Politics insider

Kathleen Wynne takes the lead (by campaign distance travelled): Politics Insider newsletter preview

May 14, 2018: Trudeau doles out millions in a Quebec riding just before calling a by-election, and Stephen Harper is writing another book—but this one isn't about hockey

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Stopping by Saguenay last week to watch a sizzle reel about aluminium production seems to have jogged Justin Trudeau’s memory about an item remaining on his to-do list. The Prime Minister Sunday called a by-election in the surrounding riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, which the Liberals just about nicked from the NDP in 2015. [Canadian Press story]

The opposition finds the timing awfully convenient since like any good guest, Trudeau showed up to the smelting site with a host gift—a cheque for $60 million.

Also on the government’s shopping list: Mainframes, maintenance and support for six or more departments, with the bill coming to an even $500 million. The sole-source contract went to IBM, which you may remember from such hits as the Phoenix payroll system. [CBC story]

All that open letter signing, tweeting and memo drafting seems to have left Stephen Harper seeking to sink his teeth into something more substantial. The former prime minister is working on a book, the National Post’s Marie-Danielle Smith reports. Alas, this is not a sequel to 2013’s A Great Game, but a tome examining “populism and the future of the conservative movement.” [National Post story]

When the music stops, Quebec edition: Marguerite Blais was a Liberal and a cabinet minister before she left provincial politics; now she’s back and running for the Coalition Avenir Quebec, led by François Legault, who was Parti Québécois and a cabinet minister before he left politics, only to come back and found the CAQ. [Canadian Press story]

And Michel Gauthier was a sovereignist MP and leader of the Bloc Québécois before leaving federal politics, but now he’s back as a member of the Conservative party, though his plan is to help Tory candidates in Quebec rather than be one himself. The party plans to be “the strong voice for Quebec” in 2019, Andrew Scheer says. [iPolitics storyCBC story]

Checking in on Ontario: Andrea Horwath heads to Sarnia for a healthcare-themed townhall, while Doug Ford is doing the Niagara circuit.

Colleague Terra Ciolfe is doing the math on the three leaders’ mileagethrough the campaign. The premier is currently out ahead, but Ford’s not far behind, with Howarth the relative homebody so far. But look at the graph, it’s much better than this description. [Chart]

Erin Weir will sit in the House as a member of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. Rather than take his place beside the other ignominiously de-partied independents, the Saskatchewan MP has chosen to take the name of the NDP predecessor. [National Post story]

The move seats him behind his former caucus colleagues instead of between the government and opposition benches. Weir wasn’t particularly subtle about the symbolism of his new association, tweeting his hope for a second edition of CCF-NDP amalgamation. [Tweet]

Meanwhile, in non-political news:

From the Books of Remembrance

Visitors to the memorial chamber at the base of the Peace Tower can pay tribute to Canada’s war dead by viewing volumes that list more than 118,000 fallen soldiers.

Today, Richard Francis Williams, born in 1923 in Moschelle, N.S., is the first name visible on page 227 of the Second World War book.

Williams died during house-to-house fighting in the Battle of Ortona on Dec. 22, 1943, aged 19, and is buried at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery in Ortona, Italy.

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