Skip to main content
politics briefing newsletter


Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has ruled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act because of his actions during the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Mr. Dion said Mr. Trudeau inappropriately used his position of authority in trying to get then-attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould to overrule the director of public prosecutions and seek a deal that would avoid criminal prosecution for the Quebec construction company.

You can read Mr. Dion’s report here. News of the SNC-Lavalin scandal was broken by The Globe and Mail in February. You can read more about it in another recent Globe investigation.

Mr. Dion’s predecessor as ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson, ruled in 2017 that Mr. Trudeau had violated ethics rules by accepting a vacation in the Bahamas on the private island of the Aga Khan.

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.


China’s government said the protests in Hong Kong were reaching the level of “near terrorism,"partly due to demonstrations at the international airport that turned ugly yesterday. The protests in Hong Kong began as defiance to a proposed bill to allow residents to be extradited to mainland China for some crimes, but have swelled into greater calls for more democracy in the region.

As Pakistan celebrates its independence day, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed solidarity with Kashmiris living in the Indian side of the region. The Indian government recently removed some of the governing autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and has sent in troops to quell any protests. Canada’s Global Affairs department is recommending no travel to the region and says it knows of 12 Canadian citizens who are currently there.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Liberals will make a campaign promise about strengthening gun control during the fall election. Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was looking for the federal government to step up its investments in cities like his that are seeing a rise in gun violence. “We have to address the root cause of gun violence and get much tougher on criminals who often laugh at things like bail and sentencing practices,” Mr. Tory told reporters.

Experts question whether the federal government has really spent more to address concerns about affordable housing, despite a flurry of announcements this year.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says the RCMP is blocking the release of an independent report into how the Mounties investigated anti-oil protesters.

Canada’s spy agency has had trouble recruiting and retaining talent. Former employees tell CBC that common concerns are the low pay and a requirement that they have to move across the country if management asks them to.

And federal public servants are bristling at new “open” office spaces inspired by those in vogue at tech startups. The “activity based workplaces” mean that bureaucrats don’t have fixed desks and work in closer proximity – prompting management to send around notices with questions like: “Do you often pass gas regardless of how it might be experienced by other people?”

Minxin Pei (The Globe and Mail) on the protests in Hong Kong: “China’s leaders may well be sensing that the best – or even the only – way to restore their authority in Hong Kong is by force. But whether they do so now, or in two months – after the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Oct. 1 – a Tiananmen-style crackdown is not the answer.”

Charles Burton (The Globe and Mail) on Chinese President Xi Jinping: “Mr. Xi’s mismanagement of the Hong Kong file strengthens the momentum of Taiwan’s pro-independence regime, seriously compounding the failure of Mr. Xi’s leadership in the eyes of Chinese nationalists who yearn for Taiwan’s reunification with the motherland.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec job numbers: “The province’s labour force is shrinking everywhere outside the Montreal area and the Coalition Avenir Québec’s (CAQ) government’s move to cut immigration levels will only exacerbate the trend in coming years. And that is making Quebec a less attractive place to invest.”

Tom Mulcair (Toronto Sun) on People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier: “In either case, Bernier will likely fail. His strident questioning of a woman’s right to choose, his mocking of climate science, his Libertarian economics or his anti-immigration posturing may unwittingly benefit Andrew Scheer.”

Maclean’s editorial on the tone of the election: “This suggests to us, as optimists, that there’s plenty of room for savvy Canadian politicians to return happy voters to their traditional position of dominance by committing to a civil, inclusive and passionately upbeat campaign this October.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop