Send tips | Subscribe here | Follow Politico Canada
Thanks for reading the Ottawa Playbook. Today we’re in Chicago for the Great Lakes Economic Forum. POLITICO also has a team in the Bavarian Alps, so we bring news from the G-7. There’s more to tell about that UCP leadership bid that was not to be. Plus, we’re building a summer reading list and welcome your recommendations.
HOLIDAYS? PFFT — Sure, Official Ottawa settles into a quiet slumber for most of the next few months. But not Playbook.
Did someone forward you this edition? Click here to sign up for your own subscription to our free newsletter.
TAKE THAT, PUTIN — The shiny distraction of the day as G-7 leaders landed in Germany for their annual summitry had to do with their chest muscles — literally.
As the septet sat for a “working lunch,” U.K. Prime Minister BORIS JOHNSON wondered if they should remove their jackets. He joked: “Shall we take our clothes off? We all have to show we’re tougher than Putin.” Here’s a video of the exchange.
It had Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU reminiscing about shirtless Putin-on-horseback photos some years ago — a memory that gives Playbook the opportunity to reshare one of the most disturbing photo-illustrations ever published by Maclean’s.
— Speaking of photos: Here’s the “leaders in relaxed mode” picture from the G-7.
— Art imitates life: We have not stopped thinking about the 2019 SNL skit in which Trudeau and EMMANUEL MACRON — played by JIMMY FALLON and PAUL RUDD, respectively — were the cool kids at a world leader lunch. And Johnson, played by JAMES CORDEN, desperately wanted in.
— Our squad: POLITICO has a team of reporters covering the G-7, including RYAN HEATH, JONATHAN LEMIRE, KARL MATHIESEN, SUZANNE LYNCH, FLORIAN ELDER and HANS VON DER BURCHARD. Catch up to them in a Twitter Space at 12:30 ET.
— Today’s agenda: The big focus will be a video address by VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, who was expected to join a session on Ukraine … That was to be followed by lunch and a session on climate, energy and health. … Later in the day, leaders will turn their attention to food security and gender equality. Follow along … with POLITICO’s live blog.
— Build back better reboot: The key takeaway from Sunday was the announcement of the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.” As our colleagues on the ground put it, “aka an updated version of the ‘Build Back Better World’ initiative that emerged from last year’s G-7 in Cornwall … but went nowhere.”
— More from POLITICO at the G-7:
Boris Johnson: West can’t let Putin get away with murder
All that glitters won’t be sold: G7 bans Russian gold
Storm clouds at home dampen Biden’s return to Europe
A VERY CANADIAN ANNOUNCEMENT — PMJT’s big Sunday deliverable from the G-7 summit in the Bavarian Alps was a C$52-million effort to spur “agricultural solutions” to the food security crisis in Ukraine.
The money will help Ukrainians “increase grain storage capacity and enable the timely diagnostic testing and monitoring of animal diseases to allow for export certification.”
— The dreaded p-word: “Opportunities will be open to both Canadian and international partners,” said a news release, which added: “This procurement will be accompanied by technical assistance.”
No details on timeline, but anyone who watches how the feds buy things can be forgiven for doubting just how quickly all of this money will flow.
SURELY THIS’LL SOLVE IT — The Liberals are willing to do anything to fix a stubborn crisis of passport lineups and immigration queues. While he was overseas, PMJT announced his government’s next step in making sure Canadians are receiving the services they need from Ottawa.
That’s right. He named a new Cabinet committee.
— What it wants to do: “Review service delivery, identify gaps and areas for improvement, and make recommendations to ensure Canadians from coast to coast to coast receive the highest quality of service.”
The delays in document processing are “far from acceptable,” said a news release, which pledged to reduce wait times and clear backlogs.
Also meriting a mention: labor shortages causing travel chaos, which the committee will “monitor.”
