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He is Pierre Poilievre the proselytizer.

As Campbell Clark, The Globe and Mail’s chief political writer, notes in an expansive look at the life and politics of the new leader of the federal Conservative Party, Mr. Poilievre preaches small-government conservatism while digging both hands into the murky trenches of partisan politics, ruthlessly pushing aside questioners as Liberal unbelievers.

The Ottawa MP’s job now, writes Mr. Campbell, is converting those who feel they have been struggling to the message that big government is their burden.

“Away from the cameras, there is another Pierre Poilievre: A quieter, private, wonky bookworm with a nerdy laugh who seems too affable to share a body with the political performer seen on YouTube demanding finance ministers give him yes-or-no answers,” Mr. Campbell writes.

“In his lifelong political education, he has learned to turn opposition into opportunity, to delight at progressives clutching pearls while he grabs attention, and to never back away from fights.”

Mr. Clark interviewed dozens of current and former colleagues, staff, associates and friends of Mr. Poilievre for his profile of the new leader of the official opposition. You can read the resulting story 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 sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


GOVERNMENT DECLINES TO DETAIL FATE OF CSIS SPY LINKED TO TRAFFICKING – An operative for Canada’s spy agency who once trafficked three British teens to Islamic State militants has been released from a Turkish prison, and the federal government will not say if he has been relocated to Canada. Story here.

LEADERS CLASH IN QUEBEC ELECTION DEBATE – Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader François Legault presented himself Thursday as a moderate defender of Quebec taxpayers and the French language in the first debate of the province’s election campaign. In the five-way race defined by cost-of-living and identity issues, Mr. Legault has remained the decisive front-runner. Story here. Also: Pity the party that misspells the name of René Lévesque on its campaign posters, as Quebec’s Conservatives did recently. Bad timing for that bit of sacrilege. The late sovereigntist leader is not a candidate in the coming provincial election, of course, but his name is everywhere in Quebec right now, including in the riding of René-Lévesque, where those unfortunate signs appeared. Story here.

CANADIAN DELEGATION EN ROUTE TO U.K. FOR QUEEN’S FUNERAL – Former governors-general and prime ministers will join their successors in representing Canada at the Queen’s funeral on Monday, in a delegation meant to reflect Canadian society that will also include Indigenous leaders and national celebrities. Story here.

RAYES SAYS CONSERVATIVE APOLOGY FALLS SHORT – A Quebec MP says an apology from the Conservative Party for trying to get his constituents to demand his resignation over his departure from the caucus falls short because it was not directed to him personally. Story here.

WORK-FROM-HOME CLAUSES ON TABLE IN BARGAINING TALKS – Unions, including the Public Service Alliance of Canada, have begun negotiating work-from-home clauses into collective agreements. Future-of-work Reporter Vanmala Subramaniam reports here.

DONORS TO CONVOY ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO TORY LEADERSHIP RACE: CBC – Canadians who donated to the Ottawa convoy protest contributed more than $460,000 to Conservative leadership candidates – and many of them were donating to a federal political party for the first time – an analysis by CBC News shows. Story here.

BOOK-REVIEW DISPUTE LEADS ALBERTA TO RESCIND APPOINTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF – The Alberta government has rescinded the appointment of the head of its Human Rights Commission in a dispute stemming from a passage in a book review that has been criticized as Islamophobic. Story here.

VIOLATIONS ALLEGED IN CLIMATE ACTIVISTS’ BID TO WIN B.C. NDP LEADERSHIP – A climate activists’ outsider bid to win the leadership of the British Columbia NDP has become embroiled in controversy over alleged violations of the province’s Election Act. The only other candidate in the race whose victor will become B.C. premier is David Eby, who has been the province’s attorney-general. Story here from The Vancouver Sun.

CLEMENT APPOINTED TO BOARD OF CONSERVATIVE FUND – Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has appointed former member of Parliament Tony Clement to serve on the board of the Conservative Fund, the federal party’s main fundraising arm, sources say. Story here from CTV.

VICTORIA COUNCIL CANDIDATE ALSO FUGITIVE FROM CITY POLICE – A candidate for council in Victoria, B.C. also happens to be a fugitive wanted by the city’s police department. Story here from The National Post.

CLEMENT APPOINTED TO BOARD OF CONSERVATIVE FUND – Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has appointed former member of Parliament Tony Clement to serve on the board of the Conservative Fund, the federal party’s main fundraising arm, sources say. Story here from CTV.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons continues to sit on Friday so members can pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth following her passing. There’s a link here to the projected order of business. After Friday, the House sits again on Sept. 20.

KENNEY IN LINE – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he is in London “entirely at personal expense” and has lined up to pay his respects to the Queen. Details here in a tweet.

