Politics Briefing: Canada would wish to spend $75-billion over half a decade to achieve NATO defence spending goal


Canada has fallen so short of its NATO commitment to devote 2 per cent of its annual economic output to military spending that it would take $75-billion in spending over the next half-decade to catch up, a new report by a parliamentary budget watchdog says.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance dedicated to the collective defence of its 30 members, including Canada. In 2006, NATO defence ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2 per cent of their gross domestic product to defence spending to ensure the alliance’s readiness. In 2014, they renewed that commitment.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says there’s no chance Canada will meet its NATO goal over the next five years at the government’s level of military spending.

Senior Parliamentary Correspondent Steven Chase reports here.

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CASE AGAINST FEDERAL OFFICIAL DROPPED – The failed prosecution of vice-admiral Mark Norman loomed large on Thursday as a second federal official accused of leaking cabinet secrets about a $700-million shipbuilding contract walked out of an Ottawa courthouse a free man. Story here.

UNIVERSITIES STILL INTERESTED IN RESEARCH LINKS TO HUAWEI – Leading Canadian universities say they intend to continue research and development with Huawei Technologies Co. – which reaps intellectual property from the partnerships – after Ottawa’s decision to ban the Chinese telecommunications giant from 5G wireless networks over national-security concerns. Story here.

CANADA AND CALIFORNA STRIKE CLIMATE DEAL – Canada will work with California to address climate change and safeguard the environment, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday. Story here.

BANK GOVERNOR SHRUGS OFF POILIEVRE CRITICISMS – Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem shrugged off Conservative leadership contender Pierre Poilievre’s pointed criticism of him and the central bank Thursday, saying he welcomes input from elected officials and he knows inflation is too high. Story here from CBC.

FEDS NEED TO ADDRESS LUXURY TAX ISSUES: BUSINESS LEADERS – Business leaders have urged senators to address concerns that a new luxury tax on autos, boats and planes could trigger thousands of job losses in Canadian manufacturing. Story here.

INTERLOCUTOR ASSIGNED TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS GRAVES – Ottawa has named a special interlocutor to ensure culturally appropriate treatment of unmarked graves and burial sites at former residential schools, a year after the country faced a reckoning over the deaths of children at the schools. Story here.

UKRAINE ENERGY COMPANY APPEALS TO CANADIAN COUNTERPARTS – Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company, Naftogaz, is making a sales pitch to Canadian energy companies: Send your technology, expertise and investments to help the country fully develop its natural gas reserves, in turn bolstering global energy security. Story here.

NO SECRET INDEPENDENCE AGENDA: LEGAULT GOVERNMENT – The Legault government was forced this week to insist it does not have a secret independence agenda despite the recruitment of two prominent former sovereignist politicians to its ranks. Story here from The Montreal Gazette.

LIBERAL MP CONSIDERING BID FOR ONTARIO LIBERAL LEADERSHIP – Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith says he is “seriously considering” running for Ontario Liberal Party leadership as the party embarks on a rebuild after two devastating provincial election loses. “I’m seriously looking at the leadership,” the member for the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York, said. “All of that is unquestionably true.” Story here from The National Post.

EX NWT PREMIER DENIES HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS – Stephen Kakfwi, a former premier of the Northwest Territories, denies he sexually harassed his former mentee in a program through the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and denies he acted in any way that could be construed as sexual in nature. Story here from CBC.

ONTARIO ELECTION, 1981 – This year’s Ontario election was not the first to cost the leaders of the Liberal party and the NDP their jobs. Jamie Bradburn at TVO looks back at the tumultuous 1981 election whose result also brought down two leaders. Story here.

MANITOBA’S PREMIER SORRY FOR PRIDE SLIGHT – Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is apologizing to organizers of the annual Pride parade in Winnipeg for speaking at the Pride rally, but not marching in the associated parade. Story here.

FORMER MP RUNNING TO BE MAYOR OF SURREY, B.C. – Jinny Sims, a former NDP MP who is now a member of the B.C. legislature, says she will enter the mayor’s race in Surrey – British Columbia’s second most populous city – adding a notable new candidate to a civic-election campaign already filled with drama because of controversies surrounding the current mayor. Story here. To bolster her campaign, Ms. Sims has recruited a strategist who worked on the campaigns of the last two mayors of Calgary. Story here from Business in Vancouver.


600,000 MEMBERS – The federal Conservative Party, now in the midst of a leadership race, says it has told the campaigns to expect a membership list of over 600,000 members. But the chair of the Leadership Election Organizing Committee added a caveat, noting the party is now dealing with such issues as verifying and processing the memberships. “This number is likely to change,” Ian Brodie said in a statement. It also said the party has scaled up operations to deal with the increased membership numbers. The campaign of Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre says it has recruited about 300,000 members, while the campaign of Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ont., says he has recruited 150,000 members. The other four campaigns have not released specific membership numbers. In the 2020 leadership race that Erin O’Toole eventually won, all four candidates recruited more than 269,000 people in total, which was a record for the party. Ballot packages are to be sent to eligible voters by late July or early August and complete ballots must be received in Ottawa by Sept. 6. The party plans to announce the winner on Sept. 10. The candidates are Ontario MPs Scott Aitchison, Leslyn Lewis and Mr. Poilievre as well as former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Roman Baber – a former member of the Ontario legislature – and Mr. Brown.