— Who sits on it? MARCI IEN, MARC MILLER, RANDY BOISSONNAULT, MONA FORTIER, AHMED HUSSEN, GUDIE HUTCHINGS, DOMINIC LEBLANC, DIANE LEBOUTHILLIER, MARY NG and HARJIT SAJJAN.
KARINA GOULD, SEAN FRASER and OMAR ALGHABRA will sit as ex-officio members. Others “may be invited to participate.”
Total minister count: 13, at least. That’s about a third of Cabinet.
— One notable reaction: Former Harper PMO staffer DAVID TARRANT, a man who has helped elect governments and also beaten tired ones, diagnosed the problem at the highest levels of Liberal thinking.
“The hidden ‘best before date’ for a government is when (the) political side stops bringing in solutions to be challenged by the public service & instead turns to the public service to generate those solutions,” he tweeted. “What comes out of bureaucracy is almost always a flavor of ‘more process.’ “
— Advice from the C-suites of the nation: The Business of Council on Friday published a survey of major employers on immigration issues. One of the key takeaways: “Frustrated by application processing delays, complex rules, and the cost of navigating the system, fewer than a quarter say the immigration system currently serves their business needs well.”
GREAT LAKES WATCH — POLITICO reporters are on the scene for the Great Lakes Economic Forum, underway in Chicago. ZI-ANN LUM and NICK TAYLOR-VAISEY from the Ottawa team are on the ground with deputy sustainability editor DEBRA KAHN, trade reporter GAVIN BADE, Illinois Playbook author SHIA KAPOS and education reporter JUAN PEREZ in the Windy City.
— What’s on tap: Illinois Governor J.B. PRITZKER kicked off the three-day conference with opening remarks at the Chicago Architecture Center on Sunday evening.
This morning, former U.S. ambo to Canada BRUCE HEYMAN delivers the opening keynote.
Lum will moderate sessions on building back better, the binational auto sector, and a plastic-free future. She’ll also offer insights into POLITICO/Morning Consult polling on sustainability issues. Taylor-Vaisey will lead a conversation with chambers of commerce leaders, and moderate another panel on the challenges facing border management.
— A bumpy beginning: The cross-border confab wasn’t immune from the chaos of air travel. Amid a spate of panelist flight cancelations and unsteady rebookings in and around the cluster of five inland seas, Council of the Great Lakes president and CEO MARK FISHER sent a memo to everyone asking to be kept in the loop. (Your host typed this message on the happy side of security in Ottawa.)
— Also in Chicago: The conference’s emcee, CATHERINE CLARK.
— We’ll have key takeaways and hallway conversations in Tuesday’s Playbook.
TELL US WHAT YOU’RE READING — Everybody needs a break from time to time, and Playbook hopes all of you find some rest and relaxation this summer. If you’re kickin’ back with a book, we want to know what you’re reading.
— The Speaker’s list: Playbook asked ANTHONY ROTA what’s next off his bookshelf. We asked both for a dose of brain food and a guilty pleasure. Rota didn’t disappoint.
“I found all books nominated for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize very interesting. I plan to start with the winner, China Unbound by JOANNA CHIU. Then, The Next Age of Uncertainty by STEPHEN POLOZ. I met both authors at the activities around Politics and the Pen and I can’t wait to dive into both books.
On a lighter side, I will be reading JAMES A. MICHENER’s Hawaii.
Stay tuned for more VIP summertime bookshelf selections. And send us your reading suggestions! We’ll share your picks with thousands of your closest friends — i.e. in our Playbook newsletter.
All of PM Trudeau’s engagements in Germany today are noted in local time.
9 a.m. Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor OLAF SCHOLZ.
9:30 a.m. Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with Japanese PM KISHIDA FUMIO.
10 a.m. Trudeau will participate in a G-7 Working Session: “The World in Conflict: Exchange on Ukraine”
12:30 p.m. Trudeau will participate in a working luncheon with G-7 leaders and international partner countries and organizations.
