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Politics Briefing: Poilievre holds second news conference since becoming federal

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For only the second time since he became federal Conservative Leader in September, Pierre Poilievre held a news conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

Taking questions on issues including a Bank of Canada increase in the key interest rate – story here – and word of an RCMP equipment contract with a company linked to China’s government – story here – Mr. Poilievre held his first such scrum in more than 80 days.

Mr. Poilievre stopped at a media microphone to take the questions before going to Question Period.

Party leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, generally answer questions from members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery on occasions that include their arrival at caucus meetings or Question Period or at scheduled news conferences on Parliament Hill. Mr. Trudeau also usually takes a few questions before the weekly cabinet meeting.

However, Mr. Poilievre has said he thinks the press gallery biased.

He made his views clear to the True North website last week. “There are some good reporters who are in the press gallery but for the most part there is a definite bias in favour of just defending the government and regurgitating its talking points, and I don’t need to validate that,” he said in an interview.

It remained unclear Wednesday whether Mr. Poilievre’s scrum was a one-off or the start of a new approach to dealing with the media.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery consists of 302 members from 48 domestic and international agencies and outlets. Mr. Poilievre regularly answered questions from reporters in Ottawa in his previous position as finance critic.

Before Wednesday, the last time the Conservative Leader took questions from Parliament Hill journalists was on Sept. 13, days after he won the leadership and just after an exchange in which Global News reporter David Akin heckled the new leader over his refusal to talk. (Mr. Akin later apologized.)

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.


NEW B.C. CABINET – British Columbia Premier David Eby has upended his cabinet, bringing in new faces from the backbench and replacing senior cabinet ministers, including finance minister Selina Robinson. Story here.

VISA ISSUES KEEP DELEGATES OUT OF COP15 – The COP15 conference on biodiversity loss is under way in Montreal, but hundreds of delegates from developing countries are missing out because of visa issues that could stem from the United Nations issuing late accreditations. Story here.

‘STOP WHINING’ : FORD TO MAYORS – The mayor of Mississauga and other municipal leaders who have voiced opposition to a new provincial housing law need to “get on board” and “stop whining,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday in an unprompted burst of criticism. Story here.

RAE IN HAITI – Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, on Wednesday began an in-person push for negotiations on Haiti, working to dislodge a political impasse there. Story here.

FIRST NATIONS CRITICIZE LEGISLATION – First Nations chiefs from Alberta and Saskatchewan are calling for their provinces to toss proposed legislation they say is inherently undemocratic, unconstitutional and infringes on Indigenous rights. Story here.

BLACK-RINGED TOONIE ON THE WAY – The Royal Canadian Mint is issuing a new black-ringed toonie to honour Queen Elizabeth II. Story here.

CONCERNS RAISED ABOUT POLICE SEARCH FOR MISSING WINNIPEG WOMEN – A Mohawk official tasked with helping Indigenous communities investigate unmarked graves says the refusal by Winnipeg police to search for the remains of missing women whose bodies are believed to have been left in a landfill is a “breach of human dignity.” Story here.

NO COMPENSATION FOR KREMLIN-BASED NEWS OUTLETS UNDER PLANNED BILL – Kremlin-backed news outlets such as RT and Sputnik will be barred from being compensated by tech giants under Ottawa’s online news bill, after an amendment by the Liberals, who also acted Tuesday to underpin the future eligibility of the CBC for payments from Google and Facebook. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Dec. 7, accessible here.

FREELAND IN OTTAWA – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, in Ottawa, held private meetings, was scheduled to attend the national Liberal caucus meeting and was to meet with the board of directors of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. On Wednesday evening, Ms. Freeland was scheduled to appear at the standing Senate committee on national finance to discuss Bill C-32, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022. The event, which begins at 6:45 p.m. ET will be streamed here.

MINISTERS ON THE ROAD – Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett, in Vancouver, announced funding to promote mental health in postpartum women and their families within newcomer and immigrant communities. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, in Quebec, made a $47-million funding announcement for a network for healthy aging. He also visited a dental clinic to discuss the Canada Dental Benefit. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan arrived in the United Arab Emirates to begin a tour in that country and Kuwait through to Dec. 12.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Montreal, made an announcement on supporting Indigenous-led conservation and held a media availability with Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. Mr. Trudeau, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly also held a bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to participate in a discussion with members of the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media scrum at the House of Commons, just before Question Period. He also attended Question Period.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, attended the NDP caucus meeting, met with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, held a media availability before Question Period, and attended Question Period. He also spoke at the Equal Voice Gala Reception.

No schedules released for other party leaders.


On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Globe and Mail food reporter Ann Hui breaks down what we learned about the confluence of factors that are making grocery bills so hefty. The Decibel is here.


Quebec Premier François Legault and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe top the list of popular premiers, according to the new measure by the Angus Reid Institute available here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how euthanasia without real mental health care is a moral failure, and it should be funded now: ”As Canada moves inexorably toward allowing people suffering from mental illness to access medical assistance in dying, an uncomfortable truth is becoming apparent: this country is on the verge of providing publicly funded euthanasia for people suffering from diseases for which there is little publicly funded care. This is unconscionable.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on a demographic apocalypse that lies behind Chinese protests: ”The Chinese government will probably be able to contain the protests over COVID-19 restrictions. Beijing will probably be able to contain the protests that come after that, which may be about COVID-19 or something else. But what about the protests after that? And the ones after that? People who are pushing back against excessive restrictions by an authoritarian regime are also reacting to a slow-moving demographic apocalypse, though many of them might not know it.”

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on how genocide is not in Canada’s past, but is still happening to this day: ”Three years after the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), it is disgusting that we still have to shame authorities to search a landfill site where they believe the bodies of three Indigenous women are buried. But Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth told reporters that he thinks those bodies are located somewhere in a city landfill – and that it would not be “feasible” to search for them. There is no feasible explanation for this. Mr. Smyth’s refusal to even try is unforgivable.”

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