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Good morning,

British Columbia’s Trinity Western University has removed a requirement that students sign a “community covenant” that includes a pledge to abstain from sex outside heterosexual marriage – a policy that derailed its plans for a law school.

The private Christian university, located in Langley, had been trying to open a law school since 2012, but law societies in B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia pointed to the covenant when refusing to accredit the school. The university sued, and this past June the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the law societies.

Despite the policy change, university president Bob Kuhn said the decision wasn’t related to the legal challenge and he said there are no immediate plans to revive the law school proposal.

The court case drew more than two dozen groups as intervenors amid a debate about the limits of religious freedom and equality. While law societies said the covenant amounted to discrimination against LGBTQ students, Trinity Western and a list of intervenors argued its students had a constitutional right to learn in a Christian environment.

The law societies in B.C. and Ontario declined to say whether the change will prompt them to reconsider their decision not to accredit the law school.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa, Mayaz Alam in Toronto 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.


The government plans to create a new statutory holiday in honour of Truth and Reconciliation. The sticking point is timing: Indigenous groups want the day to fall on June 21 (National Aboriginal Day) or September 30 (Orange Shirt Day), but the government is concerned those dates are too close to other statutory holidays.

The federal government is planning on seeking input from steel companies and consumers before deciding whether to slap tariffs on offshore steel. Ottawa will spend the next 15 days in consultation before pursuing a “safeguard action,” which would provide temporary protection to Canada’s steel industry.

Montreal city council is set to call for a nationwide ban on handguns and assault weapons.

The number of people who crossed the Canada-U.S. border between official posts was up in July – to 1,634 people – from the previous few months, but is still down compared to earlier this year and last summer.

There are so few federal public sector executives that are visible minorities that the government will not disclose the exact number.

Ontario’s government is freezing the salaries for public sector executives, a restriction that will exist until a compensation program review is completed by June of next year. The decision comes as the Progressive Conservatives pursue a line-by-line audit of the province’s finances, which will be done by EY Canada.

Ontario’s legislature has passed its controversial bill that would slash the size of Toronto City Council nearly in half ahead of a fall municipal election.

Prosecutors and defence counsel are discussing trial dates in the case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who is accused of leaking classified government information to a Quebec shipyard.

The Metis Nation of Alberta has voted to support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, arguing that the project represents a strong economic investment. The federal government has agreed to buy the project while it finds another buyer, and a number of Indigenous groups in Alberta, including the Metis Nation, have expressed interest.

London police are treating the car attack outside Britain’s Parliament building as a terrorist incident. Authorities have arrested the suspect in the attack and none of the injuries sustained were life threatening. Security near Parliament has been increased since a March, 2017, vehicle attack that killed four people.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will boycott electronic products from the U.S. in retaliation against U.S. sanctions that have crippled the lira, the country’s currency. The lira has lost more than 40 per cent of its value this year, sending shockwaves through global markets. The U.S. decision to impose sanctions on two members of Mr. Erdogan’s cabinet came as Andrew Brunson, an American evangelical pastor, remains detained in Turkey, despite the White House’s efforts to secure his release.

The Chinese government is blaming “anti-China” forces amid accusations that it may be holding a million Uyghurs in internment camps for political re-education.

South Africa is investigating its state attorneys, alleging that they defrauded the government by deliberately losing cases. The probe widens the graft crackdown pursued by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced the scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February.

Eleven months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, power has been restored to the entire island. The power outage was the longest continuous blackout in U.S. history.

Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair under trial for tax evasion and bank fraud, declined to testify as the defence rested its case. The jury will hear closing arguments today, in the first case to go to trial because of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

And Christine Hallquist became the first transgender candidate to secure the nomination for the governorship of a major party, winning the Democratic primary in Vermont.

Sean Speer and Ken Coates (The Globe and Mail) on solving the Greyhound bus cuts: “There are more options for rural Canada than a binary choice between taxpayer subsidies to restore intercity busing or moving to the city. The truth is there are whole swathes of rural Canada proving that typical rural values – self-reliance, mutual self-help, entrepreneurialism, innovation, and community spirit – can easily overcome the withdrawal of big city-style services that are actually ill-suited to the realities of rural life.”

John Dann (The Globe and Mail) on his statue of John A. Macdonald: “If the tearing down of my sculpture is the best way to move forward, then I am all for it, but I cannot believe that any rational person who has reflected on our history can really think that removing about 150 kilos of bronze from view is going to change our history, or help us understand it better.”

Christie Blatchford (National Post) on history: “What that means is that they were men of their time and place, subject to the common failings (that is, racism or misogyny) of their era, plus burdened with personal weaknesses. Of course they were. Who isn’t?”

David Butt (The Globe and Mail) on guns in cities: “Our collective consciousness is constantly evolving, often propelled by momentous events. After the Fredericton shooting, it’s increasingly clear that a ban on firearms in urban areas is the next logical step forward.”

Colin Robertson (The Globe and Mail) on our foreign policy: “As we have learned through our initiatives to help the Rohingya in Myanmar and to constrain the Maduro regime in Venezuela, advancing human rights in countries that don’t care is a difficult proposition. But if a feminist foreign policy and advocacy for human rights is to mean anything, we have to stand up, even if we stand alone.”

Globe and Mail Editorial Board on cannabis in Ontario: “The devil, as ever, will be in the details. But Mr. Ford’s government is off to a good start in establishing a broadly sensible approach to pot sales that stands a reasonable chance of bringing them out from underground, and giving itself some runway to implement it.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec: “On the eve of an election call, Quebec’s main party leaders have gone to battle over a wind-power project that Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard argues is crucial to good relations with First Nations but that François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec calls ‘useless’ and ‘ruinous.’”

Andrew Jackson (The Globe and Mail) on technological change: “There is a lot of talk these days about the end of jobs and the decimation of traditional employment due to rapid technological change, the much-feared rise of the robots and the emergence of new and more insecure forms of work in the so-called gig economy. But the statistics suggest that the extent of real change in the job market to date has been greatly exaggerated by many pundits.”

Robyn Urback (CBC) on an attack on a Toronto journalist: “Every Canadian who respects the role of the news media (and knows that grown-ups aren’t supposed to hit each other) ought to be outraged. Though, at a guess, at least a few readers are only learning about this incident now.”

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