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Good Monday morning.
Justin Trudeau is set to meet today with Bill Morneau behind closed doors, potentially to sort out their differences, amid a flurry of reports hyping up conflict between their respective offices. Will the sword of Damocles finally drop on the finance minister, or will a big, fat nothingburger today finally quell the speculation? Insider accounts over the weekend heightened expectations.
The gap between their offices includes the size of deficit spending and the scale of Ottawa’s environmental measures, Reuters reports. Morneau “was not very keen on a huge deficit” and it was not what he wanted “as his legacy.”
Morneau’s office was repeatedly overruled in key debates, including on the large COVID-19 spending programs, Bloomberg reported. Morneau’s office complained PMO cares too much about polling over economic analysis in its decision making. Then there’s Mark Carney’s sudden conspicuous arrival on the political scene, an “embarrassing development” which “caught Morneau by surprise.”
The accounts portray the finance minister as frugal and hesitant even at a time of crisis, and largely on the outs, short of allies both in caucus and around the cabinet table. If the PM isn’t thinking about a cabinet shuffle, he should be, among other possible measures like a budget that could reset things, so say the usual Liberal insiders in the Hill Times.
🚨 Fresh Mainstreet/iPolitics polling 🚨 The Liberals are in a double-digit lead, suggesting the damage to their popularity over the WE Charity controversy is now mostly in their rear-view mirror (although, you know what they say about objects in the mirror…). LPC 41 / CPC 29 / NDP 16 / Bloc 6 / Greens 5. The telephone poll was in the field Aug. 11-12 and has a MoE of +/- 2.5 per cent. It’s the latest to show a bounce back for the Liberals from the WE scandal.
Elsewhere in polling, an outlier emerged over the weekend: The Toronto Sun points to a Campaign Research/Maru/Blue online poll that puts the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals nationally. (CPC 33 / LPC 30 / NDP 18 / Green 8 / Bloc 7). It is first to put the Liberals so low.
Kady O’Malley looks ahead to the rest of the day with iPolitics AM, starting with the CRA hack:
“In the wake of a major cyberattack that has temporarily forced the federal tax agency to take its online self-service portals offline to prevent further breaches, a full contingent of senior officials from the Canada Revenue Agency, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security have scheduled a mid-morning briefing session in the West Block press theatre to ‘provide an update’ on the latest developments.”
O’Malley’s What We’re Watching highlights: The Morneau drama, Tory leadership countdown and an early look at the week’s committee circuit.
It’s into the final, final stretch for the Conservative leadership race, with a winner set to be announced Sunday.
Erin O’Toole is staying silent on whether he’ll push for a fall election if he becomes leader. While the leadership race, alongside the Bloc’s recent election posturing, is fueling questions over that prospect, Tory insider Tim Powers tells us it “makes zero sense for the Conservatives to force an election in the fall.”
Liberal MPs are denouncing Ed the Sock — a once well-known trash-talking TV sock puppet that now spouts off about politics on social media — because he called NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh a “jughead,” Press Progress reports. NDP MP Don Davies said it was a racist dog whistle and called on Liberals to “condemn this blatant hatred.”
The UK is expected to enter into post-Brexit trade talks with Canada “imminently,” with a goal of reaching an agreement by end of year, the Daily Telegraph reports (paywall). The news comes as Brexit talks with the EU restart today.
The Liberal government is denying the CFL’s request for a $30 million interest-free loan, TSN reports.
And a lawyer who spent his career representing families of people killed by police says the auditor general should play a stronger role in monitoring changes in policing.
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AROUND THE WORLD
Nancy Pelosi says she will call the House back in session over the U.S. Postal Service crisis, bringing that drama to the fore amid concerns Trump is clamping down on the service to tilt the scales ahead of November. Meanwhile the House’s oversight committee is now set to hold an emergency hearing on mail delays posthaste on Aug. 24, with Democrats demanding top postal service officials appear for a grilling. For its part, the post office says it will stop removing its iconic blue mailboxes, as it falls under scrutiny about whether that will impact the November vote.
Trump is signalling he plans to continue to ramp up pressure on Chinese companies, suggesting he is considering a ban on other tech companies like Alibaba.
U.S. airlines are lowering their expectations for a rebound as air travel fails to take off.
Elsewhere: New Zealand has delayed its national elections by four weeks, until Oct. 17, amid a new coronavirus outbreak. Belarus’s leader is rejecting demands he step down amid a disputed election and hold another vote. Japan’s economy is in the tank, like many other nations. The coronavirus is surging again in South Korea, while India’s COVID-19 death toll passed 50,000 people.
Coming up today: The DNC is opening its mostly virtual convention, kicking off with speakers that include Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders. And Lebanon’s prime minister is expected to call for early elections amid seething public rage at the nation’s political class after the biggest explosion in Beirut’s history.
IN OTHER HEADLINES
OVER THE WEEKEND
WHAT WE’RE READING
ICYMI FROM IPOLITICS
CARTOON OF THE DAY
Call them, and they will answer. B.C.’s premier requested help from Canadian actors Seth Rogen and Ryan Reynolds, on the hopes they’re hip enough that young people will listen to them and, for cryin’ out loud, stop partying during the pandemic. Kind of like the bat-signal, but delivered by Deadpool. And they did.
And that’s all! Have a great start to the week.