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Politics Briefing: Canada would need to spend $75-billion over half a decade to reach NATO defence spending target – The Globe and Mail




Canada has fallen so short of its NATO commitment to devote 2 per cent of its annual economic output to military spending that it would take $75-billion in spending over the next half-decade to catch up, a new report by a parliamentary budget watchdog says.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance dedicated to the collective defence of its 30 members, including Canada. In 2006, NATO defence ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2 per cent of their gross domestic product to defence spending to ensure the alliance’s readiness. In 2014, they renewed that commitment.


Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says there’s no chance Canada will meet its NATO goal over the next five years at the government’s level of military spending.

Senior Parliamentary Correspondent Steven Chase reports here.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. 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.


CASE AGAINST FEDERAL OFFICIAL DROPPED – The failed prosecution of vice-admiral Mark Norman loomed large on Thursday as a second federal official accused of leaking cabinet secrets about a $700-million shipbuilding contract walked out of an Ottawa courthouse a free man. Story here.

UNIVERSITIES STILL INTERESTED IN RESEARCH LINKS TO HUAWEI – Leading Canadian universities say they intend to continue research and development with Huawei Technologies Co. – which reaps intellectual property from the partnerships – after Ottawa’s decision to ban the Chinese telecommunications giant from 5G wireless networks over national-security concerns. Story here.

CANADA AND CALIFORNA STRIKE CLIMATE DEAL – Canada will work with California to address climate change and safeguard the environment, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday. Story here.

BANK GOVERNOR SHRUGS OFF POILIEVRE CRITICISMS – Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem shrugged off Conservative leadership contender Pierre Poilievre’s pointed criticism of him and the central bank Thursday, saying he welcomes input from elected officials and he knows inflation is too high. Story here from CBC.

FEDS NEED TO ADDRESS LUXURY TAX ISSUES: BUSINESS LEADERS – Business leaders have urged senators to address concerns that a new luxury tax on autos, boats and planes could trigger thousands of job losses in Canadian manufacturing. Story here.

INTERLOCUTOR ASSIGNED TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS GRAVES – Ottawa has named a special interlocutor to ensure culturally appropriate treatment of unmarked graves and burial sites at former residential schools, a year after the country faced a reckoning over the deaths of children at the schools. Story here.

UKRAINE ENERGY COMPANY APPEALS TO CANADIAN COUNTERPARTS – Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company, Naftogaz, is making a sales pitch to Canadian energy companies: Send your technology, expertise and investments to help the country fully develop its natural gas reserves, in turn bolstering global energy security. Story here.

NO SECRET INDEPENDENCE AGENDA: LEGAULT GOVERNMENT – The Legault government was forced this week to insist it does not have a secret independence agenda despite the recruitment of two prominent former sovereignist politicians to its ranks. Story here from The Montreal Gazette.

LIBERAL MP CONSIDERING BID FOR ONTARIO LIBERAL LEADERSHIP – Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith says he is “seriously considering” running for Ontario Liberal Party leadership as the party embarks on a rebuild after two devastating provincial election loses. “I’m seriously looking at the leadership,” the member for the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York, said. “All of that is unquestionably true.” Story here from The National Post.

EX NWT PREMIER DENIES HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS – Stephen Kakfwi, a former premier of the Northwest Territories, denies he sexually harassed his former mentee in a program through the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and denies he acted in any way that could be construed as sexual in nature. Story here from CBC.

ONTARIO ELECTION, 1981 – This year’s Ontario election was not the first to cost the leaders of the Liberal party and the NDP their jobs. Jamie Bradburn at TVO looks back at the tumultuous 1981 election whose result also brought down two leaders. Story here.

MANITOBA’S PREMIER SORRY FOR PRIDE SLIGHT – Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is apologizing to organizers of the annual Pride parade in Winnipeg for speaking at the Pride rally, but not marching in the associated parade. Story here.