PHILLIP ACCLAIMED TO NEW TERM AS HEAD OF UNION OF B.C. INDIAN CHIEFS – Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has been re-elected by acclamation to his ninth consecutive three-year term as President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, a position he has held for the past 24 years.

NEW TORONTO POLICE CHIEF – Toronto has a new police chief. Details here.

SUPREME COURT VISIT TO QUEBEC ENDS – The Supreme Court of Canada concluded its visit to Quebec City with round-table discussions with Université Laval faculty and students. There’s a story here on the court’s field trip.


Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features Globe reporter Nancy Macdonald, who was allowed into the James Smith Cree Nation following the mass stabbing attack that left 10 people dead on Sept. 4. Ms. Macdonald worked with colleague Jana G. Pruden to help construct a better understanding of what happened prior to the tragedy. Ms. Pruden explains what they’ve discovered from their reporting and how members of the First Nation are finding ways to move forward. Their story is here. And The Decibel is here.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed Ottawa for the United Kingdom ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral next Monday.


No schedules provided for party leaders.


CANADA AND THE MONARCHY – Fifty-four per cent of respondents in a new Ipsos poll say that now that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has ended, Canada should end its formal ties to the British monarchy. Details here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the rise of the unserious politician: “The time has come to call for the return of a disappearing breed: the serious political leader. By that we mean an elected official of any stripe who tells voters that governing involves hard choices, that there are no simple answers to complex questions, and that an endlessly repeated hashtag isn’t a policy. Someone who does not feed public cynicism about government by attacking its institutions, or exaggerating its failings for political advantage. Or who does not cause the same harm by breaking important promises, or by putting themselves in blatant conflicts of interest (or both). Who doesn’t see party politics as a game whose only rule is winning, and who doesn’t promote a culture of partisan antagonism that makes it impossible for supporters to acknowledge any validity to the other side’s positions.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the case for centrism when voters are presented with two wholly unappetizing options: “Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre are far from twins, or (so far as I know) space aliens. Yet they, and the parties they lead, present the voter with much the same predicament: a choice limited to two wholly unappetizing options. Both parties, it is widely acknowledged, have strayed far from their traditions, to the point that each has become unrecognizable to large numbers of long-time party members. Each, in its own way, has lost contact with the vital centre of Canadian politics. Rather than practical approaches to questions important to the average voter, each offers a mix of doctrinaire policy and irrelevant hobby horse issues. Which may explain why, for the first time in Canadian history, neither party can attract the support of more than a third of the voters.”

Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre has to get serious about business: “Enough with the populist antics already. Mr. Poilievre needs a pragmatic plan to generate sustainable growth for the Canadian economy. And like it or not, that includes taking advice from the business community – or as he calls them, the “Davos elites.” He would be foolish to squander an obvious opportunity to fill the industrial policy vacuum created by Mr. Trudeau.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre’s path to a broader Conservative tent runs through the 905: “There is a clear path, however, for Mr. Poilievre to broaden his party’s support: a path expertly charted by Jason Kenney more than a decade ago when he served as immigration minister in prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet. For years, Mr. Kenney worked the event circuit in immigrant communities in the 905 area-code region – the horseshoe swath of southern Ontario enveloping Toronto proper, which is home to a large proportion of immigrant and middle-class families – and sold the Conservative Party as representative of residents’ interests and values. Mr. Kenney was hugely successful, and his work is credited as a major factor in delivering Mr. Harper his majority in 2011. It’s also the region that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives nearly swept in the last election, an election in which Premier Doug Ford grounded his campaign on the issue of affordability.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Quebeckers loved the Queen, too, no matter how much some tried not to: “Forget about polls showing that Quebeckers are more likely than other Canadians to think the monarchy should be abolished. There is no contradiction between deeming the monarchy an anachronism in a modern egalitarian society and harbouring warm feelings toward the monarch. With the decline of the independence movement, there is no impetus for political change in Quebec. Quebeckers have only ever known a British parliamentary system and most of them seem to be fine with it. Republican sentiment is all but dead. To be sure, there are calls to abolish the post of lieutenant-governor in the province. But they mostly stem from the expense scandals that plagued previous holders of that office. Trying to do away with the post may turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth, which is why Mr. Legault is not making any promises.”

Justin Ling (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how toying with populism has consumed other parties whole, but now Pierre Poilievre will give it a try: “I’ve spoken with his high-profile supporters and organizers, and they clearly think they are more clever than their compatriots abroad. They argue that previous leaders – Erin O’Toole, a moderate, and Andrew Scheer, who played one on TV – strove for centrist voters and thus depressed excitement on the right, sacrificing support to Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. When the Tories made marginal gains in the centre, Justin Trudeau raised anxieties around abortion rights and private health care to scare them back into the Liberal fold. So to win, the Conservatives will expand to the right. Mr. Poilievre has already pandered to people who believe Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet is filled with traitors by whipping up conspiracy theories about the World Economic Forum.”

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