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Deputy Finance Minister testifies about race to prevent economic damage from border blockades

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The Finance Department’s most senior public servant told the Emergencies Act inquiry on Thursday that he and others were engaged in a race against time to find ways of preventing the escalating economic damage created by the February border blockades.

While estimates of the impact of the blockades were circulating in the media and within government, Michael Sabia said projections of daily economic damage underestimated the fact that the scale of harm would increase significantly the longer the blockades continued.

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With U.S. lawmakers weighing Buy America provisions that could have cut Canada out of future electric vehicle manufacturing, Mr. Sabia said Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner was at risk and the concern had risen to the level of discussions between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“These were very meaningful issues that arose in the Canada-U.S. relationship,” he said. Had the border disruptions continued, he said the government was concerned that it would cause “very severe long-term consequences” for not only the Canadian auto sector but also for a whole range of industries that export goods to the U.S.

Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Bill Curry and Reporter Marsha McLeod report 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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

PM IN THAILAND – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived, on Thursday, in Thailand for meetings aimed at expanding Canada’s trade with the Indo-Pacific region. He is attending the leaders meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Story here.

LUCKI SAYS SHE WANTS TO REMAIN RCMP COMMISSIONER – Embattled RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says she wants to remain at the helm of the federal police force even as she faces growing dissatisfaction at the highest levels of the government over her leadership. Story here.

TRUDEAU TO ATTEND SUMMIT IN MONTREAL – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend next month’s UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, the country’s Environment minister said on Thursday – despite the event’s official host China plan to send no invitations to world leaders. Story here.

CHINA’S PRESIDENT WASN’T CRITICIZING TRUDEAU: FOREIGN MINISTRY – China’s foreign ministry on Thursday said Chinese President Xi Jinping was not criticizing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a day after Xi was seen confronting him at the G20 summit over alleged leaks from a meeting they held. Story here.

WEAR MASKS ON PLANES AND TRAINS, BUT NO MANDATE: TRANSPORT MINISTER – Canada’s Minister of Transport says after a briefing with the country’s top doctor, the government still strongly encourages people to wear masks on planes and trains – but stopped short of making it a requirement. Story here.

CHINA CRITICIZED BY STUDENTS – A growing number of mostly Chinese students in B.C., Ontario and other parts of Canada are using creative and often covert ways to express their increasing dissatisfaction toward China’s unrelenting zero-COVID-19 policy and the Communist Party’s rule under its paramount leader Xi Jinping. Story here.

QUEBEC MAN CHARGED IN HAITI OVERTHROW PLAN – The RCMP say a 51-year-old Quebec man has been charged with planning a terrorist act to overthrow the Haitian government of Jovenel Moise. Story here.

OTTAW REJECTS NUNAVUT MINING BID – Ottawa has turned down Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s application to increase its iron ore output in Nunavut, citing environmental concerns, putting an end to a multiyear conflict that sparked a national debate about responsible resource development in Canada. Story here.

KEY PLATFORMS TO HAVE FLEXIBILITY OVER PROMOTING CANADIAN CONTENT: CRTC CHAIR – Platforms such as Netflix and YouTube will have flexibility over how to promote Canadian films, TV shows and songs after the online streaming bill becomes law, broadcasting regulator Ian Scott says. Story here.

MAYOR CRITICIZED FOR BRINGING NEEDY TO SHELTERS – Less than a month after he was elected, the new mayor of Kamloops has raised the ire of shelter operators upset about him suddenly showing up with someone needing a bed, sometimes in the middle of the night. Story here from CBC.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Nov. 17, accessible here.

DAYS SINCE CONSERVATIVE LEADER PIERRE POILIEVRE TOOK MEDIA QUESTIONS IN OTTAWA: 65

WITNESSES, THURSDAY, AT PUBLIC ORDER EMERGENCY COMMISSION IN OTTAWA:

-Michael Sabia, Deputy Minister of Finance; Rhys Mendes, assistant deputy minister, economic policy, federal finance department and Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister, financial sector policy branch at the federal finance department.

