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The New Democrats may have lost seats on Monday, but they may have gained power. NDP veterans say that while the party is at its lowest seat count in the House of Commons in years, it could swing the balance of power in a hung Parliament and may have the opportunity to influence policies more than it usually does.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May – whose three MPs do not have the balance of power – says NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh should use this new influence for one purpose: kill the Trans Mountain pipeline. Mr. Singh has said he opposes the pipeline, but is so far leaving its fate up to future negotiation.

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 ambassador to Canada says a 104-year-old Canadian woman who was once accused of spying during the Chinese Cultural Revolution is an example of the “great potential for co-operation” between the two countries.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has tabled an austerity budget that may be even tougher than he warned it would be, and will be setting up his provincial government for conflicts with unions and mayors whose cities are facing lower funding. Mr. Kenney says the cuts are necessary to stop the debt the province has been piling up in recent years. Underpinning the budget’s revenue projections, however, is an expectation that the oil sector will continue to show moderate improvements after its 2014 crash.

In Ontario, the provincial Progressive Conservatives are continuing to walk back some of their more controversial positions in an effort to rebuild bridges with different communities. Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark says he will drop plans to radically redraw regional governments after 10 months of consultations. As well, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce is softening the government’s position with teachers, saying class sizes will increase, but not as much as the PCs originally proposed earlier this year. But on university campuses, where student fees were made optional, groups across the province are dealing with varying levels of drops in funding.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation in B.C. is requesting the federal government give it a sprawling area in the District of North Vancouver. Leaders of the First Nation says they want to develop real estate on the land to improve the economic prospects in the community.

Liberal MP Catherine McKenna, who is the environment minister until a new cabinet is sworn in next month, has been the recipient of a number of personal and vulgar attacks in recent years. Police are investigating a new incident, in which a slur was spray-painted on her campaign office in Ottawa.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he doesn’t believe his social-conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage should hold him back from becoming prime minister. “I believe you can have both of those positions: you can have a personal view and you can acknowledge that in Canada, the prime minister does not impose a particular viewpoint on Canadians,” he told the Canadian Press.

And André Pratte says he left the Senate because it was just too partisan. “I am someone for whom independence and non-partisanship are at the top of my values. I have a very hard time negotiating with people for whom their first value is party interests,” he told the Montreal Gazette.

Denise Balkissoon (The Globe and Mail) on the climate-change lawsuit: “It will all be expensive and likely disheartening. In Canada and elsewhere, young people will grow up watching adults debate just how frightened about the future they have the right to be. But the payoffs have the chance to be huge: ENJEU is asking for $100 for each plaintiff, which would create a $340-million fund to put toward climate-related causes. New York estimates that Exxon could have cost its investors as much as US$1.6-billion.”

Donald Savoie (The Globe and Mail) on a second Trudeau term, in 1972 and 2019: “Even the issues that dominated the 1972 election campaign reappeared. Four years of Trudeaumania had run its course, as had the younger Mr. Trudeau’s sunny ways by 2019. Canada’s regional challenges – a deeply felt sentiment in Western and rural Canada that federal-government policy and decision-making processes failed to accommodate their economic circumstances when shaping national policies – dogged both governments.”

Omer Aziz (The Globe and Mail) on the election results: “Indeed, there seemed to have been two separate elections that happened: one between the Liberal Party and Conservatives, and another election between the Liberals and the progressive alternatives – the Greens (who fared badly), the NDP (who did well, given the circumstances) and the Bloc (who had a strong showing). The splitting of the vote among the latter determined the outcome of the former.”

Andrew MacDougall (Ottawa Citizen) on what went wrong for Andrew Scheer: “Four years after voters said ‘no’ to the raft of tightly targeted micro-tax credits (and sharp politics) that typified the last Conservative government, they said “no” to a quick return under Scheer’s banner. It turns out multiple marginal appeals to peoples’ pocketbooks don’t turn heads, at least not enough of them to get elected in sufficient numbers to form government.”

Bob Plamondon (The Globe and Mail) on Scheer’s potential for growth: “While Mr. Scheer may never become charismatic, he might succeed if he can rebuild bridges across the conservative universe, adopts mainstream policies that don’t reek of ideology and are relevant in all parts of Canada, addresses climate change with substantive policies and somehow reconciles his social-conservative views in a way Canadians can accept. If he can’t do these things, he should step aside.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on electoral reform: “Proportional representation encourages the formation of fringe parties at both ends of the spectrum. There is an inherent narrow-mindedness in such radicalism, which is why it’s not such a bad idea to set a high bar for any party to win seats in the legislature. In the age of social media, most people already live in ideological silos. Do we really want an electoral system that reinforces our worst tendencies and encourages further polarization?”

Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed (Montreal Gazette) on coming together after a divisive election: “Now is when we must come together and build bridges of understanding with those who do not look like us, act like us, dress like us, think like us or believe in what we believe. It’s hard but our future depends on it. While it may have been awkward to find out some acquaintances’ opinions, it makes it harder to believe those opinions are held only by people we might see as enemies or stereotypes.”

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