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Politics Briefing: Olympian Charmaine Crooks named interim president of Canada Soccer – The Globe and Mail




Canada Soccer has named five-time Olympian Charmaine Crooks as its interim president as the embattled national sports organization looks to broker labour peace with its men’s and women’s teams.

Ms. Crooks, whose appointment was announced on Wednesday, had been serving as vice-president of Canada Soccer’s board of directors.


She takes over from Nick Bontis, who resigned on Monday. The executive change comes in the wake of a letter from provincial and territorial soccer leaders asking Mr. Bontis to step down given the bitter labour dispute.

Canada’s World Cup men’s team refused to play a planned exhibition against Panama last June at Vancouver, while the Olympic gold-medal-winning women played the SheBelieves Cup last month only after Canada Soccer threatened legal action.

As an athlete, Ms. Crooks was Canada’s first female five-time Olympian and won a silver medal as a member of the 1984 women’s 4×400-metre relay team in Los Angeles. She is the first woman and the first person of colour to lead Canada Soccer after serving as vice-president for two years.

The Canadian Press 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.


SASKATCHEWAN SIGNS ON TO FEDERAL HEALTH DEAL – The federal government has signed an agreement in principle with Saskatchewan to invest nearly $6-billion into the province’s health care system over the next 10 years. Story here. UPDATE: In mid-afternoon, the governments of Canada and British Columbia announced a similar agreement. Please watch The Globe and Mail for more updates on this development.

MEDDLING IN 2021 ELECTION FAILS: REPORT – Efforts to meddle in the 2021 federal election did not affect the outcome of the vote, a new report based on the work of a panel of senior public servants has determined. Story here. Meanwhile, the politically connected Chinese donors who pledged $1-million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal did not only want to build a statue of the former prime minister. Story here.

HARPER BLOCKED KHADR REPATRIATION: BOOK – Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton told Omar Khadr’s lawyer over a decade ago that Washington was prepared to repatriate the Canadian citizen and Guantanamo Bay detainee, but then-prime minister Stephen Harper was blocking the move, according to a new book. Story here.

WESTERN BUDGETS – Budgets were released in British Columbia and Alberta this week. B.C.’s budget – story here – rings up a $4.2-billion deficit as the province’s NDP government spends billions on health, housing and families. Meanwhile, Alberta, which expects to post a $2.4-billion surplus this year, plans to establish a new fund the government can use to pay for one-time projects, creating a deep pool of cash. Story here.

MILLER ANNOUNCES NEW POLICY ON MODERN TREATIES – Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller announced a new policy meant to address issues in the federal government’s implementation of the approximately two dozen treaties it has signed with Indigenous peoples since 1975, which are known as modern treaties. Story here.

CHARGES RARE FOR POLICE OFFICER WHO KILL, INJURE PEOPLE – When Canadian police kill or injure someone, they seldom face charges or discipline – and in B.C., they rarely co-operate with independent oversight bodies. The Globe reviewed thousands of cases to see the scope of the problem. Story here.

PRETROLEUM CLUB REGRETS ANDERSON VISIT – The venerable Calgary Petroleum Club has expressed regrets about an event held in its facility that featured the controversial, far-right German politician Christine Anderson. Story here.

BROWN WORKING OFF TORY LEADERSHIP RUN DEBTS – Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is working to pay off debt from his federal Conservative leadership bid, but without the help of the party or the ability to issue tax receipts to donors. Story here.

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ON LEAVE – Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown has been on a leave of absence from the court since the beginning of February – which the top court says is related to a confidential matter. Story here.

VIGIL PLANNED FOR RIDEAU CANAL – Community groups in Ottawa are planning a vigil to mourn the Rideau Canal Skateway, which did not open for the first time in its 53-year history this year. Story here.


ON A BREAK – Both Parliament and the Senate are on breaks, with the House of Commons returning on March 6 and the Senate on March 7.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY – Chrystia Freeland, also the Finance Minister, held private meetings in Toronto and was scheduled to meet with clean technology and green economy leaders as part of pre-budget consultations.

