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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

These ministers got new jobs, sorta

PoliticsThese ministers got new jobs, sorta

WELCOME TO OTTAWA PLAYBOOK. I’m your host, Nick Taylor-Vaisey. Today, a short review of what cabinet ministers are doing in this post-election quasi-interregnum. Also, a government-commissioned poll reveals just how little Canadians want to travel. And don’t forget trivia. Today’s question is a bit of a trick.

SLEEPY CITY — Ottawa isn’t tripping over itself to get back to governing. We know that a new cabinet will at least be named before the end of the month, and the House of Commons will sit again, eventually, this fall — presumably in November.

Playbook will spend the week catching up with cabinet ministers who might’ve taken a few days off after the election. But here’s what we know is on their agenda.

— A new line on the résumé: Four ministers are no longer at the table. But someone has to do those jobs. An order-in-council from earlier this year explains exactly who takes over.

BERNADETTE JORDAN, the fisheries minister, transferred her duties to Veterans Affairs Minister LAWRENCE MACAULAY. MARYAM MONSEF’s rural economic development and women and gender equality duties are added to MÉLANIE JOLY’s plate. DEB SCHULTE’s seniors portfolio is under the care of Social Development Minister AHMED HUSSEN.

CATHERINE MCKENNA’s infrastructure ministry is a bit more complicated. The acting minister would’ve been Monsef. But the job now goes to the second understudy: Transport Minister OMAR ALGHABRA. (More on his autumn below.)

— Behind the scenes: The biggest news of the week was JUSTIN TRUDEAU and CHRYSTIA FREELAND’s sweeping federal vaccine mandate, dropped on Wednesday. That’s an idea with a lot of tentacles.

— The workforce: JEAN-YVES DUCLOS, the Treasury Board president who oversees the management of hundreds of thousands of public servants, has the mammoth job of enforcing mandatory vaccination at the end of the month.

There will be headaches. The rules apply to the RCMP, but the Mounties’ union supports any member’s decision not to get vaccinated. The union will, however, explain to unvaccinated members that choices have “consequences” — i.e. unpaid leave. Oh, the grievances to come.

Duclos’ job could also fall to someone else in the next cabinet. But expect the tall task to be front and center in a new mandate letter.

— The private sector: Alghabra says he’s helping airlines and rail companies prepare for a new rule at the end of the month that’ll force their passengers to provide proof of vaccination.

Alghabra was defending the plan on CBC’s The House and Rosemary Barton Live. He acknowledged the feds are asking customer-facing employees to do more work, but insisted it was necessary to end the pandemic.

Airlines support mandatory vaccinations for their passengers, but they flagged a nagging priority on Ottawa’s to-do list: “It is imperative that the federal government quickly develop a standardized and digital proof of vaccination for air travel.”

— The passport: DOMINIC LEBLANC, the intergovernmental affairs minister who deals with the provinces, is working on that. As Justin Ling reported for POLITICO last week, federal-provincial cooperation on an internationally recognized vaccine passport has a long way to go. LeBlanc told EVAN SOLOMON on CTV’s Question Period that federal officials “expect that to be available in the next couple of months.” Sounds like the expectation is 2021, not 2022.

— Freeland’s agenda: The deputy PM made time on Friday to applaud a new agreement among OECD countries to eventually tax large multinationals. (SOPHIE CHATEL, a new Liberal MP, was one of the multilateral agency’s negotiators on the effort before she ran for office.) Freeland is headed to World Bank and IMF annual meetings this week, as well as G7 and G20 finance ministers’ meetings.

Trade Minister MARY NG is at the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting in Italy today. On her docket: “numerous bilateral meetings with international counterparts.”

A press release noted that MONA FORTIER, the minister of middle-class prosperity, and KARINA GOULD, the international development minister, will virtually attend a few meetings with international counterparts on Freeland’s behalf.

— Everything else: Health Minister PATTY HAJDU was the minister du jour on Global’s The West Block on Sunday. Hajdu found herself in hot water for asking Canadians to avoid travel outside the country “unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

“There are a number of places in the world where COVID is still very, very out of control, including some American states, and we also know that different jurisdictions change rules around travel very quickly.” Hajdu’s advice: avoid the hassle. The country’s response: Let us live a little.

Environment Minister JONATHAN WILKINSON yesterday announced his latest target to hit. He signed on to a global pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent in time for a 2030 deadline. Canada is “proud to be among the early supporters” of the promise, he said.

Procurement Minister ANITA ANAND — a likely candidate for a big new job — is still keeping tabs on Canada’s vaccine haul. As Health Canada regulators prepare to study Pfizer data on Covid vaccines for kids under 12, Anand reminded her followers that she inked a deal for pediatric doses in the spring. The delivery schedule “will be finalized shortly.”

Foreign Minister MARC GARNEAU unleashed on Belarusian leader ALEXANDER LUKASHENKA during a virtual appearance Friday at the UN Security council: “Colleagues, Lukashenka lacks the legitimacy to lead Belarus. Canada, alongside international partners, will not relent in opposing his regime and in working to end impunity for human rights abuses.”

That’s where the news sorta runs out.

MacAulay, the veterans affairs minister, has been touring his Prince Edward Island riding, armed with certificates for residents who were marking big days: say, a 50th wedding anniversary or a 75th birthday. Or an 80th birthday. Or a 95th birthday. Classic Islanders.

Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU is in “private meetings,” a staple of his working life. Trudeau will also virtually participate in the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Meeting on Afghanistan. Italian PM MARIO DRAGHI will lead the meeting, which starts at 7 ET.

U.S. President JOE BIDEN’s press schedule includes the same meeting, though POTUS will call in from the White House at 8:45.

What is happening? Questions about Canadian politics? Send them our way.

STAYING PUT — At the height of Covid’s third wave, Canadians weren’t keen on leaving the country. Global Affairs paid Advanis to ask 2,200 respondents about a raft of federal ads on international travel. The report recently went online.

The results were generally positive for the admakers, scoring well on attributes including clarity and relevance. The pollsters also asked about travel habits, and what they heard might explain why the health minister is fine saying what she said over the weekend.

— Seeing the country: Forty-five percent of Canadians said they planned to travel within the country’s borders. The likeliest demos to hit the road? Men more than women, adults aged 25-34 more than any other segment, and Albertans.

— Borders? No thanks: Forty-three percent of respondents — and 56 percent of Atlantic Canadians — said they didn’t plan to visit the United States in the next year. Nearly as many, 41 percent, said they wouldn’t travel elsewhere abroad. (That number for Maritimers and Newfoundlanders ticked down to 52 percent. A modest anti-American streak?)

The Toronto Star’s JACQUES GALLANT hears from military experts that a toxic culture of misogyny in the Canadian Armed Forces won’t be fixed from within. Carleton prof. STEVE SAIDEMAN said the federal cabinet should take civilian oversight seriously.

A Playbook correspondent flipped the script: “Can Canada’s political class actually impose cultural change on the military? Or must the Canadian public watch this slow-motion train wreck as the government repeatedly demonstrates an inability to change the military’s misogynistic culture?”

In the National Post, RUPA SUBRAMANYA laments Canada’s lack of standing in the world, a consequence of the country’s insular politics and ineffective leadership at the top.

At The Line, JEN GERSON writes about the mental health crisis that no one is talking about, but is maybe all of us.

On the lively West of Centre podcast, CBC’s KATHLEEN PETTY sits down with NAHEED NENSHI and DON IVESON — the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton — as they reflect candidly on their time in power. (Nenshi said he had “no s–ts to give.”)

Philippe J. Fournier makes the case in Maclean’s that Quebec Premier FRANÇOIS LEGAULT might be invincible in the province’s next election.

Birthdays: A Playbook reader reminded us that SHAUN WEBB, an adviser to former PM STEPHEN HARPER, would have been 41 today. He died in 2015. A memorial fund carries on his name.

Movers and shakers: Deloitte’s CRAIG WALTER is lobbying for the shipbuilders at Chantier Davie.… Three Earnscliffe lobbyists — ANTON SESTRITSYN, SHAKIR CHAMBERS and ANDRE ALBINATI — signed up to lobby for Edesa Biotech Research, which wants federal funding for two clinical-stage antibodies to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (which can be caused by Covid).

ALICE SIGÉ of ABGI Conseil is now repping Felix & Paul Studios, which hopes to tap the Strategic Innovation Fund to help finance 3D cameras for the ARTEMIS space exploration mission.

REGAN WATTS of Fratton Park lobbied PMO senior adviser JON BRODHEAD on behalf of First Cobalt Corporation, which owns the “only permitted primary cobalt refinery in North America” — and wants to restart the dormant operation.

Sen. HASSAN YUSSUFF joined the ranks of the Independent Senators Group — that team’s third recruit of the week: “My priority is to build relationships to help the Senate play a positive role in overcoming the many challenges our nation faces.”

Spotted: WILLIAM SHATNER (briefly) in conversation with STEPHEN TAYLOR, which prompted Tory Sen. DENISE BATTERS to out herself as a Trekkie. Evidently, Shatner has a history of poking fun at right-leaning Canadians. … Alora, daughter of NDP MP LAUREL COLLINS, “hard at work in Ottawa,” where she “hopes to table a private member’s bill calling for naps for all.” … LISA RAITT celebrating her stand-up debut with sons Billy and JC.… Sen. PETER BOEHM: “Solitude”

Media mentions: Belatedly, Refinery29 senior editor KATHLEEN NEWMAN-BREMANG got hitched.

In other news for Pros:

— Bank of Canada: Inflation’s hot streak has unexpected stamina
— Google bans climate-denial ads on its platforms
— Democrats target deforestation in quest to clean up U.S. trade policy
— NASA’s moon team in the spotlight
— Top Republicans warn Yellen OECD tax agreement requires treaty changes

Friday’s answer: The legendary HAZEL MCCALLION was Mississauga’s mayor for 36 years — which was the record. Playbook readers can’t be faulted for sending in her name. But the current answer is GORDON KRANTZ, the mayor of Milton, a short drive down the 401. The 84-year-old Krantz claimed the record in 2016, and remains mayor to this day.

Props to WAYNE FLEMING, FRANCOISE BOIVIN, JOAN DERVIN, CHRIS LEGGATT, and ALAN KAN. Honorable mention to TIM MCCALLUM, who guessed Sarnia’s MIKE BRADLEY. Bradley was first elected in 1988 — a distant, but respectable, second place.

Tuesday’s question: On this day in 1970, then-prime minister PIERRE TRUDEAU ordered troops to protect the homes of various dignitaries in Ottawa, including clerk of the Privy Council GORDON ROBERTSON and Bank of Canada governor LOUIS RASMINSKY.

Name three prime ministers, not including Trudeau, who also received protection.

Send your answers to [email protected]

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