Politics Briefing: Trudeau dismisses talk of stepping down,…


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked about stepping down in light of polls that suggest the Conservatives are ahead of his Liberals, says he’s focused on grappling with the challenges facing Canada.

“We’re two years away from the next election. I continue to do my job, and there’s a lot of important work to be done, and to deliver for Canadians in these tough times,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference Wednesday in London, Ont.

“I remain enthusiastic, but determined to do that work.”

Members of the federal Liberal caucus of 158 MPs have gathered in the Southwestern Ontario city for a national caucus meeting that comes after Mr. Trudeau was the target of blistering criticism from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre during a national Tory convention held last weekend in Quebec City.

The Prime Minister was also asked about media reports of Liberal MPs concerned about the party’s fortunes under his leadership.

In response, Mr. Trudeau said he had had many conversations with MPs who are part of his team in recent months and weeks.

“We spoke frankly about all of the challenges we’re facing as a country, and how we’re going to address them together. I’m very happy to be able to gather here in the next few days with them and we’ll have frank conversations, but we’ll also spend most of our energy talking about how we can address the needs of Canadians.”

The meeting, underway with heavy security at a convention centre, comes ahead of the return of MPs to the House of Commons next week after the summer break.

Mr. Trudeau led the Liberals to power in 2015, defeating the governing Conservatives under Stephen Harper. Following the 2021 federal election, the Liberals now have a minority government.

The New Democrats are co-operating with the Liberals through a supply and confidence agreement that sees the NDP voting to keep the minority Liberal government in power until 2025 in exchange for policy concessions.

The Prime Minister made his comments at a news conference where he announced the federal government has reached a deal with the City of London to provide $74-million to expedite the creation of over 2,000 housing units over the next three years, with more to come after that.

Senior political reporter Marieke Walsh reports here on Liberals being in “solution mode,’”as ministers acknowledge Canadians are struggling and downcast.

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.


Court watches convoy protest press conferences in criminal trial – A courtroom scattered with “Freedom Convoy” supporters watched recordings of several lengthy press conferences hosted by spokespeople during the protest on Wednesday, though neither of the organizers on trial featured very heavily. Story here.

Poilievre not saying whether he’ll support ban on medical interventions for trans minors – Conservative Party members may have voted to ban medical interventions for transgender youth, but Party Leader Pierre Poilievre, questioned Tuesday by journalists, still isn’t saying whether he thinks the policy should become law. Story here from CBC. Meanwhile, the union that represents the cabin crew of a WestJet flight that Mr. Poilievre recently used as his political platform says the company is blaming them for the stunt. Story here from CTV.

Dollarama posts 27 per cent profit gain, hikes sales forecast as shoppers seek inflation relief – Dollarama Inc. reported a 27-per-cent increase in quarterly profit and has raised its sales growth forecast for this year, as more people flock to its discount stores for some relief from inflation. Story here.

Premier Eby outraged over release of psychiatric patient following stabbing – B.C. Premier David Eby says he is “white-hot angry” that a man with a history of violence was released on a day pass from a psychiatric hospital, only to allegedly stab three people at a festival in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Story here.

Canada’s housing supply gap has shrunk slightly, but remains at about 3.5 million units: CMHC – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the projected housing supply gap has shrunk slightly from last year, but that Canada still needs to build about 3.5 million more houses by 2030 than what’s on track to restore affordability. Story here.

New name for SNC-Lavalin – SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is changing its name to AtkinsRéalis as the Canadian engineering giant tries to forge a new corporate identity and move on from years of turmoil. Story here.

BC Conservatives gain official party status – A member of the BC United party has crossed the floor to join the B.C. Conservatives, giving them official party status in the legislature. The shift comes after a recent poll put the provincial Conservatives ahead of BC United, the former BC Liberal party. Story here from The Vancouver Sun.

Criminal cases in Ontario on verge of collapse owing to courthouse chaos – Hundreds of criminal cases in Ontario could be thrown out for excessive delay, as staffing problems close courtrooms in Toronto and mould problems in nearby Milton have completely shut down in-person trials. Story here.

Ontario to create $25-million Black health hub in Peel Region – Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones says the province is spending $25-million to create a Black health and social services hub in Peel Region. Story here.

Doer would advise Manitoba NDP government: Doer – Former premier Gary Doer would work with a Manitoba NDP government as an adviser on Canada-U.S. trade, should the party win the Oct. 3 election, says current NDP leader Wab Kinew. Story here from CBC.


Summer break – Both the House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks. The House sits again on Sept. 18. The Senate sits again on Sept. 19.

Ministers on the Road – Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr., in London, Ont., where the Liberal caucus is meetings, visited Western University’s Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children.

Governor-General on the Road – During a visit to Prince Edward Island, Governor-General Mary Simon visited Charlottetown Rural High School, participated in a Q&A session with students and met with new Canadian students learning English. She then travelled to Halifax for an itinerary that included meetings with Nova Scotia Lieutenant-Governor Arthur J. LeBlanc as well as Deputy Premier Alan MacMaster, and Grand Chief Norman Sylliboy and Grand Keptin Antle Denny. And she attended a reception hosted by the Nova Scotia Lieutenant-Governor.