MINISTERS ON THE ROAD – Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Seniors Minister Kamal Khera, in Mississauga, restated aspects of the government’s policy on long-term care homes across Canada. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in Toronto, announced more than $11.7-million to support the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to conserve wetlands, grasslands and forests as well as more than $850,000 to support several projects with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings, and Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, in Gander, N.L., announced an investment of up to $4.6-million under the National Trade Corridors Fund for the construction of a specialized seafood storage facility project at the Gander International Airport. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly began a three-day visit to Delhi, India, to participate in the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Raisina Dialogue, co-hosted by India’s external affairs ministry and the Observer Research Foundation. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, in Saguenay, Que., announced funding for le Centre d’expérimentation musicale and la Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean. Sports Minister Pascale St‑Onge, also minister for the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions agency, in Bromont, Que., announced a non‑repayable financial contribution of $450,000 for Quebec’s Electronic Systems Industry Cluster. Filomena Tassi, minister for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, in Woodbridge, Ont., announced nearly $16-million in support for southern Ontario’s manufacturing sector as it transitions to a net-zero clean economy. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in Sudbury, announced a $100,000 investment in the Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology to install 20 EV chargers on its Sudbury Campus.

HARPER AND MANNING TO DISCUSS REFORM PARTY LEGACY – Former prime minister Stephen Harper will be in the spotlight at the opening night of the 2023 conference of the Canada Strong and Free Network. Preston Manning, co-founder of the network, will hold a fireside chat with Mr. Harper, discussing the legacy of the Reform Party, after the former federal Conservative leader delivers a keynote address. The conference is being held in Ottawa.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the Vancouver region, joined B.C. Premier David Eby and federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough to meet with nursing students. Mr. Trudeau then made an announcement with Mr. Eby and took media questions. Later, the Prime Minister participated in a town hall with trade workers and apprentices.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media availability in the House of Commons foyer, regarding foreign-election interference.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre held a news conference on Parliament Hill.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Penticton, B.C., with South Okanagan-West Kootenay NDP MP Richard Cannings held a meet-and-greet with supporters in the city.

No schedules released for other party leaders.


On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, technology reporter Temur Durrani talks about how Canada’s biggest bookstore got hacked: On Feb. 8, Indigo’s website went down and customers couldn’t buy products in-store either. After scrambling to launch a new website with limited e-commerce abilities, the company announced a major breach of personal and financial information of employees. The Decibel is here.


A majority of Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond more forcefully to alleged election interference by China, according to a poll published on Wednesday, as relations between the two countries again take a turn for the worse. Details here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how B.C. needs to do more homework on its work-from-home plan:Federal public servants will return to the office at least two days each week by the end of March, under orders from the Treasury Board Secretariat. In British Columbia, the head of the public service is heading in the opposite direction, with a plan to entrench working from home as an option for the province’s 37,000 employees. B.C. and Ottawa’s diverging paths will offer a real-world test of whether remote work enhances an organization’s performance.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on three Conservative MPs who saw no evil until after lunch: “If you’re not familiar with the policies of the Alternative for Germany, the party represented by MEP Christine Anderson, you’re not alone. But the three Conservative MPs who met her for a long lunch last week didn’t get there by accident. That is not to say the three MPs are racist. Leslyn Lewis, Colin Carrie, and Dean Allison aren’t known as that at all. They are the Conservative Party’s unofficial conspiracy caucus.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how CSIS is worried about China interfering in our elections, even if the government isn’t:By now it will have dawned on many people that we have a full-blown, five-alarm national security crisis on our hands. Two possibilities are open to us; each would be a crisis of a different kind. Either 1: rogue officers within the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have been making a series of sensational and wholly false accusations against the government of Justin Trudeau and certain prominent members of the Liberal Party, in an apparent bid to destabilize the government. Or 2: the substance of the charges is true. That this is easily the more plausible of the scenarios underlines the gravity of the situation.”

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta’s budget shows it’s not the absolute best of times, but it’s still close:Alberta’s NDP Opposition promises this will be Premier Danielle Smith’s first, and final, budget. But the document, released Tuesday, gives the now-governing United Conservative Party an advantage with fistfuls of cash and ample room to manoeuvre before the rapidly approaching May election. Over all, it’s not the absolute best of times for Alberta budget-makers, but it’s close. Amidst global economic uncertainty, the province took in its highest-ever non-renewable resource revenues this fiscal year – $27.5-billion – substantially more than the $14.3-billion recorded in the heady days of 2005-06.”

