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Pot activists’ win is also their loss: Ottawa Power Rankings

Who’s up? Scott Brison and his progressive hiring policy. Who’s down? Navdeep Bains and Canadian innovation.


 

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Canada’s man in Washington, who took on the world’s most powerful shouting mouth, had a good week. Canada’s minister of defence, on an overseas trip to India, did not. See who’s up and who’s down in and around Parliament Hill’s corridors of power. And check out the rest of our weekly power rankings.

WHO’S UP:

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SCOTT BRISON

The Treasury Board president announced that six major federal departments will begin testing a “name-blind” recruitment process. Removing this information from hiring profiles in the screening stage is designed to circumvent the documented tendency of hiring managers to favour candidates with Anglicized names over ethnic ones, Brison said. This looks like a smart, concrete and potentially effective move to improve diversity, which is one of this government’s pet issues, but one where it’s been criticized for not following through enough.

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DAVID MACNAUGHTON

After U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly sounded off on America’s victimization by Canada’s supply-managed dairy industry, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. swung into action. He sent letters to the governors of Wisconsin and New York, big cheeses of American dairy production (yes, I know. It’s been a long week. Just let me have this.), insisting “the facts do not bear out” Trump’s confused complaints and pointing out that the U.S. is “massively” favoured by its dairy trade imbalance with Canada. MacNaughton was valiantly attempting—as so many have before him—to fact-check the world’s most powerful shouting mouth in real time.

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JUSTIN TRUDEAU

In a long interview with Bloomberg, the carefully pleasant and cooperative tone the Prime Minister has until now adopted toward President Trump shifted to something more like an adult firmly explaining inconvenient reality to a melting-down toddler. In response to Trump’s dairy-cartel accusations, Trudeau said “We’re not going to overreact,” but simply explain the facts and lay out Canada’s positions. “The U.S. has a $400 million dairy surplus with Canada, so it’s not Canada that’s the challenge here,” he said. I wonder who he was thinking of when he mentioned not overreacting?

WHO’S DOWN:

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NAVDEEP BAINS

A new report warns that Canadian clean tech companies are falling behind internationally, and are at risk for losing major revenue and new jobs unless federal money arrives fast. It’s an area the government and Bains, its minister of innovation, science and economic development, tout as a calling card, but most of the promised funding won’t be available until 2019. “That’s not going to be sufficient, especially for the biggest firms that are in very competitive global markets, where we’re talking about weeks—not months—as a timeline,” says Celine Bak, president of Analytica Advisors, which produced the report.

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4/20 ACTIVISTS

The yearly protest/celebratory gathering of the stoners on Parliament Hill was redolent with a certain ennui this year. They’ve won their main battle for legalization, so the urgency of their mission is a tad deflated, but they also have to wait a long time to enjoy that victory—the new law doesn’t kick in until July 1, 2018—and many activists are disappointed or outright enraged by the restrictions the Trudeau government has trotted out alongside legalization. All of this added up to some truly amazing quotes floating up from the 4/20 haze.

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HARJIT SAJJAN

The defence minister’s visit to his native India was tense this week, though that was no fault of his. A high-ranking official in Punjab province, where Sajjan was born, apparently offended at being prevented from speaking at political rallies in Canada last year, accused Sajjan of being a Sikh nationalist or “Khalistani”—a group associated with widespread violence in the 1980s and the devastating Air India bombing. On top of that, Sajjan was asked in meetings with the Indian government about an Ontario government motion recognizing the 1984 Sikh massacre as a genocide—a label the Indian government disputes.


 

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