Politics Briefing: Trade issues high on the agenda as bilateral meetings get under way at Three Amigos summit

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Politics Briefing: Trade issues high on the agenda as bilateral meetings get under way at Three Amigos summit
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Hello,

U.S. President Joe Biden was non-committal Thursday about whether his administration would give Canada a carve-out on its tax incentives for electric vehicles assembled in the United States.

As Mr. Biden sat down for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office, he was asked whether he would revise the plan that could harm Canada’s auto industry.

He told reporters that tax credits of up to $12,500 for EV vehicles manufactured in the U.S. has still not passed Congress.

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Mr. Biden also touted the U.S.’s close relationship with Canada as be opened the meeting, saying he and Mr. Trudeau have spoken six times over the last year.

“This is one of the easiest relationships you have as an American president, and one of the best,” he said.

Mr. Trudeau said the two countries are “hugely aligned on climate and COVID.”

The pair met bilaterally in the early afternoon, before a meeting between Mr. Trudeau and Vice-President Kamala Harris, and a Three Amigos sit-down with Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Earlier, U.S. officials said Mr. Biden’s goal is to “deepen and expand” economic co-operation and overcome trade irritants when he sits down at the White House Thursday with Mr. Trudeau and his Mexican counterpart.

Speaking on background to reporters, senior U.S. officials said the President wants to hammer out compromises on issues that have troubled Canada and Mexico since Mr. Biden replaced Donald Trump as president.

While Canada and Mexico were pleased to see the end of Trump’s America First policy, President Biden has embraced protectionist policies that are being pushed by Democrats in Congress and powerful U.S. unions.

More here from Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and U.S. Correspondent Adrian Morrow.

Check here for Globe and Mail updates from the Three Amigos summit.

THE DECIBEL – On the daily Globe and Mail podcast The Decibel, U.S. correspondent Adrian Morrow discusses which issues Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is likely pushing U.S. President Joe Biden on as the three North American leaders gather in Washington.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

BRITISH COLUMBIA FLOODS:

POSSIBLE $1B REBUILDING COST – The mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., has warned senior levels of government that the cost of rebuilding from the catastrophic flood earlier this week could reach $1-billion. Henry Braun said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as Premier John Horgan and multiple provincial ministers, who all assured him the city had their full support. Story here.

IMPACT ON RETAIL – Canada’s retail industry is scrambling to move goods from Alberta to parts of British Columbia, where many consumers are stocking up on groceries and other household items after flooding cut off major trade corridors in and out of Vancouver. Story here.

OTHER HEADLINES:

O’TOOLE WARNS CRITICS – Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole warned his critics that they could meet the same fate as Senator Denise Batters, who was ousted from the Conservative caucus this week after she challenged his leadership of the party. Story here.

TORY MPs SHOULD GET VACCINATED: DELTELL – Opposition House leader Gerard Deltell, ahead of today’s Conservative caucus meeting, said any of his Conservative colleagues who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 should roll up their sleeves.

NEW NUNAVUT PREMIER – Nunavut has a new premier. P.J. Akeeagok was chosen for the post this week by his 22 peers in the territory’s Legislative Assembly during the Nunavut Leadership Forum. The 37-year-old is the territory’s sixth premier since 1999, when Nunavut was created. From CBC. Story here.

OTTAWA LRT INQUIRY – Ontario will launch a public inquiry into Ottawa’s beleaguered light-rail transit system, which has been beset by reliability issues and shutdowns, the province has announced.

WE CHARITY CONTROVERSIES CONTINUE – CBC’s The Fifth Estate is reporting that Marc and Craig Kielburger’s WE Charity routinely misled school-aged children and wealthy philanthropists across North America for years as it solicited millions for schoolhouses in Kenya and other projects in its Adopt-A-Village program. Story here.

QUEBEC PREMIER SPEAKS ON SHOOTINGS – “I don’t recognize Quebec,” Premier François Legault said following a number of recent shootings in the province, including one that killed a 16-year-old boy. The Quebec government is calling for more help from Ottawa. Story from The Montreal Gazette here.

