Politics Briefing: Pope Francis reaffirms commitment to visit Canada this month


Pope Francis is still coming to visit Canada this month.

The Pope restated his commitment to be in Canada from July 24-30 during an exclusive interview with Reuters in his Vatican residence.

Doctors had previously said the Pope might have to miss his trip to Canada unless he agreed to undergo 20 more days of physical therapy and rest for pain in his right knee.

The 85-year-old Pope has previously apologized for abuses perpetrated against the children in Canada’s residential schools, and there have been hopes his pending visit with stops in Quebec City, Edmonton and Iqaluit will include a stronger apology and further action from the Catholic Church on the issue.

As he talked to Reuters about hoped-for trips ahead, he mentioned Canada.

“I would like to go (to Ukraine), and I wanted to go to Moscow first. We exchanged messages about this because I thought that if the Russian president gave me a small window to serve the cause of peace …

“And now it is possible, after I come back from Canada, it is possible that I manage to go to Ukraine,” he said. “The first thing is to go to Russia to try to help in some way, but I would like to go to both capitals.”

The Reuters report is here.

European Bureau Chief Eric Reguly and Reporter Tavia Grant reported here on the announcement of the Pope’s visit.

And feature writer Jana G. Pruden reported here on how the Pope’s impending visit to a former residential school in Maskwacis, Alberta had sparked mixed emotions.

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.


NO FEDERAL FINANCING FOR LNG PROPOSALS: WILKINSON – Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says two private-sector proposals to export liquefied natural gas from Canada’s East Coast to European countries struggling to reduce their reliance on Russian fuel will need to move forward without federal financing. Story here.

AIR CANADA INCOMPETENT: NB MINISTER – New Brunswick’s education minister is lashing out at Air Canada, saying the airline is incompetent because it decided on the weekend to cancel a Monday flight that would have taken him and four officials to a meeting in Regina. Story here. There’s a Globe and Mail Explainer here on Air Canada’s flight cancellations, and a story here on weekend developments. On Twitter today, federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra wrote here that airport delays continue to be an issue at Canada’s major airports, and he had met Monday morning with the CEO of Air Canada.

TRANSPARENCY NEEDED AMIDST TUBERCULOSIS OUTBREAK: INUIT ORGANIZATION LEADER – The president of a major Inuit organization has reiterated her call for transparency after The Globe and Mail published an investigation of a major tuberculosis outbreak in Pangnirtung, a hamlet of about 1,500 people on Baffin Island. Story here.

WANTED: FEDERAL OMBUDSMAN FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME – The federal government has now left a key victim-rights watchdog role vacant for more than nine months. Story here.

ONTARIO CONVENIENCE STORES PRESS FORD FOR BEER SALES – Convenience stores are calling for Ontario Premier Doug Ford to fulfill his shelved promise to allow them to sell beer, a pledge derailed three years ago after failed talks with the multinational brewing companies behind the province’s Beer Store chain. Story here.

SERVICE DELIVERY THE ACHILLES HEEL OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: HEINTZMAN – Delivering services to Canadians has been an Achilles heel of the federal government for 30 years because of political disinterest and a senior management of “travelling salesmen,” who hop from job to job and barely know the business of the departments they lead, says the former senior bureaucrat who proposed the creation of Service Canada. Story here from Policy Options.

PARLIAMENT HILL OVERHAUL MAY BE SIDE EFFECT OF PROTESTS – The convoy protests that occupied downtown Ottawa last winter may inadvertently have pushed forward a plan to convert Parliament Hill into Parliament Square. Story here.

CANADIANS EXPECT RISING INFLATION: BANK OF CANADA REPORTS – A pair of new reports from the Bank of Canada point to rising inflation expectations by Canadian businesses and consumers. Story here.


CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Ontario. Patrick Brown is campaigning in Charlottetown, PEI and then going to Saint John, NB. Jean Charest is campaigning virtually. Leslyn Lewis is in Iqaluit. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. No details available on campaign whereabouts of Roman Baber.


