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Politics Briefing: Extra staff hired to process passport backlog, Trudeau says




Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is doing what it can to deal with the massive surge in applications for passports as Canadians seek to travel amidst the easing pandemic.

“I understand there are people dealing with delays. We are doing our utmost to try and expedite the processes because, yes, Canadians want to travel, and we want to welcome people to Canada as well,” Mr. Trudeau said Monday.

“We still have to tread carefully because of COVID but we are setting up the necessary measures to accelerate the processes for passports.”

Mr. Trudeau was appearing at a news conference with visiting Chilean President Gabriel Boric when a journalist raised the travel issue.

The Prime Minister said 500 additional staff have been hired to work in passport offices, and 40,000 passports are being processed each day.

Michelle Carbert reported here in May that the union representing Canada’s passport officers says its members are facing verbal abuse, stress and long hours as they continue to respond to an overwhelming surge in applications prompted by an uptake in travel after the lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions.

During Monday’s news conference, Mr. Trudeau also denounced China’s recent actions toward Canadian planes participating in a multilateral UN mission over the Pacific Ocean to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

Last week, the Canadian military accused Chinese planes of not following international safety norms on several occasions and putting a Canadian crew at risk

“China’s actions are irresponsible and provocative and we will continue to register strongly that they are putting people at risk while at the same time not respecting decisions by the UN,” Mr. Trudeau said. Story 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.


SPOTLIGHT IN QUEBEC TEACHER IN BILL 21 SPOTLIGHT – The Quebec teacher removed from her classroom over the province’s Bill 21 says taking off her hijab to keep her job would send wrong the message to students. “I am always about encouraging kids to find their own identity, and grow on their own terms, and that nobody should dictate who they are,” Fatemeh Anvari, a teacher in Chelsea, Que, said in an interview. “I wouldn’t have been me in my class.” Story here.

POILIEVRE CAMPAIGN CLAIMS 300,000-PLUS SIGNUPS – Pierre Poilievre’s campaign to lead the federal Conservatives has shaken up the race, saying it has signed up more than 300,000 new members, but his rivals insist that the battle to succeed former leader Erin O’Toole is far from over. Story here.

EX-ALBERTA FINANCE MINISTER BEGINS LEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN – Alberta’s former finance minister officially launched his campaign to succeed Premier Jason Kenney as leader of the United Conservative Party over the weekend by stressing the need for unity and warning against the dangers of division. Story here.

SUPREME COURT CHIEF CALLS FOR VIGILANCE – Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner says the court has to be vigilant. “As soon as an incident occurs that can attack judicial independence, we must react, we must denounce,” he said during an interview with Radio-Canada. Story here.

TAX-EVASION CHARGES AGAINST FORMER MP DROPPED – All charges against former Calgary MP Rob Anders have been dropped on what was supposed to be the first day of a two-week tax evasion trial. Story here.

HALF THE QUEBEC LIBERAL CAUCUS NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION – Former Quebec cabinet minister Kathleen Weil will not seek re-election in the provincial election this year, and is the 13th Liberal — half of Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade’s caucus — to announce they will not run again. Story here from The Montreal Gazette.

PUBLIC SERVANT ON TRIAL FOR LEAK -The trial of a federal public servant accused of leaking cabinet secrets about a shipbuilding project is set to begin this morning. Story here.

VETERAN MANITOBA MINISTER LEAVING POLITICS – Scott Fielding, Manitoba’s Natural Resources Minister and a former provincial finance minister, is leaving politics to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 6, accessible here.

UKRAINE AMBASSADOR AMONG DIPLOMATS PRESENTING CREDENTIALS – Ukraine’s ambassador-designate to Canada is among seven new heads of mission who were scheduled on Monday to present their credentials to the Governor-General. Kovaliv Yuliya arrived in Canada on March 29 after being appointed Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada. She has held a number of positions in the public sector including being deputy head of the Ukraine president’s office in charge of economic policy development. Details here. Other mission heads are from Cuba, Ecuador, Portugal, Poland, Japan, and Pakistan.

COMPETITION OPEN FOR SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON COMBATTING ISLAMOPHOBIA – On Monday, Housing and Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen invited applicants to submit their candidacy for the new position of Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia, which has been posted on the Governor in Council Appointments website. The deadline for submitting applications is July 6.

ANAND IN THE U.S. AND SINGAPORE – Defence Minister Anita Anand is travelling, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to NORAD Headquarters in Colorado Springs on Tuesday for a series of briefings and meetings with officials, and then headed for Singapore June 9-12 to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue – a defence summit for Asia involving Asia’s during which ministers from more than 50 nations discuss and debate the region’s most pressing security challenges.

