of the party in advance of the next provincial election. Story here.
COURT RULING STRIKES DOWN ONTARIO RESTRICTIONS ON ELECTION ADS - The Ontario Court of Appeal has struck down the Ford government’s restrictions on election ads, siding with a coalition of unions that challenged a move to extend a $600,000 limit on spending by groups other than political parties so that it applied for 12 months before a provincial vote. Story here.
OTTAWA ACCUSED OF INACTION ON BANNING ELEPHANT IVORY, RHINO HORNS - The federal government has been accused of dragging its feet over its promise to ban the import of elephant ivory and rhino horn, including from trophy hunts in Africa. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, March 6, accessible here.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY - Chrystia Freeland, who is also the Finance Minister, held private meetings in Toronto, and met, as part of pre-budget consultations, with business leaders in the critical minerals sector at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada 2023 convention. Ms. Freeland was also scheduled to hold a roundtable discussion on the government’s critical minerals strategy, as part of pre-budget consultations.
POLITICAL FORECAST - THE WEEK AHEAD - Members of the House of Commons are back after a two-week break. They will sit this week, and then take a one-week break.
There is going to be a lot packed into this week. For example, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, who is in Canada for a visit, will address Parliament in the House of Commons chamber at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
And federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers are scheduled to meet in Ottawa on Friday, with issues around bail on the agenda. (The Globe and Mail Editorial Board reflected on that issue here.)
Meanwhile, varied high-profile witnesses will be telling their stories to Commons committees.
They will include officials from Google, who will be explaining, to the heritage committee, their move to block some Canadians from accessing news through the Google search bar. Ottawa reporter Marie Woolf noted Monday that the committee was forced to cancel a hearing with Google executives because of technical difficulties. Ms. Woolf explains the larger Google situation here.
On Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino was to testify, before the government operations and estimates committee, on federal government consulting contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company. Story here. There’s a meeting notice, including a video link, here.
Amid concerns about the cost of groceries, key executives will appear before the agriculture and agri-food committee. On the witness list: Galen Weston, chairman and president of Loblaw Companies Limited; Eric La Flèche, president and chief executive officer of Metro Inc.; and Michael Medline, president and chief executive officer of Empire Company Limited.
And two former foreign affairs ministers will be appearing before the Senate’s foreign affairs and international-trade committee. On Wednesday, Lloyd Axworthy will testify about a study on the Canadian foreign service and elements of the foreign policy machinery within Global Affairs Canada. John Baird will address the same topic on Thursday. Details here.
And the week will also include the 91st annual Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence, which will take place on Thursday and Friday. The agenda includes discussion of the war in Ukraine, arms control, NATO and great-power competition. Among those addressing these issues will be Defence Minister Anita Anand; Jody Thomas, who is national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister; Admiral Christopher Grady, vice-chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Yulia Kovaliv, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Families Minister Karina Gould, in Regina with Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan, announced that Saskatchewan will achieve $10-a-day licensed child care, with federal support, by April 1, 2023. (Story here from CBC.) Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in Toronto at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada 2023 convention on mineral exploration and mining, announced the beginning of a Canada–Britain collaboration to deepen engagement and co-operation on critical minerals. Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, in Toronto at the prospectors association, discussed leveraging advanced technologies to boost the Canadian economy and build toward a low-carbon future. He appeared with Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm at an event also attended by Mr. Wilkinson.
TORIES NOMINATE CANDIDATE IN CALGARY RIDING - Shuv Majumdar, a former foreign-policy adviser to foreign-affairs minister John Baird, who has more recently worked as a global director at Stephen Harper’s consulting firm, has been nominated as the Conservative candidate in the riding of Calgary Heritage. Mr. Harper, the former Conservative prime minister, represented a previous configuration of the riding.
Calgary Heritage was previously held by Conservative Bob Benzen, who won with 58 per cent of the vote in the 2021 election, to 17 per cent for the New Democrat candidate. He stepped down at the end of last year.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, held private meetings and delivered keynote remarks at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s 2023 annual general meeting, and participated in a question-and-answer session. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau also attended. Mr. Trudeau was also scheduled to make an announcement at 5:15 p.m. ET.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre held a news conference on medical assistance in dying, accompanied by Abbotsford MP Ed Fast and Saskatchewan Senator Denise Batters.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, held a media availability on his party’s opposition-day motion, which asks that recently announced health care funding not be used for the expansion of for-profit health care. He later spoke at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
Right now, one in 25 Canadians who use Google can’t find some news sites through its search bar. That’s because the tech giant has intentionally blocked these searches in response to legislation put forward by the federal government. On Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Deputy Ottawa bureau chief Bill Curry explains the bill taking the fight to Google and other big tech companies, and what the government is trying to accomplish with this legislation. The Decibel is here.
PASSING OF RCMP COMMISSIONER’S HUSBAND - The RCMP has announced the death of Ray Gauther, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s husband. No other details were provided in the Saturday tweet.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on breaking down the blue wall of police silence: “Policing can be dangerous. Five officers have been killed in the line of duty in the past six months alone. But serving as an officer also carries an awesome responsibility: the power to legally detain citizens, to assault and even to kill. With that power comes solemn obligations, such as fully co-operating in investigations, particularly those involving a death. Canadians have a Charter right to not incriminate themselves. But an officer in uniform, with a gun and the right to use deadly force, is not the same as an ordinary Canadian. There is no simple legal path to oblige police officers to co-operate with criminal investigations. But reforms are clearly overdue.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta adoption funding is a political move to keep the United Conservative Party electable: “A relatively small $4-million-a-year amount in the recent Alberta budget – an item focused on making adoption in the province more affordable – might be a benefit to some families and children. But it’s also a deeply political move, focused on keeping the often-divided United Conservative Party both electable, and all on the same page. The 2023-24 budget paid special attention to ‘securing the future of our youngest Albertans by reducing cost barriers associated with adoption expenses, so that more children can find their forever homes.’”
Shannon Proudfooot (The Globe and Mail) on what happens when Mr. Loud becomes Mr. Quiet: “This selective communication allows Mr. Poilievre to defang the story in the mainstream media with his strident condemnation of Ms. Anderson, while passively obscuring it from his followers who worship her as a convoy hero, and who are unlikely to consume any of the mainstream sources that ran his denunciation. When you build your career and your public self as Mr. Mouth, everyone learns that you’re very good at it when you kick into that gear. The problem is, everyone will also see when you conveniently turn into Mr. Nothing to See Here. And eventually, they’ll notice that you only show up to a fight when you’re the one who started it.”
Tom Koch (contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why, as a gerontologist, he is deeply worried about advance consent for MAID: “Approving MAID as an advanced request is not a kindness for the person in distress. It only gives credence to a fear of the future yet experienced. The question now is whether we, as a country, embrace that fear as a rationale for early death, or focus instead on the richness that is still possible, assuring the necessities of life for those affected by dementia and other limiting conditions.”
Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at email@example.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.