Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with opposition leaders in advance of next week’s Throne Speech, his office says today.
Yesterday, Mr. Trudeau was non-committal when asked about whether he was listening to opposition input, given he will need at least one party’s support in order for his minority Liberal government to stay alive. “We have been engaging with opposition parties throughout this COVID crisis, listening to their priorities,” he told reporters on Monday. “They’ve made public their reflections around what they’d like to see go forward. We’ve been engaging them at multiple levels. We will continue to engage with them.”
If the Liberals do not get another party on board, Canada may be plunged into another election this fall. New Brunswick was the first province to hold an election under pandemic rules, and it saw the governing Progressive Conservatives returned to power with more seats than they had before.
Given that, some have wondered if the Liberals could try to do the same. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, a veteran New Brunswick MP, poured cold water on the idea when asked about it this morning on his way into the second day of the Liberal cabinet’s retreat – and took a shot at the NDP for their results in the 2015 election.
“Yeah, I’ve always thought that it was a mistake to superimpose a provincial election result on a national election,” Mr. LeBlanc said. “The history is littered with people who drew conclusions. [Former NDP leader] Tom Mulcair, when Premier [Rachel] Notley won in Alberta, Tom Mulcair took credit for that and was just about to have a big breakthrough with the NDP. The road is littered with people who have erroneously ascribed some significant meaning to a provincial election.”
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Ontario and Quebec are bracing for what could be the beginnings of the dreaded second wave of COVID-19. Case counts in the provinces have been rising quickly, matching numbers seen as the first wave began to sweep Canada in the spring. Health Minister Patty Hajdu told reporters this morning that governments are looking at more targetted lockdowns, if required, rather than the full-scale lockdowns ordered early in the pandemic. Ms. Hajdu said a major factor for the rise in infections has been people getting tired of the public-health measures required to contain outbreaks. “It’s exhausting to be apart from the people that you love, to be apart from your family and your friends and the challenge is we have to keep it up," she said.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is meeting with his MPs today and Thursday to talk about the upcoming Speech from the Throne and the fall session of Parliament. Mr. Singh told The Globe he’s looking for action on a few files, such as an expansion of the social safety net.
The entire Bloc Québécois caucus, meanwhile, would not be capable of meeting in person right now because they are self-isolating after a staffer for leader Yves-François Blanchet tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he knows Quebec’s ban on some public servants wearing religious symbols is a “difficult question,” but if he became prime minister he would respect the province’s autonomy and would not challenge the law.
Leslyn Lewis, who drew attention with a strong finish in the Conservative leadership this summer, is eyeing a run for the Hamilton-area seat being vacated by veteran Conservative MP Diane Finley.
Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu says making disciplinary decisions public will be part of the province’s review of policing.
And the government has installed new management in its team overseeing a pandemic early-warning system, following a Globe and Mail investigation about how the system was effectively silenced last year.
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on COVID-19 fatigue: “We need to be aware that, in a pandemic, things can escalate quickly. Consider France, which went from fewer than 500 cases a day in mid-June to a staggering 9,000 cases in a single day last week. That’s the price of complacency.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the prospects of an election this fall: “The most compelling reason not to call an election can be found in the latest data showing sharp rises in COVID-19 infections in much of Canada. We may well face another round of restrictions this fall, with accompanying economic damage. Mr. Trudeau believes Canadians want more than simply a return to the status quo. I don’t know about you, but I’d give my eyeteeth for a return to the status quo.”
David Dodge (The Globe and Mail) on how to handle the federal budget in a pandemic: “To avoid future spending cuts or tax hikes or both of the 1990s variety, we must move quickly to tame these twin deficits. That will require directing much of today’s government borrowing to raising future productive capacity – and therefore growth – and not just supporting present-day consumption.”
Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s Indigenous policies: “O’Toole has stated that improving relations with Indigenous peoples must be a priority, but what is he bringing to the table? He brings the old, failed policies and attitudes from the Harper government. To succeed, he must move on and modernize and expand the relationship between First Nations and the federal government. The days of more supervision and patronizing are over.”
Lise Ravary (Montreal Gazette) on why Quebec must be aggressive about French-language policies: “If cultural and linguistic diversity makes the world a richer place, why then is there still animosity toward one small, non-imperialistic, non-threatening people’s efforts to protect what makes it unique in North America — its language?”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on Aline Chrétien’s influence on her husband Jean: “She did for him exactly what his mother had hoped. No more school expulsions; no more boozing. She worked on his wardrobe, his presentation, his English. He had no choice but to change his ways, he recalled. If he didn’t, he knew he would lose her.”