Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “extremely concerned” about the ongoing situation in British Columbia that has seen heavy rainstorms flooding rivers, which has led to mudslides in several areas around the region.
“As a government, we have been liaising closely with the government of British Columbia, providing support in any way we can, and we will continue to be there,” Mr. Trudeau told journalists today as he left a cabinet meeting at the West Block of Parliament.
Mr. Trudeau, who had a conference call scheduled with provincial and territorial premiers tonight, said he would be speaking with B.C. Premier John Horgan in particular, “to make sure he knows what our ministers have been saying, which is we are there to help in any way, shape or form possible.”
But a spokesperson for Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Minister said Ottawa is waiting for a specific ask from the B.C. government.
“The federal government stands by to assist the people of British Columbia as is necessary, if requested by the provincial government,” James Cudmore, a spokesperson for Bill Blair, said in a statement.
Mr. Cudmore said that Mr. Blair spoke to B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth about the situation on Monday night.
“We will always be there for Canadians in need and are closely monitoring the situation in southern B.C.,” Mr. Blair said in a tweet on Monday.
Alex Roy, a public affairs officer of the Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters, said in a statement that the Canadian Armed Forces has yet to receive a provincial request for assistance at this time.
“We continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. Planning and preparations are ongoing as we remain ready to respond and provide assistance to Canadians impacted by disastrous occurrences in B.C. and across the country,” he said in the statement.
The flooding has forced the evacuation of the southern Interior community of Merritt, home to 7,000 people, and led to a state of emergency in Abbotsford. Mudslides blocking Highway 7 between Agassiz and Hope prompted the deployment of search-and-rescue helicopters to rescue motorists.
Politics Briefing reached out to the B.C. government for comment on whether the province needs federal help, but did not receive a response by publication time.
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TRUDEAU PREPS FOR BIDEN MEETING - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold an in-person meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday in which he will push back against rising U.S. protectionism, as three of North America’s largest business organizations urge greater international trade co-operation on the continent.
BATTERS QUESTIONS O’TOOLE LEADERSHIP - Conservative Senator Denise Batters launched a petition calling on party members to support a review of Erin O’Toole’s leadership in a move that is expected to be the opening salvo of a protracted internal battle. Meanwhile, several Conservatives will speak out against Mr. O’Toole’s leadership in the next while, according to one Conservative MP. Another Conservative MP said they expect there will be continuing internal pressure on Mr. O’Toole to step down. Story here.
TORY MP REGRETS PAST PLEDGE - The Conservative MP leading outreach efforts for party leader Erin O’Toole says a six-year-old promise to create a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline still hangs over the party’s attempts to rebuild relationships with racialized communities today. From Global News. Story here.
ALBERTA SIGNS CHILDCARE DEAL - Alberta has signed on to Ottawa’s $10-a-day child care program, but not before Premier Jason Kenney dismissed the federal contribution as recycled provincial money and accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of playing favourites. Story here.
APOLOGY FOR MILITARY SEXUAL MISCONDUCT SURVIVORS - The country’s acting top military commander and the deputy minister of National Defence are expected to deliver a formal apology to survivors of sexual misconduct in the armed forces as early as this week, CBC News has learned.
MANITOBA PCs AGREE TO FACE GLOVER IN COURT - Fearing the long-term damage that could result from a drawn-out leadership dispute, the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party has agreed to face former candidate Shelly Glover in court before Christmas. Story from CBC here.
CALGARY DECLARES CLIMATE EMERGENCY - Calgary is the latest Canadian city to declare a climate emergency, but some raised concerns that the move could be seen as an attack on the energy sector. Story here.
CODERRE BOWS OUT - Former federal cabinet minister Denis Coderre is leaving politics after failing to regain the mayor’s job in Montreal. Story from CTV here.
