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Politics Briefing: Ottawa ending the use of the Emergencies Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

The federal government has ended the use of the Emergencies Act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

Mr. Trudeau made the announcement at a news conference alongside several cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. The ministers have been at the forefront of managing and explaining the policy intended to give police extra powers to deal with blockades and protests.

Prior to a vote in the House of Commons this week that enabled the act, Mr. Trudeau said the previously unused legislation afforded powers, such as compelling tow-truck drivers to move big rigs out of Ottawa’s downtown core.

But he said Wednesday that the act is no longer needed, “We were very clear that the use of the Emergencies Act would be limited in time. When we invoked it, it was in place for 30 days, and we said that we would lift it as soon as possible,” Mr. Trudeau told the news conference.

“Today, after careful consideration, we’re ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency. Therefore, the federal government will be ending the use of the Emergencies Act.”

Mr. Trudeau said existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe.

On Monday, Liberal and NDP MPs voted in favour of the legislation. The Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois voted against.

Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup and i 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

CHAREST CONSIDERS RUN FOR TORY LEADERSHIP – Former Quebec premier Jean Charest is inclined to seek the leadership of the federal Conservative party but is waiting to see the rules of the race before he makes a final decision, says a source close to Mr. Charest. Story here.

Meanwhile La Presse reports here that former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper “will not sit idly by” if Mr. Charest decides to seek the party leadership, but rather use the influence he has retained in the party to ensure “a true conservative” wins.

CANADA ESCALATES UKRAINE ACTIONS – Canada is sending hundreds more troops to Europe and slapping what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “first round” of new economic sanctions on Russia for its decision to recognize two breakaway regions in Ukraine and deploy soldiers there. Story here. There’s a Globe and Mail Explainer here on the latest in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

UNEVEN JOB MARKET RECOVERY IN ONTARIO – Ontario’s job market charted a very uneven recovery over the course of 2021, with employment in low-wage industries remaining woefully below prepandemic levels, while the number of people employed in higher-wage white-collar jobs soared to levels not seen before in years. Story here.

OTTAWA PROTESTS

TRUCK BLOCKADE ORGANIZER DENIED BAIL – In Ottawa, an organizer who had a key role in the truck blockade in the core of the country’s capital has been denied bail, and some police checkpoints remain in place to prevent further demonstrations. Story here.

ONTARIO PROMISES MORE AID FOR PROTEST-IMPACTED BUSINESSES – Ontario’s Finance Minister says more help is coming for businesses affected by the weeks-long protest against COVID-19 measures in Ottawa. While Peter Bethlenfalvy didn’t share specifics, he said Tuesday that the province would have more to say on targeted supports soon.

MAN CHARGED AFTER PULLING A GUN IN OTTAWA MALL – Ottawa police say one man has been charged after he pulled a gun inside the capital’s largest mall near Parliament Hill, hours after it was able to reopen in the aftermath of a three-week long occupation of the city’s downtown core. Story here.

MEANWHILE

SUSPICIOUS FIRE AT LIBERAL MP’S OFFICE – Police say a fire that damaged a Liberal MP’s constituency office in Mississauga, Ont., has been deemed suspicious. Story here.

KEY POINTS FROM B.C. BUDGET – Five key points from the B.C. budget that B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson introduced on Tuesday. Story here.

CORRECTION: MP Rob Morrison (Kootenay-Columbia) is one of two Conservatives designated as the party’s preferred appointees to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Incorrect information appeared yesterday.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House is adjourned until Feb. 28, 2022 at 11 a.m. (EST).

CLARK ENDORSES CHAREST FOR TORY LEADERSHIP – Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark has endorsed Jean Charest as leader of the federal Conservatives even as the ex-Quebec premier considers seeking the job. On this week’s edition of The Curse of Politics podcast available here, Ms. Clark touted Mr. Charest’s centrist credentials, understanding of the complexities of Canada and the economy, and ability to advance discussion on “the things we have in common rather than the things that divide us.” Ms. Clark was the leader of the B.C. Liberals – a coalition of federal Conservatives and Liberals – and premier from 2011 to 2017. “The Liberals are going to have to decide what they want to do about Justin Trudeau but, honestly, the Conservatives have a chance with a guy like Charest running for office, becoming their leader.”

NEW CANADIAN AMBASSADOR IN CUBA – Geoff Gartshore, who has served at Canada’s embassy in Germany as counsellor and head of the political and economic section, has become Canada’s ambassador to Cuba, replacing Perry Calderwood, a former high commissioner in Pakistan, who was appointed ambassador in 2019. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly made the announcement in a statement today.

BACK TO WORK ON CENTRE-BLOCK RENOVATION – Work resumed Tuesday on the years-long renovation of Centre Block. The program of construction was suspended on Jan. 28 because of the protests in downtown Ottawa.

