Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weighed into the issue of conflict in Jerusalem, denouncing “inflamed rhetoric” from Israel’s government as well as condemning rocket attacks from militants in Gaza.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau, unprompted, spoke out after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, clashing with Palestinians who hurled stones and firecrackers in a burst of violence during a sensitive holiday season.
Palestinian militants in Gaza responded with rocket fire on southern Israel, prompting repeated Israeli airstrikes. Story here.
Mr. Trudeau was not asked by journalists about the issue during a news conference in Alliston, Ont., but said that he wanted to speak on the matter.
“It’s the holy month of Ramadan. It’s Passover right now. And families, Israeli and Palestinian, deserve to be able to celebrate and reflect in peace and security. That’s why we deplore what’s going on right now in Israel,” he said.
“We’re extremely concerned with the inflamed rhetoric coming out of the Israeli government. We’re concerned about the judicial reforms that have an awful lot of Israelis concerned as well. We’re concerned by the violence around the Al-Aqsa Mosque during this holy month. We need to see Israel, the Israeli government shifting in its approach – and Canada is saying that as a dear and close and steadfast friend to Israel,” Mr. Trudeau said.
“We are deeply concerned around the direction that the Israeli government has been taking.”
The Prime Minister added that “we absolutely and unequivocally condemn” the rocket attacks from militants in Gaza.
“We need to see a de-escalation of violence. We need to see people living in peace and prosperity, side by side.”
On Tuesday evening, Liberal MP Salma Zahid criticized her own government’s response to Israel’s administration, saying, in a tweet, that “Canada cannot stand by and issue bland statements any more,” and “either we stand for human rights or we don’t.”
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.
CHINA ACCUSES CANADA OF FOREIGN INTRFERENCE - The Chinese government is accusing Canada of foreign interference, after a high-profile parliamentary committee released a report that says the Taiwanese people, rather than Beijing, should decide the fate of the self-ruled island. Story here.
ONTARIO MAKING IT EASIER FOR SOME FOREIGN-TRAINED DOCTORS - Ontario’s physician regulator is making it easier for doctors who were trained in the U.S., Ireland, Australia and Britain to practise medicine in the province, as jurisdictions around the country compete to remove licensing barriers in an effort to address chronic shortages in health care. Story here.
UCP FINANCING PROPOSED FOR DANIELLE SMITH LEGAL ACTION - Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says her United Conservative Party is paying for legal action she is considering against the CBC, which the opposition NDP says raises the question of whether the government rejected pursuing the lawsuit. Story here.
QUEBEC GOVERNMENT ORDERED TO PAY CHAREST $385,000 OVER LEAK - A court has ordered the Quebec government to pay ex-Liberal premier Jean Charest $385,000 because information about a corruption investigation targeting his former party was leaked to journalists. Story here.
TENT ENCAMPMENT DISMANTLED IN VANCOUVER - Vancouver police and city staff were dispatched Wednesday to dismantle a tent encampment along Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as the city’s mayor, fire chief and police chief said an extreme fire risk and escalating crime had made the encampment a deadly hazard. Story here.
INDIGENOUS CHILD-WELFARE SETTLEMENT TO BE PRESENTED TO TRIBUNAL - A multibillion-dollar settlement for children and families harmed by Ottawa’s underfunding of on-reserve services will be presented to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for approval after being endorsed by First Nations chiefs. Story here.
POLICE CHIEFS SEEK MEETING WITH PREMIERS - The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has requested an urgent meeting with Canada’s premiers to discuss bail reform and the recent killings of officers. Story here.
CHOOSE BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND EUROPE: FRENCH AMBASSADOR - France’s ambassador to Canada says Ottawa must choose between tying itself entirely to Washington or broadening its links to partner more with Europe – while also calling out Canada’s “weak” military engagement. Story here.
WORK UNDER WAY TO DECIDE FATE OF 24 SUSSEX: PM - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says work is under way to decide the fate of 24 Sussex Dr., the official residence of Canada’s prime ministers since 1951, amid reports of a rodent infestation in the 155-year-old building. Story here.
HYGENISTS PREPARING FOR INFLUX OF UNCLEANED TEETH - Dental hygienists are preparing for an influx of Canadians who haven’t been able to afford to have their teeth professionally cleaned for years – or even decades – when the federal dental plan rolls out. Story here.
