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Politics Briefing: Liberals to table two bills before House rises

Good morning,

Tragedy continues to strike in Britain. This time a van was driven into a crowd of worshippers outside a London mosque, killing one person and injuring another 10. The driver of the van has been arrested, but not yet charged or named by police. The latest information we have is here.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and Mayaz Alam in Toronto, with James Keller in Vancouver. If you're reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Let us know what you think.


The Liberals will table two pieces of long-awaited legislation this week: a bill to revamp Canada's access-to-information laws on Monday, followed by a national-security bill on Tuesday that would undo many changes brought in under the previous Conservative government. Neither bill will get much debate before the House rises for the summer.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he doesn't want legalized marijuana to be so expensive that the black market continues to flourish.

The RCMP and Chinese authorities say their drive to crack down on opioid smuggling has been made difficult because of the darkest corners of the Internet. "We can find recipients who are receiving packages from the Dark Web … but the reality is that the people buying it, unless they have an intimate relationship with the seller, they don't know who the seller is either," an RCMP investigator told The Globe.

Diplomats behaving badly: the CBC has obtained a list of some of the things that foreign dignitaries have gotten up to in Canada, including unpaid taxes, stunt driving and alleged child abuse. Diplomats have immunity from prosecution while in foreign countries, but can face legal repercussions for their actions back home.

B.C.'s governing Liberal Party has quietly stopped its practice of posting fundraising data every week. The Liberals started regularly disclosing donation information at the beginning of the year, amid growing criticism about the party's reliance on large corporate donors and its refusal to impose any campaign finance limits. The party now says it will focus its efforts on preparing for new rules that are expected to ban corporate and union donations and set limits for individual donations. The Liberals say they'll include such a policy in the Throne Speech later this week, but the government is expected to fall by the end of the month. The New Democrats, who are poised to take power, have long promised to implement campaign finance reform. The New Democrats were quick to criticize the Liberals' reversal, but the NDP has never released donor data earlier than required with yearly financial reports.

"I have this privilege. I want to exercise it to the best of my ability," Liberal MP Arnold Chan says when asked why he continues to work as an MP despite battling cancer. Mr. Chan, diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, made waves recently with a moving speech in the House of Commons that implored his colleagues to treat Parliament and each other with more honour.

And Fabian Manning, a senator representing Newfoundland and Labrador, is suing the government and House of Commons for more than $250,000 after he slipped on the floor of a parliamentary cafeteria two years ago.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberals' upcoming national-security bill: "It is likely they will rely on reassuring by proposing stronger oversight. They are already adding a new committee of parliamentarians to review security agencies, and are said to be proposing a new oversight body for the Canada Border Services Agency and more power for existing review boards. When Canadians disagree over whether their spies need more or less powers, most agree more oversight makes things better."

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on immigration: "Canadian governments must repeatedly and convincingly demonstrate the importance of immigration to economic growth in this country. And they must confront the causes of income inequality and the fears fuelled by it. Conservatives and progressives will address those priorities in different ways. But they must always keep them front and centre. Canada's future depends on it."

Kate Taylor (The Globe and Mail) on the 'Neftlix tax': "Why shouldn't a small levy – say 3 or 4 per cent to recognize the other uses – help update our support for Canadian culture? Politicians clearly see anything that can be characterized as an Internet tax as the third rail, but public reactions seemed based more on the ideological instinct that the Internet is beyond the reach of regulation than on any full examination of what the benefits might be."

Lawrence Herman (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA and beyond: "While every Canadian government faces the singularly important task of managing relations with the United States, given the inward-looking America First turn the Trump administration is taking, there are solid reasons for Canadian trade policy to remain actively engaged across both the Atlantic and the Pacific."


French President Emmanuel Macron and his nascent political movement En Marche! scored a huge victory in France's parliamentary elections, winning a large majority. The two historically dominant political parties in France, the centre-left Parti socialiste and the centre-right Les Républicains, saw their seat counts reduced significantly. With the win, which came as around 43 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, Mr. Macron gets an opportunity to enact his reform-heavy agenda, but data show that his party's success at the polls may mask deeper divisions in French politics.

Canada may play a role in the effort to address the crisis in Venezuela, sources tell The Globe. More than 70 people have died in nearly three months of protest across the country. The protests began after President Nicolas Maduro tried to strip the nation's congress, ruled by the opposition party, of its powers.

The next shot in the softwood lumber battle is expected to be fired this week, with the U.S. introducing an anti-dumping duty against Canadian lumber producers. The move would raise the overall tariff, consisting of a countervailing duty as well,  to nearly 30 per cent, a substantial cost to Canadian firms. Anti-dumping duties penalize producers for selling goods at below market values while countervailing duties are in response to what one country perceives as an unfair subsidy towards a particular industry. Earlier this month the federal government announced $867-million in support for Canada's  forestry industry.

"All he wants to do is what is correct. He would cut off his right leg before he would do something wrong or illegal or improper or not in the interests of justice," Robert Mueller's former deputy at the Justice Department told The Globe. A former Marine who served in Vietnam and the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover, Mr. Mueller is respected on both sides in Washington and is leading the investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump and his campaign team.

Eric Reguly (The Globe and Mail) on Macron's majority: "His party's majority is smaller than expected and voter turnout, at about 43 per cent, the lowest on record, reduced the legitimacy of his win [....]Some voters may have stayed home because they expected an overwhelming En Marche victory. Many others, evidently, simply did not like anything about the 39-year-old former banker or his neo-liberal agenda. The demographic groups with high no-show rates included the young, the working class and low-income earners. Mr. Macron still has to win them over."

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on the doomsday scenario: "The nuclear-ban treaty has been shockingly underreported, perhaps because it's being boycotted by the nine states that possess these weapons (and therefore the ability to destroy the 90 per cent of countries that don't). The United States has arm-twisted its allies, including Canada, into not participating. It is not our finest hour on the global stage."

Nathalie Bloomer (The Globe and Mail) on politicizing tragedy and the London fire: " People are angry, and they have a right to be. This isn't about scoring political points; it's about making sure that anyone who failed in their responsibility for ensuring the safety of those families is held to account. People don't want to hear useless statements about learning lessons. They want justice."

Robert Muggah (The Globe and Mail) on cities, not countries: "Cities are key to surmounting our biggest challenges. Where nation-states are by nature independent, competitive and defined by rigid borders, cities are instinctively interdependent, co-operative and open. Cities are diverse, cosmopolitan and liberal: they are a direct threat to populism and reactionary nationalism."

Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight) on Trump's influence on European elections: "The pattern has been repeated so far in every major European election since Trump's victory. In the Netherlands, France and the U.K., right-wing parties faded down the stretch run of their campaigns and then further underperformed their polls on election day [...]There's been [a] pattern in who gains or loses support: The warmer a candidate's relationship with Trump, the worse he or she has tended to do."

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