-Jody Thomas, national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister,

GLOBE PUBLISHER/CEO AMONG ORDER OF CANADA RECIPIENTS – Globe and Mail publisher and CEO Phillip Crawley is among 49 people being invested into the Order of Canada on Thursday. Others being honoured at the ceremony at Rideau Hall include actor Tom Jackson, journalist Hanna Gartner and author Yann Martel. The full list of appointees is here. Due to illness, Governor-General Mary Simon was unavailable to preside over the event. Story here. Former governor-general Michaelle Jean agreed to lead the event instead.

IZRI JOINS GLOBAL NEWS IN OTTAWA – Touria Izri is joining the Global News Ottawa bureau as a national reporter. Announcement here.

CANADA’S UKRAINE AMBASSADOR AT SENATE COMMITTEE – The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade heard from Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Larisa Galadza, on the situation in Ukraine. The hearing began at 11:30 a.m. ET. Broadcast details here.

JOHN HORGAN EXIT INTERVIEW – It’s John Horgan’s last full day as Premier of British Columbia after five years in the job. David Eby will be sworn in on Friday. Mr. Horgan’s agenda for the day includes a lunch event held by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce at which he will participate in an interview with broadcaster Simi Sara.

MINISTERS ON THE ROAD – Families Minister Karina Gould, in Igloolik, Nunavut, made a child-care announcement; Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27; Justice Minister David Lametti and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, in Montreal, announced government support for a project from DESTA Black Youth Network; International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, also Minister for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada , in Prince George, B.C., announced the opening of new offices in Prince George, Prince Rupert and Fort St. John. Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, in St. John’s, as well as Premier Andrew Furey and St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen made an infrastructure announcement.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, travelled from Bali, Indonesia to Bangkok, Thailand to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Mr. Trudeau was scheduled to meet with Chilean President Gabriel Boric, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gala dinner. The menu for the dinner is here.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media scrum in the House of Commons foyer on health transfers, accompanied by caucus Health Critic Luc Thériault. He then attended Question Period.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Dr. Leighanne Parkes, an infectious disease specialist and microbiologist with the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, answers questions about RSV, influenza and COVID viruses. The Decibel is here.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how the return of Donald Trump, the candidate, weakens the West: One of the great quirks of geopolitical fate in 2022 was that the Russian invasion of Ukraine solidified the Western alliance that Vladimir Putin hates so much. Who better to tear all that apart than a re-elected Donald Trump? Mr. Trump makes a lot of claims about his record, including his assertion in his 2024 election-campaign announcement on Tuesday that he – a man who served four years in the White House – went “decades” without a war. But no one can claim that he was a great builder of alliances. He viewed them as rip-offs, and made friends of the United States feel like they were under assault, rather than on the same team.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how if only the opposition leaders were running the Bank of Canada:As he steers inflation back to Earth – the three-month annualized rate was 4.3 per cent in October, a third of its spring peak – Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem must surely take comfort in the knowledge that, should he need any advice on how to proceed, he need not rely only on the bank’s world-leading roster of economists, but can tap the deep wellspring of expertise on the opposition benches. Just now they are sending somewhat conflicting signals. Where Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre holds the governor to blame for inflation having reached such levels, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is equally concerned that he might do something to reduce it. For where Mr. Poilievre believes current inflation levels are solely and entirely a function of bank policy, Mr. Singh believes it is caused by everything but: corporate greed, profiteering, price-gouging.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how the Polish missile crisis is sharp reminder of threat posed by Russia’s invasion: Tuesday’s brief crisis reminds us that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put all our lives at risk. “We are clearly in the worst crisis since the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Elliot Tepper, a professor of international relations at Carleton University. But there are two differences: The 1962 confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, lasted days. This crisis has lasted months, with many more months to come.And as Prof. Tepper observed, the Kennedy administration found a way to let Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev retreat while saving face. (The Soviets agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba, as the United States demanded; the Americans in turn removed missiles from Turkey.) But Russian President Vladimir Putin “is far more reckless,” said Prof. Tepper. “We see no off-ramp for him. Either he wins or he loses.”

