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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.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Chrystia Freeland will remain Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr. Trudeau announced the move Tuesday at his first extended media availability since the federal election on Sept. 20.

Ms. Freeland, a former minister of international trade and foreign affairs, has been Finance Minister since August, 2020. She is Canada’s first female finance minister.

The Prime Minister said the new cabinet will be sworn in in October and the House will return before the end of the fall, with specific dates to be released. He said the new cabinet will be gender balanced, calling gender parity a “base starting point” for any cabinet he appoints.

Speaking to the media after touring a vaccine clinic, Mr. Trudeau also said that the pandemic remains his top priority and he is particularly concerned about cases in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

It was Mr. Trudeau’s first extended media availability since the federal election on Sept. 20. Last Friday, Mr. Trudeau took a few questions as he announced the exit of Michael Kovrig and James Spavor from China.

Please check The Globe and Mail for additional details of Mr. Trudeau’s postelection news conference.


BIDEN SPURRED TALKS ON TWO MICHAELS RELEASE - Negotiations that led to freedom for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig ramped up in early August after U.S. President Joe Biden became seriously engaged in ending a legal standoff with China, sources say. Mr. Biden insisted any deal to drop the U.S. extradition case against Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou and defer criminal charges could not happen unless the two Canadians were released at the same time.

OTHER CANADIANS REMAIN IN CHINA’S CUSTODY - Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have returned to Canada after more than 1,000 days in China’s custody, but more than 115 Canadians remain behind. Asia Correspondent James Griffiths tells some of their stories here.

CANADA WON’T FORGET EXPERIENCE OF TWO MICHAELS: GARNEAU - Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau spoke Monday to the General Debate of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, saying, of the case of the two Michaels, that the two men “paid a heavy price” for Canada’s commitment to the rule of law. “Canada will never forget this experience and this lesson. We shall continue to press for an end to arbitrary detention, wherever and however it occurs,” he said. The text of Mr. Garneau’s speech is here.

KOVRIG AT HOME - And there’s a compelling image here of Mr. Kovrig arriving home and a tweet here of Mr. Kovrig arriving to get a shot of COVID-19 vaccine, and his stand here on vaccination.


PAUL EXITS AS GREEN LEADER - Annamie Paul is stepping down as leader of the Green Party, calling the experience at the helm of the party “the worst period in my life in many respects.” Story here.

DEFEATED CPC MP CRITIQUES PARTY CAMPAIGN - A former Conservative MP who lost his British Columbia seat in the recent election thinks the party could have done a better job speaking directly to Chinese Canadians. Story here.

QUEBEC PROSECUTORS DEFEND SNC DEAL - Offering Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. the chance to negotiate a deal to avoid a trial on criminal charges related to a bridge contract nearly two decades ago is the appropriate path to prevent collateral damage to the company’s stakeholders, Quebec prosecutors say.

BAINS FOLLOWS OTHER EX-CABINET MINISTERS TO BAY STREET - Former federal cabinet minister Navdeep Bains being hired as an executive with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reflects a trend that has seen the bank and Bay Street embrace former politicians. Tim Kiladze explains here.

WHO MIGHT REPLACE SAJJAN? - Global News looks as the issue of Harjit Sajjan remaining as defence minister despite the military sexual harassment crisis, and assesses the three names that have repeatedly come up as prospective replacements for Mr. Sajjan. Story here.

SIMMS EXIT INTERVIEW - After a 17-year run as MP for the Newfoundland and Labrador riding of Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame, Scott Sims says he could not outrun the desire for change. “The anger level and the anxiety level was higher than in past campaigns,” the Liberal told CBC. Mr. Simms’s loss is coupled with big Conservative strides elsewhere in rural Newfoundland as the party narrowed margins, but won only one seat. Story here.


The latest edition of The Globe and Mail’s podcast features political scientist Yves Tiberghien of the University of British Columbia explaining the details of the events that saw Meng Wanzhou return to China and the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Listen here.


The Prime Minister holds private meetings. With a group that includes Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, he visits a vaccination clinic to thank health-care workers, and then holds a media availability.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs’ annual general assembly by zoom.

No schedules released for other party leaders.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the challenge of Canada finding balance in its relationship with China’s government: “It was only a few years ago that the Trudeau government’s goal was closer economic integration with China. It is now clear that Canadian foreign policy must lean in the opposite direction, so that the growth of trade and investment ties with China is not maximized, as Beijing would wish, but rather minimized, for the protection of Canada’s independence. Canada should be seeking an economic relationship with China that, as much as possible, is regulated through multilateral forums, and it should aim to be no more trade-dependent on China than absolutely necessary. Ties to Japan, South Korea, India and others must be bolstered, with an eye to limiting the relative size of the China connection.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Annamie Paul leaving a Green Party that can’t put its goals first: The job that outgoing Green Leader Annamie Paul described as worse than a thankless task is up for grabs now. It doesn’t look likely to be rewarding for the next leader, either. This is a party so deeply mired in dysfunction that it was intent on ripping itself to pieces, election or not. It was clearly not nearly as consumed with addressing a climate emergency as it was with settling internal disputes. On Monday, Ms. Paul said she just didn’t have the heart for it any more. Anyone in their right mind who aspires to replace her will have to wonder if the party can save itself.”

Brad Wall (The National Post) on the case for keeping Erin O’Toole as Conservative Party leader and a shift to trying to win power without Quebec: “Rather than a misguided focus on leadership, the party might also get busy developing a campaign strategy for winning without Quebec. The endorsement from a popular Quebec Premier and the embarrassing bow to the discriminatory Bill 21 availed nothing to the party in terms of seats. Maybe it’s time to realize that wooing those votes is close to futile. And given the principles that must be compromised and the attendant anger it causes in the rest of Canada, it is simply not worth it. Consider how voters might view the only national party to actually stand against things like Bill 21 and offer an alternative to asymmetrical federalism. (Yes, that’s right, this country even has an academic-sounding term for one province getting treated differently than all the rest.)”

Jamie Bradburn (TVO) on how the (Pierre) Trudeau Liberals of 1974 sought to transition from a minority government propped up by the NDP to a majority government: “When the budget was debated on May 7, 1974, [Prime Minister Pierre] Trudeau gave a two-hour speech that blasted the opposition. While he accused Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield of being friendly with oil companies, much of his outrage was directed at [NDP Leader David] Lewis. “David, the daisy, picking his petals one by one,” Trudeau said mockingly. “Will we have an election; will we not have an election.” Social Credit leader Real Caouette told Parliament that some of Lewis’s constituents in the Toronto-area riding of York South, which generally supported the NDP, had told him they’d vote against Lewis if an election were to occur. The budget debate also marked two-year-old Justin Trudeau’s House of Commons debut. According to the Canadian Press, the future prime minister “showed up in short pants and squirmed beside his mother in a gallery seat. At one point, he attempted to tune in an earphone to hear what his father was saying on the floor below.”

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