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Politics Briefing: Trump extends hand to North Korea and turns on Canada

Good morning,

After a weekend of harsh words for his allies, U.S. President Donald Trump is now making nice with North Korea. He and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un met earlier today in Singapore, where Mr. Trump agreed to end war games with South Korea and Mr. Kim agreed to a joint statement on “denuclearization” that went no further than commitments the country has made in the past.

Back in North America, government and industry are still trying to adapt to the new tariffs the U.S. imposed against Canada and the European Union over what the Trump administration said were concerns about national security.

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Quebec will offer $100-million in aid to the steel and aluminum industries and MPs in Ottawa showed a rare display of cross-partisanship in unanimously condemning the White House’s action. (Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, though, said the vote would not have been unanimous if he hadn’t stepped outside of the House while it was taking place.)

The auto-industry tariffs the Trump administration is eyeing could cause even more damage.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues its full-court press to change the U.S. administration’s mind. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday to talk to members of Congress and the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and should face a welcome audience even among Republicans. (”I’m concerned because Canada has been a reliable ally, a close friend, and one of our biggest trading partners,” Senator Susan Collins of Maine told Politico.)

And that’s not all: Ms. Freeland is also set to receive the Diplomat of the Year award from Foreign Policy magazine tomorrow night.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and James Keller in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know –

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board says the agency is considering whether to invest in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as the federal government prepares to buy and, it hopes, quickly sell the beleaguered project. But while CEO Mark Machin says the CPPIB has an obligation to explore the possibility, no decisions have been made.

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The campaign to lead the Assembly of First Nations is focusing on the community’s relationship with the federal government – in particular the current National Chief’s record on using that relationship to improve the lives of Indigenous people. The current chief, Perry Bellegarde, points to substantial amounts of money the federal government has committed in recent years, but his opponents say Ottawa continues to impose measures without consultation while failing to foster Indigenous independence.

The head of the federal task force that helped craft the Liberals’ approach to marijuana legalization says she hopes newly legal producers pay close attention to the rules. “Everybody had better be on their best behaviour for the first few years after legalization because there is a societal fragility to this,” former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan said.

In a series of exit interviews with the Samara Centre for Democracy, former MPs complain party control has gotten out of hand. “ We’re making a mockery of the whole system,” one former cabinet minister said.

The Conservatives are working hard to steal a seat in a Quebec by-election next week, as leader Andrew Scheer campaigns with a little help from a former Bloc Québécois leader.

A potential by-election in B.C. could threaten the province’s NDP minority government, as an MLA is expected to step down to run for mayor of a city on Vancouver Island. Leonard Krog’s expected departure gives the BC Liberals a chance to take his seat and create a tie in the legislature – though his riding of Nanaimo has been solidly NDP for years.

And Larry Kudlow, a top Trump economic adviser who blasted Trudeau on the weekend, is now recovering from a heart attack.

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Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s attack on Canada: “The strongest bilateral relationship in the world is in a ditch and there’s no clear way to get out. Reasoning and logic won’t help. You might as well try to reason with a two-tonne two-year old with a tantrum.”

Jen Gerson (The Guardian) on Trump’s attack on dairy: “Best of luck with that now, Mr Art of the Deal. Canadians won’t consent to scrapping our supply management system if it becomes a point of national self-respect. We won’t be reduced to a simpering client state. If a few years of economic hardship is the cost of our pride, so be it.”

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star) on what it means for NAFTA: “It is not often that one finds Stephen Harper, Andrew Scheer, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford, Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May on the same page as Trudeau. The overwhelming backing of Canada’s political class for the prime minister, standing his ground in the face of Trump’s demands, has solidified his position. But that show of unity may also have curtailed his capacity to make deal-breaking concessions on the NAFTA front.”

Mel Cappe (The Globe and Mail) on the need for an apology: “Decent people do not belittle or mock their allies or their enemies. Decent people do not engage in juvenile name-calling. Decent people do not resort to personal attacks when they don’t like the outcome of a meeting.”

And a number of American readers wrote to The Globe to express dismay about Mr. Trump’s comments about Canada. Here is a sample, from Elizabeth Sobota of Chagrin Falls, Ohio: “Much like my cat, who wanders into your yard to do his business, or a dog who shatters the peaceful quiet of a Sunday morning with his incessant barking, my President has pushed you to the limit, yet you remain polite, reserved and calm in your response. You deserve better.”

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