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Good morning,

Canada can expect more pressure from the United States when it comes to doing business with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., but at least one American politician says he understands Ottawa’s reticence to join the group of countries the U.S. is urging to blacklist the Chinese company’s 5G wireless networks.

In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail, the Democratic vice-chair of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee, Senator Mark Warner, said, “It is much harder to make this case to our Canadian friends after the ridiculousness of the 232 designation earlier on steel and aluminum," adding President Donald Trump’s actions have caused “hurt, angst and rightful indignation.” The Section 232 designation allowed the U.S. to impose tariffs for “national-security” purposes, and was only lifted last week after a costly trade war.

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Last week, Mr. Trump signed an executive order giving his government the power to ban U.S. companies from doing business with foreign telecommunications suppliers that are an alleged security threat – a move presumably aimed at Huawei. So far, Canada has tread cautiously, saying it won’t be rushed into blacklisting Huawei. After all, Mr. Trump called Canadian and European steel imports a threat to national security – a laughable idea outside the Oval Office – so why should anyone take him seriously now that he’s warning Huawei is an “indirect agent” of Beijing, which will use its technology to spy on us?

Canada and Britain, which are members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance along with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, have not taken any action yet, but are conducting cybersecurity reviews of Huawei’s 5G equipment.

After months of cautious diplomacy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now taking a tougher tone, warning China is trying “to get its own way on the world stage,” and Western democracies are recognizing they will need to stand up to Beijing. A delegation of Canadian parliamentarians visited China Tuesday to press for the release of two Canadians being held on charges of violating national security: Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur. Their detention came after Canada was drawn into a dispute between China and the U.S. when it arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on an extradition request from the Americans in December. One wonders what Mr. Trudeau’s new tone means for Canada’s dealings with Huawei.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Dianne Nice. 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.


Disabled Canadians and their supporters are pushing Ottawa to pass a bill enshrining their right to more accessible and inclusive federal workplaces before the next election, legislation they say could help improve the lives of those with physical and mental disabilities. Proponents hope Bill C-81, known as the Accessible Canada Act, will be passed by Parliament and written into law before the summer break begins next month.

Ottawa announced a “digital charter” last week, teasing that it would tackle such issues as hate speech, misinformation and election interference on the internet. In a speech in Toronto on Tuesday, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains expanded upon Mr. Trudeau’s announcement, arguing that Canadians should be given transparent explanations and greater control over how their data is used and shared.

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The Liberal government’s changes to the federal appointments system has yielded a small increase in the number of younger people getting government posts, but their overall representation lags their proportion of the Canadian population, newly released documents show. Documents from the Privy Council Office show that when the Liberals took office in late 2015, a tiny fraction of the hundreds of posts filled by ministerial and cabinet appointments were people between the ages of 25 and 34.

A number of families who lost loved ones in Afghanistan say they feel betrayed by a decision made by bureaucrats at the Department of National Defence to privately dedicate a memorial last week containing the Kandahar battlefield cenotaph, the CBC reports. A special building – built behind the security cordon at the new DND headquarters in Kanata, Ont., west of Ottawa – was opened and dedicated on May 13 in a private ceremony. News of the dedication ceremony only became public in a social media post three days afterwards. Families were not invited and were only informed of the event by letter.

The federal government is boosting funding to help British Columbia police departments recognize drug-impaired drivers and buy roadside testing devices, as many forces remain wary of the technology. Bill Blair, the minister responsible for organized crime reduction and border security, announced funding on Tuesday of $10.1-million over five years to increase the number of officers trained in field sobriety testing and as drug recognition experts.

Mr. Trudeau is expected to announce Wednesday that the federal government is buying two more Arctic patrol ships on the top of the six it has already ordered from Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding. However, unlike the first six ships, which are being built for the navy at a total cost of $3.5-billion, a government source said the seventh and eighth will be built for the Canadian Coast Guard.

The federal government has named the eight Canadian organizations that will sit on a special advisory panel tasked with recommending news operations for participation in a media support fund, the CBC reports. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced in his fall economic update that the federal government would make $600-million in tax credits and incentives available to selected media outlets over the next five years.

Former union leader Ken Pereira, a conspiracy theorist, will run in the federal election for the People’s Party of Canada, the new political party led by Maxime Bernier. Mr. Pereira will run in the riding of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier, which covers the area northwest of Quebec City, Mr. Bernier confirmed to Radio-Canada on Tuesday. On a YouTube channel he co-hosts, Mr. Pereira speaks about a purported international ring of pedophiles that performs occult rituals. He also claims the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were a false flag operation to justify new wars.

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his government will fund “line-by-line” audits for interested cities and school boards to help them absorb the province’s cuts to public health, child care and other services – something his critics immediately labelled a publicity stunt. Speaking at a business luncheon on Tuesday east of Toronto, Mr. Ford said he is creating a $7.35-million fund for large municipalities and school boards to hire independent experts who could help them cut their own costs as the province works to reduce its deficit and debt.

Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon says the new government’s climate-change strategy will focus on funding technology and working with industry, ahead of the start of a legislative session where its first move will be to scrap the provincial carbon tax. As part of Premier Jason Kenney’s promised “summer of repeal,” Mr. Nixon has been given the task of undoing part of former premier Rachel Notley’s legacy by quickly dismantling the climate-change plan instituted by her New Democrats. While the United Conservatives are ready to cancel the carbon tax within days, Mr. Nixon said on Tuesday that it’s still too early to talk about what will replace it.

A Saskatchewan MP who has been sitting as an Independent after his ouster from the NDP caucus says he will not be running in October’s federal election. Erin Weir, the member for Regina-Lewvan, issued a statement Tuesday saying he’s not running because federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continues to block his candidacy.

