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Embroiled in an ongoing patronage scandal over government appointments, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government will tighten the vetting of appointments. This comes a day after the resignation of Andrew Suboch, the chair of a committee that helps choose justices of the peace, after The Globe and Mail revealed his ties to Dean French, Mr. Ford’s former chief of staff.

Mr. French resigned on June 21 after it was revealed two people with personal ties to him were given lucrative foreign appointments. One was a former lacrosse player who is friends with Mr. French’s son, and the second cousin of Mr. French’s wife. Both of those appointments have been revoked.

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After Mr. French’s resignation, other appointments with connections to him were uncovered, including his niece, who resigned from the Public Accountants Council.

At the final news conference after a meeting of provincial and territorial premiers yesterday, Mr. Ford said he accepts responsibility for what happens in his province. “I’m responsible for everything that happens [in] that province, and I take responsibility. Yes, we always look at improvement on vetting candidates," he said.

Meanwhile, the 13 premiers representing Canada’s provinces and territories who were meeting in Saskatoon declared they want the option to opt out of any federal pharmacare program and keep the money Ottawa would otherwise spend on drugs in their provinces.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of the main federal political parties, the premiers asked for a number of commitments, including a pharmacare plan opt out. They did not specify what they would do with the money that Ottawa would otherwise spend on drugs

The Liberals and New Democrats are both expected to campaign on promises to create a system of universal pharmacare.

Before we leave the premiers, one more thing: Where are the women? Elizabeth Renzetti says: “You’d think there might be one woman in there, piping up on behalf of 50 per cent of the population. Instead, it was a sausage party to which no girls were invited.”

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WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY

Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu is at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay today at 10 a.m. to make an announcement on how the federal government will support youth facing barriers to employment. Media availability follows. It will be interesting to see if she goes after the Ford government in the same way she did Wednesday after the Bombardier news.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi meet with workers at the Trans Mountain Edmonton Terminal at 8:15 a.m. local time. A media availability follows.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The Globe and Mail’s California-based correspondent Tamsin McMahon spent several days in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico this week to report on the U.S. border migrant crisis. She spoke with some of the more than 17,000 migrants who have crossed the U.S. border to claim asylum only to be told they had to return to Mexico to await their court proceedings. It’s a tale of duelling governments, stretched resources and criminal gangs taking advantage of desperate people.

Also, columnist Denise Balkissoon suggests within the political tangle of reasons migrants are fleeing Central America, for some there’s a thread that relates to Canadian mining companies.

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A day after former Canadian envoy to Beijing John McCallum told the South China Morning Post he warned Chinese officials that further sanctions against Canada over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou could help spur the election of a Conservative government, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland rebuked his conduct, and said: "Mr. McCallum does not speak for the government of Canada.” And new this morning, the Conservative Party has asked CSIS to investigate former ambassador to China John McCallum for foreign interference in an election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke in front of a pro-union crowd with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) yesterday and admitted his government has not been perfect on progressive issues such as such as poverty, the environment and Indigenous reconciliation. Nonetheless, he made a pre-electoral pitch for a second mandate and continued with his current strategy of attacking Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wants to bring his love for cycling to Canadians everywhere with a national strategy to make two-wheeled travel safer for everyone. Yesterday, Mr. Singh led a bike tour of downtown Ottawa to highlight the need for better cycling infrastructure. NDP MP Gord Johns has a private member’s bill before Parliament to establish a national cycling strategy that would commit Ottawa to set targets for expanding cycling infrastructure, encourage more Canadians to use bikes to get around, and create a public-education campaign on cycling safety for cyclists and motorists.

The Globe’s editorial today takes a critical look at Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer’s climate plan, calling it “seriously unserious" because it seems to rule out not only a carbon tax but also Mr. Scheer is now saying that regulations lowering greenhouse gas emissions from your car’s tailpipe are a “secret tax”, and hence unacceptable. The editorial questions how the Conservatives would pay for their promised green consumer subsidies. “Through taxes on Canadians, obviously. And that’s a secret Mr. Scheer would like you to keep to yourself.”

Ottawa-based columnist John Ibbitson weighs in on Ottawa City Council’s final approval for a new wing to the Château Laurier hotel: “A design that is widely loathed throughout the city and beyond will become part of a building that is so integral to the capital that some call it the Third House of Parliament. But this is only the latest, and far from the worst, example of how bad planning policy, weak political leadership and interjurisdictional wrangling uglify Ottawa.”

Donald Trump held a “social media summit” yesterday, playing host to a gaggle of right-wing extremists and provocateurs, a virtual cavalcade of the dark and disturbing actors on the internet, a collection of trolls and propaganda artists who have disrupted the media narrative, attacked any and all targets on the left, and have confused reality, all for the purpose of mayhem and profit, writes Jared Yates Sexton.

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The U.S. President also announced an end to his quest to add a contentious citizenship question to the 2020 census, but then said the government would obtain the data by combing through federal records. Mr. Trump issued an executive order to every government agency to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in the country.

And breaking this morning, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who signed off on a plea deal for alleged sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is resigning. Mr. Trump made the announcement as he left the White House for a trip to Wisconsin and Ohio today.

Joe Biden delivered a sweeping foreign policy address that denounced Donald Trump as incapable of global leadership and called for a return to multilateral diplomacy. Mr. Biden delivered a scathing assessment of Trump’s leadership, saying the President’s judgment has tarnished the country’s reputation abroad and undermined its ability to achieve its foreign policy goals. Mr. Biden said his own foreign policy plan would restore The U.nited States’ position as a global leader, including working with other countries toward collective aims.

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be in the spotlight today. She and three other first-term representatives who reported squalid conditions at migrant detention stations will speak at the House Oversight and Reform Committee session.

And presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said yesterday he would be leading the next insulin caravan to Canada. The Vermont Senator said in a tweet that he planned to make the trip toward the end of this month along with a group of diabetics to buy cheaper insulin.

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