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Politics Briefing: September jobs boost lowers unemployment rate to 6.9 per cent as cabinet weighs extension of COVID-19 benefits – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Canadian employment has returned to prepandemic levels, Statistics Canada reported Friday, as a surprise gain of 157,000 jobs in September saw the unemployment rate fall from 7.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent.

The jobs boost beat market expectations and arrives as the federal Liberals deal with the looming Oct. 23 expiration date for key pandemic programs, including wage and rent subsidies for businesses and direct payments to individuals who are unable to work because of COVID-19.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said this week that she and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have had several recent discussions about whether or not to extend the programs. The Liberal Party campaigned on a pledge to offer targeted extensions focused on the hard hit tourism sector, but business and labour organizations say the need is still there and are urging the government to approve a more broad-based extension.

The Globe and Mail’s Matt Lundy reports on Friday’s job numbers here.

CIBC economist Royce Mendes said the recent election campaign helped create some of those part time jobs.

“The federal election also credibly helped boost hiring in public administration, with election enumerators and poll clerks needed. However, that’s only a temporary boost to employment, since those election-related jobs will have vanished by the time the October survey period rolls around,” he wrote in a note to clients.

RBC economist Nathan Janzen cautioned in a note that it is too early to declare a full recovery.

“Just because employment has now returned to prepandemic levels does not mean that labour markets have recovered. The unemployment rate is still more than a percentage point above February, 2020 levels,” he wrote.

BMO Chief Economist Doug Porter offered this take: “The recovery, while clearly bumpy at times, took a mere 17 months, which frankly was undoubtedly much faster than almost anyone would have dared predict in those dark days,” he wrote in research memo Friday titled “Canadian Jobs: She-Covery!”

“As a side note, female employment led the way last month with a huge 99,700 jump, and is now well above prepandemic levels,” Mr. Porter wrote.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written with Bill Curry. 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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met behind closed doors with his Liberal caucus on Thursday, in what was called an “informal” send-off for defeated MPs, leaving the postelection debrief on the party’s failed bid for a majority government to another day.

The NDP is prepared to withhold its votes in Parliament and wants the minority government to demonstrate it is interested in co-operation, Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday.

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said high inflation could be “a little more persistent” than the central bank previously thought, while the economic recovery could “take a little longer.”

Quebec Premier François Legault says he will discontinue the current sitting of the legislature and deliver a fresh inaugural speech Oct. 19. The plan, announced Thursday, comes as the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s is facing an election scheduled for Oct. 3, 2022, Legault will use the speech to jump-start his government and set the tone for the postpandemic period. From The Montreal Gazette. Story here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings. And the Prime Minister speaks with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

LEADERS

No public events for Friday have been announced by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh or Bloc Québécois Leader Yves François Blanchette.

HOW TO BE A PRIME MINISTER

From Governing Canada, A Guide to the Tradecraft of Politics by Michael Wernick (Published by On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press)

This week, the Politics Briefing newsletter is featuring excerpts from Governing Canada, a new book by Michael Wernick, the former clerk of the privy council. Our focus is a key chapter, Advice to a Prime Minister. (Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup reported on the project here.)

Today’s excerpt features some key points of, Mr. Wernick’s advice on dealing with the premiers:

“The most productive way to work with premiers over time is one-on-one and away from cameras. Phone calls and short meetings can get a lot sorted out. This work can lead to announcements and public events that you can both benefit from…

“The numbers and the incentives at a gathering of all the premiers are not in your favour. There are 13 of them, and the arithmetic is that it only takes a few of them to block progress, to water down initiatives, or to make your task more difficult. Generally, they will come to agreement only on the lowest common denominator. That usually means what they think you should be doing for them…

“So the predictable outcome of any gathering of premiers is going to be a call for you to increase federal transfers with as few strings attached as possible. They will assign their best people to put pressure on you in the buildup and even during the meeting. Premiers have gone back to this playbook for decades…

“The key point is that the arithmetic of the Canadian federation works against the federal prime minister. A handful of premiers is enough to delay or block. There will be ebbs and flows in the tone and climate of intergovernmental relations. So when the windows of alignment open up and progress looks possible, press hard and don’t waste them.”