2 p.m. Trudeau will participate in the Official Family Photo with G-7 leaders and international partner countries and organizations.
2:35 p.m. Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with Senegal President MACKY SALL.
3:30 p.m. Trudeau will participate in a working session with G-7 leaders and international partner countries and organizations: “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality”
5:50 p.m. Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with Indian PM NARENDRA MODI.
6:10 p.m. Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President JOKO WIDODO.
6:30 p.m. Trudeau will attend a dinner with G-7 leaders and international partner countries and organizations.
— Elsewhere in Canadian politics…
11:15 a.m. Health Minister JEAN-YVES DUCLOS and Liberal MP EMMANUEL DUBOURG are in Montreal for a funding announcement on long-term care in Quebec.
11:30 a.m. CST Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health CAROLYN BENNETT will be in Regina for what is being billed as “the largest, one-time,
research-funding announcement in U of R history.”
MRG’S GOODBYE MEMO — When MICHELLE REMPEL GARNER decided to take a pass on running for Alberta’s United Conservative Party leadership, it appears she looped in her burgeoning campaign team after the fact.
Playbook obtained an email she sent to the group coalescing around what they thought would be a leadership bid. It opened with a link to a lengthy explanation about why she was not seeking her province’s premiership.
— The backstory: Rempel Garner had stepped away as co-chair of PATRICK BROWN‘s Tory leadership campaign about a week before she made her decision. The Toronto Star’s STEPHANIE LEVITZreported what Playbook also heard in whispers: MRG was helping Brown build a profile in Wild Rose Country that could eventually aid her own run for premier.
As it played out, Rempel Garner saw her opportunity earlier than expected when JASON KENNEY signaled his intent to resign on May 19. She hasn’t returned to Brown’s campaign, and Levitz also scooped that an unnamed number of disgruntled Tories want her out of their party.
— Last-minute reversal: All that acrimony serves as useful context for the note she sent to campaign staffers. “I’m sorry for letting you know this way, but I had to make sure you all heard at the same time, and that no one tried to talk me out of this,” she wrote.
“I had every intention of running until [Wednesday]. As we were doing the final launch prep I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t right for anyone. I took the day to really think about it and write out my thoughts. A few more calls last night confirmed things for me.”
She repeated what she wrote online: “It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made but I’m at peace with it.”
Rempel Garner clearly understood the email might rub recipients the wrong way. “Let me know when I can call,” she told them. “I’m really sorry if I’ve disappointed you and I’ll try to make it up to you somehow.”
SPOTTED AT LORNADO — Everyone who you think would attend U.S. ambo DAVID COHEN‘s annual July 4 garden party, which filled the grounds of his lavish Rockcliffe Park residence. (Yes, the Yanks hosted the bash on the same day as Fête Nationale across the river.)
Your Playbook host tagged along with Canadian American Business Council CEO SCOTTY GREENWOOD, who spotted Ottawa mayor JIM WATSON and Vale exec BLAIR DICKERSON on the way into the party.
Also on the scene: A pile of Philly cheese steaks (along with 16 other binational culinary offerings); Philadelphia mayor JIM KENNEY; and GRITTY, the wild-eyed Philadelphia Flyers mascot who met his biggest fan north of the border.
— Noted: A conga line that appeared to briefly worry security guards, one of whom hustled to ensure Cohen wasn’t caught in the middle. Soon enough, the guard spotted Cohen beside the event’s stage and chuckled in apparent relief.
KATHY SLEDGE, the Philadelphia native and lead singer of Sister Sledge, belted out an extended rendition of the classic hit, “We are family.” Everyone assembled got the cross-border gesture of closeness. Others noted the, um, awkward timing of the jubilant song, given the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade earlier that day. (As revelers reveled, a small protest blocked traffic outside the U.S. embassy.)