FORMER MP RUNNING TO BE MAYOR OF SURREY, B.C. – Jinny Sims, a former NDP MP who is now a member of the B.C. legislature, says she will enter the mayor’s race in Surrey – British Columbia’s second most populous city – adding a notable new candidate to a civic-election campaign already filled with drama because of controversies surrounding the current mayor. Story here. To bolster her campaign, Ms. Sims has recruited a strategist who worked on the campaigns of the last two mayors of Calgary. Story here from Business in Vancouver.


600,000 MEMBERS – The federal Conservative Party, now in the midst of a leadership race, says it has told the campaigns to expect a membership list of over 600,000 members. But the chair of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee added a caveat, noting the party is now dealing with such issues as verifying and processing the memberships. “This number is likely to change,” Ian Brodie said in a statement. It also said the party has scaled up operations to deal with the increased membership numbers. The campaign of Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre says it has recruited about 300,000 members, while the campaign of Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ont., says he has recruited 150,000 members. The other four campaigns have not released specific membership numbers. In the 2020 leadership race that Erin O’Toole eventually won, all four candidates recruited more than 269,000 people in total, which was a record for the party. Ballot packages are to be sent to eligible voters by late July or early August and complete ballots must be received in Ottawa by Sept. 6. The party plans to announce the winner on Sept. 10. The candidates are Ontario MPs Scott Aitchison, Leslyn Lewis and Mr. Poilievre as well as former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Roman Baber – a former member of the Ontario legislature – and Mr. Brown.

ONE MORE LEADERSHIP DEBATE, PLEASE: FOUR CANDIDATES – Four of the six candidates in the race to lead the federal Conservatives are calling on the party to hold a third official debate. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 9, accessible here.

COMMITTEE STRUCK ON INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY – Canada’s former ambassador to China, the former Liberal premier of New Brunswick and a former interim leader of the Conservative Party are among the 15 members of a new committee announced Thursday to provide independent perspectives and recommendations on Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said former ambassador Dominic Barton, Frank McKenna – who was premier of New Brunswick – and Rona Ambrose will be on the Indo-Pacific Advisory Committee. Other members include former foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew and Janice Gross Stein, the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. In her mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ms. Joly was asked, as foreign affairs minister, to develop and launch a comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy to deepen diplomatic, economic and defence partnerships and international assistance in the region. The committee members are volunteering their services.

PRIVACY COMMISSIONER NAMED – Philippe Dufresne has been nominated as Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office says. Mr. Dufresne is a leading legal expert on human rights, administrative, and constitutional law, said a statement from the PMO. Announcement here.


On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Frances Bula – a frequent Globe contributor who reports on urban issues in British Columbia – talks about last year’s heat dome in B.C., which led to the deaths of 619 people. It was the deadliest weather event in Canadian history. Ms. Bula explains how the urban landscape contributed to the deaths, what’s being recommended to help cool B.C. buildings and what the rest of Canada can learn from it all. The Decibel is here.


In Los Angeles, at the Summit of the Americas, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held private meetings, met with California Governor Gavin Newsom, and held an announcement and media availability with the governor. Mr. Trudeau met with U.S. President Joe Biden, and was scheduled to attend the leaders’ opening plenary Session of the Summit of the Americas. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to meet with Argentinean President Alberto Fernández, meet with Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and, with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, attend a leaders’ dinner hosted by Mr. Biden, and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet attended question period.