OPINION

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on why Justin Trudeau’s `regrets’ for his National Day for Truth and Reconciliation vacation is not enough: In an act of incredible forgiveness, the community of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation will host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit to the gravesites of at least 200 Indigenous children. The Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed he’ll be there. This is the beautiful thing about so many Indigenous Peoples: No matter what crap is thrown at us – from genocidal laws and policies aimed to extinguish us, to racists yelling for us to get off the sidewalk – we rise. Our existence is our resistance. That isn’t just a slogan. It is the truth.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) says power has gone to Quebec Premier François Legault’s head: “Mr. Legault appears to have fallen into the trap of believing he owes his remarkable popularity to only himself, rather than to a series of factors for which he was only partly, or not at all, responsible… Once again, Mr. Legault demonstrated a dangerous tendency to get annoyed at the slightest criticism and dismiss anyone who disagrees with him as a troublemaker or, even worse, an enemy of the Quebec people.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the future of the Conservative Party and leader Erin O’Toole: “The proposition the Conservatives placed before the people in this election was less a move to the middle than a move to the muddle. There was no attempt to ground the proposals in any coherent set of principles, conservative or otherwise… The party itself has some deep thinking to do. For more than a hundred years, the Conservatives have been, as it is said, the spare wheel of Canadian politics, elected only after the public has grown sufficiently fed up with the Liberals. If they aspire to be something more, they need first to consider why they are something other: why they are not Liberals, assuming this is explained by fundamental differences over policy and not the other way around.”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop

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Biden says United States would come to Taiwan’s defense

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The United States would come to Taiwan‘s defense and has a commitment to defend the island China claims as its own, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday, though the White House said later there was no change in policy towards the island.

“Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall when asked if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has complained of mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty.

While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

In August, a Biden administration https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-position-taiwan-unchanged-despite-biden-comment-official-2021-08-19 official said U.S. policy on Taiwan had not changed after the president appeared to suggest the United States would defend the island if it were attacked.

A White House spokesperson said Biden at his town hall was not announcing any change in U.S. policy and “there is no change in our policy”.

“The U.S. defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We will uphold our commitment under the Act, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo,” the spokesperson said.

Biden said people should not worry about Washington’s military strength because “China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we’re the most powerful military in the history of the world,”

“What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake,” Biden said.

“I don’t want a cold war with China. I just want China to understand that we’re not going to step back, that we’re not going to change any of our views.”

Military tensions between Taiwan and China are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said this month, adding that China will be capable of mounting a “full-scale” invasion by 2025.

Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy.

China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States and has denounced what it calls “collusion” between Washington and Taipei.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Thursday, China’s United Nations Ambassador Zhang Jun said they are pursuing “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and responding to “separatist attempts” by its ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

“We are not the troublemaker. On the contrary, some countries – the U.S. in particular – is taking dangerous actions, leading the situation in Taiwan Strait into a dangerous direction,” he said.

“I think at this moment what we should call is that the United States to stop such practice. Dragging Taiwan into a war definitely is in nobody’s interest. I don’t see that the United States will gain anything from that.”

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington, Michelle Nichols in New York and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Do climate politics really matter at the local level? A Seattle professor thinks so – knkx.org

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The changing climate is a topic you’d think would be front and center in local elections – especially after the heat wave that killed hundreds of people in the Northwest this summer.

A professor of politics at the University of Washington noted a lack of attention to the issue – until he and a colleague pushed for a debate about it in Seattle.

Aseem Prakash

Aseem Prakash directs the school’s Center for Environmental Politics. In July, he wrote about his amazement that none of the candidates seemed to care about the climate. Instead, their focus – as with candidates in New York City – is on crime, policing and, lately, homelessness.

