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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.

Jagmeet Singh says his party has to do better work “on the ground” in federal election campaigns.

The federal NDP Leader mentioned the issue today when asked why the party gained only one seat in the September federal election over the campaign in 2019.

“We heard that the national campaign went really well. We were able to connect with lots of folks,” Mr. Singh told a news conference in Ottawa held at the end of the first caucus meeting featuring new NDP Members of Parliament.

“There’s a lot of races where we were very, very close - about 12 seats where we were within 1 or 2 per cent of the vote and there’s some work that needs to be done on the ground,” he said.

Mr. Singh said he is looking forward to the results of an analysis of the campaign that is being done by Bob Dewar, noted for his work as a key strategist for B.C. New Democrats on their route to government in 2017 and beyond.

Mr. Dewar’s B.C. record is covered here.

On another note, Mr. Singh said he has yet to hear from the governing Liberals, who are expected to have to win NDP support to advance their governing agenda.

“They haven’t reached out. They haven’t signalled that they want to negotiate or talk so far. That’s fine. I’m not concerned because they know where we stand,” he said. “I look forward to them signalling their interest.”

Various parties have been holding their first postelection caucuses this week, with the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois meeting earlier this week. As the NDP concluded their meeting today, the Liberals were meeting elsewhere in Ottawa.

Please check The Globe and Mail for more on the caucus meetings.


OPTIONS BEING CONSIDERED FOR BUSINESS-SUPPORT EXTENSION - Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is discussing options to extend support for businesses beyond the Oct. 23 expiration date for some emergency wage and rent subsidies.

OTTAWA SLOW ON CLIMATE POLICY - Ottawa and regulators have been too slow to implement rules for integrating climate objectives into the financial system, and now Canada is forced to play catch up with its European allies, says a report on the country’s progress in meeting sustainable finance goals.

DETAILS ON VACCINATION TRAVEL - Travellers who board flights in Canadian airports or take trips on Via Rail trains will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test starting on Oct. 30, the federal government announced Wednesday.

TRUDEAU SORRY FOR TOFINO TRIP - Justin Trudeau offered a public apology on Wednesday for travelling to Tofino for a family vacation on the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, saying it was a mistake that he now regrets. Story here.

FREELAND DENOUNCES TOXIC ARMED FORCES CULTURE - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says there is a toxic culture in the Canadian Armed Forces and the military leadership “just doesn’t get it” when it comes to handling cases of sexual misconduct.

WILSON-RAYBOULD NOT CONSULTED ON KEY RESIDENTIAL-SCHOOL POLICY: CBC - No one in the federal government is saying who made the final decision to relieve the Catholic Church of its financial responsibilities to residential school survivors, but CBC News says a source with direct knowledge of the controversial 2015 case notes that then-minister of justice Jody Wilson-Raybould wasn’t consulted, even though a lawyer in her department signed the final release. Story here.

LIBERALS GAIN SEAT - The federal Liberals have picked up another seat in Quebec after a judicial recount. Elections Canada confirmed incumbent Brenda Shanahan will return to Parliament after the recount declared her the winner in Chateauguay-Lacolle over her Bloc Québécois rival by just 12 votes. Story here.

FORMER MP SELLS COMPANY FOR US$1.75B - Ex-Liberal MP Frank Baylis , who represented the Quebec riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard between 2015 and 2019, has become one of Canada’s wealthiest people because the company he helped build for 30-plus years has agreed to sell its cardiovascular medical devices business to Boston Scientific Corp. for US$1.75-billion. Story here.


Mary May Simon, Canada’s new Governor-General, is going to Germany for her first trip abroad since she was installed in July. The Prime Minister’s Office announced today that Ms. Simon will travel to Germany from Oct. 17 to 21, undertaking a State visit to Berlin and Frankfurt, and representing Canada at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair where Canada is guest of honour. Ms. Simon’s program includes meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The Governor-General will also attend a roundtable discussion about Arctic exploration, held at the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum.


Private meetings. The Prime Minister speaks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He also attends a hybrid, informal gathering with national caucus members.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, holds a news conference at the conclusion of of the first caucus meeting with new NDP members of Parliament.

No schedules were released for other party leaders.


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.)

In today’s excerpt, Mr. Wernick offers advice on adopting an effective prime-ministerial persona:

“Behind closed doors, you should still be mindful of the persona that you present. As the saying goes, people may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. You have a big impact on their motivation to work hard and well. At times, you may have to keep your own fatigue and irritability in check. That doesn’t mean having to spend a lot of time in small talk or hide your emotions. Economical use of feedback goes a long way. A word or two of thanks for work well done or a quick aside to congratulate someone or to acknowledge any personal issues is all that you need to offer. Encourage your chief of staff and the clerk to slip you prompts.

