The federal Conservatives have had to backtrack and re-edit a video critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy because it included images of detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The video was sent late last week in an e-mail appeal to Conservative supporters. A source told The Globe a member of Mr. Kovrig’s family objected to his name and image being used in a fundraising solicitation. As CBC first reported, the clip also misspells Mr. Kovrig’s name.
The video takes aim at the Liberals’ “blunders abroad” arguing Mr. Trudeau has “failed to negotiate the release of two Canadians arbitrarily imprisoned in China...” and implored supporters to chip in and "help us get this video in front of as many Canadians as possible.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters in Saskatoon yesterday the message was intended to highlight Mr. Trudeau’s failure to stand up for Canadians abroad. “They were images that were put on news outlets, and as soon as we heard from one of the family members that they prefer not to have it used, we’ve addressed that and so we’ve respected those wishes.”
Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor were taken into custody in China shortly after Canada arrested a senior executive from one of China’s flagship companies, Huawei Technologies. They are charged with spying in what is widely seen as retribution and a form of “hostage diplomacy" by China.
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Even though there’s a pre-campaign campaign in Canada this summer, it’s events in the United States that continue to capture readers’ attention. Last night, President Donald Trump held one of his campaign-style rallies in Greenville, N.C., and again went after the four minority congresswomen who he last weekend suggested “go back” to their original countries. The heavily partisan crowd chanted, “Send her back! Send her back!” in reference to one of the congresswomen, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who fled Somalia as a child with her parents.
Mr. Trump’s tweets, which have widely been described as racist and received criticism from Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer, prompted Texas Democrat Al Green to call for the President’s impeachment. The resolution was defeated in the Democratic-majority House of Representatives with most Democrats voting against it, preferring to delay an impeachment trial until more evidence is developed that could win over a public that’s so far skeptical about ousting Mr. Trump.
Back at home, Democracy Watch, a citizen advocacy group for government accountability, has sent a letter to Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion asking for an investigation into links between federal cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc and recent judicial appointments in New Brunswick. The letter says it needs to be determined whether Mr. LeBlanc participated in the appointments. The Globe reported earlier this month that three of the six judges appointed in the past eight months made financial contributions in 2009 to Mr. LeBlanc to help him alleviate $31,000 in debt incurred during his unsuccessful run for the party leadership.
Federal NDP member Charlie Angus has challenged Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan to visit the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat First Nation, which earlier this month issued an emergency declaration over chemical levels in tap water. Mr. Angus, whose federal riding includes the reserve, was in Attawapiskat yesterday with his colleague Tracey Ramsey, NDP MP for the electoral district of Essex in Southwest Ontario. Mr. O’Regan’s office told the Canadian press that the government is aware of the community’s water issue and is addressing it, citing $1.5-million that has been approved for immediate repairs to the reserve’s existing water-treatment plant.
Elections Canada has reported that two third-party groups that are critical of the federal carbon tax and advocate for electoral reform have started spending money on political advertising. Elections Canada defines a third-party group as any person or entity that is not a political party, candidate or constituency association that engages in political advertising, such as corporations or an unincorporated association. Canada Growth Council, which is opposed to the federal carbon tax, has spent almost $11,000 on ads in two ridings currently held by Liberals and Fair Vote Canada, which advocates electoral reform, has disclosed nearly $600 in spending at various events and festivals and almost $19,000 in donations.
Where are the leaders: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is holding a community meeting for Canadians to share their priorities and concerns this evening in Barrie, Ont. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is in Big River and Prince Albert, Sask., today and will take part in meet-and-greets as part of a tour of the province; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with Donald Tusk of the European Union at a trade summit in Montreal. Later in the day, Mr. Trudeau flies to B.C. for a joint press conference with B.C. Premier John Horgan for a public transit announcement in Victoria before holding an armchair discussion at a Liberal fundraising event this evening, also in Victoria.
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how “the Squad” is Donald Trump’s ticket to a second term: “The internal Democratic poll obtained by Axios showed that 74 per cent of white voters with two years of college or less knew who Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was, an astonishing level of name recognition for a first-term congresswoman. But only 22 per cent viewed her favourably.”
Prajakta Dhopade (Maclean’s) on Trudeau’s response to Trump’s racist tweets: “That’s not how it’s done in Canada, Trudeau said. I wish I could believe that wholeheartedly. But it doesn’t take very long to think of times I’ve witnessed the very opposite of how it’s supposedly ‘done in Canada.’”
Robyn Urback (CBC) with a satirical take on the poor misunderstood president: “Yes, the targets of Trump’s ‘go home’ appeals all happen to be non-white. But Trump would say the same thing to a white person who expressed such anti-patriotic views, such as that reality TV star who once called America ‘dumb’ and ‘weak,’ and bashed the then-U.S. president as incompetent and potentially mentally ill. Don ... whatever. ”
Andrew Potter (The Globe and Mail) on populism taking root in Canada: “But the truth is, not only can populism happen here – it already has. The reason most observers miss this is that they are working with a conception of populism that doesn’t really apply to the Canadian context.”
Trevor Tombe (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta is changing the game on internal trade: “At July’s first ministers meeting between provincial and territorial leaders, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province would unilaterally open much more of its government purchases to competitive bidding, regardless of which province the company is from.”