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on how medical advice shouldn’t be different for Indigenous kids: “As Canadians worked with First Nations to fight COVID-19, traditional silos in medicine crumbled; health care professionals from across the province hopped on planes to communities such as Bearskin Lake and Moose Factory, which they may not have otherwise ventured to or even heard about. They had the opportunity to see, firsthand, the inequitable realities of Canada’s “universal” health care system for First Nations peoples. Surely, then, the Canadian public is now more aware of the immense logistical challenges involved in life in remote communities. These are places without so much basic infrastructure, including proper roads or runways, sanitation systems, ambulances, fire trucks, housing or hospitals. And surely, Operation Remote Immunity taught us enduring lessons about how to come together to consider the most vulnerable first, in future crises. Sadly, though, those lessons have apparently vanished – just in time for the latest national health crisis.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how Canadian politicians should have better security, and the public should pay for it: Though politicians in Canada have been sounding the alarm on security threats for years (Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has been particularly vocal on the matter) and though no party or political leader is immune from harassment or threats (Ms. Rempel says she has received death threats, NDP MP Charlie Angus has been a victim of stalking, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was verbally harassed in the summer in an incident caught on video), the push for better security for public officials – and by extension, the funds that come with it – remains a tough sell.”

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Fauci says ‘we need to keep the politics out of’ investigating COVID origins – The Hill

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Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s outgoing chief medical adviser, on Sunday urged officials to “keep the politics out of” investigating the origins of COVID-19 in China.

Speaking with moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci said he is keeping an open mind, but he reiterated that the evidence is “quite strong” that the virus occurred naturally.

“They’re very suspicious of anybody trying to accuse them,” Fauci said of the Chinese government. “We need to have an open dialogue with their scientists and our scientists, keep the politics out of it.”

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Republicans have indicated they plan to investigate the origins of the pandemic upon taking the House majority in January as well as Fauci himself, suggesting COVID-19 instead originated from a laboratory.


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“All of my colleagues, keep an absolutely open mind,” Fauci said on CBS. “We’ve got to investigate every possibility because this is too important not to do that. That’s not incompatible with saying the scientific evidence still weighs much more strongly that this is a natural occurrence. You must keep your mind open that it’s something other than that.”

But Fauci pushed back on the notion that the Chinese Communist Party covered up the pandemic’s origins. 

“Not necessarily the scientists that we know and we have dealt with and collaborated with productively for decades, but the whole establishment — a political and other establishment in China, even when there’s nothing at all to hide — they act secretive, which absolutely triggers an appropriate suspicion,” Fauci said.

He went on to criticize former President Trump’s accusatory comments against China during the early months of the pandemic, although Fauci acknowledged a need for more data.

“What happens is that if you look at the anti-China approach, that clearly the Trump administration had right from the very beginning, and the accusatory nature, the Chinese are going to flinch back and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we’re not going to talk to you about it,’ which is not correct. They should be,” Fauci told Brennan.

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Twitter's time in Canadian politics began with an apology — and then it got worse – CBC.ca

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This is an excerpt from Minority Report, a weekly newsletter on federal politics. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.

The first reference to “tweeting” in the House of Commons came during an apology.

Shortly after question period on the afternoon of October 20, 2009, then-Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh stood on a point of order.

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“I wish to inform you and the House that I inadvertently tweeted about matters that I ought not to have tweeted about, that is, the in-camera proceedings of the defence committee,” Dosanjh told the Speaker. “That was an error on my part and that entry will be deleted at the earliest possible opportunity, which is right after I get out of here.”

This, apparently, was before MPs realized they could have their staff manage their Twitter accounts.

Ujjal Dosanjh in the House of Commons. The then-Liberal MP apologized to the House in 2009 for tweeting out details of in-camera committee proceedings. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

“I thank the honourable member,” responded Peter Milliken, Speaker at the time. “I assume that ‘tweeting’ means it went on Twitter.”

Dosanjh’s point of order marked the arrival in Canada of a social media platform that promoted both dialogue and excess — a tool that both enriched debate and created new ways to do things we would later regret.

Thirteen years later, Twitter seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse. Even if it carries on in some shape or form, its time as one of the predominant forums in public life may be nearing an end. Many users have already withdrawn from the platform or reduced their presence.

Whenever and however the Twitter era comes to an end, its impact on Canadians politics will have been great — but not entirely good.

Small audience, big impact

There is a decent chance that you’re not a regular user of Twitter. Most Canadians aren’t. But the platform has an outsized impact on the political life of this country because most Canadian politicians, journalists, pundits, political strategists, pollsters, lobbyists and partisans do use Twitter — along with a significant number of academics, policy wonks and subject matter experts.