ONE MORE LEADERSHIP DEBATE, PLEASE: FOUR CANDIDATES – Four of the six candidates in the race to lead the federal Conservatives are calling on the party to hold a third official debate. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 9, accessible here.

COMMITTEE STRUCK ON INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY – Canada’s former ambassador to China, the former Liberal premier of New Brunswick and a former interim leader of the Conservative Party are among the 15 members of a new committee announced Thursday to provide independent perspectives and recommendations on Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said former ambassador Dominic Barton, Frank McKenna – who was premier of New Brunswick – and Rona Ambrose will be on the Indo-Pacific Advisory Committee. Other members include former foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew and Janice Gross Stein, the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. In her mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ms. Joly was asked, as foreign affairs minister, to develop and launch a comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy to deepen diplomatic, economic and defence partnerships and international assistance in the region. The committee members are volunteering their services.

PRIVACY COMMISSIONER NAMED – Philippe Dufresne has been nominated as Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office says. Mr. Dufresne is a leading legal expert on human rights, administrative, and constitutional law, said a statement from the PMO. Announcement here.


On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Frances Bula – a frequent Globe contributor who reports on urban issues in British Columbia – talks about last year’s heat dome in B.C., which led to the deaths of 619 people. It was the deadliest weather event in Canadian history. Ms. Bula explains how the urban landscape contributed to the deaths, what’s being recommended to help cool B.C. buildings and what the rest of Canada can learn from it all. The Decibel is here.


In Los Angeles, at the Summit of the Americas, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held private meetings, met with California Governor Gavin Newsom, and held an announcement and media availability with the governor. Mr. Trudeau met with U.S. President Joe Biden, and was scheduled to attend the leaders’ opening plenary Session of the Summit of the Americas. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to meet with Argentinean President Alberto Fernández, meet with Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and, with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, attend a leaders’ dinner hosted by Mr. Biden, and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet attended question period.

No schedules released for other leaders.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Liberals and NDP: The party mergers pipe dream is back: “Ah, the pipe dream of a Liberal-NDP merger. Once more the idea has been mooted, this time in Ontario provincial politics. Once more it will have a few people doing imaginary electoral math on the back of napkins, and perhaps convening a few meetings, before it dies the certain death of unworkable proposals. The idea was put forward immediately after Ontario’s June 2 election by a prominent Liberal politician, former provincial finance minister Greg Sorbara – and the source shouldn’t be too surprising.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the Nova Scotia inquiry is prioritizing the trauma of police over the trauma of victims’ families: “If the foremost aim of this inquiry is indeed to piece together how and why a killer was permitted to terrorize an entire province for 13 hours, then it should operate from a position that puts disclosure and transparency first, that includes all information by default, and that thoroughly questions all involved individuals. But if, instead, the mission is to offer a perfunctory vehicle for comfortable questioning that tries to preserve the dignity of the RCMP during proceedings that the government never wanted in the first place – well, that mission is well on its way to completion. But the effect of such a project will only be to further corrode the trust between a wounded community and a law enforcement agency apparently sworn to protect it – officers who know they are signing up for trauma when they take the job in the first place.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on whether François Legault has Quebec sovereignty up his sleeve, after all?: “When future historians identify the moment when the Quebec sovereignty movement emerged from its early 21st-century coma, they may point to a May 29 speech that Premier François Legault made calling for more power over immigration. At a gathering of Coalition Avenir Québec members in Drummondville, Que., Mr. Legault said he would seek a “strong mandate” from voters in October’s provincial election to negotiate a new deal that would see Ottawa surrender authority to choose newcomers who come to Quebec under the federal family reunification program. Quebec already chooses its own economic immigrants, who make up the bulk of newcomers. Mr. Legault insisted that choosing those who arrive annually through the family-reunification channel is also critical to protecting French. “It’s a question of survival for our nation,” Mr. Legault said. Otherwise, “it may become a question of time before we become a Louisiana.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on MP Michelle Rempel Garner considering a run for the leadership of the United Conservative Party as the field expands: “There’s talk of Michelle Rempel Garner running for the UCP leadership, but so far the federal MP for Calgary Nose Hill is atypically elusive. She answers text queries about her plans with informative asides such as “hahahaha!” One source close to Rempel Garner says she’ll be in the race to replace Premier Jason Kenney, but first she’s waiting for the UCP to release campaign voting rules, the amount of the entry fee and a date for the vote.”

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