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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought the story of Lytton to the global stage today, citing the B.C. community’s destruction by a wildfire as a call to action.

“What happened in Lytton can and has and will happen anywhere. How many more signs do we need?” Mr. Trudeau told the COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

On June 30, 2021, the southern B.C. village of about 250 people, about 260 kilometres from Vancouver, was destroyed by a wildfire.

The fire came a day after Lytton set a Canadian all-time-high 49.6 C temperature record. Two people were killed.

Mr. Trudeau cited that the temperature record in telling the story.

“Canada is warming, on average, twice as quickly as the rest of the world. And in our north, it’s three times quicker. The science is clear: We must do more faster. So that’s the pledge and call I bring to this historic meeting.”

Mr. Trudeau’s cited Lytton and warming in B.C. as the BC Coroners Service said today that British Columbia’s unprecedented heat dome this summer, from June 18 to Aug. 12 killed 362 people in the span of 48 hours. People 70 and older accounted for 69 per cent of the deaths, the coroners service reports. Almost all – 96 per cent – died at home as B.C. shattered dozens of temperature records daily. Andrea Woo reports here on the situation.

In his remarks, Mr. Trudeau cited Canada’s increasing carbon tax, and called for a minimum standard for pricing pollution. “We must work together to ensure it’s no longer free to pollute anywhere around the world,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said Canada will cap oil and gas sector emissions. Canada has promised to develop a plan to reduce oil and gas methane emissions to at least 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030.

Today, the Prime Minister’s office also, in a statement, touted a new commitment by Canada to end exports of thermal coal by no later than 2030, and spend $1-billion to help developing countries transition from coal-fired electricity to clean power.

Last week, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for the Trudeau government to take bolder steps on dealing with climate change, including a new emission reduction target of at least 50 per cent, a commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and a plan that supports workers and communities impacted by the fight against climate change.”

Also on COP26:

The Globe and Mail team track developments at the COP26 environmental conference here.

G20 AHEAD OF COP26 - Leaders of the world’s largest economies reached a climate agreement in the final hours of the G20 summit in Rome but it fell well short of the breakthroughs delegates at the global climate conference in Glasgow wanted to build momentum for new carbon-reduction commitments.

The National Post tracks Steven Guilbeault’s climb from tree hugger to federal Environment Minister. “In many ways… I’m still this guy who climbed the CN Tower,” Mr. Guilbeault said in 2019. The lead photo for the profile is striking. Profile here.

As COP26 proceeds, there’s a Globe and Mail explainer here on the environmental conference.

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.


NEW MANIOBA PREMIER? - Heather Stefanson was elected leader of Manitoba’s governing Progressive Conservatives over the weekend so is set to become Manitoba’s first female premier, and the only female premier among the provinces. Today, however, the runner-up, former federal cabinet minister Shelly Glover announced she is challenging the results and wants the winner’s swearing-in delayed. Story here. Meanwhile, CBC’s Bartley Kives explores here how Ms. Stefanson’s team approached the leadershIp campaign.

FEDS APPEAL INDIGENOUS RULING - The federal government intends to appeal a court’s decision to uphold tribunal findings that could leave Ottawa liable for billions of dollars in payments to Indigenous children and their families. Story here.

PRESSURE ON FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER - How long Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s second minority government lasts and how much it manages to get done depends to a large degree on Mark Holland, the veteran Liberal MP promoted to cabinet as the new government House leader.

NEW GESTURE NEEDED IF FLAG RAISED - The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations says there needs to be another symbolic gesture made to recognize the genocide of Indigenous children if Canada wants to raise its flag. Story here.

B.C. MAYOR CRITICIZED FOR RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS COMMENT - The mayor of Williams Lake, B.C., a former BC Liberal member of the provincial legislature, is facing calls to resign after he shared a social media post claiming there is an “other side” to residential schools. From CBC.

LIBERAL/NDP GOVERNANCE DEAL? - Maclean’s reports here that senior federal Liberals and New Democrats are considering the idea of a deal that would allow the government to go three years without falling on a confidence vote.

ONTARIO PCS REACH OUT TO LABOUR MOVEMENT - Love of labour: A look at the union charm offensive of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government. Story here.

ONTARIO TO TRANSFER DEATH REGISTRATIONS - Ontario says it has found about 1,800 death registrations of school-aged Indigenous children that it will release to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Story here.

