Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sharply criticized the Conservative Party’s policy on Ukraine today, suggesting the Official Opposition is siding with a global trend in favour of right-wing populism.
“The real story is the rise of a right wing, American MAGA-influenced thinking that has made Canadian conservatives who used to be among the strongest defenders of Ukraine, I’ll admit it, turn their backs on something Ukraine needs in its hour of need,” Trudeau told a news conference in St. John’s where he was meeting with European Union leaders.
MAGA refers to the “Make America Great Again” slogan of former U.S. president Donald Trump.
Trudeau was responding to a question about the Conservatives voting against a free-trade deal between Canada and the Ukraine, citing concerns that the deal supports carbon pricing which is at odds with their policies.
The Conservative Party voted en masse Tuesday against the enabling legislation for a revised Canada-Ukraine free-trade agreement and Poilievre explained that his MPs could not support a deal that imposes a “carbon tax” on Ukraine.
However, Ukraine’s embassy in Canada says the upgraded free-trade agreement between Ottawa and Kyiv does not contain “taxation instruments” to reduce carbon emissions. Senior Parliamentary reporter Steven Chase reports here on the dispute.
Canada also announced another $60-million contribution of military aid for Ukraine today, including nine million rounds of ammunition and around 11,000 firearms, The Canadian Press reports. That’s part of a $500-million package of aid that was announced during the summer.
Canada has committed more than $2.4-billion in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country began in February 2022.
On another note, Trudeau said this week’s deal in the Israel-Hamas war to temporarily halt hostilities so some hostages can be released is a sign of progress.
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Tory Senate Leader Don Plett makes tearful apology for yelling at female senators - Choking back tears, Plett said he “never intended to cause harm or discomfort” when he approached senators Bernadette Clement and Raymonde Saint-Germain and shouted at them on Nov. 9 after moves to adjourn a debate on a bill that the Conservatives supported.
B.C. Energy Minister’s dropped memo ends up in hands of Opposition BC United - Josie Osborne says she dropped the document, but cannot say where. “That’s my mistake,” she said. “This is something that can happen from time to time. It’s not great.”
Trade Minister says panel rules ‘clearly in favour of Canada’ in dairy-imports dispute with U.S. - A settlement panel has rejected complaints from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office over how Canada is allocating its dairy import quotas. Story here.
Victims in Rainbow Bridge border crash identified as New York couple - The Niagara Falls Police Department named the couple as Kurt P. Villani and Monica Villani, both 53, of Grand Island, a leafy Buffalo suburb close to the falls.
Up to 900 foreign workers to assemble and fit flagship Canadian EV battery plant, company says - The disclosure by NextStar Energy follows an outcry by MPs and local unions that jobs at the factory could go to temporary workers from Korea, stripping promised employment from Canadians. Story here.
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Protesters held back by police as Canada-EU summit kicks off in St. John’s brewpub - As some of the wealthiest and most influential people in Newfoundland and Labrador welcomed world leaders inside a St. John’s bar this week, dozens of police officers held back an equal number of protesters outside.
.THIS AND THAT
Staff changes in PMO - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting a new communications executive. Max Valiquette will be joining Trudeau’s office in early December as executive director of communications. Valiquette, who has had a 25-year plus career in communications and marketing, is joining the office to oversee the communications, digital, research, and advertising teams. He previously worked on Trudeau’s 2015 election campaign.
Meanwhile, there will be other shifts in the PMO communications team. Vanessa Hage-Moussa, acting communications director since June, becomes the permanent communications director. Ann-Clara Vaillancourt becomes media relations director, and Astrid Krizus is now the deputy communications director as well as climate adviser.
Today in the Commons – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Nov. 24, accessible here.
Deputy Prime Minister’s Day - Private meetings in Ottawa.