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

CHAMPAGNE IN JAPAN – Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne is visiting Japan from Monday to Saturday, July 9, meeting with stakeholders and business leaders in the automotive, manufacturing and technology sectors.

OLIPHANT IN SWITZERLAND AND LONDON – Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is travelling to Lugano, Switzerland and London, United Kingdom, from Monday to Wednesday, July 6, 2022. In Lugano, Mr. Oliphant is participating in the Ukraine Recovery Conference. In London, he is representing Canada at the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief.


On Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Jana G. Pruden, a feature writer for The Globe and Mail, discusses the damage that wild boars can do. With their populations growing and sightings – even around big metropolitan areas – increasing, governments are rushing to find ways to contain them before they wreak ecological and agricultural damage. Ms. Pruden also talks about why letting hunters loose on the boars is not the answer. The Decibel is here.


In the Ottawa region, the Prime Minister speaks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.


No schedules released for party leaders.


Broadcaster Patrick Watson, host of the milestone CBC series “This Hour has 7 Days” and a former chair of the CBC has died, aged 92, according to a tweet from Steve Paikin of TVO.


Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta’s economic turnaround leads to calls to spend, as UCP leadership race pauses big decisions: As Alberta’s Finance Minister released data on the province’s trove of surplus dollars this week, Jason Nixon said the Premier’s departure and the corresponding United Conservative Party leadership race isn’t affecting government operations. As much as the UCP will insist this in the months ahead, it’s not true. No one knows who will win the leadership contest, become premier and shape the UCP government this October. The policy gulf between candidates Leela Aheer and Danielle Smith is vast. Government actions into the fall are limited by that uncertainty.”

Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on not shrugging over Doug Ford’s decision to put his nephew in Ontario’s cabinet: Premiers should not play favourites. Handing out plums to family and friends makes it look as if the game is fixed. It coarsens politics and erodes faith in government. If anyone should know that, it’s this Premier. He and his brother, Rob, made “stop the gravy train” their slogan at city hall. Their whole brand was clean, lean government, freed from the clammy grip of self-serving insiders. Now he acts as if appointing his own nephew to head a ministry in the government he leads is perfectly natural and inoffensive. It’s not. Quite the opposite. If he can’t see that, he has lost track of what the Fords claimed was their main reason for getting into politics in the first place.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on how Quebec’s Bill 96 will widen a problematic skills gap unless the province invests in closing it: A significant portion of Quebec’s labour force suffers from what amounts to a skills gap. The skill in question is French language proficiency. And Bill 96 threatens to widen that gap, without a serious educational investment on the part of the province to address it. Bill 96 is Quebec’s new language law – amending and updating the old Bill 101 that has defined the use of French (and English) in commerce, public services and education since the 1970s. The new bill includes stricter rules governing the hiring of non-French speakers, and the use of English in the workplace.”

Erica Ifill (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the problems with the federal data-privacy bill with disproportionately hurt marginalized Canadians: Tech is not neutral – it’s Minority Report. Yet the Liberals’ new legislation, Bill C-27, which ostensibly deals with data privacy, contains a regulatory regime that threatens to allow the systemic discrimination of Black, Indigenous, people of colour, non-binary and transgender people in Canada – the people who are typically at the front of the line for discrimination. While AI could bring us closer to solving some of the world’s most intractable problems, from ending hunger to improving health care, it could also cause severe damage on a mass scale to vulnerable communities.”

Andrew Perez (TVO) on three things the Ontario Liberals must do to rebuild: The final ingredient necessary for a re-energized and more relevant party: a relatable leader who does not hail from the GTA and can represent Liberals at Queen’s Park. Not since the Peterson and Lyn McLeod eras of the 1980s and early ‘90s have Liberals had a leader that did not come from one of Ontario’s two largest city-regions. When choosing its next leader, the party should strive to find an individual with strong roots in a region not associated with the Wynne and McGuinty governments. This leader could bring new perspectives — ones more likely to resonate with former Liberal voters outside the 905 who have gravitated to the NDP and PCs in recent elections.”

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