JOLY IN L.A. – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is going to Los Angeles from Monday to June 10, to join Prime Minister Trudeau at the ninth Summit of the Americas. While in California, she will hold a North American Foreign Ministers’ Trilateral Meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, to discuss mutual efforts on global security issues as well as progress towards the next North American Leaders’ Summit.

DUCLOS HAS COVID-19 – Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tweet posted on Saturday. “As per public health guidelines, I will be isolating for 10 days,” Mr. Duclos wrote.


Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail features Rollie Pemberton, the Edminton-born rapper known as Cadence Weapon, who won the Polaris Music Prize in 2021, and is known for his music with a political bent. Edmonton’s poet laureate in 2009 has written a non-fiction book, Bedroom Rapper: Cadence Weapon on Hip-Hop, Resistance and Surviving the Music Industry that charts his path through the music industry. He joins Globe Associate Arts editor Aruna Dutt for a conversation on creativity in the pandemic and emerging with a new album – and now a book – to live audiences. The Decibel is here.


In the Ottawa, the Prime Minister held private meetings as well as a bilateral meeting with Chilean President Gabriel Boric, made an announcement with the president, and was scheduled to participate with the Chilean president in a Q&A discussion with local high-school students on the environment and climate change, leadership, democracy, and gender equality.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh met with a delegation from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and spoke on the anniversary of the fatal attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario before heading into Question Period. He was also scheduled to deliver remarks on the National Council of Canadian Muslims advocacy day march.

No schedule released for other party leaders.


IN HONOUR OF DECEASED PARLIAMENTARIANS – On Monday, families, friends and colleagues of the 35 former parliamentarians who have died between July, 2021 and April, 2022 gathered in the Senate chamber for a memorial service held by the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. The names of the deceased are here.

VETERAN B.C. POLITICIAN DECEASED – Jack Weisgerber, a former Social Credit cabinet minister in British Columbia and member of the legislative assembly from northern B.C., has died. Story here from The Vancouver Sun.


Nearly 60 per cent of Canadians were comfortable or somewhat comfortable with a deal that could see the federal NDP prop up the minority Liberal government until 2025, a new survey says. Story here.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on why francophone Quebeckers should worry about Bill 96: So for a moment, let’s put aside questions about minority rights or language laws – important as those things are – to recognize there is something else going on in Bill 96. It’s something that should worry a francophone Quebecker as much as any anglo: Mr. Legault’s government believes it should be able to make laws that are protected from judicial review. And that isn’t limited to language, or culture, even if in this case it is tucked into a language law. In Bill 96, Mr. Legault and his language minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, have created a surprisingly wide inspection power. It gives the Office québécoise de la langue française the power to enter any building other than a “dwelling house” where there are activities governed by the language law, or where documents or property related to it “may be held,” to get information.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how British Columbia’s health crisis keeps getting worse:This is a story to watch in Canada, as B.C.’s primary care system finds itself “teetering” – Mr. Horgan’s word, not mine – on the verge of calamity. If that seems too strong a word, consider some of the things that have happened recently. There has been a wave of resignations among health care workers in northern B.C., including half of the doctors in the intensive care units of the area’s biggest hospitals. These physicians tendered their resignations in a display of frustration over how overworked and understaffed hospitals in the region are. There is already a well-documented doctor shortage, not just in the north but virtually everywhere in the province. More than a million British Columbians are without a family physician, with tens of thousands of new people pouring into the province each year, exacerbating the problem.”

Sheila Das (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why the English language is not the menace it’s made out to be: “Bill 96, which recently passed, greatly reduces the use of English in legal and medical services and diminishes learning in English at CEGEPs for all students, except for anglophones with historical rights. The fact that this bill is discriminatory, meaning it goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is readily acknowledged by those who proposed it when they invoked the notwithstanding clause. But is it necessary? Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, is already doing the job of advancing French in the province. Multiple studies show that public use of French has been slowly on the increase, as anglophone bilingualism has reached 70 per cent. Those are the facts. But frightening narratives easily overshadow the numbers.”

