Evening Brief: ‘Absurd’ and cheeky

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Good evening to you.

Let’s begin with the “absurd.”

That’s how Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland described the Trump administration’s decision to re-impose a 10 per cent tariff on some Canadian aluminum products. At a news conference earlier today, Freeland vowed that Canada will “respond swiftly and strongly” with retaliatory tariffs valued at C$3.6 billion.“Let me be clear. Canadian aluminum is in no way a threat to U.S. national security, which remains the ostensible reason for this, and that is a ludicrous notion,” she said. “The United States has taken the absurd decision to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering the deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” she added.

In announcing the tariff yesterday, U.S. President Donald Trump trotted out his well-worn victim card, claiming the U.S. aluminum business “was being decimated by Canada.” He added, “Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual.” Global’s Beatrice Britneff has more on his fudging of facts — as usual.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was on the horn with Freeland this morning, later telling reporters he’s disappointed in the move. In the middle of a pandemic, people need to be coming together, he said, adding that what Trump has done is “totally unacceptable” and now we’re in a “battle.” He vowed to “come back swinging” and urged Ontario residents to “hit ’em where it hurts.” As for the wisdom of backstabbing your “No. 1 customer,” Ford told Trump to “give your head a shake.”

Canada’s unemployment rate in July was higher for all primary groups of racialized Canadians compared to white Canadians, according to Statistics Canada’s labour force survey for that month, the first to feature disaggregated race-based data. The survey released today found 418,500 jobs were created nationally in July, helping to bring the overall unemployment rate down to 10.9 per cent, from a pandemic high of 13.7 per cent in May.

Combined with the nearly one million jobs created in June, and the nearly 300,000 in May, employment is within 1.3 million jobs compared to the labour market in February — before the pandemic hit Canada. Jolson Lim reports.

Andrew Meade/iPolitics

In the wake of a CBC News report that more than $250,000 has been spent to accommodate Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s need for privacy at Rideau Hall — which she has yet to move into — Deputy PM Freeland was asked today if her government had confidence in Payette. Although she didn’t say no, it’s probably safe to assume that’s where things are at right now. While Freeland expressed support for the office and role of the Governor General, she made no comment on Payette, even when pressed. As for Payette’s press secretary’s suggestion that it’s not in the public’s interest for reporters to be asking about the GG’s living arrangements, Freeland disagreed. “I think Canadian journalists and Canadians absolutely have the right to look carefully at how we spend Canadians’ money.” More from CBC here.

The latest and likely final appeal for a Federal Court ruling to quash a Liberal cabinet order that effectively outlawed more than 100,000 semi-automatic rifles and other weapons in Canada has taken a brash and aggressive position — zeroing in on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. The aggressive application for a Federal Court review of the May 1 firearm regulations came from three Ottawa-area residents, including a former election candidate for the now-defunct Reform Party, and a woman with a reputation for challenging unwanted regulations at a much less serious level.

The trio, all so-far unrepresented by legal counsel, managed to file their documents with the federal administrative law court last July 9, well after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet suddenly passed the sweeping ban two weeks after a shooting spree in April that left 22 people dead in and around a rural Nova Scotia town. The gunman was killed in a final standoff with RCMP members. Tim Naumetz reports.

A leading contender in the race to take over the Green Party says she believes the social disruption caused by COVID-19 could push the party to gain official party status in the next federal election.

Annamie Paul, a human rights lawyer and one of eight contenders to replace Elizabeth May as leader of the Green Party of Canada, is hoping Canadians looking for progressive social change in their political system will vote Green in the next federal election. Leaders are attached to a moment in time, Paul says, and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s heard that voters don’t want to return to the way things were.

“There’s been so much tragedy that people want — I think people need — to believe that something good is going to come out of all of this,” she said in an interview with iPolitics this week. “That we’re going to be less vulnerable the next time.” More from Rachel Emmanuel.

In The Sprout: Canada hits back after U.S. imposes new tariffs

In The Drilldown: Tanker shipwreck threatens East African island

In The Rebel to Rabble Review: Rebel’s ‘Fire Morneau’ campaign reborn amid WE controversy

In Other Headlines:

Canada decries death penalty after second Canadian sentenced in China this week (CP)
Speculation begins on who may be interested in Nova Scotia premier’s job (CP)
The fall will be a ‘period of challenge’ in coronavirus fight, Canada’s top doctor says (CTV)
Alberta to join other provinces in exploring small nuclear technology (CP)
WE Charity hired a PR firm to help with student service grant in French-speaking Canada (Global)


In the U.S., administration officials said today they will recommend President Trump move forward with executive orders to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus, as negotiations on Capitol Hill have collapsed. Earlier today, the administration rejected a Democratic offer to agree to a stimulus price tag of around $2 trillion.

As CNN reports, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced at a news conference they had offered to “go down a trillion” from their top-line number of $3.4 trillion, if Republicans would go up $1 trillion from their initial offer of $1 trillion. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters shortly afterward that the request for GOP negotiators to increase their offer by $1 trillion, putting the top-line number at around $2 trillion, is “a non-starter.”

“In the meantime, we’re going to take executive orders, to try to alleviate some of the pain that people are experiencing,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said.

Meanwhile, it’s 2016 all over again. It should come as a surprise to no one that the Kremlin-linked operatives are trying to boost Trump’s candidacy. Meanwhile, China — or, as he likes to say, “Chiiina” — wants him gone. Little surprise there, either. But both are part of a detailed update today from the U.S. counterintelligence official who’s leading election security efforts at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. More from NBC News.

Across the pond, now that Boris Johnson has Brexit behind him, he’s trying to stop Scotland from fleeing the U.K. As the New York Times reports, Scottish polling shows a majority favour independence — and that has the prime minister is concerned.

In Opinion:

Alan Freeman’s Message to Jason Kenney: A pandemic is no time to ignore the environment

The Kicker:

Adele Landauer Photo

Finally today, we leave you with a bare-assed escapade of nature striking back.

And our kudos to the headline writer. Cheeky, indeed 🙂

Have a great weekend.

More from iPolitics

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