Canada is hardly the only country with this dynamic, of course. Consider, for instance, the United States — Twitter played an integral role in Donald Trump’s rise.

Nothing so seismic has happened here (at least not yet) but the impact has not been small.

It also hasn’t been all bad. It gave politicians a new way to communicate with voters and it created a new way for voters to hold politicians to account. It facilitated the spread of news and information with incredible speed and breadth.

It elevated new and underrepresented voices and those voices enriched the wider dialogue. In certain ways, Twitter helped bring more nuance to the political debate. Think of every academic or historian who has used a Twitter thread to illuminate a complicated topic.

That, sadly, isn’t all that might be said about Twitter’s performance as a modern public square.

Amping up the extremes

As much as it has helped expose users to important information and valuable voices, it also has spread misinformation, disinformation, harassment and general nastiness. It prizes and rewards snap judgments, hot takes, outrage, condemnation, mockery, doomsaying and disagreement.

It sped up the news cycle to a dizzying degree. It elevates the most extreme opinions, offers ample opportunity for bad-faith actors and it is a terrible proxy for actual public opinion.

If previous media eras reduced politics to sound bites, Twitter reduced it even further — to hashtags. At times, the House of Commons seemed to be little more than a fancy studio for recording video clips to be pushed out on MPs’ Twitter feeds.

For all these reasons, it might be tempting to think Canadian politics would be better off without Twitter. But even if Twitter were to disappear tomorrow, there is no going back to a time before social media — just as there is no going back to a time before television or radio or newspapers.

If Twitter ceases to be a significant forum, some new platform (or platforms) will take its place. The era of social media is far from over.

There is something to be said for the argument that the problem with Twitter is not the platform itself but the way it is used, and the ways in which it is allowed to be used. In that sense, Twitter offers valuable lessons in how social media can work and how it can go wildly wrong.

Whether those lessons will be heeded is another matter entirely. The question of government regulation still looms on the horizon.

The indisputable truth is that, 13 years after Ujjal Dosanjh found a novel way to betray the confidence of in-camera committee discussions, everyone is still trying to figure out how to make the social media era work out for the best — or to at least minimize the harm it does.

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10 Must-Read Novels About Asian American Politics

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In Ryan Wong’s daring and generous debut novel, Which Side Are You On, Columbia University student Reed informs his parents that he’s dropping out of college and dedicating himself to grassroots organizing—for the past few months, he’s been protesting the killing of an unarmed Black man by an Asian American police officer. He’s adamant to learn everything he can about his Korean mother’s involvement in a Black-Korean coalition in the 1980s, so that he may use it to impress his other activist friends and fuel their current work. But the stories recounted by his mother and the discussions they engender—all carefully laid out in electric, and occasionally heartrending, dialogue between mother and son—start to affect Reed’s clear-cut views, revealing to him the many difficulties of organizing across cultures, and hinting at the importance of empathy and humanity in the effort to fully understand one’s community.

You might not know that “Asian American” is a relatively new term, only about fifty years old. You likely don’t know the term was coined by student leftists to join a coalition of Chicano, Black, and American Indian movements on Bay Area campuses in 1968. You might not think of Asian American Pacific Islanders as political as all, and this is largely because that history has largely been ignored or erased in favor of the tame, assimilationist “model minority” narrative.

Today, as we face intense anti-Asian violence, ongoing U.S. militarism in Asia, rapidly shifting migration patterns, and a crisis of American racial identity, it might help us to examine the political nature of Asian America through some of its most compelling narratives. Here’s a selection of ten novels that expand upon, challenge, and imagine futures for this young identity. They’re stories of rebels and revolutionaries, organizers and outsiders taking histories into their own hands.

1. I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita

This sprawling, 700+ page epic pays tribute to the Asian American Movement that defined this new identity. It was written decades later, but has all of the humor, bite, hope, and surrealism you might expect from a novel of vignettes set in the Bay Area of the 1960s and ’70s—scenes of Black Panthers and young Asian American radicals in a hotel room in Chinatown, of an Alcatraz Island takeover, of free folk concerts in Golden Gate Park, and, of course, of the demonstrations to save that hotbed of organizing and elder care and arts making, the I Hotel.