Graham Fraser (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on whether Quebec Premier François Legault is the political heir of René Lévesque or Maurice Duplessis?: “Both men grew up in predominantly English-speaking communities – Lévesque in New Carlisle, and Legault in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. Both created new parties, bringing together different streams of Quebec nationalists. Both have presided over the introduction of legislation intended to protect the French language, which disrupted and unnerved the English communities of Quebec. But there are also differences, and they are striking. Lévesque grew up completely bilingual and went to work as a broadcaster for the American military during the Second World War; his English was comfortable and colloquial, and he wrote warmly of his English-speaking colleagues. By contrast, Legault had a hostile relationship with his English-speaking neighbours – he writes about the neighbourhood fights in his memoir Cap sur un Québec gagnant – and is uncomfortable in English. In his book, in which he lists virtually all the people he worked with before entering politics, there are no anglophones.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on the rise and fall of Jason Kenney’s leadership, and what comes next: “What’s next? Travis Toews is the designated ‘establishment’ candidate — he will get organizational and financial support from Kenney backers, or so the Kenney loyalists hope. It’s not necessarily the best look. I doubt this will be a cakewalk for social conservative Toews, even though many UCP members would welcome a premier from outside Calgary. Brian Jean and Danielle Smith are in the race. So is northern MLA and fierce Kenney critic Todd Loewen. Leela Aheer will join next week. I don’t have a clue as to who’s going to end up in the premier’s chair. There’s no saying the leader has to come from the UCP caucus or government. It could be an unexpected outsider. Or it could be, say, a female moderate from Calgary.”

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Speculation Grows Around Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro as Potential Running Mate for Kamala Harris



With President Biden ending his re-election bid, there’s growing chatter that Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro could be a potential running mate for Vice President Kamala Harris.

Why it matters: Shapiro, who’s positioned himself as a moderate Democrat, has many advantages for a national ticket, including representing a pivotal swing state that former President Trump’s campaign has indicated will be central to their campaign strategy.

The former state lawmaker and attorney general has decades of political experience, and some swing voters view Shapiro as Democrats’ next rising star.

The big picture: Shapiro is among several Democratic governors getting attention for the VP spot, as well as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Some Democratic officials and operatives have even floated Shapiro’s name as a presidential contender should delegates and party members decide Harris isn’t the strongest opponent to take on Trump. As of Sunday, no major Democratic lawmaker had indicated their intention to challenge Harris for the party’s nomination.

Reality check: Democrats are unlikely to leapfrog Harris in favour of another candidate for several reasons — including the millions of dollars held in the Biden-Harris war chest that could easily be given to her, but not to any other potential candidate.

Catch up quick: President Biden announced in a letter posted on his X account Sunday he’s stepping aside as the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2024 presidential contest and endorsing Harris.

Biden, who has been in Rehoboth, Delaware, since last week recovering from COVID-19, faced intense pressure to withdraw from the race following his shaky debate performance on June 27 against Trump. Harris is emerging as the leading contender weeks before the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 19, but some advisers worry the VP’s record may not outweigh her years-long battle with public image and low favorability ratings, Axios’ Avery Lotz reports.

What they’re saying: “I will do everything I can to help elect Kamala Harris as the 47th President of the United States,” Shapiro said in a post on X Sunday.

“I’ve known Kamala Harris for nearly two decades — we’ve both been prosecutors, we’ve both stood up for the rule of law, we’ve both fought for the people and delivered results,” Shapiro wrote in a statement. “She has served this country honorably as Vice President and she is ready to be President.” When speculation was swirling before Biden stepped aside, Shapiro said he was committed to staying put as Pennsylvania governor.

His spokesperson Manuel Bonder told Axios earlier this month that any scenario of the governor replacing Biden or becoming Harris’ VP pick was “baseless speculation” and a “distraction” that doesn’t help Democrats “defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box.”

Zoom in: Shapiro, a first-term governor, has navigated the state’s divided government and could appeal to constituents in Philadelphia’s purple suburbs.

Shapiro has been outspoken about the ongoing war in Gaza and was credited for his leadership in getting I-95 reopened in less than two weeks after a deadly collapse.

Between the lines: St. Joseph’s professor emeritus and political commentator Randall Miller tells Axios that Shapiro is better off remaining at the helm in Pennsylvania and positioning himself to run in the next cycle. He could decimate future political prospects by joining a potentially “sinking ship.” “He’s very independent, very shrewd,” Miller said. “He has a controlled, directed ambition. He doesn’t need to do it.”

What’s next: Harris will not automatically pick up Biden’s delegates, meaning her road ahead has to focus on accumulating a majority at the DNC.

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Kamala Harris: A California Political Odyssey



SACRAMENTO, California — Understanding Vice President Kamala Harris’s political journey requires tracing her roots back to California. This backstory gains renewed significance amid the Democratic Party’s election-year turmoil, with increasing calls for President Joe Biden to step aside and discussions about Harris’s potential to secure the party’s backing and defeat Donald Trump in a presidential race.

