Another 'bad apple'?October 14, 2021
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WELCOME TO OTTAWA PLAYBOOK. I’m your host, Nick Taylor-Vaisey with Zi-Ann Lum and Andy Blatchford. Today, yet another senior military faces misconduct allegations. Also, we track CATHERINE MCKENNA's post-election movements. Fifteen Liberal campaigns owe small fines. And Nova Scotia tables a fixed election date bill.
HERE WE GO AGAIN — Last year, I wrote a story in Maclean's about a rusty old Navy ship called HMCS Cormorant. The grey hulk was finally being towed away from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, where it had languished for 20 years. Cormorant, a diving vessel, helped scientists undertake deep-sea research, and it was on the scene for the salvaging of the bell from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Cormorant was also the first ship in the Royal Canadian Navy with mixed-gender crews. Two women who served on the vessel in the 1980s recalled great seafaring adventures in our interviews. They insisted many of the men on the ship were honorable mates. But they also had a book's worth of stories about misogyny deeply embedded at all levels. Horrible anecdotes of objectification, and worse.
Every time another senior military official who came of age in decades past faces allegations of sexual misconduct, I think about those women on the Cormorant — and wonder how many "bad apples" were promoted repeatedly until they reached senior ranks.
— The latest allegations: A scoop from Ottawa Citizen defense reporter DAVID PUGLIESE revealed that Lt. Gen. TREVOR CADIEU is under investigation for sexual misconduct. Cadieu was about to be promoted to commander of the Canadian Army when the September ceremony was canceled. He denies any wrongdoing. "The allegations are false, but they must be investigated thoroughly to expose the truth," he told Pugliese.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is looking into what a National Defence statement called "historical allegations." That's the same phrasing used to describe an alleged incident involving Maj. Gen. DANY FORTIN, a former coordinator of Canada's vaccine rollout who was charged with sexual assault in August.
Both men, as well as an alarming number of military brass who have faced misconduct allegations, have insisted they're innocent. But there's no denying a toxic military culture. Just ask someone who's been there.
— The next minister: When JUSTIN TRUDEAU appoints his next cabinet, nobody in Ottawa will be surprised if he replaces HARJIT SAJJAN at defense. He's widely seen as a disappointment in the fight to renew military culture. Two prominent women at the cabinet table have come up as replacements: ANITA ANAND in procurement and CARLA QUALTROUGH at employment and social development. Qualtrough also served a stint at procurement — handy experience for anyone who buys billions in military equipment.
BORDER CONFUSION — JIM DIODATI, the mayor of Niagara Falls, Ont., has witnessed the economic and social impacts of the U.S.-Canada border closure from the front lines for nearly 19 months. Diodati has been part of the cross-border collection of lawmakers, businesses and separated families that’s been pressing President JOE BIDEN for months to lift the Covid-driven border restrictions at the frontier.
When the long-awaited border-reopening news finally broke, it arrived in an unconventional way. First, it came via a press release from Rep. BRIAN HIGGINS (D-N.Y.) late Tuesday evening. Then, Homeland Security Secretary ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS followed up with his own statement just before 12 a.m. ET.
“I was in disbelief when I got a text last night and then my phone blew up.… I found that to be odd, as well, the timing,” Diodati told POLITICO when asked about the late-night news rollout from the U.S. side. “I don't know how that happened and why that happened and I don't even have a theory on that. I was more smitten with the idea that we're opening. I thought, whatever, this whole thing has been odd — this course has been anything but a straight line to get us to open.”
— What Canada knows about the U.S. border plan: The Biden administration has informed Ottawa the border reopening will happen in “early” November, but has offered nothing more in terms of a specific timeline, a Canadian government source told POLITICO’s Andy Blatchford late Wednesday. The source says the Trudeau government is confident the U.S. will announce a precise date soon and isn’t concerned about the lack of an exact timetable.
Earlier Wednesday, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister CHRYSTIA FREELAND told reporters that the governments were working together on some of the plan’s details. But the source says going as far as to describe them as “talks” would be an overstatement. The U.S. will do as it sees fit with its own border, the insider said.
FREE AGENT — When Playbook caught up with former infrastructure minister CATHERINE MCKENNA on the campaign trail, a mild sinus infection couldn't keep her from knocking on doors. As we chowed down at a trendy vegan lunch spot in her hometown of Hamilton, McKenna alluded briefly to her post-political life. She vaguely mentioned future meetings in New York City, but left it at that.
— The new priority: McKenna delivered a keynote at the Economic Club of Canada on Wednesday (more on that for Pro subscribers in yesterday's PM Memo) where she laid out one of her priorities: getting governments to spend big on climate to attract the private sector.