MYSTERY CANDIDATE — When city councilor DIANE DEANS last week formally declared she wouldn’t run for Ottawa mayor, her absence from the race must’ve been music to the ears of that as yet unnamed challenger who’s said to have legit backing from across the political spectrum. We don’t have a name for this rumored soon-to-be rival of BOB CHIARELLI and CATHERINE MCKENNEY.
But we do have some hints.
— Biographical notes: Someone who’s met this person tells Playbook they’re a regular on nonprofit and charitable boards, “helping raise a lot of money for our local communities.”
They have received the Order of Ottawa. Find every recipient here.
And if you “picked a sport” and put them up against Chiarelli and McKenney, our source has a “high degree of confidence” this candidate would win. (Could it be Homer the mascot?)
Got your pick? Drop us a line. As soon as we confirm the candidate’s name, we’ll post the name of the first reader who guesses correctly.
THAT WAS FAST — Less than three weeks after the Public Health Agency of Canada announced a plan to buy up Tembexa, an antiviral used to treat smallpox, a new contract worth C$32.9 million popped up on a federal procurement website.
— A refresher: Why Tembexa? It might also be effective against monkeypox. A few weeks after the feds issued a travel advisory to Canadians amid global concern about the spread of monkeypox, PHAC has confirmed at least 210 cases in Canada, mostly in Quebec.
— What is it? Tembexa, also known as Brincidofovir, is manufactured by Chimerix — a North Carolina-based pharma company that received U.S. FDA approval for the drug about a year ago. The tender docs state the FDA’s green light is enough to qualify for a contract.
— Why Chimerix? PHAC says the manufacturer is “the only known supplier capable of providing an antiviral that is a nucleotide analog DNA polymerase inhibitor and also for treatment of smallpox in pediatric patients” — i.e. kids.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is developing a plan to “help facilitate use of Brincidofovir as a treatment for monkeypox,” though it adds a big caveat. “Data is not available on the effectiveness of Brincidofovir in treating cases of monkeypox in people.”
ARCTIC FUEL — Public Services and Procurement paid AV Nunavut Fuels C$16.6 million for 7.8 million liters of fuel — that’s C$2.12 per liter — that’ll power Coast Guard and naval vessels through a summer’s worth of activity in Arctic waters.
— Where they’ll sail in Nunavut: Iqaluit, Nanisivik, Resolute Bay, Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay.
— Which vessels are in the water: CCGS Terry Fox, CCGS Pierre Radisson, CCGS Des Groseillers, CCGS Henry Larsen and CCGS Louis St. Laurent will rep the Coast Guard fleet. The Navy will send HMCS Goose Bay up north, alongside HMCS Harry DeWolf and the newest in-service ship in the fleet: HMCS Margaret Brooke.
— In case you missed it:PETER MANSBRIDGEshared a dispatch with Playbook from the Arctic last summer when he was aboard HMCS Harry DeWolf.
SPIFFY UNIFORMS — The Parliamentary Protective Service needs new duds.
A new federal tender says on-duty officers will receive four articles of clothing. First is an “operational shirt” — “lightweight, highly breathable and stretchable.” Next in the closet is a second operational shirt that is “high quality fabric and lightweight,” and available in both short and long sleeves.
The PPS is “reducing the weight of its current duty pants significantly,” and is looking for “advanced stretchability.” And everybody gets a “highly breathable” training polo.
— Filling up the drawers: Approximately 600 employees get two dozen operational shirts, four pairs of pants and three training polos.
— In the office: Approximately 60 administrative workers get 10 polo-style shirts, and a combination of five pairs of cargo pants and shorts.
— The color scheme: Dark navy and white for on-duty officers; black and gray for admin workers.
— On Saturday, PM TRUDEAUjoined the soon-to-retire CHRIS HALL on The House.
— On Sunday withThe West Block’s MERCEDES STEPHENSON,MARJORY LEBRETON said Conservative leadership candidates jumping on the “grievance brigade” is doing a “disservice” not only to the party but to the country. Global News has more.