THIS AND THAT

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE HONOURED WITH STAMP – Governor-General Mary Simon was scheduled to unveil a commemorative stamp featuring Indigenous singer-songwriter and musician Buffy Sainte-Marie, at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Thursday.

HARPER FIRESIDE CHAT – Former prime minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to participate in a fireside chat and dinner presented by B’Nai Brith Canada tonight in Montreal.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

In Washington, D.C., the Prime Minister, accompanied by U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris, participated in an event with middle-school students, then met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He then met with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House. The Prime Minister was then scheduled to meet with President Biden and Mexican President Obrador for the North American Leaders’ Summit. At 8 p.m., the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold a media availability at the Embassy of Canada to the United States.

LEADERS

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole attends a caucus meeting in Ottawa.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks this afternoon at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation, featuring special guest Kiefer Sutherland, a tribute to the late Shirley Douglas, as well as guest speakers, including former NDP MP Olivia Chow.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how the happy warrior PM is back and smiling through trade threats in Washington: Justin Trudeau the happy trade warrior is back, in Washington, and sounding hopeful no matter the current threat to cross-border commerce. You might have forgotten this Mr. Trudeau – the one who wore a slight smile even while then-president Donald Trump sat beside him in the Oval Office four years ago and casually threatened to rip up the North American free-trade agreement, and who presented an unflaggingly positive face as he repeated cross-border trade stats to Congressional leaders.”

John Doyle (The Globe and Mail) on federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole: Winning in political campaigns is less about policy than it is about being a forceful presence in front of the cameras and in front of crowds of people. It can take ages to digest policy platforms, and few voters have the time to do it, but it takes only an instant to get the measure of a politician on TV, especially if they’re being asked questions. That’s just one area where O’Toole failed.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how a catastrophic year in B.C. just got worse: “There is a lot to be angry about, a lot to mourn. People have lost everything – including, in some cases, loved ones. It will take months, maybe years, for bridges and roadways to be repaired and fortified. Residents here have no idea what the next disaster will look like. It seems now that people in B.C. are conditioned to expect something. It’s as if the entire province is always looking over its shoulder. “Lotusland” seems like a quaint and not particularly apt moniker now.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Erin O’Toole finding his voice as leader two months after the election: “If Erin O’Toole’s position on vaccine mandates, conscience rights, guns, defunding the CBC and carbon taxes is any indication, his expulsion of Senator Denise Batters from the Conservative caucus should last only a few days. Soon, he will emerge from Stornoway slightly chastened and subdued, where he will announce that instead of being removed from the party caucus, Ms. Batters will be rewarded with praise and riches as thanks for her outspokenness. Mr. O’Toole will conclude his press conference by extolling CBC News for its exceptional political coverage, and then dramatically strip off his blazer to reveal a “Climate Justice Now!” t-shirt underneath. The other possibility is that Mr. O’Toole will actually stand on principle and uphold Ms. Batters’ expulsion, which would be a good indication that Mr. O’Toole has finally decided – albeit belatedly, and rather corrosively for his party – that now is time for him to start acting like a leader.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on the self-destruction of Canada’s Conservatives: “The Conservative Party does not have a monopoly on self-destruction while in opposition. Just ask Annamie Paul, Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff or Tom Mulcair, whose tenures as party leaders ended up being doomed by internal sniping they could not control. Conservatives, however, generally have more practice at this sort of thing – which is why the odds appear increasingly slim that Erin O’Toole will be able to put the lid on the revolt brewing within his party. Tory dissent is breaking out all over, and Mr. O’Toole’s moral authority over his own party – which was weak to begin with – is now almost non-existent.”

Rick Bell (Calgary Sun) on being publicly scolded by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney: Whack! I get a scolding smack upside the head. A small price to pay. Didn’t hurt a bit. I was a man on a mission. I had to ask the question of Premier Jason Kenney. After all, the guy who won in a landslide election can’t possibly go lower in the polls, can he? Many of those in the real world just do not like the man, some can’t stand him, and within his own party, there are plenty who want him to just go away.”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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