— The money quote: “Do you know how many trillions of dollars are out there?” asked McKenna. “There's tons of money out there. It's not a money issue. It's actually just actually deciding we're going to go do hard things.”
— On the move: It's become clear that McKenna's pace hasn't changed much since the election. She resigned as minister after the vote and didn't waste any time before diving into her next act. Two days later, McKenna took a spate of meetings in NYC with JOHN KERRY, ANTHA WILLIAMS from Bloomberg Philanthropies, oceans advocate LOUIE PORTA, climate scientist KATHARINE HAYHOE, former Obama energy adviser JASON BORDOFF, the Eurasia Group duo of IAN BREMMER and GERRY BUTTS (on a tennis court), and UN Climate Change executive secretary PATRICIA ESPINOSA.
McKenna is also a swimming fanatic who's dipping into every major body of water on the continent as part of a charitable fundraiser. On Sept. 25, she was in San Francisco Bay with DARRYL CARBONARO, the head of legal at sustainable infrastructure funder Generate Capital. The next day she was in Chicago, where former ambassador to Canada BRUCE HEYMAN drove her to Lake Michigan.
On Oct. 5, a reiteration of her new MO: "I'm not a politician any more. So I am beholden to no one. I'm just going to call it as I see it." Exhibit A: Taking on JASON KENNEY and SCOTT MOE.
— The piece de resistance: McKenna popped up yesterday on a podcast where every recovering politician who has something to say can say what they want: DAVID HERLE's Herle Burly. Playbook recommends the watch if you have a spare 70 minutes.
Election infractions: The commissioner of Canada Elections yesterday announced 19 administrative monetary penalties — and a combined C$6,000 in fines — for infractions dating back to 2019. They're a harsh reminder to local federal campaigners that paperwork is important to Elections Canada. Every penalty went after agents for candidates who failed to produce campaign returns within four-month windows.
— The worst offenders: Fifteen of the penalties were directed at Liberal campaigns. Greens and independent candidates faced two apiece.
— Noted: Fasken published a handy guide for candidates on how to navigate deadlines.
Midsummer votes: Nova Scotia introduced a law that would fix election dates every four years. That's standard operating procedure in several provinces, and even in Ottawa when governments don't pull the plug on themselves.
Newbie Premier TIM HOUSTON said fixed dates would lead to "predictability, transparency and it will limit any perceived advantage by the government to control the timing of the next election." The first clause in his bill, however, offers the same escape hatch as the federal law: The lieutenant governor can dissolve the legislature whenever they wish.
What stuck out to anyone who saw the news was the timing of each fixed vote. The next one would fall on July 25, 2025 — smack-dab in the middle of an intoxicating Maritime summer. NDP leader GARY BURRILL flagged that as a concern, as did former premier IAIN RANKIN — who said he wasn't consulted on the bill.
Climate shock: Everyone knows that climate commitments are transforming business. At a Fasken webinar Wednesday, panelists eagerly shared trends that have caught them off guard. KAI ALDERSON, an energy and natural resources lawyer with the business law firm, said the pace at which environmental, social and governance principles have gone mainstream in financial markets has been “shocking” compared to, say, 20 years ago.
Throwing to the future: LISA DEMARCO, senior partner and CEO of Resilient LLP, told the panel there are two areas we’ve yet to see big global developments: climate impacts and adaptation disrupting our food supply chain, and climate finance — particularly in Canada and South America — as a tool for Indigenous reconciliation. She pointed to the Oneida Energy Storage project in Ontario, which involves Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation as a partner, as an example.
Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU is in "private meetings" today. At this point, the Prime Minister's Office might be trolling everyone who rolls their eyes at his sparse itinerary.
Deputy Prime Minister CHRYSTIA FREELAND is still in Washington. This morning, she'll attend the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's annual meetings. Freeland will head to the Canadian Embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue for a 1 ET press conference.
What is happening? Questions about the next session of Parliament? Send them our way.
Pro subscribers should not miss the Pro Canada PM memo by ANDY BLATCHFORD and ZI-ANN LUM: Get ready for reopened U.S. land borders. Just don't ask exactly when.
In other headlines for subscribers:
— Progressives rally around Medicare with cuts to health package looming
— Climate summit chief sets up fight over Paris Agreement’s goal
— Rosenworcel calls for ‘new course’ in U.S. to compete for 6G wireless leadership
— ‘We're being dragged along’: Extreme weather puts governors to the test
— Congress punts debt limit crisis into December
Like clockwork, the Angus Reid Institute's regular polling on provincial premier popularity takes the measure of who's up and who's down in the federation. The Writ's ÉRIC GRENIER tracks Saskatchewan's notable plunge in confidence for SCOTT MOE.
