The House

Canada dodges Donald Trump's tariffs... for now

This week on The House, with Canada having dodged Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs, but the threat of those tariffs still looming large over the NAFTA negotiations, guest-host Catherine Cullen talks to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland about the challenges of dealing with the U.S. administration. Then, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale discusses the challenges for the new commissioner-designated of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki.
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a presidential proclamation placing tariffs on aluminum imports and steel imports while surrounded by workers from the steel and aluminum industries at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 8, 2018. (Leah Mills/Reuters)

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada will be closely watching any upcoming meetings between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Canada has laid a lot of the groundwork leading up to this point, Freeland told The House.

In a statement given Thursday evening, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump "will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un at a place and time to be determined."

In January, Canada co-hosted a summit in Vancouver to discuss the growing tensions with North Korea.

Freeland explained there were two objectives she wanted the meeting to achieve: showing the world that a diplomatic solution is essential and possible, and communicating to North Korea that the international community is united.

While she was tight-lipped on the specifics of Canada's involvement in the meeting, she said it's important to keep open communication between countries -- especially when it comes to North Korea.

"It directly touches the security of Canadians," Freeland said.

"This is the year that Canada is chairing the G7 and I think that gives us an opportunity and responsibility to play a role here."

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister talks about avoid Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum. Then, she talks about the latest developments surrounding the North Korean file.

Public safety minister to discuss civilian oversight with RCMP commissioner

Assistant Commissioner Brenda Lucki speaks at RCMP Depot in Regina, Sask. after being named the 24th commissioner of the RCMP. Lucki begins her new role in April. (CBC)

The public safety minister wants to have a conversation with the new RCMP commissioner about the possibility of implementing a civilian board of management for the force.

Ralph Goodale told The House that civilian oversight should "absolutely" be in the game plan when considering changes to the RCMP.

It's not a new idea. It was the central recommendation of a 2007 report from a task force on governance and cultural change in the organization.

Figuring out the best path forward will just be one of the challenges awaiting Brenda Lucki, RCMP commissioner designate.

The RCMP has been plagued with sexual assault, harassment and discrimination allegations in recent years.

"The biggest challenge, I think, is going to be addressing the issue of morale and team spirit and restoring that enthusiasm among members of the force," Goodale said.

One of the steps will be continuing to work to change the culture in the force.

"The force is in the process of culture change," he added.  "The bad behaviour became pretty deep rooted."

The Public Safety Minister discusses the challenges ahead for the next RCMP Commissioner, Brenda Lucki.

Cutting off oil to B.C. in fight over pipeline has to be an option, says Jason Kenney

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)

Alberta's opposition leader says the province needs to leave its options open when it comes to choosing how to respond to the feud over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

"You don't take anything off the table," Jason Kenney told The House.

Premier Rachel Notley threatened to turn off the taps to British Columbia's oil supply during through this week's throne speech.

"What we are talking about doing is bringing in one tool that we may or may not ever use in a very large range of possibilities," she said.

This comes after weeks of disputes over the expansion of Kinder Morgan's pipeline turned toward the two provincial economies.

Stopping the oil supply is a last resort, Kenney said, but it may eventually come to that if it's perceived as the only way to send a message.

B.C. needs to hear that message loud and clear, Kenney added.

"If they violate the rule of law … there will be consequences."

But he places the onus on the federal government to make the next move to end the tactics of "death by delay."

"The federal government could stop this tomorrow," he said.

However, Kenney said he believes it's possible to fix the problems before the taps are turned off.

Alberta's official opposition leader says the province needs to leave its options open when it comes to choosing how to respond to the feud over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Looking ahead to the end of the Ontario PC leadership race

Ontario PC leadership candidate Christine Elliott speaks as candidates Tanya Granic Allen, left, Caroline Mulroney and Doug Ford participate in a leadership debate in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race has been one of the shortest and most chaotic campaigns in Canadian political history.

Voting closes Friday evening for party members and the winner will be announced Saturday afternoon, but many questions remain.

Which candidate has the edge? How can the party move past the resignation of Patrick Brown? What will the party look like heading into the provincial election?

No matter the outcome, the Progressive Conservatives will have to grapple with issues like gender equality and workplace misconduct, Chad Rogers, a public affairs strategist and founding partner at Crestview Strategy, told The House.

Each of the candidates has unique advantages and disadvantages, he explained.

"Christine is generally liked by everyone, hated by no one."

Calling her the "inoffensive, experience candidate," Rogers said her long history in politics is her best shot at the party's top job.

As the voting deadline looms, we sat down with Chad Rogers, a public affairs strategist and founding partner at Crestview Strategy, to talk about which candidate has the edge, how the party can move past the resignation of Patrick Brown and what the party will look like leading into the provincial election.

Leaning away from inoffensive is Doug Ford, but he could capitalize on the frustration Ontarians are feeling.

"The moment in Ontario is a bit of an angry one," Rogers said.

The Fords have a reputation for stoking political outsiders to action, he continued, but the challenge is that Ford is unpredictable at a time where the party likely doesn't want to take a risk.

"The party doesn't want a time bomb for a leader."

While both Elliott and Ford have political backgrounds, first-time candidates Caroline Mulroney and Tanya Granic Allen will have to lean on something other than experience.

Granic Allen, a longtime activist, seems to have taken advantage of the great influence she has in activist circles.

"Folks who love that genre know her very well," Rogers said. "She's drawn a ton of attention to her cause."

As for Mulroney, he explained the race probably won't pan out for her this time, but she's established herself as a candidate.

The Patrick Brown effect

Patrick Brown may no longer be the leader, but his effect on the race is undeniable. He's been discussed at length in each of the leadership debates and his back-and-forth on whether to run to replace himself kept his name on the lips of party members.

As the race turns provincial, he could still cause issues for the party.

"Patrick has shown absolutely no self awareness," Rogers said. "It's a circus."

However, he added that the chaos may have actually benefited the PCs.

"I wouldn't have recommended the scandal Patrick Brown initiated to better the lot of the party, but weirdly, it worked."

Now at the tail end of the race, how did the format pan out for the party?

"Different, new and a little frustrating."

For more coverage ahead of the leadership announcement, listen to the CBC's Queen's Park reporters Meagan Fitzpatrick and Mike Crawley dissect the race on this week's Pollcast with Éric Grenier.