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2. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The narrator of this novel talks to you, but the “you” of it is an ambiguous American who is in Lahore, Pakistan, for unknown reasons—to befriend the narrator, to kill him, or both. Like the confessor in Camus’s The Fall, we get a frank and revealing series of tales, but instead of the existential angst of the judge we have the racial existentialism of the man trying to belong in a world that won’t have him. It’s a reminder that often fundamentalists scorn the very systems in which they once came close to belonging.

3. Leche by R. Zamora Linmark

Can a novel about Japanese war atrocities in the Philippines be funny? An early scene has protagonist Vince watching a maudlin drama on the airplane back to the Philippines (which he left for the U.S. 13 years before) about a convent during the Japanese invasion. To speak about the unspeakable, you may need the absurdities that pop culture makes possible, the distance of humor. The Manila of Leche is a hazy hell, but also one full of pathos and heart, and it leads Vince exactly where he needs to go.

4. Guerrillas by V. S. Naipaul

What would the Asian diaspora in the Americas be without Naipaul’s Trinidad, which he left to attend Oxford only to revisit again and again in his writing? Guerrillas takes place on an unnamed island on the eve of revolution. Naipaul is one of the original problematic faves—his sexual politics are horrifying, his view of revolution condescending. Yet he’s one of the greats at showing the extreme bifurcations that colonialism and diaspora perform on the human mind, whether the white liberal’s paternalism or the would-be revolutionary’s deluded egoism.

5. Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn

This isn’t an “Asian American” story in the usual sense, but America’s presence is like a long shadow, a bogeyman, an uninvited dinner guest in this kaleidoscopic story of 1950s Manila. In other words, American stories happen anywhere America’s military and political presence rule, and their tacit condoning of the rise of an unnamed dictator and his glamorous first lady form the story’s backdrop. Hagedorn’s sentences bite and her scenes steam with heat as you follow this network of characters asking what they’ll do with their new-found “independence.”

6. Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee

This novel is often remembered as a portrait of a son and his working immigrant father. But it’s also a novel of politics, where some of the most tender and dynamic moments are between the narrator, Henry Park, and the city councilman John Kwang, who he’s assigned to spy on. John is charismatic and idealistic, a foil to Henry’s mercenary pragmatism. One of the crucial plot points revolves around a Korean money circle, or ggeh, one of the main ways Korean businesses survive, but to the U.S. state looks like money laundering. The novel asks what it means to succeed in a country designed to destroy you, to be loyal to people sent to undo you.

7. America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan

Somewhere between novel and autobiography, America Is in the Heart has all the sweep, heroism, and tragedy of the old epics. We follow the narrator, also named Carlos, from his youth in the Philippines to the fields of California to the canneries of Alaska, where, witnessing the brutality against Filipinos by police, bosses, and business owners, he becomes radicalized. He joins socialist and communist groups, organizes with unions, and publishes poetry and essays on his experiences, the culmination of which is this monumental book.

8. The Winged Seed by Li-Young Lee

Lee’s father was jailed under the regime of President Sukarno in Indonesia. That traumatic event shows up in Lee’s poetry and is a central feature of this poem-novel-memoir-myth of his family’s migration story. The book is called a “remembrance” and it reads like a dream, or, often, a nightmare, as the ravages of persecution and exile, of otherness and violence, manifest within and between Lee’s family members. History and displacement haunt this prose, every sentence drops like a stone, and the smallest moment sends you reeling to the past.

9. Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Dense yet sprawling, this experimental book traces Korean independence martyr Yu Gwansun through the stories of other mythic women martyrs in history. Cha was a visual artist, writer, and performer—a brilliant polymath who was murdered just as this book was published. Dictee shows what a book can be, that it’s capacious enough to contain photographs, verse, myth, and anything else the writer needs to assemble in order to speak about a fractured history.

10. The Hanging on Union Square by H. T. Hsiang

It’s not hard to see why Hsiang had trouble finding a publisher for this oddball novel that reads something like a screenplay or a novel-in-verse but without the respective plot or lyricism that usually accompanies those forms. But he had the foresight to self-publish it in 1935, and it’s a good thing he did, because he offers a portrait of the vibrant and rough life in Greenwich Village through the eyes of Mr. Nut, who becomes politicized by the grind of the down-and-outs. He seems compelled by some manic force, conveyed through the novel’s prose—a heady mix of bohemianism and radicalism pushing the lines forward.

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