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.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the nomination of Ontario Appeal Court Justice Mahmud Jamal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Jamal is to fill a vacancy created by the looming retirement of Justice Rosalie Abella, who departs Canada’s highest court on Canada Day after serving since 2004.
“I know that Justice Jamal, with his exceptional legal and academic experience and dedication to serving others, will be a valuable asset to our country’s highest court,” Mr. Trudeau said in a statement.
Justiice Jamal, who has South Asian roots, is the first racialized Canadian nominated to the court. He has been a member of the Ontario appeal court since 2019. He is bilingual. Indeed, he is one of nine judges on the Ontario appeal court who hears cases in French.
He appeared in 35 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada on civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues, and also taught constitutional law at McGill University and administrative law at Osgood Hall Law School.
Of Justice Jamal, Mr. Fine wrote in part: “Justice Jamal is seen as an outstanding constitutional thinker. As a litigator, he appeared about 35 times before the Supreme Court on a wide variety of cases, from civil to constitutional to criminal to regulatory. His practice took him regularly to courts in other provinces, especially Quebec, British Columbia and New Brunswick.
And he has something in common with Justice Minister David Lametti: law degrees from McGill University and Yale University, and a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada. The Liberals appointed him straight from practice to the appeal court in 2019, a mark of the esteem in which they hold him. If selected, he could shape law and the social fabric for two decades, as he won’t be 75 until 2042.”
CONSERVATIVES VERSUS BERNIER - The costs of a secret political war room targeting Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party of Canada were invoiced to the Conservative Party of Canada’s headquarters, newly obtained documents show. The Globe and Mail first reported during the 2019 federal election campaign that the Conservative Party hired the Daisy Group consulting firm, led by former Liberal adviser Warren Kinsella, to run a “seek and destroy” effort earlier that year called Project Cactus. The plan focused on discrediting Mr. Bernier and keeping him out of the national leaders’ debates.
PAUL HANGING ON - Annamie Paul pledged on Wednesday to stay at the helm of an increasingly divided Green Party, and called the arguments used by members campaigning to have her removed racist and sexist.
SPEAKER RULES AGAINST LIBERALS - The Liberal government breached parliamentary privileges by failing to provide secret documents to the House that would explain the firing of two scientists from Canada’s top infectious disease lab in Winnipeg, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota ruled on Wednesday.
UNDRIP BILL PASSES SENATE THIRD READING - A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has passed third reading in the Senate, paving the way for the bill to be enshrined into law before a possible federal election.
QAQQAQ SPEAKS OUT - Ottawa Staff Reporter Menaka Raman-Wilms reports on departing MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq’s experience in Parliament. “I walked into a building on fire,” the New Democrat said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “I ran into it with a big smile on my face, and I really had no clue what I was in for.” The story is here.
MPS BACK BLOC MOTION - Members of Parliament have passed a motion, advanced by the Bloc Québécois, that supports Quebec’s plan to amend the Canadian Constitution so that it declares the province a nation, with French as its only official and common language.
NEW REPORT ON IMMIGRATION DETENTION ABUSE - Thousands of people, including those fleeing persecution and seeking protection in Canada, face abuse and discrimination in immigration detention, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
BC PREMIER EXPLAINS 30% INCREASE IN OFFICE COSTS - In British Columbia, NDP Premier John Horgan explains a 30 per cent increase in the budget for his own office, larger in percentage terms than for health, education and most other ministries of government. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer notes Mr. Horgan blamed the pandemic, cited the government’s ambitious agenda, and even claimed that the spending was necessary to show the public he was “genuine” about welcoming new ideas. Story here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Private meetings. The Prime Minister chairs the cabinet meeting. He also speaks with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey. And he hosts a call with provincial and territorial premiers.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet visits Quebec City , with a schedule that includes going to the Davie Shipyard, and a meeting with the mayor of Quebec City,
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference, in Ottawa, on the Conservative Opposition Day motion. He also delivers remarks at an Estevan, Moosomin and Weyburn Chambers of Commerce event in Saskatchewan.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a news conference , in Ottawa, on the decriminalization of illicit drug possession.
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the retreat of North Americanism: Canadians and Americans keep moving further apart: ‘All said, there’s been quite a turn since the heady days of free trade. Instead of continental cohesion, much division. Instead of a border thinner than ever, one thicker than ever. Instead of a new North Americanism, a retreat to a more fragmented mindset. “The heyday of the Canada-U.S. relationship has come and gone,” said Christopher Kirkey, director of the Center for the Study of Canada at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. “The trend is toward more divergence than convergence.” In addition to the advent of Mr. Trump, the calamities of 9/11 and the coronavirus, there were other factors. Free trade, as Mr. Kirkey observed, coincided with the end of the Cold War. That termination meant Canada needed the U.S. less and the U.S. needed Canada less. The special relationship between the two countries that was built in the period 1945 to 1990 became too difficult to sustain and it isn’t, in his view, about to be restored by Joe Biden’s protectionist Democrats. “I can tell you Canada is hardly on the radar screen in Washington. Let’s be blunt about that.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s Greens self destructing over Israel: “If you did not know that the Green Party of Canada was about a lot more than the environment, well, you should now. That a party born out of a goal to eliminate fossil fuels and nuclear power is tearing itself apart over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict says something about the self-delusion of the activists seeking to oust leader Annamie Paul on the eve of a federal election. The eco-socialist wing of the party has never accepted Ms. Paul, a convert to Judaism whose views on both foreign and domestic policy are too measured and mainstream to satisfy those who live to end capitalism and demonize Israel. That no Canadian government is ever going to do either, much less as the result of any righteous Green Party resolution, does not deter them from waging their pointless ideological wars.”
Tom Mulcair (Contributor to The Montreal Gazette) on why the new official-languages bill is welcome: “Bill C-32 breaks with official-language dogma by looking at what has become a clearly imbalanced linguistic situation and proposing solutions. Why is the current situation imbalanced? Simply put, because the use of French in all levels of the federal government and in federally regulated businesses is on the wane. Ottawa, and I speak from first-hand experience, is now English first and foremost. French has only a token place institutionally and has become a language of translation.”
Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It's not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.