VANCOUVER MAYOR’S RACE KICKS OFF - With less than a year to go before the Oct. 15, 2022 vote, civic-election campaign season in Vancouver has begun with Mayor Kennedy Stewart, a former NDP MP, seeking re-election and Mark Mariessen, a long-time federal and provincial political consultant, among the challengers. Story here.

EX-ONT AG BRYANT HAS NEW BC JOB - Former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant is returning to his home province of British Columbia to head Legal Aid B.C. From The Vancouver Sun. Story here.


MORE ON SENATE VACCINATION - The Senate says all staff will have to be fully vaccinated, effective Nov. 22 - a policy announced today that follows an announcement last week that all senators will have to be vaccinated. A statement here says details on the plan for staff are being finalized.

NEW JOB FOR ZATZMAN - Noah Zatzman, the former senior adviser of ex-Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, has a new job. He has joined the Aurora Strategy Group, a public affairs, government and public relations firm based in Toronto, with offices in Atlantic and Western Canada.

MAVERICK PARTY ELECTING LEADER - The Maverick Party, based in Western Canada, will elect a permanent leader on May 14, 2022, interim leader Jay Hill said in a statement issued today. Mr. Hill, the former B.C. MP and Government House Leader in the House of Commons, has served as interim leader since the party’s launch last September. The party won 0.20 per cent of the vote in the September federal election.

BOYER DEPARTS - Ottawa-based CTV national correspondent Michael Boyer says he is leaving journalism. “After starting with CTV first 18 years ago, I have decided it’s time to start a new adventure. I am leaving the company and leaving media altogether.” In a video posted today on his Twitter account, Mr. Boyer said the pandemic has provided an opportunity to consider his professional goals. “Frankly, it’s time to flex some different muscles,” he said. He did not detail exactly what he will be doing next.


The Prime Minister is in Glasgow for the COP26 environmental summit. He held private meetings at the start of the day and attended the summit opening ceremony. He schedule today consisted of a bilateral meeting with Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition & Solutions, delivering Canada’s national statement, participating in a World Leaders’ Summit event, meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, attending a reception held by United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and participating in the COP26 family photo.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attends the COP26 environmental conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

No schedules released for any party leaders.


John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why all the political options for Justin Trudeau are bad when it comes to Quebec losing a seat in the House of Commons: Not surprisingly, the Bloc Québécois and the Quebec government are demanding that the province’s representation not diminish, on the grounds that its MPs have a special mandate in the House to speak for and protect Quebec’s culture and language. The Liberal government has two options. The first is to do nothing and allow Elections Canada to proceed with redistribution by establishing electoral commissions for each province that will redraw riding boundaries based on the latest census data. That process is scheduled to begin in February. The second option is to introduce a new redistribution formula through legislation. That formula could ensure that Quebec’s seat count does not fall below its current 78 seats, though the province’s relative weight would decline as the House expands in size.”

Doug Saunders (The Globe and Mail) on the flaw in the foundation of the net-zero emissions plan: “There’s a simple formula – the idea is to decarbonize the electric sector and then to run everything on electricity that you possibly can. Doing those two things together gets you a long way, but definitely not all the way.” So says Samantha Gross, a climate-policy expert at the Brookings Institution and a former head of the climate-policy office at the U.S. Department of Energy. She recently published a report on the neglected challenge of decarbonizing heavy industry. It found that this simple formula for cutting carbon emissions really does not work in three major industries: steel, chemicals and concrete.”

Jennifer Robson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on failings in end for the CRB, and why the government owes workers a smooth transition: On Oct. 21, the federal government announced several important changes to its suite of pandemic income support measures for businesses and workers. With aggregate employment largely back up to pre-pandemic levels, and the unemployment rate hitting a pandemic-era low in September, the government declared victory and moved on. As part of its announcement, the federal government gave just 48 hours notice to as many as 800,000 workers that their primary COVID-19 support program, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), would be coming to an end. No program with a strong business lobby would have been handled this way.”

Brooks DeCillia, Melanee Thomas, Lori Thorlakson (Policy Options) on why many Albertans are fine with an oil-and-gas future: Our research, published recently in Environmental Politics, shows that while the majority of Albertans support moving away from fossil fuels toward more renewable sources of energy, a sizeable minority does not. Instead, the continued confidence of many Albertans in the potential economic benefits of the Prairie province’s fossil fuel industry decreases their support for renewable energy such as solar and wind power, and other climate change reduction policies. Like their premier, they continue to favour betting on the economic prosperity of Alberta’s oil and gas industry over switching to clean energy.”

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