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Politics Briefing: Trudeau says Canada is doing its part for NATO

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gives a speech at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Good morning,

The Prime Minister is in Europe today (more on that in a minute), but the international delegation that’s really the talk of Ottawa today is in hockey. The Ottawa Senators are in Pittsburgh tonight for Game 7 against the Penguins. It’s this match that will decide who faces the Nashville Predators in the finals for a chance at holding the Stanley Cup. There’s been much talk so far that Ottawa fans haven’t done enough to fill the Canadian Tire Centre, though some nights have gotten close to the some-18,000-seat capacity of the arena. There are many reasons why Ottawa residents may not be going to games in droves, but at the end of the day this take from Deadspin rings true to this writer: sports is a business, and it’s not the customers who are to blame if they don’t want to buy your product.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa, with James Keller in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Let us know what you think.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with other world leaders in Belgium today for a NATO summit. In his first public comments since arriving, he said Canada is already doing its part in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East and doesn’t plan to commit more troops.

The Liberal government says its legislation aimed at fixing sexism in the Indian Act has been amended by senators in such a way that it could double or triple the number of indigenous Canadians with status.

Bill Wilson, a First Nations leader and father of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, says the inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women has been a “farce.” “People have been sitting on their hands for eight months, spending a good ton of money and they haven’t done a doggone thing,” Mr. Wilson told CBC.

The daughter of Canadian winery owners facing trial in China says their case shows the dangers of Canadians doing business in the Asian country. “You can’t have this happen to Canadian citizens when they have done nothing wrong,” Amy Chang says. Last weekend The Globe published a feature on how Chinese investors are showing renewed interest in Canadian energy companies.

As the Conservative party prepares to elect a new leader this weekend, two former heirs-apparent — Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney — say the replacement for Stephen Harper must strike a positive, inclusive tone going forward. Mr. Kenney has moved into Alberta provincial politics, while Mr. MacKay is leaving the door open for a return to federal politics in the future.

And the future of British Columbia’s government now rests with the Green Party, which holds the balance of power after the final count of absentee ballots confirmed a Liberal minority. While the Liberals won 43 ridings on election day — one short of a majority — the results have been overshadowed by uncertainty. In particular, there was speculation that the riding of Courtenay-Comox, which the New Democrats won by just nine votes on election night, could change hands to the Liberals, but final count confirmed the NDP win. Green Leader Andrew Weaver says he’s now talking to both the Liberals and the New Democrats, and he’ll decide within a week which party he’ll support. If he rejects overtures from the Liberals, the government will almost certainly fall — which could give NDP Leader John Horgan a chance to form government after his party has spent 16 years in Opposition.

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on the Conservative leadership: “For any neutral observer who followed this leadership marathon, Michael Chong was clearly the most articulate, thoughtful and (along with Andrew Scheer) personable candidate in the race. He combines youth and gravitas in a rare and engaging way that would contrast with Mr. Trudeau’s airy lack of substance. He would offer principled leadership Canadians could warm to.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the B.C. election: "It now becomes a question of how badly the Liberals want to cling to power and how desperate the New Democrats are to assume office for the first time in 16 years.”

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star) on Madeleine Meilleur’s appointment as languages commissioner: “There is little that is arm’s length in the process described by both Meilleur and [Heritage Minister Melanie] Joly’s office. Based on their accounts, the only feature that is more transparent than ever is the wall that should stand between government officials and the selection of independent parliamentary watchdogs.”

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on Bombardier and Boeing: “The government of Canada seems willing to escalate a dispute between two private companies into an all-out trade war — one that, as by far the smaller partner, we are in no position to win. If there is any country that has an interest in a rules-based approach to resolving trade disputes, it is us. If the U.S. is abusing its own trade laws, there are other and better remedies available to us than cancelling procurement deals, whether through NAFTA or the WTO. If it is not — if it is we who are in the wrong, legally speaking — all the more reason not to do so.”

Robyn Urback (CBC) on prime ministerial promotion: “It doesn’t bode well for public trust in the media to be so easily fooled by government attempts at manipulation.”

Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on gender: “I am not sure how we arrived at the point where the chance to stay at home with your one-year-old is a poisoned chalice. Too much feminist analysis comes from women who mistakenly believe that all women want what they want.”

Vicky Mochama (Metro) on cultural appropriation: “Slowly but surely, I’m working through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. It’s a harrowing read, but essential. I say this not to self-congratulate, but to say that I am still in the shallow end. Every new piece of information leads to more questions, which leads to answers that only ask more questions. Until I can swim in the deep end with Indigenous people, I’m going to do my best to stay in my lane.”


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In Montana, the Republican candidate for a special election (happening tonight) has been charged with misdemeanor assault after slamming and punching a Guardian reporter. A spokesman for Greg Gianforte, the candidate, said the journalist was “badgering” the Republican with questions, although a news crew from Fox says the attack was unprovoked.

The Pope pressed U.S. President Donald Trump to do more about climate change when the two leaders met yesterday. “It is with all hope that you may become an olive tree to make peace,” Pope Francis reportedly told the president.

U.S. spies say they caught Russians talking last year about how best to influence Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

The Congressional Budget Office says 23 million Americans will lose their health insurance under the plan passed by House Republicans earlier this month. The legislation has not yet been taken up in the Senate, where the Republicans hold a slim majority.

And British officials say they will stop sharing information with U.S. authorities after leaks from the investigation of the Manchester bombing.