Alan Bernstein (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Canada incorrectly framing the challenge that China poses: Our challenge with China is being framed as a security issue – arguably, however, it is primarily a scientific and an economic one, driven by the current revolution in science and the simultaneous emergence of China as a science superpower, with a knowledge-based economy that rivals that of the Western democracies. That difference in framing produces very different policy responses.”

Sasayama Takuya (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on doubling down on Canada-Japan ties is vital to our rules-based international order: Thus, this year we look forward to the visit to Japan by “Team Canada 2.0,″ comprising federal and provincial governments. The 3,000 Sakura trees planted in Ontario through our Sakura Project will be blooming again this year. Japan and Canada, celebrating the 95th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, are also about to enter a new season of splendour.”

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Watch: Bethany Mandel, a conservative author, was asked to define 'woke'. Her response went viral – CNN



Question stumps conservative commentator, goes viral

Conservative author Bethany Mandel, whose new book is centered around the term “woke,” struggled to define it during an interview. CNN anchor Abby Phillip and the “Inside Politics” panel discuss the debate surrounding the term.


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Foreign interference: Conservatives forcing vote on new study – CTV News



In an effort to keep the foreign interference story at the forefront, and to do an apparent end run around the Liberal filibuster blocking one study from going ahead, the Conservatives forced the House to spend Monday debating a motion instructing an opposition-dominated House committee to strike its own review.

Monday was a Conservative opposition day in the House of Commons, allowing the Official Opposition to set the agenda, and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre picked a motion that, if passed, would have the House of Commons Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee embark on a fresh foreign interference study. The motion is set to come to a vote on Tuesday.

The motion also contains clear instructions that the committee—chaired by Conservative MP John Brassard— call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford to testify under oath, followed by numerous other officials and players believed to have insight surrounding allegations of interference by China in last two federal elections.


Among the other names the Conservatives are pushing to come testify: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, authors of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol reports for the 2019 and 2021 elections James Judd and Morris Rosenberg, respectively, and former Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation officials.

Also on the list: many federal security officials who have already testified and told MPs they are limited in what they can say publicly, current and former ambassadors to China, a panel of past national campaign directors as well as the representatives on the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) task force from each major party.

Trudeau’s name is not on the witness list, but that could change down the line depending on the trajectory of the testimony and how the story evolves. In order to fit in what would be more than a dozen additional hours of testimony, the motion prescribes that the committee meet at least one extra day each week regardless of whether the House is sitting, and have priority access to House resources.

All of this was sparked by The Globe and Mail and Global News reports citing largely unnamed intelligence sources alleging specific attempts by Beijing to alter the outcomes of the 2019 and 2021 campaigns and what the opposition thinks is an insufficient response by the Liberal government. 

Officials have repeatedly asserted the integrity of both elections held, despite China’s interference efforts.


The Conservative motion dominated Monday’s question period, with two central questions swirling: How will the NDP vote? And will the Liberals make it a confidence vote?

So far the NDP have not tipped their hat in terms of their voting intention, with signals being sent that the caucus is still considering its options, while expressing some concerns with the motion’s scope and witness list. 

During debate, NDP House Leader Peter Julian said that while the motion has some positive elements, others are curious. He pointed to a motion the New Democrats will be advancing later this week, asking for a public inquiry into foreign interference efforts broadly, as better addressing Canadians’ calls than focusing in just on China. 

The Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois wouldn’t have the votes to see it pass without them, and one-by-one Conservative MPs have risen in the House to put more pressure on the NDP to vote with them. 

“While this motion is a test for this government, it is also a test for the NDP,” said Conservative MP and one of the party’s leading spokespeople on the story Michael Cooper, kicking off the debate on Monday.

“The NDP has a choice: They can continue to do the bidding for this corrupt Liberal government, propping up this corrupt prime minister. Or, they can work with us to protect the sanctity of the ballot box and the integrity of our elections by working to get the answers that Canadians deserve… We will soon find out what choice they make,” Cooper said.

The New Democrats have been in favour of an as-public-as-possible airing of the facts around interference, including hearing from Telford and other top staffers, as they’ve been pushing for at the Procedure and House Affairs Committee (PROC).That effort though, has been stymied by close to 24 hours of Liberal filibustering preventing the proposal from coming to a vote.