WINTER CONFOUNDS OTTAWA LRT - Ottawa’s light-rail transit system has once again been shut down amid a freezing rain storm, leaving some passengers stranded on trains Wednesday. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
ON A BREAK – Both the House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks, with the Commons sitting again on April 17 and the Senate sitting again on April 18.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY - Chrystia Freeland, also the Finance Minister, in Long Harbour, N.L., held private meetings, met with the leadership of a nickel processing plant to discuss relevant budget measures, and toured the plant to meet with workers. In St. John’s, Ms. Freeland held a round-table discussion with members of Energy NL, which represents the supply-and-service sector of the energy industry.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - If a cabinet minister has not yet been to your community to highlight the federal budget, it may just be a matter of time. With the House of Commons on a two-week break, ministers continued to travel the country touting the budget. On Wednesday: Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, held a budget event in Sault Ste. Marie. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, in Sydney, N.S., held a budget event at Cape Breton University. Families Minister Karina Gould, in Ottawa, visited GBatteries. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in Saint-Jérôme, Que., discussed the budget’s clean investment tax credits. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, in Montreal, visited a business. Seniors Minister Kamal Khera, was in Mississauga, Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, in Milton, visited Eaton Electrical.
Meanwhile, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, was in Edmonton, with Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, at a cement plant to announce policy on reducing carbon emissions in Canada’s cement and concrete industry. Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, on Wednesday, concluded a visit to Norway and Iceland.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the Greater Toronto Area, met with workers at an automotive manufacturing plant, then made an announcement on federal budget measures, and took media questions. Later in the afternoon, Mr. Trudeau participated in a town hall with postsecondary students.
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre held a news conference in Thetford Mines, Que.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Halifax, visited the Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry to meet students and staff, spoke virtually to the Assembly of First Nations’ Special Chiefs Assembly, and held a meet-and-greet event in Halifax.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, amid the fallout of Donald Trump becoming the first former U.S. president to be indicted on criminal charges, frequent Globe contributor Jared Yates Sexton explains where the Make America Great Again movement that brought Trump to power is at now and how they might shape the current political situation. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the question of whether Ottawa is ready for the coming robots: “Last week, hundreds of tech leaders signed an open letter calling for a brief moratorium on new developments in artificial intelligence. The letter raises big questions: “Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop non-human minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?” Those are worthwhile questions, and it is refreshing to see some of the people who have helped us get to this point start to ask them. Whether it is even possible to stuff the electric genie back in the hard drive, as it were, the letter is right that there is urgency to an issue that will have profound effects on the economy and society. Which is why Ottawa needs to start taking AI advances seriously. On the economic front, there is both good and bad news.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how that PBO study doesn’t prove the carbon tax is a stealth cash grab: “This government has enough actual lies on its record without inventing new ones. There is simply no construction of the facts that supports the “money grab” claim. Indeed, as long as we’re including economic impacts, it is worth noting that the PBO projects a net loss to the federal treasury, taking reduced income tax revenues into account, on the order of $7-billion annually, by the time the tax is fully phased in. So the aha-ers are just as wrong as they ever were.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Erin O’Toole as one of the best prime ministers we never had: “But we may one day wish we’d had Mr. O’Toole as prime minister. He offered optimistic, inclusive and responsible conservative government. During the 2021 campaign, I called his election manifesto “thoughtful populism.” The term fit the politician as well as the platform. Former Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield has been dubbed the best prime minister Canada never had. We may one day say the same of Erin O’Toole.”
Sandy Simpson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how we need more social supports - not more policing - to prevent violence on the TTC: “This problem of violence is not only a poverty problem or an addictions problem or a mental health problem. Criminal justice responses are needed and there needs to be accountability for criminal behaviour, but we cannot police or imprison our way out of this situation. In my work in a major remand centre, I see these stories. Incarceration further fractures troubled lives, and there is too little time and resources to mend these fractures. So what are the answers? We need to recognize the complexity of these issues and not jump to narrow conclusions.”
Eric M. Adams (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s ill-advised call sends a troubling message about the rule of law: “The call may not have yielded anything of substance to Mr. Pawlowski, but a reasonable person might justly worry that it might have. The mere fact of direct access to the Premier provided by a mutual friend to discuss a live set of legal issues involving criminal and provincial offences displays a shocking disregard for the prudence, caution and good sense required of those holding high office and responsible for the administration of justice. This was a call no premier should ever take.”
Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on Alberta Premier Danielle Smith heading for election with her own judgment igniting Lake of Fire 2.0: “The Lake of Fire consumed then-Wildrose leader Danielle Smith’s campaign in 2012. Now the identical problem – her failure to condemn intolerant and repugnant views – may do it again to the now UCP Premier. One irony is that extremist pastor Artur Pawlowski, the cause of her current troubles, condemned Smith in 2012. He said she was too tolerant. Pawlowski spotted a photo of Smith at a Hindu ceremony, wearing traditional clothes and asking the gods for a blessing. This was standard campaign behaviour, but Pawlowski exploded. He wouldn’t vote for Smith, he said, “because she crossed the line from being tolerant of other people and their beliefs to actively participating in their idolatrous practices.” Now she takes a cheery call from that very pastor about his court charges. The same guy she once blasted for extremism.”