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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is testifying today at the foreign interference inquiry in Ottawa, after three cabinet ministers appeared in the hours before him.

“There are foreign state actors who are interested in playing a role in our democracies or disrupting our democracies,” Trudeau said early in his testimony.

He is expected to take questions from inquiry lawyers, then from lawyers representing various other stakeholders on the issue of allegations of foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

In November, 2022, Trudeau testified before the Emergencies Act inquiry on his government’s invocation of the legislation to put an end to convoy protests.

Earlier today, three cabinet ministers appeared before the inquiry: Karina Gould, who is on maternity leave from her role as Government House Leader and was democratic institutions minister from 2017 until 2019, Defence Minister Bill Blair and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

The inquiry is being led by Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, who launched the effort in September, 2023. Hearings began in January.

Foreign interference has dominated the headlines since The Globe and Mail first reported details of China’s sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in February, 2023.

Meanwhile, a Liberal Party member warned MP Han Dong that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was keeping tabs on him, shortly after the spy agency briefed the party in the fall of 2019 on alleged Chinese state interference in the Liberal nomination contest in Don Valley North, according to a senior national security official.

There’s a live blog here on the ongoing hearings. Please watch The Globe and Mail for updates on the hearings.

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.


Bank of Canada holds rate steady, says it’s more confident in inflation easing: Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem would not say when the bank will start lowering interest rates, although he said in a news conference that a June rate cut was “within the realm of possibilities.” Story here.

Canada at risk of another devastating wildfire season, federal government warns: CBC reports that officials said more dry, hot weather is expected this spring and summer, putting much of the country at greater risk of wildfires.

Ontario housing bill would bring in ‘use it or lose it’ rules to spur construction: The proposed legislation would also allow publicly funded universities in Ontario to be exempt from the normal planning rules, as the province’s colleges are already, in order to get more student housing built more quickly.

Grocery inflation to fall below 2 per cent this spring, report predicts: Farm Credit Canada, an agricultural lending firm, said it expects food price increases beyond 2024 to stabilize around pre-pandemic levels as the pressures driving prices higher are easing.

New security plan for Montreal metro amid rise in mental health and addictions issues: Eric Alan Caldwell, president of the corporation’s board, says the transit authority is worried about losing riders because of a perception of insecurity linked to the presence of vulnerable people.

Liberal’s rural carbon rebate boost likely delayed: The issue is that the legislation enabling the changes hasn’t yet passed the House of Commons.

Ontario to support opposition bill to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic: Government House Leader Paul Calandra says his party will ask the justice committee to thoroughly examine intimate partner violence and return with recommendations.

Dental associations are ‘negotiating’ ahead of federal dental plan rollout, Heath Minister says: “They’re doing their job. They are negotiating,” Mark Holland told reporters. “They want to get the best deal for their members. I want to get the best deal for taxpayers.”


“I think it’s entirely unnecessary, but I’m not the person that decides.” - Immigration Minister Marc Miller, arriving for today’s Liberal caucus meeting, on Quebec Premier François Legault’s threat to hold a referendum on immigration unless the federal government reduces the number of temporary immigrants to the province.

“It is tempting to hold a referendum because, in the context of a referendum on immigration led by Quebec, they could ask a lot more questions in regard to Quebec’s current demands and win that referendum.” - Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, during a Parliament Hill scrum today, on Legault’s referendum threat.

“At this time, bringing the premiers together with the federal government to have a conversation about climate policy, that is a supportable idea.” NDP MP Laurel Collins, ahead of Question Period today, on a Conservative motion calling for an emergency meeting between the Prime Minister and premiers on carbon pricing. Collins announced the NDP would support the motion.


Today in the Commons: Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, April 10, accessible here.

Deputy Prime Minister’s Day: Private meetings in Ottawa, and Chrystia Freeland attended the weekly Liberal caucus meeting.

Commons Committee Highlights: The foreign-affairs committee was scheduled to hear witnesses on Canada’s approach to Africa, including Major-General Gregor Smith, director-general of international security policy.