“You should not hold back negative feedback. If you think that the analysis was thin, the arguments weak, or the options lacking in imagination, say so. How else will it get better? The ideal tone is candour delivered with civility. People who deal with you will be strongly impacted by small moments of good humour or snippy outbursts of bad temper. Your staff can keep an eye on whether individuals are feeling bruised or demoralized - some people are more needy or resilient than others - and can remind you to correct for it later.

“Meetings should be inclusive, but should last only as long as needed, not expand to fill a time slot. If you can end a meeting early and gain a sliver of time, get up and leave. Don’t worry; you will never run out of things to do. Back at your desk, there will always be documents to read or sign and calls to place.”


Now, new data from the Angus Reid Institute says that Canadians believe U.S. action helped the two Michaels - Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor - come home from China as much as any Canadian efforts. Details here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Bill 96 working exactly as Quebec Premier François Legault planned:“Mr. Legault is going into an election year, and the bill will pass into law this fall thanks to the huge majority his party, Coalition Avenir Québec, enjoys in the National Assembly. Which means the details of the bill are likely less important to Mr. Legault than the message it sends to voters. He doesn’t actually want to see midnight raids on businesses that fail to meet every letter of the law, or to make it harder for Montreal to attract foreign investment and talent. But as long as he defines the debate, there is very little anyone can do to present a counterargument without risking the appearance of not demonstrating enough fealty to the need to protect the French language.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Justin Trudeau using federal employees to set a vaccine-mandate example:The lesson is a good one, but let’s note the unusual thing about Justin Trudeau’s new vaccine mandate: The government is using its employees to set an example. The Prime Minister is giving federal civil servants just over three weeks to get vaccinated or they will lose their paycheques. This is a blunt move, with unusually tough consequences, a rule set in place to send the message that those who don’t get vaccinated are harming the country. And Ottawa is not alone sending that message: Vaccine mandates are now the accepted political norm in Canada. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia expanded their own restrictions on Wednesday.”

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the likelihood of Justin Trudeau seeking another election win: Politically, Justin Trudeau’s three and zero record (his father was four and one) is highlighted by the exceptional feat of rescuing the party from third-place oblivion to No. 1 with his 2015 victory. All said, the record and the hate do not equate. Barring some huge setback – he’s playing with fire on debt and deficits – the record is one he’ll want to extend. In winning again, he’d become the only Liberal leader to win four times in succession. He needs to imagine that if he does, he could again be confronted by Mr. Trump. The demagogue is chomping at the bit for a return to power, so much so that he wanted to announce his candidacy last week, only to be dissuaded by advisers. Some of his support has drifted away but not enough, political handicappers reason, to deny him his party’s nomination.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on the looming end of Jason Kenney’s run in politics: It’s hard to predict precisely how and when Mr. Kenney’s political career will meet its ultimate demise. The Premier is scheduled to face a leadership review at the UCP convention in April, though pressure from constituents and a few more opinion polls of Redford-level approval ratings may send him over the edge before that. And when his time in Alberta politics is finally over, it is unlikely he will be welcomed back into the cockles of the federal Conservative Party benches, since Mr. Kenney’s handling of the pandemic may have cost Erin O’Toole some support in Alberta in the recent election. In any case, a high-profile candidate who is persona non grata in Alberta is not really someone the Conservatives will be keen on come the next election. All of which is to say: Mr. Kenney’s career in elected office is very sick and very old and appears to have reached its final days. May its memory be a blessing.”

Shannon Proudfoot (Maclean’s) on how to make an entire country furious: “Then, into everyone’s midst, near the end of another summer that felt near-normal, a smiling man in a nice suit strode to a podium. The fourth wave of the pandemic was already gathering itself, and at that precise moment, the Afghans who had helped Canadians were scrambling onto planes at a Kabul airport if they were lucky, or being left behind in a sewage canal to try their luck with the Taliban if they were not. Justin Trudeau, having dissolved Parliament to trigger an election, purred to a bedraggled country, “We’ve had your back, and now it’s time to hear your voice.” It was like someone wandering out of the forest with sticks in their hair, dried blood on their face and eyes like lumps of coal, only to find a tidily dressed Canada Revenue Agency employee waiting to audit them: you want what from me? Are you serious? Now?”

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