THIS AND THAT
JOLY IN MEXICO, HEADED FOR WASHINGTON - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is in Mexico City today, and planning to be in Washington, D.C. this week. In Mexico City, Ms. Joly is meeting with Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the United Mexican States, and also participating in a roundtable discussion with Canadian business leaders, as well as meeting with Indigenous representatives. In Washington, Ms. Joly will be participating in the North American Leaders’ Summit, alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
VACCINATED SENATOR GRAPPLING WITH COVID-19 - The office of Senator Josée Forest-Niesing has provided an update on how she is faring with COVID-19, noting she contracted the virus despite being vaccinated twice. “She envisions a somewhat different recovery period from other COVID-19 patients due to her medical history of lung problems,” said the statement, noting she has been dealing with an autoimmune condition affecting her lungs for the past 15 years. The senator, a resident of Sudbury, Ont., who has been a Superior Court of Justice small claims court judge, was appointed to the senate in 2018 on the recommendation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
The Prime Minister attended private meetings, then chaired a cabinet meeting. He was also scheduled to host a call with provincial and territorial premiers to discuss ongoing collaboration on COVID-19 and vaccine rollout. An interview with the Prime Minister was scheduled to air on My Radio Edmonton 580 AM.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continued a visit to Iqaluit. He held a media availability with Nunavut MP Lori Idlout and assisted Ms. Idlout and Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell with water distribution, and was also scheduled to meet with Nunavut Employees Union president Jason Rochon and attend a community feast.
No schedules released for other leaders.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the “nearly dead” goal of holding climate heating to 1.5 C: “To combat climate heating requires a never-before-seen level of global co-operation. The world has not been able to overcome domestic self-interest but it has moved relatively quickly in a short amount of time. Glasgow encapsulates this. Progress, but not enough progress. Glasgow is at once a disappointment and also offers hope. The prominent American climate scientist Michael Mann said he sees “a potential path” to 1.5 C for the first time. “There is still reason to believe that’s possible,” he wrote. To reach the goal, countries have to act now. Limiting heating to 1.5 C, Mr. Sharma said, “will only survive if we keep our promises, if we translate commitments into rapid action, and if we deliver on the expectations set out in this Glasgow Climate Pact to increase ambitions to 2030, and beyond.” The hope for 1.5 C is tenuous. The world is fast running out of time.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how, as Alberta takes Ottawa’s child-care funding, Ontario’s resistance stands out even more: “It’s difficult to know precisely how hard Alberta Premier Jason Kenney bit his tongue before he agreed to hold a joint news conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce a federal-provincial deal for subsidized $10-a-day child care. But you can bet he didn’t find it easy. In the end, Mr. Kenney decided to take the truckloads of cash Ottawa was proffering. And now Ontario’s Doug Ford will struggle to explain why he hasn’t taken the money.”
Elliott Capell (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why Canada should host the next major COP summit: “As the United Nations’ multilateral summit COP26 came to a close in Glasgow, the Canadian delegation returned home having committed us to a number of worthwhile causes, from halting deforestation to ending overseas coal financing. But we are still on pace to fall well short of our headline emissions-reduction commitments. Canada has committed to reducing emissions by 40 to 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, but at our current pace we will achieve only a 16-per-cent reduction by then. Amid all this, it’s hard to ignore the naysayers of such events. We shouldn’t be spending the money – not to mention the carbon – needed to show up to these global events, they argue, especially if they only produce “business as usual and blah blah blah,” as youth activist Greta Thunberg put it. I agree. Canada should not travel to the next major conference – COP31, likely to be held in 2026. Rather, we should host.”
Mohammed Adam (The Ottawa Citizen) on how light rail could make or break the 2022 election for Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson: “Watson’s connection to the city is deep and his personality is overpowering. He has also run the city well and many say the election is his to lose. It would take something extraordinary to defeat him. That thing may be LRT failure. The unflattering media portrayal of him as something of an autocrat is also becoming increasingly problematic, but he could weather that, say colleagues; many people just don’t care about insider politics. But if the O Train is still dysfunctional going into the new year, Watson would be extremely vulnerable.”
Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on Jason Kenney’s agitated party dragging down his good-news day this week: “Monday should have been one of Premier Jason Kenney’s best days in office. But he started with the familiar anvil around his neck – his own United Conservative Party. The province signed a child-care deal with Ottawa. This is a monumental agreement, the biggest social policy advance of Kenney’s tenure. It will be popular among families with young kids. And this Premier, riding barely above 20 per cent approval, desperately needs a boost. The anvil dropped an hour before the daycare announcement in Edmonton, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on hand. Twenty-two of Kenney’s 87 riding associations went public with their demand for an early leadership review vote.”
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