The Liberal party’s action plan on climate change has brought one former British Columbia politician out of retirement and back into the arena. At his nomination event Tuesday night for the riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister who has spent the past two years as vice-president of corporate and social responsibility at a Quebec-based marijuana company, said the party’s commitment on taking action on climate change had drawn him back to politics. With B.C. expected to be a key battleground in October’s federal election, Mr. Lake is considered a high-profile candidate for the Liberals in the province.

Libby Davies built a career on going to bat for those who live on the margins: sex workers, people who use drugs, the poor, and members of the LGBTQ community. She served as NDP MP for Vancouver East from 1997 to 2015 and, before that, a city councillor under the Coalition of Progressive Electors banner from 1982 to 1993. Ms. Davies recounts four decades of political activism in her new book, Outside In: A Political Memoir, which launches in Vancouver Wednesday with an event at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has moved to have truckloads of garbage his country alleges were illegally shipped there years ago be forcibly shipped back to Canada, Mr. Duterte’s spokesman said Wednesday. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo held a news conference to announce that Mr. Duterte has ordered officials to look for a private shipping company to transport the garbage to Canada in an escalation of his increasingly adversarial stance. The Philippines will shoulder the cost of the garbage shipment, Mr. Panelo said.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled a series of proposed changes to her Brexit deal with the European Union in the hope they will be enough to finally win parliamentary approval for the agreement. The new proposals are meant to address the concerns of a growing number of MPs who have rejected the deal three times by a wide margin. But it’s far from certain Ms. May will be able to win over enough converts: many MPs, including a group of rebels within her Conservative Party caucus, have already come out against the new plan, and pressure is mounting on the Prime Minister to resign.

Ukraine’s new president on Tuesday formally ordered Ukraine’s parliament to dissolve and called an early election for July, hoping to ride the wave of his electoral success to get his supporters into parliament. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old TV comedian who won 73 per cent of the presidential vote last month, announced his intention of disbanding parliament in his inauguration speech Monday, saying that current lawmakers were too focused on self-enrichment and lacked public trust. He quickly fulfilled the promise in Tuesday’s decree, which set a parliamentary election for July 21.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is coming to Canada next week to meet Mr. Trudeau and discuss what the U.S. embassy calls the “swift adoption” of the new NAFTA trade agreement – but there’s no sign of Mr. Trump planning a state visit north of the border, the CBC reports. Mr. Trump is, instead, set to embark on a state visit to the United Kingdom in June, his second visit there as U.S. president.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat Mr. Trump to an imperial banquet, front row seats at a sumo tournament and a trip to the country’s biggest warship on a state visit as Tokyo seeks to avoid a bust-up over trade. At their summit on Monday, Mr. Trump and Mr. Abe are expected to discuss topics from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and China’s economic and military rise to two-way trade at a time when Washington is embroiled in a trade war with Beijing.

Mr. Trump on Tuesday appealed a federal judge’s ruling against his attempt to block a House of Representatives committee from seeking his financial records, according to a court filing. The lower court’s decision on Monday handed an early setback for the Republican president in his legal battle with congressional Democrats as lawmakers investigate various aspects of his administration. The House Oversight Committee has said it needs Mr. Trump’s financial records to examine whether he has conflicts of interest or broke the law by not disentangling himself from his business holdings, as previous presidents did.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected talks with the United States on Tuesday, after Mr. Trump said Iran would call and ask for negotiations “if and when they are ever ready.” Tehran and Washington have escalated rhetoric against each other in recent weeks as the United States has tightened sanctions with what it says is the goal of pushing Iran to make concessions beyond the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal.

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John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Justin Trudeau’s attack on Andrew Scheer: “There are lots of reasons not to vote Conservative. Fearing Andrew Scheer would limit a woman’s right to choose should not be one of them. The Liberals have secured a major accomplishment in trade with the United States, one that may change the channel of negative publicity that has been afflicting them these past few months. The facts are on their side, right now. They should stick to them and stop inventing straw monsters.”

Michael Geist (The Globe and Mail) on the new Canadian digital charter: “The proposed reforms represent a sea change in Canadian privacy law, but there remain several unaddressed issues. The government is deferring the question of a right to be forgotten (often referred to as a right-to-index), noting the issue is currently before the courts. It also limits the proposed reforms to private-sector privacy rules, leaving the rules that govern public-sector data use untouched for the moment. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that both the privacy reforms and the broader digital charter have little prospect of becoming law before the federal election scheduled for the fall.”

Jake Fuss and Milagros Palacios (The Globe and Mail) on middle class taxation: “With the Canada Child Benefit increases, the federal government will add to the debt burden via another spending increase. And with this latest expansion of government transfers, the goal posts have been shifted again, and the promise of tax reductions for middle-class families has been abandoned. Canadians pay more taxes today than they did four years ago.”

Neil Macdonald (CBC) on the carbon tax: “The carbon tax debate is misdirection. Rather than posing at gas stations filling up their vehicles, Conservative politicians could pose outside homes right here in Ottawa filled with filthy river water. And perhaps Liberals could show a little courage and start talking about protecting the country, rather than fiddling with bicycle chains.”

Kevin Carmichael (National Post) on Scheer’s economic vision: “The Conservative leader’s vision of the Canadian economy is stale and nakedly partisan. His prepared remarks consisted of almost 5,000 words: ‘Trudeau’ is mentioned 23 times, ‘deficit’ 10 times, and ‘oil’ nine times; ‘competitiveness,’ ‘innovation,’ ‘productivity,’ and ‘intellectual property’ don’t appear at all."

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