Pressure on Biden intensified this week when California Rep. Adam Schiff, a close ally of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, publicly suggested it was time for Biden to “pass the torch.”

The Rise of Kamala Harris

California is where Harris’s political journey began, leading to her historic election as the first Black, Asian American, and female vice president. It’s also where she developed her political acumen and first encountered the critiques that continue to follow her.

“There’s the Kamala Harris people think they know and now there’s the one they will get to know in an entirely different way,” said Brian Brokaw, a former adviser to Harris based in Sacramento.

For those who have followed Harris’s career from her early days as San Francisco district attorney to her tenure as state attorney general, here are seven key insights that highlight her trajectory and her impact on the national stage.

1. Early Career Boost from a San Francisco Kingmaker

Harris’s political rise paralleled that of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a prominent Biden surrogate and potential future presidential contender. Both Harris and Newsom received early career support from Willie Brown, a former California Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor. Brown, who dated Harris in the mid-1990s, appointed her and Newsom to key city boards, giving them footholds in San Francisco politics.

Harris and Newsom also tapped into the same networks of Bay Area wealth and enlisted the same consulting firm for their statewide campaigns. However, Newsom has maintained closer ties to area power players like Pelosi and the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

2. The Death Penalty Stance That Shaped Her Career

Harris’s decision not to seek the death penalty for the killer of San Francisco police officer Isaac Espinoza in 2004, just months into her tenure as district attorney, was a defining moment. While consistent with her campaign stance against capital punishment, the timing of her announcement was politically risky and drew significant backlash, including a public rebuke from Feinstein at Espinoza’s funeral.

This episode has been a recurring issue in Harris’s political career, resurfacing during her 2020 presidential bid and likely to be used against her in future campaigns.

3. A Different Legislative Approach

Unlike Biden, who is known for his legislative deal-making, Harris has shown less enthusiasm for engaging in legislative battles. During her tenure as California attorney general, she avoided the Capitol debates on police accountability measures, focusing instead on policies she could implement independently, such as mandating body cameras for special agents and creating an online criminal justice portal.

However, she has championed specific legislative priorities, such as anti-truancy measures and efforts to combat maternal mortality, especially among Black women.

4. Limited Experience Running Against Republicans

Harris’s electoral challenges have rarely come from Republicans, particularly in federal races. Her most significant contest was her first race for California attorney general in 2010, a close battle against moderate Republican Steve Cooley, which she won after a last-minute surge.

Her subsequent races, including her 2016 Senate campaign, were against fellow Democrats, giving her limited experience in the kind of partisan battles that characterize today’s political landscape.

5. Tackling Student Debt

As California attorney general, Harris took on for-profit colleges like Corinthian Colleges, accusing them of misleading students and saddling them with unsustainable debt. This work laid the foundation for the Biden administration’s student loan relief efforts, with Harris playing a key role in announcing significant debt cancellations for former Corinthian students.

6. Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

Harris frequently sued fossil fuel companies during her tenure as attorney general, securing significant settlements and launching investigations into their practices. Her stance against fracking, which drew criticism from then-President Trump during the 2020 campaign, highlighted her environmental priorities but also created a conflict with Biden’s more moderate approach to energy policy.

7. A Bicoastal Vice President

Though she began her political career in the Bay Area, Harris has since become a resident of Los Angeles’s affluent Brentwood neighborhood. She regularly returns to California, balancing her duties as vice president with visits to her home state, where she maintains strong connections to Democratic donors and supporters.

Looking Ahead

As the political landscape shifts, Harris’s California roots and her experiences will continue to shape her approach and influence her political future. Whether she steps up to lead the Democratic Party in a presidential race or continues to support Biden’s administration, Harris’s journey from San Francisco to the White House remains a critical narrative in understanding her role on the national stage

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Is Ivanka Trump plotting a return to politics



If you’re a woman freaking out about the imminent possibility of another Trump term, don’t despair quite yet. Yes, Project 2025 is hoping to turn the US into a Christian nationalist country. Yes, JD Vance, Donald Trump’s running partner, has been primed for the job by Peter Thiel, a man who has mused that women having the vote is problematic. Yes, experts are raising the alarm that “a Trump-Vance administration will be the most dangerous administration for abortion and reproductive freedom in this country’s history.” But it’s not all doom and gloom: there may well be a beacon of light and female liberation coming into the White House as well. Signs suggest Ivanka Trump is considering a return to politics. Ladies and gentlewomen, the patron saint of female empowerment may selflessly serve us once again!