No schedules released for other leaders.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Liberals and NDP: The party mergers pipe dream is back: “Ah, the pipe dream of a Liberal-NDP merger. Once more the idea has been mooted, this time in Ontario provincial politics. Once more it will have a few people doing imaginary electoral math on the back of napkins, and perhaps convening a few meetings, before it dies the certain death of unworkable proposals. The idea was put forward immediately after Ontario’s June 2 election by a prominent Liberal politician, former provincial finance minister Greg Sorbara – and the source shouldn’t be too surprising.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the Nova Scotia inquiry is prioritizing the trauma of police over the trauma of victims’ families: “If the foremost aim of this inquiry is indeed to piece together how and why a killer was permitted to terrorize an entire province for 13 hours, then it should operate from a position that puts disclosure and transparency first, that includes all information by default, and that thoroughly questions all involved individuals. But if, instead, the mission is to offer a perfunctory vehicle for comfortable questioning that tries to preserve the dignity of the RCMP during proceedings that the government never wanted in the first place – well, that mission is well on its way to completion. But the effect of such a project will only be to further corrode the trust between a wounded community and a law enforcement agency apparently sworn to protect it – officers who know they are signing up for trauma when they take the job in the first place.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on whether François Legault has Quebec sovereignty up his sleeve, after all?:When future historians identify the moment when the Quebec sovereignty movement emerged from its early 21st-century coma, they may point to a May 29 speech that Premier François Legault made calling for more power over immigration. At a gathering of Coalition Avenir Québec members in Drummondville, Que., Mr. Legault said he would seek a “strong mandate” from voters in October’s provincial election to negotiate a new deal that would see Ottawa surrender authority to choose newcomers who come to Quebec under the federal family reunification program. Quebec already chooses its own economic immigrants, who make up the bulk of newcomers. Mr. Legault insisted that choosing those who arrive annually through the family-reunification channel is also critical to protecting French. “It’s a question of survival for our nation,” Mr. Legault said. Otherwise, “it may become a question of time before we become a Louisiana.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on MP Michelle Rempel Garner considering a run for the leadership of the United Conservative Party as the field expands: “There’s talk of Michelle Rempel Garner running for the UCP leadership, but so far the federal MP for Calgary Nose Hill is atypically elusive. She answers text queries about her plans with informative asides such as “hahahaha!” One source close to Rempel Garner says she’ll be in the race to replace Premier Jason Kenney, but first she’s waiting for the UCP to release campaign voting rules, the amount of the entry fee and a date for the vote.”

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Petr Pavel: Polyglot, war hero, and the new Czech president – Euronews



Ex-general Petr Pavel has won another gritty campaign — this time at the ballot box.

The bearded 61-year-old, a decorated veteran who took part in a high-stakes peacekeeping mission in the Balkans and represented his country as a top-tier NATO general, was voted Czech president on Saturday, beating billionaire ex-prime minister Andrej Babiš.

With the ballots from 97% of almost 15,000 polling stations counted by the Czech Statistics Office, Pavel had 57.8% of the vote compared with 42.2% for Babiš.


Though Czech presidents wield little day-to-day power, Pavel will have influence over foreign policy and government opinion, as well as the power to appoint prime ministers, constitutional judges and central bankers.

True to his military past, he has vowed to bring “order” to the Czech Republic, a 10 million-strong EU and NATO member, hammered by record inflation and economic turmoil due to the Ukraine war.

“I can’t ignore the fact that people here increasingly feel chaos, disorder and uncertainty. That the state has somehow ceased to function,” Pavel said on his campaign website.

“We need to change this,” he added. “We need to play by the rules, which will be valid for everyone alike. We need a general sweep.”

From Communist to war hero

Following in his father’s footsteps, Pavel underwent a military education in former Czechoslovakia, which was then ruled by Moscow-backed communists.

He joined the Communist Party, like his billionaire rival Babiš, and soon rose through the army ranks, studying to become an intelligence agent for the oppressive regime.

Critics fault him for his communist past, though Pavel has defended himself by saying party membership was “normal” in his family and called it a “mistake”.

When the Iron Curtain crumbled in 1989, Pavel chucked out his party ID but went ahead with the intelligence course.

Amid the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Pavel — trained as an elite paratrooper and holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the time — helped evacuate French troops stuck in the midst of combat between Croats and ethnic Serb paramilitaries in Croatia, earning him the French Military Cross for bravery.

