We start today with a personal note from newsletter co-author Mayaz Alam:
It’s often said that journalism is the “first rough draft of history.” By covering the day’s biggest political stories, that’s what we’ve tried to do with Politics Briefing in our own little way. Over the weeks and months to come, Chris and James will continue to do that for this newsletter. But, unfortunately, I won’t be around to help them.
Today is my last day at The Globe and Mail, which makes this the last time you’ll see my byline in your inbox. Writing Politics Briefing has undoubtedly been the best part of working at The Globe but my relationship with this newsletter predates my time here. Long before I started working in the newsroom, I was a reader of Politics Briefing, just like you. It’s what helped introduce me to this publication. Before I even understood what The Globe was and the scope of what it covered, I read this newsletter. If someone would have told me then that one day I would help write my favourite newsletter, I likely would have laughed at them. But that dream came true 16 months ago.
The days and months that followed my first issue (January 24, 2017) have been nothing short of historic in the world of politics. It has been an immense privilege to cover the whirlwind news cycle for you. I wanted to thank you, our readers, for sticking with us through the early growing pains of adding a new voice and the many iterations in format that we’ve seen. Through your insightful feedback and criticism you have helped me become a much better writer and have helped us become a better newsletter.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Mayaz plans to travel during the summer months before starting the Master of Science in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. You can follow him on Twitter @MayazAlam16 where he tweets about policy and politics – and basketball. A lot of basketball.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa, James Keller in Vancouver, and, for the last time, Mayaz Alam in Toronto. 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 growing trade war between Canada and the United States has boiled over with each country laying out billions of dollars worth of punitive tariffs – as the Americans attempt to apply pressure during NAFTA negotiations. The tit for tat began yesterday morning when the Trump administration announced steel and aluminum tariffs would affect Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Within hours, Canada announced a suite of tariffs of a similar value, targeting a range of American goods including everything from whisky to plywood to refrigerators to washing machines. Ottawa has called the American tariffs “absurd.”
The tariff dispute is expected to overshadow closed-door G7 meetings scheduled this week in Whistler, B.C. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he’ll use the event to express his displeasure directly with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and encourage him to reconsider.
Mexico fired back and its countermeasures hit the heart of Trump country. It’s targeting agricultural products and other goods that are made in congressional districts that supported the president. Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo estimated that the retaliatory tariffs are worth US$4-billion. Mexico also is imposing duties on steel. It is the top buyer of U.S. aluminum and the second-biggest buyer of American steel.
The European Union has also decided to impose countermeasures against the U.S. tariffs. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, called it a “bad day for world trade” after saying the U.S. actions were “unacceptable.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s assault on the West: “For the past seven decades there has been no major war between great powers. Over those decades, extreme poverty fell from three-quarters of the world’s population to less than a tenth, and global life expectancy increased from 48 years to 70 years. But Donald Trump doesn’t like the Western alliance − for reasons that we must leave to future historians − and Thursday, he took a big step toward wrecking it by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.” (for subscribers)
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on how the worst may still come: “On their own, Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are serious enough. Ninety per cent of Canada’s steel exports go to the United States. But the reverberating impact, the potential collateral damage, is worse. The continent now appears headed for commercial turmoil. A brutal extended trade war is well possible.” (for subscribers)
Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on giving up: “The president’s an incorrigible loose cannon. It is time to stop wasting so much time on him.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that judges have no place weighing in on the congregations of the nation.
A high-level national security parliamentary committee has delivered its advice to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his ill-fated trip to India in February, but the recommendations won’t be made public until later this year (if at all).
Senators have voted down an attempt to strip home growing from the Liberals’ marijuana legalization bill.
An NDP MP is raising concerns with the letters that immigration officers send to those trying to come to Canada. One letter to a woman in Pakistan said she and her Canadian husband did not appear to be “well matched” and raised issues with the size of their 123-person wedding.
That said, the federal government is also looking at using artificial intelligence to screen immigration and refugee claims in the future.
Canada’s broadcasting regulator says foreign streaming services and internet service providers should do their part to fund Canadian content.
As goes Peterborough, so goes Ontario. At least that’s the way it’s been since 1977. Since that election, the riding has elected MPPs from the parties that form the government. The Globe’s Roy MacGregor looks at who’s running and what’s at stake in the bellwether riding.
A new report suggests recently announced tax measures in B.C. aimed at cooling the real estate market may raise income for the government but will likely have little effect on housing prices. Instead, the report from professor James Tansey argues the focus should be on creating new housing supply.
And a first responder at the Quebec City mosque shooting last year has died by suicide. Andréanne Leblanc was 31. Her mother says she thinks her daughter had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since the violent attack and more support should be offered to paramedics who have to deal with these kinds of horrors.
Ted Morton (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau’s pipeline and climate change: “Mr. Trudeau has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth since he was elected, and now it has caught up with him. In Paris, he paraded as the Prince of Climate Change. When he was in Houston, he was a champion for export pipelines. He wanted it both ways, but now he can’t: He owns a pipeline and has promised to complete it. To do this, he will have to go to battle with the very groups that supported him in the 2015 election – urban climate-change activists, Indigenous communities and maybe Quebec.”
Don Martin (CTV) on the politics of the pipeline: “Love or loath him, Pierre Trudeau did it his way on multiple nation-defining fronts, including the dreadful National Energy Program, even when there wasn’t an electoral payoff. Similarly, Justin Trudeau’s pipeline nationalization this week took a strong spine and defied electoral logic with less than 18 months before the vote.”
Jonathan Malloy (The Globe and Mail) on Ontario’s NDP under Rae and now: “ It was a disaster in many ways, but not for its ideas – rather for its ridiculously unrealistic platform and lack of preparation for assuming power on a protest vote. The same conditions apply to the NDP in 2018, which, just like in 1990, has promised the moon to voters and shows little aptitude for the discipline of power. Rae 2 showed that the NDP can learn and adapt to power. But right now the NDP is set up to repeat all the mistakes of Rae 1. ”
Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on the Ontario PC platform: “No wonder his party has been flagging in the polls. It isn’t because the media is out to get him. It isn’t because the shadowy elites are trying to thwart the will of the people. It is because voters are starting to see through him. They know he is trying to pull a fast one and, you know what, they don’t like it. Not even a bit. ” (for subscribers)
Help The Globe monitor political ads on Facebook: During an election campaign, you can expect to see a lot of political ads. But Facebook ads, unlike traditional media, can be targeted to specific users and only be seen by certain subsets of users, making the ads almost impossible to track. The Globe and Mail wants to report on how these ads are used, but we need to see the same ads Facebook users are seeing. Here is how you can help.
China called the U.S. accusation that the former’s armed forces are militarizing in the South China Sea “ridiculous.” Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. will push back against China’s attempts to assert control of the waterway.
Leaders of the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in Italy have reached an agreement to resurrect a coalition government. Both parties are euroskeptic and have promised to boost spending and crack down on immigration.
Kim Yong Chol, the de facto chief of staff to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, will be in Washington today to hand a letter to White House officials that says there has been “good progress” with regards to the two countries’ on-again, off-again nuclear summit talks.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad floated the possibility of conflict with U.S. forces if they aren’t withdrawn soon.
Spain will have a new prime minister. Pedro Sanchez will lead the country after his socialist party was able to topple centre-right leader Mariano Rajoy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had tasked his country’s military with preparing a strike on Iran in 2011, according to the former chief of Israel’s spy agency, Mossad.
And Mr. Trump says he didn’t fire former FBI director James Comey because of the Russia investigation. He previously said that’s why he fired Mr. Comey a year ago.