To be clear: the younger Trump hasn’t explicitly said that she’s interested in another go at being Daddy’s special adviser. In fact, she’s spent the last few years getting as far away from politics as possible. A renaissance woman, Trump has sold everything from handbags to shoes to real estate – but her most valuable product has always been herself. The former first daughter has always been very careful about protecting her personal brand. And, for a while, that meant staying well clear of her father.

With Donald Trump now formally the nominee, it can be hard to remember just how bad things looked for the former president a couple of years ago. After an underwhelming performance by GOP candidates in the 2022 midterm elections, a lot of Trump’s former acolytes started turning on him. High-profile Republicans complained that Trump was a drag on the party. Even the New York Post, once Trump’s personal Pravda, thought he was a joke: “TRUMPTY DUMPTY”, a post-midterm front page crowed. And then, of course, there were Trump’s mountains of legal problems. A lot of people wrote Trump off.

Ivanka was noticeably not by her father’s side during his hours of need. The moment that Donald got kicked out of the White House, Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, followed him to Florida but kept a safe distance from the political goings on at Mar-a-Lago. Can’t have an insurrection ruining one’s image, after all.

A company called College Hunks Hauling Junk helped them clear out their DC mansion and the pair decamped to Miami’s “Billionaire Bunker”. They didn’t go empty-handed, of course. The couple reported between $172m and $640m in outside income while working in the White House and Saudi Arabia gave Kushner’s private equity firm $2bn to invest. Enough to keep them busy for a while.

For a long time, Javanka stayed fairly under the radar. Ivanka Trump would pop up in headlines now and again in Fun-loving Mother and Caring Philanthropist mode. Behold, a flattering headline about Ivanka helping deploy medical supplies and meals to Ukraine! Look: here’s an Instagram slideshow of the whole family skiing! Now here’s a fun picture of the Javanka family at the flashy Ambani wedding!

A cynic might say these carefully curated images were designed to humanize Trump and erase her messy political past. Aiding this was a consistent drip-drip of mysterious sources telling the press that Javanka had no desire whatsoever to return to politics. Even this year, when Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee, media “sources” kept insisting that the former first daughter wanted nothing to do with the White House. “She is very happy, living her best life,” a source told People in March. “She left politics totally in the rearview mirror and so this time around, even if her dad is the leading Republican candidate, she basically doesn’t care. She told him when he said he was going to run again that she didn’t want to be involved.”

Mary Trump, the woman who has made a career out of being Donald Trump’s disgruntled niece after a legal battle over her inheritance, has been blunt about why Ivanka seems to have retreated from politics. “I think Ivanka made very clear that she doesn’t get enough out of [her relationship with her father] any more,” Mary Trump told CNN at the end of May. “She’s barely been heard from for months; she could not be bothered to show up at [her father’s] trial [over falsifying business records].”

As the election inches closer, however, Ivanka seems to have reassessed the value of her relationship with her father. In early May, the media outlet Puck reported that she was “warming to the idea of trying to be helpful again … She’s not like ‘Hell no’ any more”. A similar report from Business Insider soon followed: according to a “friend of Ivanka”, the entrepreneur wasn’t ruling politics out. A spokesperson for the couple told Puck that this was all nonsense but rumours of a political comeback kept mounting.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Ivanka jumped back into the spotlight with an appearance on Lex Fridman’s highly influential podcast. (Fridman has more than 4 million subscribers on YouTube.) In this she opened up about how working at the White House was “the most extraordinary growth experience of my life” and how privileged she was to have been asked by her father to help so many people. During the conversation, she also carefully recapped some of (what’s she’s claimed as) her key achievements in the White House, such as boosting the child tax credit. It wasn’t so much an interview as it was a hype project by a friend. It felt lot like it was teasing Trump’s return to political life should her dad be re-elected.

So, after years in the Floridian wilderness, has the Maga Princess officially returned to the family fold? It’s a tad too early to tell but it increasingly looks that way. As one would expect, Trump has spent the last few days close to her father after the attempt on his life: she’s very much thrown herself into the role of doting daughter again.

And while Ivanka has been absent from the Republican national convention so far, she and Jared are expected to be at Donald’s side on Thursday when he formally accepts the party’s nomination. And if that happens and images of Ivanka standing next to her father hit the headlines, it won’t just be a celebratory photoshoot – it’ll be a preview of Trump’s second term.



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