Ministers on the Road - In Quebec City, Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, along with Public Services Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, a Quebec MP, announced an agreement to end gender-based violence in Quebec with representatives of the Quebec government. Diversity Minister Kamal Khera, in Brampton, Ont., announced the federal contribution to support housing needs for asylum seekers in the Peel Region.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Justin Trudeau has been in St. John’s for a summit with leaders of the European Union, concluding today. He is playing host to European Union President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He met with the leaders in the morning. Just before noon, he held a joint media availability with von der Leyen and Michel. Following that event, the leaders visited a local innovation and technology hub.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, in Kitchener, Ont., participated virtually in Commons proceedings and later campaigned for Aislinn Clancy, the Green candidate in the Kitchener Centre provincial byelection.
No schedules released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
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The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how subsidies to rich seniors make no sense: “Ottawa is starting to feel the pinch of its fiscal handcuffs this year, as flagging revenue growth and surging debt costs limit the spending propensities – or at least ability – of the Liberals. But those handcuffs are going to grow much tighter through the rest of this decade. According to new projections in this week’s fall economic statement, just two categories, elderly benefits and debt servicing costs, will account for 52 cents out of every new dollar that the federal government spends in fiscal 2028-29 compared with fiscal 2022-23.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how, pressed on Ukraine trade deal, Pierre Poilievre is telling tales: “While Pierre Poilievre claims that the new, updated Canada-Ukraine free-trade agreement would force Ukraine to adopt a carbon tax, there is a pretty good source that says that is not so: Ukraine. For some bizarre reason, Mr. Poilievre – a Conservative leader with a 14-point lead in polls who is heading what is supposed to be a government-in-waiting – insists on using that false claim to justify voting against a trade deal that war-weary Ukraine dearly wants.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberals’ new definition of restraint: overspending by less than they had previously: “This year’s fall economic statement, I read in the news, was all about ‘restraint.’ But then, so was last year’s statement. So was the spring budget, and the budget before that. Every time the Liberals update the country on the state of its finances, it is accompanied by pages of prose trumpeting the government’s devotion to fiscal restraint. And yet, every time, spending somehow ratchets higher. Over the years this contradiction has required ever more creative arguments to conceal.”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on the Trudeau government meandering on financial crime even as FinTRAC cracks the whip on businesses: “Canada is fighting financial crime in fits and starts. The federal government conveyed this week that money laundering, terrorist financing and evasion of sanctions are ‘real threats’ that harm the ‘integrity of our financial system and have real costs for the Canadian economy.’ That’s why it was disappointing the fall economic statement kicked the can down the road on taking decisive action to solve these pressing problems.”
Peter Humphrey (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Michael Spavor’s accusations are playing into Beijing’s hands: “It is not unusual for friends in the business and diplomatic community or journalists to trade political gossip over a drink in a bar. It is not unusual for somebody who resides in China, and does travel regularly to North Korea, to gossip with their mates about what is going on in the Hermit Kingdom – though it is unusual for anybody to frequent there. But for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both of whom were hostages of Beijing on false espionage charges for three years, this habit of old friends has turned toxic.”
Shachi Kurl (The Ottawa Citizen) on how Pierre Poilievre, as a potential prime minister, needs to choose his words much more carefully: “In politics, it is never too early or too late for a winning team to blow its lead. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre appears to have decided that now is the time to risk squandering his political good fortune. In the hours after an explosion killed two people at the Rainbow Bridge this week, some early reportage relied heavily on unconfirmed, unnamed sources. Networks put so-called ‘security experts’ on air to speculate about ‘terror cells’ and ‘self-radicalization.’ In the end, there was no evidence of terrorism. As Official Opposition leader enjoying a 14-point advantage, and knowing he’s being evaluated as a potential prime minister, Poilievre should also know the weight and influence of his words. But things started to unravel during Wednesday’s question period when he specifically referred to terror.”
Phil Tank (Saskatoon StarPheonix) on how the male-dominated Saskatchewan Party is unconvincing as a champion of women: “The scandal comes about a year after a government MLA invited convicted wife killer Colin Thatcher to attend the Saskatchewan throne speech, which was initially defended by the government. Moe later offered an awkward apology. Yet statements about the need to support vulnerable women would carry more weight if they did not come from the most male-dominated provincial government in Canada – one that has been in power for 16 years. Just 18 per cent of government MLAs are women, or eight out of 45 after Domotor’s removal.”