“We got into several tense situations and he always managed them with deliberation and calm,” said retired Czech general Aleš Opata, who served with Pavel.

He later studied at military training schools in Britain, gaining a master’s from King’s College London.

After his country joined NATO in 1999, Pavel soon climbed through the alliance’s ranks, becoming its top military official in 2015. 

With a chest full of decorations, he retired in 2018.

What are his political views?

Pavel ran as an independent and was the strongest of the three candidates backed by the liberal-conservative coalition SPOLU of now-former President Miloš Zeman.

He has argued for better redistribution of wealth and greater taxation of the rich while also supporting progressive policies on issues such as same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

Positioning himself as a counterweight to populism, Pavel anchors the Czech Republic in NATO and wants to align his country with the European Union.

“The main issue at stake is whether chaos and populism will continue to rein or we return to observing rules… and we will be a reliable country for our allies,” he said after narrowly winning the first election round.

A staunch supporter of Ukraine, Pavel’s political rivals have alleged he would drag the country into a war with Russia.

“I know what war is about and I certainly don’t wish it on anyone,” said Pavel. “The first thing I would do is try to keep the country as far away from war as possible.”

Often sporting jeans and a leather jacket, Pavel is a polyglot, speaking Czech, English, French and Russian, and loves motorcycling.

He holds a concealed weapon licence, allowing him to carry a firearm, and he is married to a fellow soldier, Eva Pavlová.

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Canadian and American Politics




Our latest North American Tracker explores Canadians’ and Americans’ perspectives on Canadian and American politics.

It examines Canadians’ federal voting intentions and Americans’ approval of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Download the report for the full results.

This survey was conducted in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and published in the Canadian Press. This series of surveys is available on Leger’s website.


Would you like to be the first to receive these results? Subscribe to our newsletter now.


  • The Conservatives and Liberals are tied: if a federal election were held today, 34% of Canadian decided voters would vote for Pierre Poilievre’s CPC and the same proportion would vote for Justin Trudeau’s LPC.


  • 42% of Americans approve of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president.
  • 40% of Americans approve of the way Kamala Harris is handling her job as vice-president.


This web survey was conducted from January 20 to 22, 2023, with 1,554 Canadians and 1,005 Americans, 18 years of age or older, randomly recruited from LEO’s online panel.

A margin of error cannot be associated with a non-probability sample in a panel survey. For comparison, a probability sample of 1,554 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.49%, 19 times out of 20, while a probability sample of 1,005 respondents would have a margin of error of ±3.09%, 19 times out of 20.


  • If federal elections were held today, for which political party would you be most likely to vote?  Would it be for…?
  • Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president?
  • Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Kamala Harris is handling her job as vice president?​

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Legault won’t celebrate 25 years in politics



Premier François Legault does not intend to celebrate his 25-year political career this year.

He became Minister of Industry in Lucien Bouchard’s PQ government on Sept. 23, 1998, but was elected on Nov. 30 of the same year as the representative for L’Assomption, the riding in which he is still a member.

In a news conference on Friday at the end of a caucus meeting of his party’s elected officials in a Laval hotel, the CAQ leader said that neither he nor his party had any intention of celebrating this anniversary.

“I don’t like these things,” he said.


He pointed out that he is still younger than the former dean of the National Assembly, François Gendron. And smiling, he alluded to the U.S. President.

“I’m quite a bit younger than Mr. Biden, apart from that!” he said.

Legault is 65 years old, while the President is 80.

However, Legault is now the dean of the House. According to recent data, he has served as an elected official for 20 years, 6 months, and 27 days so far.

The premier was quick to add, however, that he has taken a break from politics.

He resigned on June 24, 2009 as a member of the Parti Québécois (PQ), then in opposition. But he was elected as an MNA and leader of the then-new Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) on Sept. 4, 2012.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 27, 2023.


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