A NEW GENUIS – Alberta Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park – Fort Saskatchewan) is announcing the arrival of a son here.

THE DECIBEL – On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, the Globe’s senior international correspondent, Mark MacKinnon, discusses the role of diplomacy now that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has moved into a more inauspicious stage. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings. The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Incident Response Group on the illegal blockades and the situation in Ukraine. He held an afternoon news conference on the Emergencies Act. And the Prime Minister was scheduled to attend and deliver remarks at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress board meeting.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh meets virtually with the executive of the Canadian Federation of Students and was scheduled to meet virtually with Burnaby South community organizations.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

OPINION

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how our shared reality – and the knowledge that undergirds it – is being assaulted: This is the other discovery we have made of late, far more disturbing than the first: not just how easily a certain section of the population can be made to believe the most outrageous lies, but how willing a certain section is to tell them. The latter know exactly what they are doing. They know that they are spreading falsehoods, validating lunacy, crossing lines previously considered uncrossable. They just no longer care. How long would the Ottawa occupation have lasted, had certain members of the Conservative Party not given it their enthusiastic support? How much comfort did the occupiers take from their enablers online, as quick to minimize their misconduct (“peaceful protest”) as to exaggerate their mistreatment (“police brutality”)? How healthy can our democracy remain, under this combined assault on reality?”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how the Conservative leadership convention is shaping up to be a competition for the party’s soul: A contest for the Conservative leadership featuring Mr. Charest and Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, who has already declared, would be a contest between the establishment and populist wings of the party for its soul. Right now, the populists own it. But if there are enough people in Canada who want to see a fiscally pragmatic, socially moderate Conservative Party led by someone with demonstrated ability, and who are willing to take out a party membership, Mr. Charest might have a chance.”

Andrew Cohen (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the occupation showed Ottawa is a city still satisfied with mediocrity: “As we know, the City of Ottawa did almost nothing to stop what Mayor Jim Watson called a state of emergency. Nothing. In the first week, the now-former police chief, Peter Sloly, offered daily self-congratulation for avoiding violence. Later, Mr. Watson tried to negotiate with the truckers – a fruitless exercise in appeasement. It took Zexi Li, a heroic young public servant, to get a court injunction to stop the ear-piercing honking. And the federal government, finally, to organize a police intervention to stop the carnival of intimidation. Effectively, this made Ottawa its ward. The occupation of Ottawa was the apotheosis of an inept city. How could this happen in the capital of a G8 country? Easily, actually, if you have an autocratic mayor, a weak city council and a contented constituency.”

Beverley McLachlin (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the Ottawa truck convoy has revealed the ugly side of freedom: “Freedom is not absolute. We live in a social matrix, where one person’s exercise of freedom may conflict with another person’s exercise of freedom. Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states this plainly. The Charter gives Canadians a bundle of rights and freedoms. But it prefaces them with this caution – these rights and freedoms, precious as they are, are not absolute. Governments, it proclaims, can limit freedoms, provided the limits are “reasonable” and can be “justified in a free and democratic society.” The bottom line is that you can’t use your freedoms in a way that unreasonably conflicts with or affects the freedoms of other people. The freedoms guaranteed by the Charter stop where they harm others. With freedom comes responsibility.”

Kelly Egan (The Ottawa Citizen) on a blockade miracle – metal seas parted, disaster avoided: “So we wake up, in our hungover state, with no permanent police chief, down two deputies, a remade police board and some pretty deep scars around the council table. No great victory was won by the “Freedom Convoy.” Protesters did not get Justin Trudeau to change his mind on vaccine mandates or have the governor-general take over, or have mainstream media vaporized. In a democracy, policy isn’t changed, or negotiations started, by holding a gun to someone’s head. And was this not a version of that? Protest all you want – but don’t illegally take over Canada’s front porch for three weeks and expect to be invited in.”

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With debates over, Conservative leadership candidate turns to final membership push

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OTTAWA — Now that the second official debate of the race is out of the way, Conservative leadership hopefuls will turn their attention to signing up as many supporters as they can before a fast-approaching deadline.

The party’s leadership election organizing committee says it is already breaking records for how many new members candidates have drawn in ahead of the June 3 cutoff date for new members being able to vote.As of last week, officials were bracing for a voting base of more than 400,000 members by the deadline.

In comparison, the party had nearly 270,000 members signed up to vote in its 2020 leadership contest.

The six candidates vying to replace former leader Erin O’Toole met on stage Wednesday for a French-language debate in Laval, Que. — a province where the Conservative Party of Canada has never won more than a dozen seats.

A rowdy crowd of several hundred booed and cheered throughout the night as candidates took turns lacing into each other’s records, including on controversial pieces of Quebec legislation.

Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, a perceived front-runner in the race who has been drawing large crowds at rallies across Canada, repeatedly stressed his opposition to the Quebec secularism law known as Bill 21, which prohibits certain public servants in positions of power from wearing religious symbols on the job.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest and Ontario mayor Patrick Brown — considered his main rivals — both accused Poilievre of not clearly stating his position on the law when speaking to Quebecers, which he denied.

Ontario MPs Scott Aitchison and Leslyn Lewis, as well as Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber, are also vying to be leader.

Grassroots Conservatives are looking for leadership candidates who can draw many new faces into the party, including in Quebec where membership numbers are low.

Under new rules adopted last year, a riding must have at least 100 members in order for candidates to nab the full amount of points available to them in the ranked-ballot system used to determine a winner.

A winner is chosen when a candidate earns more than 50 per cent of the votes. In the event they don’t, whoever earns the fewest number of votes nationally is dropped from the ballot and the votes they received are redistributed to whichever candidate was marked as their second choice.

Speaking to reporters following Wednesday’s debate, which saw Charest and Brown repeatedly attack Poilievre but not one another, Charest said Brown should not be underestimated in the race.

Entering as the mayor of Brampton, Ont., Brown had a reputation in Tory circles for his ability to organize from his time as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives.

He has spent the race criss-crossing the country, meeting with different immigrant and ethnic communities, encouraging them to take out a membership in the party to change Canada’s conservative movement.

Among those he’s focused his attention on are people from the Tamil, Chinese, Sikh, Nepalese, Filipino and Muslim communities.

Brown promises them a better seat at the political table and pledges to end the lottery system to make family reunification easier. He has also spent the last few weeks equating Poilievre’s name with two of the world’s most controversial right-wing leaders — former U.S. president Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, the far-right French politician who recently failed to win a general election.

“The guy I’m running against is trying to replicate what you’d call the Trump version of conservatism or the Le Pen version of conservatism,” Brown told Muslim community members in Surrey, B.C., last week.

In another recent address to a Muslim gathering in Burnaby, B.C., Brown took aim at the crowds Poilievre has been attracting.

“Sort of looks like a Trump rally,” he said, before criticizing the lack of racial diversity.

Brown made similar remarks during Wednesday’s debate when he accused Poilievre of trying to court the support of people akin to Pat King, a leading voice of the Ottawa convoy protest who has also espoused the so-called white replacement conspiracy theory.

Poilievre has denounced King’s remarks.

After Quebec, Poilievre was set to travel to New Brunswick, followed by Thunder Bay, Ont., Winnipeg and Saskatoon. He will bring his campaign message of “freedom” from everything from the cost of living to COVID-19 public-health restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

 

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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Your Promises Are empty and Similar

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“Your promises give us such a thrill,
but they won’t pay our bills,
We want money, that’s what we want(&Need).

The Political Parties in Ontario are trying to bribe us all with our own money. Election Madness, with the NDP promising should they be elected to form the next government, they would set a weekly price cap on the price of gasoline. The Conservatives have promised to temporarily cut the gas tax starting in July. Liberal Steven Del Duca says price caps do not work, while the NDP claims tax cuts do not prevent Energy Corporations from raising their prices.

The Liberal’s platform plank regarding Transit points to a buck-a-dollar ride. The NDP is calling for free transit (possibly in certain regions).

The Doctor shortage is easily solved, so The NDP claim, by hiring 300+ more doctors and thousands of nurses. Their pay will have to be very high in order to attract professional medical talent to Ontario. Medical Professionals have moved to The USA, receiving salaries and enticements many of our current medical pros could only dream of.

So we have political leaders promising billions of dollars to attract our attention and hopefully our vote. Where this money is coming from is usually not discussed. Real numbers are never presented. We have experienced massive spending these past three years, and the international and domestic lenders are demanding to be repaid, yet these promises continue. Not one Political Leader has the courage to tell us the truth, believing we “cannot handle the truth”, but that we would rather sit in the glow of imaginary promises that one only hears during an election.

A powerHouse Premier with a broad array of accomplishments, a Liberal Leader trying to gain a few seats and save His leadership status, a NDP Leader whose very political life is under review(She does not win, She’s gone), a Green Party Leader also seeking a few more seats. That is their political state presently. We are waiting for certain tax increases to come. Someone has to pay for these political visions of future circumstances. The bills and invoices are in the mail, and will certainly arrive this July.

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers”.(N.K)

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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Opinion: The paranoid style in Conservative politics has deep roots – The Globe and Mail

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Here are some of the things certain candidates for Conservative leader think, or want Conservative voters to think, threaten Canada and Canadians.

Candidate Pierre Poilievre warns his followers that the government of Canada “has been spying on you everywhere. They’ve been following you to the pharmacy, to your family visits, even to your beer runs.”