— On ROSEMARY BARTON LIVE, Finance Minister CHRYSTIA FREELANDserved up some empathy to Canadians who are struggling with the effects of inflation: “It’s OK to be mad at me. I really understand that this is an incredibly challenging economic time. It’s really, really hard for a lot of people.”
— From POLITICO Magazine: Pope Francis against himself. “Even this supremely good man has so far failed to tackle the church’s most urgent moral task.”
— In the APTN hotseat: Chief Supt. JOHN BREWER, the head of the RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group in British Columbia.
— PAUL WELLSinterviews JEAN CHAREST, who gave credit to MP ALAIN RAYES for convincing him to run for Tory leader.
— The Star’s STEPHANIE LEVITZinterviews CANDICE BERGEN, who offered her blueprint for running the party on an interim basis.
— A notable takeaway from Gen. WAYNE EYRE on Global’s West Block: “Canada’s defense chief says he doesn’t yet know where the money is coming from for $4.9 billion in promised upgrades to NORAD radar and surveillance systems.”
For POLITICO Pro subscribers:here’s our latest policy newsletter.
Ahead this week: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine tops the agenda as NATO heads of state gather in Spain this week for what is being billed as the alliance’s most important gathering since the end of the Cold War.
POLITICO’s Paul McLeary and Andrew Desiderio report from Spain: “On the table is not just supplying weapons Ukraine needs to defend against Moscow’s forces, but countering the real threat that the war could spill over into NATO territory and metastasize across the globe, intensifying worries from national security to food scarcity,”
In other headlines for Pros:
— Agencies consider broader monkeypox vaccination campaign.
— Congress to Space Force: You’re doing it wrong.
— What’s next for virtual abortions post-Roe.
— ICAO ambassador Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger stepping down.
TELL US EVERYTHING — What are you hearing that you need Playbook to know? Send it all our way.
Birthdays: HBD to former B.C. MLA and deputy speaker LINDA REID.
Tory MP RYAN WILLIAMS, dropping a diss track filmed on the Hill and in his riding, next to the Bay of Quinte. (It doesn’t hold a candle to ARNOLD VIERSEN‘s hip hop masterpiece, played for delegates at the CPC’s 2016 policy convention).
The White House, announcing a new Partners in the Blue Pacific partnership with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Also in on last week’s talks: Pacific Island nations, France and the European Union. Absent: Canada. (The alliance is all about island states — apparently, Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii don’t count.)
Tory MP SCOT DAVIDSON, he of vote-from-a-boat fame, removing his chair from the House in protest (to the chagrin of former sergeant-at-arms KEVIN VICKERS) … CTV’s MIKE LE COUTEUR, noting a possible continuity error in Davidson’s stunt.
Movers and shakers: Salesforce has a new lobbyist in MARTIN RUST. The software giant wants to help the federal government in “getting back to delivering exceptional customer experiences” for Canadians … EY Law LLP has enlisted SELENA ING and THOMAS BROOK to rep the bitcoin miners at Iris Energy on the Hill. Top priority: “the creation of rural jobs” … Earnscliffe’s DON STICKNEY signed up with the hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Loop Energy, which wants to expand a Burnaby facility.
Friday’s answer: The Ottawa home that now serves as the official residence of the United States ambassador to Canada was built in 1908 by WARREN Y. SOPER. From the embassy’s own website: “In homage to one of his favorite novels, Lorna Doone, Soper named the property ‘Lornado,’ a name it has kept to this day.”
Props to VICTOR KRISEL, ANNE-MARIE STACEY, BRAM ABRAMSON, ROBERT MCDOUGALL, KEVIN BOSCH and BOB GORDON.
Monday’s question: How many public EV chargers are there currently across Canada, according to the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association?
Send your answers to [email protected]
Playbook wouldn’t happen without Luiza Ch. Savage and editor Sue Allan.