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Politics Politics Briefing: Trudeau apologizes for unparliamentary language

Good morning. We begin with a file from Globe reporter Laura Stone:

Frankly, he does give a damn.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized in the House of Commons at the end of Question Period yesterday afternoon for using what he called “unparliamentary language.”

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“Mr. Speaker, it was brought to my attention that in an outburst of enthusiasm, I may have used a word that was unparliamentary. I withdraw that word and apologize to anyone who was offended,” the Prime Minister told the Commons.

When asked by reporters what he said, Mr. Trudeau answered, “I’m not going to repeat what I said.”

But a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office says it was Mr. Trudeau’s use of “damn” that led to his apology.

During Question Period, Mr. Trudeau was asked by Conservative MP James Bezan about his government’s “asinine interim policy of buying used jets.”

To which Mr. Trudeau replied, “We are ensuring that the men and women in uniform who serve this country are given the equipment they need, and are not just used for photo ops, like the Conservatives did every damn time."

Whether such language is unparliamentary is up for debate. But perhaps Mr. Trudeau is remembering a previous outburst in 2011, in which he used a swear word in reference to then-environment minister Peter Kent, as the impetus for his pre-emptive apology.

Of course, there is his father Pierre Trudeau’s infamous explanation for what he may or may not have said in Parliament.

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But this was no fuddle duddle. Just a damn.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and James Keller in Vancouver. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

The federal government will launch national consultations on a handgun ban, the first step in a policy that the Liberals have been considering for months. They opted not to include the ban in a bill enacting other firearm restrictions. That bill, C-71, is expected to clear the House soon.

Canada wants the United States to promise it will not impose new tariffs on autos as part of the North American free-trade agreement talks.

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford is claiming victory in his quest to cut down the size of Toronto’s city council. A provincial court of appeal sided with the Ontario government and cleared the way for Toronto to run its election next month with just 25 wards, down from 47.

Meanwhile, if you thought Toronto’s city council was big: Montreal’s 216 municipal representatives say they don’t want Quebec getting any council-cutting ideas.

Vancouver’s housing crisis looms large over this fall’s municipal election campaign, and mayoral candidates are staking out positions on how to address the problem. The Globe’s Kerry Gold breaks down where the candidates stand ahead of the Oct. 20 vote.

Supermarket chain T&T is facing a backlash from customers and the Chinese government after including a map of China in a promotional campaign that did not include Taiwan. The company is the latest Canadian firm to find itself in hot water over Chinese territorial issues.

Manitoba has the highest number of kids in child welfare in the country, and a new report is urging the province to fix that by focusing more on supporting troubled families than on taking away their children.

And a coalition of Canadian aid organizations says it’s trying to combat sexual abuse in the industry after a scandal at Oxfam Great Britain earlier this year. “I want you to remember how absolutely bloody hard it is to have to stand up here and tell you about the worst moment in my life,” aid worker Megan Nobert told an Ottawa audience after sharing her own story of being assaulted.

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Denise Balkissoon (The Globe and Mail) on suppressing votes to counter fraud: “The threat of voter fraud has always been manufactured. One study focused on impersonation found 31 provable instances between 2000 and 2014, during which time more than one billion American votes were cast.”

Alice Woolley (The Globe and Mail) on Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s changes to Toronto city council: “Treating municipalities as mere statutory creations, subject to the changing political winds of a provincial government, causes material harm to democracy and the rule of law, while simultaneously being difficult to limit through either law or politics.”

Chris Selley (National Post) on the future of the notwithstanding clause: “Many have fretted that Ford will have emboldened other governments and governments-in-waiting to use the notwithstanding clause more. But because of the dodgy, vindictive and pointless circumstances in which Ford tried to use it, just as many other governments and governments-in-waiting are going to revile the manoeuvre all the more.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on PEI shutting down its immigrant entrepreneur program: “Critics said the lax conditions made PEI an easy mark for immigrants who wanted to gain entry to Canada, but who had little intention to stick around and invest in PEI. The government’s own statistics suggest the critics had a point.”

Jim Vibert (Halifax ChronicleHerald) on economic integration for the Atlantic provinces: “A common market of 2.3 million Atlantic Canadians won’t solve all the region’s economic woes, but it will move the needle on economic growth, and as [the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council] points out, the region can’t miss out on any opportunities to do that.”

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