Politics Briefing: Threat to Canadian electric vehicle industry dissipates with US Senate deal


A deal struck among Democrats in the US Senate appears to have eliminated a threat hanging over the nascent electric vehicle manufacturing industry in Canada.

An agreement announced late Wednesday between Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia gives the Democrats the votes they need to pass a key plank of US President Joe Biden’s agenda.

The deal would amend Mr. Biden’s climate and health bill and change the terms of tax credits for electric vehicles that, as previously written, would have only applied to autos assembled in the United States.

The amended language does away with the made-in-America criteria and instead says the tax credit would apply to electric vehicles assembled “within North America,” which means not only the United States but Canada and Mexico.

Canada’s auto industry and the Canadian government are celebrating the development. International Trade Minister Mary Ng had previously warned that a Buy-America-style tax credit would do “serious and irreparable harm” to the Canadian automotive sector.

Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase reports here.

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PAPAL VISIT CONTINUES – Pope is hosting a reconciliation-themed mass in Quebec before a congregation made up largely of residential school survivors and other Indigenous people, a day after expressing shame and sorrow for the role played by Catholic institutions in the schools. Story here. Meanwhile, the Vatican is not planning to conduct a formal investigation into the abuses at Catholic-run residential schools that operate across Canada for a century, but will examine any new evidence that emerges. Story here.

NO PLANS TO RESIGN: HOCKEY CANADA CEO – Hockey Canada’s CEO said he has no plans to resign amid controversy over the organization’s handling of sexual-assault claims, despite growing calls for a leadership overhaul to address the troubling culture in the country’s national winter sport. Story here.

PROVINCES WANT MORE IMMIGRATION CONTROL – Citing a nationwide labor shortage, several provincial immigration ministers say they want more control over the immigration process, and have sent a letter to their federal counterpart calling for change. Provincial and territorial ministers involved with immigration were Wednesday meeting with federal minister, Sean Fraser. Story here from CBC.

DETAILS ON AR-15 COMPENSATION RELEASED – The federal government is proposing $1,337 in compensation for turning in an AR-15 rifle under a mandatory buyback program. Story here.

QUEBEC CONSERVATIVE PARTY GAINING TRACTION – When Éric Duhaime took over as leader of the Quebec Conservatives last year, the party – which is unaffiliated with the federal Conservatives – had never held a seat in the legislature, never been invited to a major debate and never raised more than $60,000 in donations in any given year. Now, however, the party has wrangled a seat in the legislature and started polling near 20 per cent. Story here from CBC.

SMITH FACES CRITICISM AT UCP DEBATE – Danielle Smith, considered one of the front-runners in the United Conservative Party leadership race, faced sharp criticism Wednesday from debate rivals over her Alberta sovereignty plan and controversial comments on cancer. Story here.

NEW POSTMEDIA CHAIRMAN NAMED – Jamie Irving, a scion of the wealthy New Brunswick family, will take over as executive chairman of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. At the end of this year, as board chair Paul Godfrey prepares to step down after a dozen years in the newspaper publisher’s top ranks. Story here.


CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Newfoundland. Roman Baber is in Ontario, with stops in Chatham and Windsor. Jean Charest is in BC Leslyn Lewis is in Saskatchewan, with stops in Regina and Saskatoon. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa.

HARPER DIDN’T ADDRESS `BATTY’ POILIEVRE IDEAS: FORMER CABINET MINISTERS – Two Stephen Harper-era cabinet ministers say his endorsement of Pierre Poilievre for the leadership of the Conservative party failed to address the candidate’s “batty” economic policies. Story here.


The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

TIMETABLE FOR ONTARIO LEGISLATURE RETURN – Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed Thursday that the legislature will convene Aug. 8, with a speaker that day. Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell will deliver a throne speech on Aug. 9. It’s the first sitting of the legislature since the Ontario election held on June. 2 in which Mr. Ford led the Progressive Conservatives to a second, consecutive majority government.

FRASER IN NB – Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in Saint John, NB, joins a media availability held by other provincial and territorial ministers responsible for immigration, at the end of the joint meeting of the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration.