And when you ask them how we’re truly adapting to climate change, the candidates either pass the buck and say some other jurisdiction is ultimately responsible, Prakash says. Or they talk about pilot programs for this and that.

And there are lots of pilot programs, he says. But he doesn’t see any Seattle mayoral candidates — or past mayors — following up with data that would help keep them accountable. Instead, he says, most seem to use a local office, like mayor or city councilmember, as a stepping stone at the beginning of a career in politics — or toward something else more lucrative.

“At some point, all of us, we have to call out the B.S. You have to call out the B.S. and force politicians to confront the issues that affect us,” he says.

“Because there’s a program for everything, right? … Is it really helping?” Prakash wonders.

“Do we have data that the heat island effect in Seattle has improved over the years because there are programs? Have we evaluated how effective these programs are? No. … So then what’s the point? This is what you call ‘virtue signaling.’” 

Prakash says there are too many pledges and not enough action. Accountability is missing. Most people aren’t getting help with things like cooling their homes during heat waves or getting electric cars that are affordable and reliable.

Everybody wants to be a global leader, (to) talk about the future generation. It’s a moral responsibility,“ Prakash says, with a note of frustrated sarcasm in his voice.

“But you ask them, ‘OK, can you please translate it in the context of my humble census tract, my ZIP code? What does climate change mean for my ZIP code? Why should I care?’ ”

These are issues that students and professors from departments all over the University of Washington want to come together to discuss and attempt to solve, as they relate to climate change.

This interdisciplinary approach is why Prakash founded the Center for Environmental Politics seven years ago. The debate is co-hosted by the UW’s EarthLab.

“A Climate Conversation with Seattle Mayoral Candidates” is free and open to the public via Zoom. It takes place Friday evening from 5 to 6 p.m. You can register here.

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Factbox-Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, spent a night in hospital but returned to Windsor Castle on Thursday.

Here are some facts about the 95-year-old queen:

PRINCESS:

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 17 Bruton St, London W1, on April 21, 1926, and christened on May 29, 1926, in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace.

After her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 for the love of a divorced American woman, the queen’s father, George VI, inherited the throne.

Two years after World War Two, she married navy Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, a Greek prince, whom she had fallen for during a visit to a naval college when she was just 13.

QUEEN

She was just 25 when she became Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 6, 1952, on the death of her father, while she was on tour in Kenya with Prince Philip.

She was crowned monarch on June 2, 1953, in a ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey that was televised live.

MOTHER AND WIFE

Philip was said to be shattered when his wife became queen so soon.

Her marriage to Philip, whom she wed when she was 21, stayed solid for 74 years until his death in April 2021.

Their children are Charles, born in 1948, Anne, born in 1950, Andrew in 1960 and Edward in 1964.

MONARCH

Winston Churchill was the first of her 14 British prime ministers.

As head of state, the queen remains neutral on political matters. The queen does not vote.

SOVEREIGN

Elizabeth, who acceded to the throne as Britain was shedding its imperial power, has symbolised stability. Her nearly 70-year reign is the longest of any British monarch.

A quiet and uncomplaining dedication to the duty of queenship, even in old age, has earned her widespread respect both in Britain and abroad, even from republicans who are eager for abolition of the monarchy.

OFFICIAL TITLE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

Her Majesty Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

COMMONWEALTH

The Queen is head of state of 15 Commonwealth countries in addition to the United Kingdom. She is also head of the Commonwealth itself, a voluntary association of 54 independent countries.

DIFFICULT TIMES

The 40th anniversary of her accession, in 1992, was a year she famously described as an “annus horribilis” after three of her four children’s marriages failed and there was a fire at her Windsor Castle royal residence.

The death of Princess Diana, the divorced wife of Elizabeth’s son and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, in 1997, damaged the family’s public prestige.

Charles’ younger son, Harry, and wife Meghan said in an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year that one unidentified royal had made a racist remark about their first-born child. The couple had stepped back from royal duties in early 2020 and moved to the United States.

 

(Writing by Michael Holden and Kate Holton; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Peter Cooney)

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