The National Post's TOM BLACKWELL reports on prominent Chinese-Canadian Conservative calls for leader ERIN O'TOOLE to step down. One of the loudest voices is JOE LI, a three-time candidate who supported PETER MACKAY in the last leadership race.
In case you missed it, Maclean's senior writer PAUL WELLS hosted former Privy Council clerk MICHAEL WERNICK in his backyard. They didn't gossip. But Wells reads between the lines of Wernick's new book, then pokes and prods for more.
BEN SCHRECKINGER writes in POLITICO Magazine that liberal Americans who tuned out HUNTER BIDEN's scandals during the election — which made sense, given DONALD TRUMP's major role in peddling them — are now starting to pay attention.
The Logic's CATHERINE MCINTYRE reports on a study that claims the federal government will have to spend a hair over C$200 billion to meet its climate commitments.
Spotted: Alberta Sen. PAULA SIMONS, thankful for Covid reinforcements in her province: "one of the great gifts of our cooperative confederation." ... A winning bid for a federally purchased snowblower to be used on the airport runway in Churchill, Manitoba. The cost: C$512,400. Average annual snowfall: 2 metres. … Curse of Politics star SCOTT REID, decked out in Habs gear in Toronto. … Pollster DAVID COLETTO, advocating for mixed-dose Canadians who have their eye on America.
Movers and shakers: POLITICO executive editor LUIZA CH. SAVAGE will interview Canada's ambassador to the UN, BOB RAE, at the Public Policy Forum's fall dinner on Oct. 26. They'll talk about what the country can learn from all the federal-provincial and sectoral cooperation forced by the pandemic. Register here.
— Another save the date: On Oct. 29, Hill Times columnist ERICA IFILL — who also hosts the Bad + Bitchy podcast — will interview CELINA CAESAR-CHAVANNES about the former MP's memoir, Can You Hear Me Now?"
With a federal decision likely coming soon on Huawei's eligibility to help build Canada's 5G infrastructure, the Chinese firm has enlisted Impact's BENJAMIN HOWE to make its case on the Hill. … Crestview's DANIEL MOULTON is now repping Skip the Dishes, the food-delivery app that soared in popularity last year — and has ISED on its target list.
Hoffman-La Roche, the pharmaceutical and diagnostics giant, logged at least seven meetings last month with SÉBASTIEN AUBERTIN-GIGUÈRE. Giguere is a Health Canada acting assistant deputy minister in the department's testing secretariat.
Media moves: The Narwhal's Ontario bureau chief, DENISE BALKISSOON, shared "two intense books" on her reading list: "Both heavy, gorgeous, honest, worth it."
The Writers' Trust of Canada named four finalists for its inaugural Balsillie Prize for Public Policy, a new annual award for a stand-out book. The C$60,000 top prize is scooped out of JIM BALSILLIE's C$3 million donation to the Writers' Trust.
The 2021 shortlist: DAN BREZNITZ, CBC journalist GREGOR CRAIGIE, Globe journalist ANDRÉ PICARD, and former cabinet minister JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD. This year's jury was War Child Canada founder SAMANTHA NUTT, Canada School of Public Service president TAKI SARANTAKIS, and digital strategist and research consultant SCOTT YOUNG.
Wednesday’s answer: It was General SIR ISAAC BROCK who notably died defending Queenston Heights from invading Americans on Oct. 13, 1812.
Playbook tips our cap to this strong cohort of history buffs who might have set a single-day record for correct answers: OLIVER ANDERSON, JOHN ECKER (the photographer above), ART WHITAKER, ROSS LECLAIR, CHRIS HYDE, ALYSON FAIR, DAVID FRANSEN, VICTOR KRISEL, BOB GORDON, GORD MCINTOSH, JOHN GUOBA, MICHELE ST. JOHN, GARY ALLEN, LEIGH LAMPERT, JASON BROWN, LAURIE MACE, ELIZABETH BURN, DAN MCCARTHY, ERIC MILLER (who sent along a Stan Rogers tune about the battle), RODDY MCFALL, JENN KEAY, PAUL WESTCOTT, RIKIA SADDY, PAUL GILLETT and GANGA WIGNARAJAH.
Thursday’s question: The British alliance with numerous First Nations communities throughout the War of 1812 was pivotal to the defeat of American forces in several key battles. Name two Indigenous leaders who were at the forefront of that alliance.
Send your answers to [email protected]
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Playbook wouldn’t happen without Luiza Ch. Savage and editor Sue Allan.