Senate Committee Highlights: Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree was scheduled to appear before the Indigenous Peoples’ committee on Bill S-16, an Act respecting the recognition of the Haida Nation and the Council of the Haida Nation. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is scheduled to appear before the legal and constitutional-affairs committee on Bill S-15, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

In Ottawa: Housing Minister Sean Fraser delivered a keynote address on the future outlook and solutions for affordable housing in Canada, followed by a fireside chat with Carole Saab, CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu provided an update on the forecast for the 2024 wildfire season.

French PM in Ottawa: Gabriel Attal is in the nation’s capital today to begin a visit that will feature stops in Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal. In Ottawa he will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor-General Mary Simon. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, in Paris last week to prepare for Attal’s visit, said today on Parliament Hill that subjects up for discussion with Attal include free trade, reinforcing the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, co-operation in defence of Ukraine, Middle East issues and Haiti.

Attal is also scheduled to present Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, with the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest distinction. The ceremony is being held at the French embassy in Ottawa. Aude-Line Ferrand, a spokesperson for the embassy, said in a statement that France wishes to recognize Wagner’s deep attachment to France and the French language.


Justin Trudeau attended the national caucus meeting, appeared before the Foreign Interference Commission and, in the evening, was scheduled to host an official dinner in honour of visiting French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a news conference on Parliament Hill ahead of Question Period.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, in Ottawa for the sitting of the Commons, met virtually with representatives of Stop Ecocide, as well as representatives of World Animal Protection. She also attended her caucus meeting. May was also scheduled to attend a reception featuring primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended the weekly NDP caucus meeting as well as Question Period.

No schedule released for Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre.


On today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Asia correspondent James Griffiths, who was recently in Vietnam, explains why the Southeast Asian country is so popular right now, what Canada is hoping to gain and what this all means for Vietnam’s future. The Decibel is here.


John Fraser: The former House of Commons speaker, who served from 1986 until 1993, has died in Vancouver. He was 92. Current Speaker Greg Fergus announced Fraser’s passing. “Many of his decisions created the basic interpretation of our modern rules and redefined what is appropriate practice in our Chamber today,” Fergus said in a statement.


Pay CEOs for performance, not failure

“It’s a core principle of executive compensation that salary is only a small part of how a chief executive officer is paid. The rest is usually a combination of cash bonuses, shares and stock options, which is called “at risk.” That is, at risk of going up or down based on the performance of the company. The idea is a CEO will do their job to the best of their ability if they have a personal financial stake in the company’s future. But if that is so, the risk has to be there. Unfortunately, it too often isn’t, and this is a problem that can affect many of Canada’s largest companies.” - The Globe and Mail Editorial Board.

PMO staffers say intelligence reports on foreign interference fuzzier than advertised

“When a series of reports on intelligence about foreign interference started to appear in news media last year, Canadians tried to put them into context. Inside the Prime Minister’s Office, according one of Justin Trudeau’s senior advisers, Jeremy Broadhurst, “that was happening for us in the same way it was happening for the general public.” Well, not exactly the same way. Mr. Trudeau and his senior advisers were given briefings the public never heard. There’s always been a question about what they were told.” - Campbell Clark.

Schools shouldn’t be places where kids go hungry

“The federal Liberals have, once again, promised a national school food program. After identical promises in 2019 and 2021, this time around, apparently, there is actually going to be money allocated – $1-billion over five years – when the federal budget is tabled on April 16. While the investment is welcome, let’s be clear: This is not a program, and it’s not national, nor universal. It’s an offer to pump some money into an existing hodgepodge of local, regional and provincial programs that feed about one million children daily.” - André Picard

Doug Ford may not be able to get you a family doctor. But he can bring back paper bags

“Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s latest retail political gesture is just about the Doug-Fordiest leadership move conceivable. It has all the elements that are quintessentially him: booze, consumer politics, populist appeal, and a sprinkle of triviality. It also happens to be a good idea, which is why Mr. Ford will coast happily on his fumes, even if it’s emblematic of the more cartoonish elements of his premiership.” - Robyn Urback.

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