The government hasn’t been doing anything of the kind, of course: A private company prepared a report to the Public Health Agency of Canada on population movements during the pandemic, using anonymous, aggregated cellphone data. The data allow researchers to count how many people visited a pharmacy or a beer store, not which people did; still less are individuals followed from place to place.

But Mr. Poilievre knows his followers don’t know this, and is quite content to mislead them. Just as he is when he claims he opposes allowing the Bank of Canada to issue a digital version of the dollar because the government would use the data generated thereby to “crack down” on its “political enemies.”

The point isn’t that such data couldn’t be misused in this way. The point is that Mr. Poilievre asserts, without evidence, that it is happening now, and assumes, without evidence, that worse will happen in the future – not as a possibility to be guarded against, but as an inevitability. This is the very definition of fear-mongering. Or, indeed, conspiracy theory. It encourages not prudent skepticism of government’s capacity, but baseless paranoia about government intentions.

But this is statesmanship itself next to the fears he and others have been spreading about the World Economic Forum, which sponsors an annual gathering of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, that is the grand obsession of conspiracy theorists everywhere.

Mr. Poilievre hasn’t come right out and said what he thinks the WEF is up to (unlike former Conservative leadership candidate Derek Sloan, now the leader of the Ontario Party, who earlier this month accused the organization’s leaders of plotting to put microchips in “our bodies and our heads”), but he has made a point of saying that he will ban any member of his cabinet from attending its meetings – though several members of Stephen Harper’s cabinet did, including Mr. Harper himself.

Trudeau’s advantage: His house united, the other divided

Australia’s ‘teal wave’ is a wakeup call for Canada’s Conservatives

Then there’s candidate Leslyn Lewis, whose particular fear is the World Health Organization, or more precisely a package of amendments to its International Health Regulations put forward earlier this year by the United States. The amendments seem chiefly aimed at preventing the sort of information vacuum that hampered efforts to contain the coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak, notably stemming from China’s refusal to level with the world about what it had on its hands – but also abetted by the WHO’s own credulousness.

Thus, a critical amendment would require the WHO, should it find there is a public-health emergency “of international concern,” and having first offered assistance to the affected country, to share information with other countries about it, even if the first country objects. (Until now it had been left to the WHO’s discretion.) In conspiracy circles this has been cooked up into an open-ended power for the WHO to force countries into lockdown, take over their health care systems, even, in Ms. Lewis’s formulation, suspend their constitutions.

Where does one begin? The WHO does not have the power to dictate policies to member states. No country would ever agree to give it that power, let alone all 194 member states at once. And of all those countries, the least likely to agree to any such transfer of national sovereignty, let alone propose it, is the United States: the country that, for example, refuses to this day to participate in the International Criminal Court. The only way it could be done even in theory would be by passing the necessary enabling legislation through each country’s legislature, not by simply ratifying an amendment to a regulation.

We’ve been this way before. Remember the Global Compact for Migration? That anodyne collection of best-efforts promises of international co-operation in dealing with the world’s refugees was the subject of an earlier Conservative panic attack. Supposedly we would be permanently surrendering control of our borders to United Nations bureaucrats. It hasn’t happened, because that’s not actually how the world works.

Neither did Motion 103, a non-binding resolution of the House directing that a committee hold hearings on Islamophobia, lead to a ban on criticism of Islam, as still another Conservative fear campaign had claimed. Probably some of its proponents understood this at the time, but lots of their supporters didn’t.

And so it continues. Vaccine mandates become “vaccine vendettas.” Carbon pricing is equated with Chinese-style “social credit” scores. The Bank of Canada’s purchases of government bonds in the middle of the sharpest economic contraction since the Great Depression are depicted as if they were directly bankrolling the Liberal Party.

This cynical act is sometimes dressed up as “sticking up for the little guy” or “taking on the elites.” It is not. It is exploitation, pure and simple, shaking down the gullible for money and votes. It’s a con as old as politics. Before Mr. Poilievre can promise his audience to “give you back control over your lives,” he has to first persuade them that control has been taken away from them – and that he alone has the power to give it back. Or rather, that they should give him that power.

Populism has deep roots in the Conservative Party, at least since John Diefenbaker gathered the disparate populist movements that had sprung up in the West under the Progressive Conservative banner. As the party of the “outs,” those who for one reason or another were excluded from the Liberal power consensus, it has always tended to attract its share of cranks – not just populists but crackpots.

What’s different today? Three things. One, the targets of populist wrath are increasingly external to Canada: bodies like the WEF or the WHO, whose remoteness from any actual role in controlling our lives only makes them seem more darkly potent, to those primed to believe it.

Two, the “outs” no longer simply reject a particular political narrative, but increasingly science, and reason, and knowledge: the anti-expertise, anti-authority rages of people who have been “doing their own research.”

And three, the crackpopulists used to be consigned to the party’s margins. Now they are contending to lead it.

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