Cannings announces exit – NDP Richard Cannings, who represents the B.C. riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay, says he will not seek election in the next federal election. Mr. Cannings, a biologist, was first elected in 2015. In a statement, he did not explicitly say why he was leaving.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in London, Ont., for the national Liberal caucus retreat, attended private meetings, visited an affordable housing development site, made a housing announcement, and returned to the retreat.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, in Sherbrooke, Que., participated in a caucus meeting ahead of the return of Parliament.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, in Richmond, B.C., held a “protect our natural health products “ town hall, attended a Rosh Hashanah meet-and-greet event in Vancouver, and a Chinese community meet-and-greet event in Richmond.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May attended Club Days at University of Victoria in support of the Young Greens campus club, and, in the evening, was to hold discussions on the Greens’s fall agenda with the party’s shadow cabinet which includes deputy leader Jonathan Pedneault and other experts.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Moncton, N.B., held a news conference, met with the French-language and Acadian community groups, then with provincial leaders, and was later scheduled to attend the NDP nomination meeting for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe.


On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, national health reporter Kelly Grant explains a rise in COVID-19 as part of a fall surge, what the Canadian government and public health experts say we should do about it, including when new boosters are available this fall. The Decibel is here.


Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders – Ontario Premier Doug Ford has seen the largest decline in personal approval as his government attempts to navigate out of the Greenbelt scandal, according to new research here from the Angus Reid Institute that also looks at the situations of Canada’s other premiers and territorial leaders.

Climate change worries Canadians – A large majority of Canadians are worried about climate change and believe it is the reason for an increase in extreme weather, a new national poll suggests. Story here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how, if Chrystia Freeland needs a tool to help Canadians, she should start by freezing spending: “Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, presumably wanting to assure Canadians that the Liberals are on top of this whole cost-of-living thing, vowed last week to “use all the tools at my disposal” to make sure that interest rates fall as soon as possible. On its face, that is a potent promise, given the very broad powers of the Finance Minister to set both fiscal and monetary policy. Section 14 of the Bank of Canada Act, for instance, allows Ms. Freeland to issue “a written directive concerning monetary policy” to Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem. Should the Finance Minister so wish, interest rates could fall today or, allowing for the necessary paperwork, perhaps some time tomorrow afternoon.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on subsidies deal not quite the dream governments told us to believe: The dreamers of government had a great vision of things to be built in fields of Southwest Ontario, and believed that if they spent it – $28.2-billion in subsidies – they would come. Not only would battery plants come, but also mines, metals and vehicle-assembly plants that would be hubs to an electric-vehicle industry. Yes, they would come, and all to Canada – not to the United States or Mexico. They would come, and pay taxes that, the governments suggested, would recoup all the costs of the subsidies within five years. Five years. But the “heartless economist” who checks the math on these things, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux, has pierced that dreamy bubble. He called the forecasts that the federal government used to suggest they’d recoup costs within five years “wildly optimistic.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how it’s not that we have too many people. It’s that we have too few houses: By now the consensus has more or less become set in stone. Why are housing prices in Canada so high – fifth highest, relative to income, in the OECD? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s because we’re taking in too many people. Supply and demand and all that. Common sense, really. The same goes for our stagnating standard of living. Canada’s GDP per capita is no higher than it was in 2017; labour productivity, having fallen for five consecutive quarters, is back to where it was in 2014. That, too, we are told, is on account of there being too many people about. Again, simple math, right? More labour relative to capital equals less investment per worker equals lower productivity. QED.”

David Williams and Jock Finlayson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canadians face 40 years of stagnant incomes and government’s economic strategy is failing: We believe Canada needs an economic policy agenda focused on raising average living standards. The country would benefit from modest (and co-ordinated) fiscal and monetary policy restraint to dampen inflation, alongside a productivity-focused agenda to expand the economy’s supply-side capacity, expedite business investment and innovation, scale domestic firms and ensure Canada can supply the world with responsibly produced natural resources and manufactured goods. This will require overdue reforms to our inefficient tax and regulatory systems. Such a policy agenda would aim to cool demand and enhance supply, bringing them into balance. Critically, this would lift rather than reduce or stagnate average real incomes, as is happening under the federal government’s current approach.”

Ian Van Haren and Naheda Sahtout (Policy Options) on how tent cities are not just a municipal problem: “Across Canada, municipalities are grappling with how to respond to a growing number of people living in encampments. It is tempting to blame mayors and municipal councils for the increased number of tent cities. However, poor data, insufficient resources and inadequate guidelines are the real cause of haphazard responses to the problem. A national response involving all levels of government is needed. This pan-Canadian challenge can be addressed by gathering data, investing in shelter spaces and other housing solutions, establishing clear procedures and sharing best practices. It is time for political leadership at the federal and provincial levels.”

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