If the New Democrats support Poilievre’s motion, it’ll pass and spark this new committee study.

But, if the Liberals want to shut this effort down, Trudeau could declare it a confidence motion and tie NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s hands, unless he’s ready to end the confidence-and-supply agreement, which is coming up on its one-year anniversary. 

The premise of the pact is that the NDP would prop-up the Liberals on any confidence votes in exchange for progressive policy action. Part of the deal predicates discussions between the two parties on vote intentions ahead of declaring a vote is a matter of confidence.

In weighing whether this is confidence vote-worthy, Trudeau would likely be assessing whether risking an election call over an election interference controversy —which could be the result of a failed confidence vote given the Liberals’ minority standing—is the right move.

Asked by reporters on Monday whether the prime minister will be designating the vote a matter of confidence, Government House Leader Mark Holland wouldn’t say.

“We are having ongoing discussions and dialogue. I think that it’s not helpful to jump to the end of a process when we’re still having conversations, Holland said. “I understand the temptation to go to the end of the process when we’re still in the middle of it…We’re in a situation right now where we continue to have these discussions.”

In weighing whether this is confidence vote-worthy, Trudeau’s top advisers would likely be assessing whether risking an election call over an election interference controversy —which could be the result of a failed confidence vote given the Liberals’ minority standing—is the right move.

Decrying the motion as “heavily steeped in partisan politics” with the objective of playing “games with what is an enormously serious issue,” Holland suggested that some of those listed by the Conservatives, including Telford, were not best placed to speak to concerns around foreign interference in the last two elections.

“It is not a move aimed at trying to get answers, or trying to get information,” Holland said.

The Liberal House leader also echoed the prime minister’s past position that calling staffers who can’t say much, and other officials who have already testified, to come and say again that they’re unable to answer more detailed questions due to their oaths to uphold national security, won’t help assuage Canadians’ concerns over China’s interference.


During his time as democratic reform minister under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, Poilievre was opposed—as the Liberals are now— to having staff testify at committees.

Asked why it is so important from his party’s perspective to have Telford appear, Poilievre said last week that because she’s been involved with Trudeau’s campaigns, from his leadership bid through the last two federal elections, she would be aware of all of the intelligence briefings he’d been provided. He did not acknowledge that, like the prime minister, she too would be restricted in speaking publicly about them.

“She knows all the secrets. It’s time for her to come forward and honestly testify about what happened. What was Beijing’s role in supporting Justin Trudeau? And how do we prevent this kind of interference from ever happening again in Canada?” Poilievre said.

This move comes after Trudeau’s pick of former governor general David Johnston as the special rapporteur to look into foreign interference and provide recommendations to further shore up Canada’s democracy became highly politicized over Conservative and Bloc Quebecois questioning of his impartiality and potential conflict of interest given his connections to the Trudeau family and foundation.

On Friday, Trudeau said the Conservatives are politicizing the important issue of Canadians’ confidence in elections, while defending his pick as “absolutely unimpeachable.” He sought to explain why he’s gone the route of tapping an independent investigator and asking for closed-door national security bodies to review the facts.

“Canadians aren’t even sure if this government is really focused on their best interests or is in the pockets of some foreign government. That’s something that needs to be dealt with extraordinarily seriously,” Trudeau said. “And the partisan nature of politics means that no matter what I say, people are going to wonder— if they didn’t vote for me— whether or not they can trust me. And that polarization is getting even more serious.”

Pointing to Poilievre’s past cabinet position, Trudeau noted: “He was in charge of the integrity of our elections. He was in charge at the time, of making sure that China or others weren’t influencing our elections. He understands how important this, or he should.” 

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This ain't no party, but populism is destroying our federal politics – The Hill Times



Something fundamental, and dangerous, has happened to the normally partisan world of politics, with all it warts. Populism has arrived like an 18-wheeler crashing into a bridge abutment, scattering its ugly cargo of racism, xenophobia, and trumped up distrust of government and government institutions all over the road.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Incumbent governments are not just incompetent boobs who are mucking things up and ought to be shown the door. They are now the ‘enemy,’ who must not only be replaced, but wiped out, writes Michael Harris.


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