KHERA IN PEI- Seniors Minister Kamal Khera, in Prince Edward Island, announced a $73,486 investment to fund five community-based projects to support seniors in the Rural Municipality of Miltonvale Park, Prince Edward Island.

NG IN HALIFAX – International Trade Minister Mary Ng, in Halifax, makes an announcement about the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund.


Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features Senior Writer Grant Robertson whose investigation into the National Equity Fund exposed it publicly. Hockey Canada told federal hearings Wednesday that it has paid $8.9-million since 1989 to 21 cases of alleged sexual assault, with the bulk of that money, $7.6-million, coming from a special fund built through registration fees that wasn’t disclosed to parents and players. Mr. Robertson explains how the fund functions and how it allowed Hockey Canada to keep quiet equity claims of a group sexual assault for years. The Decibel is here.


The Prime Minister, in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec, attends a Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.


No schedules released for party leaders.


John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre will need more than promises of freedom: Stephen Harper’s public endorsement of Pierre Poilievre as the next leader of the Conservative Party means very little, but also a lot. Very little, because Mr. Poilievre probably had the leadership sewn up even without the former prime minister’s imprimatur. A lot, because Mr. Harper is clearly hoping to preserve party unity and win over uncommitted voters in support of a candidate he believes a clear shot at becoming prime minister.”

Cathal Kelly (The Globe and Mail) on how defining Hockey Canada’s problem in plain English continues to be a problem: Pull back from the talking points and the gotcha questions. What message are the people who run hockey in Canada trying to send? It’s twofold – hockey does not have a systematic problem (ergo, we are not the problem); the players must be Clockwork Orange‘d until they are functioning citizens again. It’s the players who’ve lost their way. Hockey Canada is the good guy. It’s trying to help the victims and make them sign NDAs, but only if they want to. Underneath the bureaucratese, you can faintly hear the real explanation: ‘We tried, but what are you going to do with these brutes? Every once in a while, they’re going to get loose, and then it’s our job to get them back in a box before they panic the locals.’ If you didn’t believe hockey had a culture problem before Wednesday, you should now.”

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on why Americans are more gullible than Canadians when it comes to falsehoods: “But in recent times it’s become clear that we’ve missed a critically important distinction between the two countries, one which helps explain why American democracy threatens to go off the rails Canadian system, warts and all, remains relatively stable. The difference is in the level of gullibility of the respective populations. Americans have become remarkably vulnerable and prone to myths, conspiracy theories, alternative facts and the charlatans who peddle them. They’ve been imbibing snake oil by the barrel. To the point where, as Kurt Andersen puts it in his book fantasyland, “The irrational has become respectable and often unstoppable.” To the point where “the reality-based community,” to use a term attributed to an official working with Karl Rove, is imperilled. While Canada is by no means free of the problem, there is no comparison in terms of degree.”

Winnie Byanyima (Contributed to the Globe and Mail) On how the global AIDS response is faltering, putting millions of lives in danger: The 24th International AIDS Conference, taking place this week in Montreal and bringing together thousands of, scientists and policy-makers could not have come at a more vital time. For over two decades, this conference has been a moment to celebrate life-saving advances against the AIDS pandemic. This year, however, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is releasing new data that will sound an alarm: we are not on track to end AIDS, and millions of lives are at risk. We can turn this around, but in this particular emergency, the only safe response is to be bold.”

Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) on the way to stop Pierre Poilievre: “As surprises go, Harper’s support for Poilievre shouldn’t register on the Richter scale. After all, he made Poilievre his parliamentary secretary after the 2008 election and made a minister in 2013. The news would have been if he hadn’t endorsed his boy Skippy. Most Conservatives I know took it in stride. And then there’s Jean Charest. Despite Harper’s reference to a “strong field” in his endorsement of Poilievre, there is no way the “strong” in that field had anything to do with the former Quebec premier. If Charest ever ran to be dog catcher in Rivière-au-Tonnerre, Harper would drive all the way there in the dead of a pandemic winter – on a skidoo, if he had to – to poleaxe his chances.”

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