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Good morning,

Donald Trump, who cemented his place in American pop culture with a reality TV show, is creating a live Fourth of July celebration tonight that is fit for prime time: Tanks will roll, jets will soar and the businessman-turned-president will deliver a “Salute to America” speech.

The military celebration starts at 6:30 pm ET, followed by a concert and fireworks.

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It’s the first time the armed forces have had such an active role in Washington’s Fourth of July event since the 1800s. Those more militaristic celebrations, under presidents Madison and Polk, were timed around the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War.

The spectacle appears to have been a late idea. Politico reports that White House officials are trying to avoid a repeat of Mr. Trump’s inauguration, in which the size of the crowds did not live up to the President’s expectations, by scrambling to ensure there is enough attendance.

Unfortunately, they may not have Mother Nature on their side. There’s a chance of storms in the capital area tonight which would, well, literally rain on their parade.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Jordan Chittley and 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.


A new report issued Thursday morning says Canada should start “adaptation measures” to avoid major losses, damages and disruptions from the effects of climate change. The assessment released by the Council of Canadian Academies found that climate change poses the biggest risk to physical structure, coastal and northern communities, human health and wellness, ecosystems and to fisheries. It is an attempt to inform policy and funding decisions related to federal climate adaptation priorities.

Senior Canadian officials told The Globe that Mr. Trump Pressed Chinese leader Xi Jinping about two Canadians detained by China during their meeting last Saturday at the G20 summit in Japan. One official told the Canadian government Trump raised the issue “forcefully.” However, the Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t provide an on-the-record statement about the meeting. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry cautioned Canada about being “naïve” in thinking that the United States can help resolve its bilateral tensions with China. “It shouldn’t be so naïve as to believe that its so-called ally will earnestly pursue a Canadian agenda. They will only pay lip service, at best. The matter is, after all, between China and Canada.”

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As the fall election campaign begins to heat up, federal political parties are now receiving classified security briefings about potential foreign interference in the October election campaign. However, intelligence officials say no specific threat has so far been identified. The briefings are one part of a plan announced in January that included the creation of a Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force chaired by the Communications Security Establishment. CSE has issued two reports warning it is “very likely” that Canadian voters will encounter foreign cyber interference ahead of, and during, this election.

Ottawa is recommending the RCMP investigate the Montreal-based Dickens & Madson lobbying firm to see if it violated Canadian sanctions by signing a US$6-million contract to seek funding and equipment for Sudan’s new military regime. The firm has promised to burnish the image of the regime that seized power in a coup in April. The regime’s security forces later massacred more than 100 pro-democracy protesters in the capital of Khartoum in a bid to crush a protest camp.

Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation, says it will resume providing Canadian money and support to businesses in Saudi Arabia despite human-rights abuses in the country. EDC halted business dealings in the region in September, 2018, after Saudi authorities froze trade with Canada and expelled Canada’s ambassador following a tweet from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Saudi Arabia has been criticized for human-rights violations, including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but a spokeswoman for EDC says, “business conditions have improved to a point where we can again start considering support for Canadian companies exporting to that market.”

Patrick McDonell, who has been serving as acting sergeant-at-arms and head of security for the House of Commons since 2015, has been appointed sergeant-at-arms. He replaces Kevin Vickers, who is now the leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick.

Government employees are warning that the lapse of an agreement that gave retention bonuses to federal pay centre employees could halt progress in reducing a massive backlog of problems with the troubled Phoenix pay system. A memorandum that allowed incentives, which included cash to recruit and retain pay specialists, expired in June with no indication it would be renewed. Ottawa has offered incentives to workers trying to deal with the mountain of problems created from the Phoenix system since 2017.

Ontario’s new Minister of Community and Social Services says he is committed to making the number of children waiting for autism therapy services public. However, making the numbers public doesn’t address concerns in an internal report that the government knowingly inflated the size of the waitlist. Premier Doug Ford suddenly cut funding for autism services earlier this year and The Globe reported Friday that an internal review of changes to the program shows the government purposely spread misinformation about the costs and the backlog for treatment to justify a funding model that would leave families “destitute.”

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And in northern B.C., a candidate for the Conservative Party had an unusual birthday gift for her boyfriend: a human skull. Claire Rattée, who is running in the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, told APTN that the bones from the 1700s would make great reference for her partner’s tattoo art.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Canada not being able to count on Donald Trump: ”He is a famously inconstant ally, who has made looking out for number one a political virtue. He has made the trade war with China his biggest political cause. If he is bargaining with Mr. Xi, it’s for concessions for the U.S. Who really thinks he’d give up any part of his own political win for two Canadians?”

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on conservative guru Oren Cass: “Protectionism, then, does not protect our workers against other countries’, nor even workers against consumers, though that is nearer the truth. In reality, it protects some Canadian workers against other Canadian workers. Which workers fall into which group is decided not by how hard either works or the quality or price of what they produce, but by which can most successfully lobby politicians. Whatever the merits of letting lobbyists, rather than consumers, run the economy, it seems a long way from the fulfilling and productive labour Cass wants to encourage.”

Germain Belzile (The Globe and Mail) on why a carbon tax should replace less efficient policies: “Any carbon tax should be offset by reductions in individual and corporate-income taxes, which are far more harmful than a carbon tax, since they discourage work, saving and investment. And finally, given that our most direct competitor, the United States, does not tax CO2 emissions, Canadian rates should remain reasonable enough to not lead to the flight of companies and production to other regions.”

Nick Taylor-Vaisey (Maclean’s) on the Liberal’s motive behind the plastic ban: “Conservative leader Andrew Scheer predictably mocked the PM, accusing his “scandal-plagued government” of “clutching at straws” in its dying days. But the Liberals’ anti-plastic crusade and the lack of public backlash might be explained by a series of reports on Canadians’ views quietly published online.”

Alexi Zentner (The Globe and Mail) on why what’s happening in the U.S. could happen here: “I believe the vast majority of Canadians are good and kind, that we deserve the reputation of goofy politeness and thoughtfulness that gets made fun of in movies and television shows. But I also believe that this politeness sometimes allows the exact kind of hatred fomented by Mr. Trump to fester underneath the surface.”

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