Morning Brief: New leader, new hurdles, new headlines
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Good Monday morning to you.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is facing a number of new hurdles, including new pressure over whether he believes there is systemic racism in Canada.

Kady O’Malley explains O’Toole’s newest, biggest headache in What We’re Watching.

In short, CPC MP Kerry Lynne Findlay linked Chrystia Freeland to George Soros (a frequent subject of far-right conspiracy theories) in a social media post, then subsequently apologized. CTV reports anti-hate groups and Jewish associations said the Twitter activity spread “potentially dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” The debacle also provoked broadcaster Charles Adler into saying he’s no longer a conservative.

O’Toole meanwhile easily sailed past questions about whether he will trigger a fall election, and is making headlines over how he would handle the pandemic if he were PM.

Caught our 👀  The social conservative group Campaign Life Coalition is urging its members to sign a petition to get O’Toole to put Derek Sloan in shadow cabinet. It said doing so would “send a much-needed message to social conservatives that they are a valued part of the CPC.” That comes as the Liberals push from the other side to try to needle the new party leader over the controversial MP.

O’Malley’s iPolitics AM has what’s on tap for the PM today:

“Prime Minister is set to embark on a whirlwind one-day visit to his political home turf of Montreal today, which he’ll kick off with a mid-morning announcement at the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre,” she writes. “As per his official itinerary, he’s also booked in for a closed-door chat with National Research Council president Iain Stewart and ‘several scientists’ before heading out for a discussion on the impacts of the pandemic during a ’roundtable with local businesses.’”

Parliament might be on hold but WE is still making headlines. Pierre Poilievre sent a letter to WE asking it to submit documents to answer a number of questions — information that wasn’t sent to finance committee before Parliament powered down. CP reports that a lawyer for WE “appeared to reject the Conservatives’ request,” who told the wire service the move amounts to “politics, not proper process.” Meanwhile, Democracy Watch is calling on the RCMP to investigate into whether WE Charity violated the Lobbying Act.

Canadians won’t be granted access to COVID-19 tests they can take at home. Health Canada’s call on that front is being questioned by public health experts who say they could help us manage our way through the pandemic.

Q: What do John Horgan, Doug Ford and Francois Legault all have in common? (other than being premiers)
A: They’re all netting about two-thirds approval from their respective populations, according to new Angus Reid polling data. It shows two premiers headed to the polls, Blaine Higgs and Scott Moe, holding strong numbers. But Jason Kenney is clocking his lowest numbers in the polling series since the UCP formed government, with two-in-five voicing approval.

Jason Kenney says Alberta is more than happy to take a Sir John A. Macdonald statue toppled by activists in Montreal (which has reignited the statue debate with opinions predictably polarized.). He tweeted: “If the City of Montreal decides not to restore Wade’s statue of Macdonald to where it has stood for 125 years, we would be happy to receive it for installation on the grounds of Alberta’s Legislature.”

‘Should Alberta join the U.S.?’ So asks a billboard campaign going up, paid for by the Alberta USA Foundation (led by Wexit co-founder Peter Downing). One expert doesn’t expect it to get too much traction, but the push could lead to voters “peeling away from both the UCP and mainstream federal parties,” the Edmonton Journal reports.


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Prominent Democrats are protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin (a key swing state). The tour is still on, even though the governor requested Trump not visit the city. It has become the latest centre of racial unrest after a Black man was shot in the back by white police officers, and a teenager was charged over a deadly shooting at a protest. The Dems are accusing the president of trying to inflame racial tensions, as he encouraged his supporters in Portland, Oregon, where a man died over the weekend. Trump meanwhile sent out a barrage of law-and-order tweets Sunday: “The only way you will stop the violence in the high crime Democrat run cities is through strength!”

Poll check: FiveThirtyEight gives an 8.2 point lead in its polling aggregation, and its forecast says he is “slightly favored” to win. RCP’s average of six battle ground states shows Biden narrowly ahead by just 2.7 points. BUT even though Biden continues to pull in favourable numbers, as one pollster explains, there is “still enough room to thread the needle, which is exactly what happened four years ago, so you can’t discount any outcome.”

U.S. coronavirus cases have topped 6 million over the weekend. The country has recorded more than 183,000 deaths in total. Globally, coronavirus cases have topped 25 million.

Schools and businesses in Auckland, New Zealand are reopening as its lockdown ends. But residents are still donning face masks, which are now mandatory for public transit there.

Political heavyweights are already lining the starting gates for the race to replace Shinzo Abe as LDP leader in Japan, which would make them the PM. Bloomberg has this piece on the characters vying for the top role. But the current term for the position expires in a year, so the winner gets to deal with another leadership vote in 2021. After a delayed response from the White House over Abe’s surprise resignation Friday, Trump finally tweeted Abe was “the greatest prime minister in the history of Japan.”

Coming up: Lebanon, which is turning 100, names a new prime minister today, expected to be Mustapha Adib, an academic and diplomat. The head of the WTO steps down. India reports quarterly GDP numbers, expected to show the “steepest quarterly decline in gross domestic product in Asia,” per this Bloomberg report. And the video conferencing company Zoom, a pandemic breakout company, releases its latest earnings. Later on this week: the latest Canada and U.S. jobs numbers.






Morning Brief: New leader, new hurdles, new headlines


It’s enough to make you want to come out of your shell, go a little nutty and just stuff your face. If you’re a squirrel, anyway. This Ohio man made a bar for squirrels in his backyard, with seven different types of nuts on tap, from Cashew Dunkel to Pecan Porter (names which, come to think of it, sound like they could make for some pretty legit brews).

And with that, you’re caught up. Have good one!

Read original article here.