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A strike at Canadian National Railway is in its fourth day, and businesses across the country say they are (or soon will be) feeling the pain. Even Quebec Premier François Legault said the province will soon suffer from a lack of propane used to heat hospitals and seniors homes.

The federal Liberals say they are trying to help both sides reach a deal. But they are hesitant to force one through back-to-work legislation.

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“We believe that collective mediation is the proper way to find a solution and the quickest way in fact to get everything back to work and we’re working very closely to try to find that solution,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters last night.

Parliament is currently scheduled to resume on Dec. 5. The House of Commons’ first order of business – whether or not it’s recalled earlier – will be to elect a new Speaker and to hear the Speech from the Throne.

And, in a situation where the Liberals have a minority government and the Senate is less predictable than ever, tabling a back-to-work bill doesn’t necessarily mean an easy or quick end to the strike.

“I’m firmly opposed to back-to-work legislation,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters on Tuesday.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, though, said in a statement that he wants Parliament back early and “emergency legislation” tabled – and that doing so would encourage an end to the strike, whether or not a bill is even passed.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

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An internal memo from the Global Affairs Department could be laying the groundwork for Canada to roll back its moratorium on sending arms to Saudi Arabia.

Some Conservative Party figures, including former interim leader Rona Ambrose, are asking for the party’s leadership to take a more clear stand in support of the rights of LGBTQ Canadians.

The NDP is calling on the Liberal government to lay out its path to helping women who have had forced or coerced sterilizations.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he is fed up with talk of western alienation, and the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan need to “get over” themselves.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says governments need to knock down barriers to trade between provinces.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said, he if could, he would “get rid of all the wind turbines” in the province because of their cost to taxpayers. Mr. Ford made the comment as part of justifying the provincial government’s $231-million in fees to cancel contracts for renewable energy projects. The Progressive Conservative government says rate payers will save money in the long run.

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And, also in Ontario, a court struck down the government’s directive that postsecondary students should be allowed to opt out of some fees.

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on the Alberta government’s move to terminate the elections watchdog: “The explanation provided by Finance Minister Travis Toews – that it will save money – is not a particularly good one, mind you. The government estimates the move will save Alberta’s coffers roughly $1-million over five years, or $200,000 a year, which is a rather insignificant amount for the head of someone who, coincidentally, has already levied more than $200,000 in fines – which go back into Alberta’s coffers – against UCP members. But credit to the UCP anyway for at least offering a somewhat plausible explanation. They could have just laughed and said: ‘Because he was investigating us, duh’ and hardly been worse for the wear.”

Doug Saunders (The Globe and Mail) on the future of NATO: “At some point in the foreseeable future, Europe is likely to end its seven-decade-old protective relationship with the United States, possibly supplementing or breaking up NATO in the process and creating an independent continental defence network. The question is when that point will be. Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, has shocked other European leaders, North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and many of his French colleagues by suggesting it ought to be now.”

Peter Menzies (The Globe and Mail) on Liberal telecom legislation: “But we have a minority government. That means framing sensible new legislation involving broadcasting will be a delicate matter because when a cultural discussion happens in Canada, language politics become involved, which means the issue of Quebec’s cultural autonomy comes up. Keeping in mind Quebec has never really conceded its jurisdiction over communications matters, that means it will be extremely difficult to frame any new legislation that could not be used by the Bloc Québécois and others to inflame francophone sensibilities.”

Don Martin (CTV) on Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly believes she is the best way to keep his badly wounded brand away from files that would be hurt, not helped, by his personal intervention.”

Jane Philpott (Maclean’s) on what it’s like to be a cabinet minister: “Use wise judgement to prioritize the tasks you’ve been assigned. As Minister of Health, everyone knew that I was obsessed with two things: the well-being of Indigenous peoples and the number of people dying from opioid overdoses. Let your team know what keeps you up at night.”

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