Patrick Brown and Jean Charest call a truce

Politics Insider for Mar. 10: A possible partnership in the CPC race; more aid for Ukraine; and trouble for Jason Kenney

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Red Tory team: Althia Raj reports in the Star that Patrick Brown, who is to declare his candidacy Sunday, has forged a non-aggression pact with Jean Charest, who is to launch his candidacy in Calgary today.

The men have been friends for more than 25 years. Brown credits his involvement with the Conservatives to Charest, whom he met as a teenager while visiting his aunt, Charest’s next-door neighbour in North Hatley, Que. The two have spoken at length about the leadership race. I’m told to expect neither will say a bad word about the other — a non-aggression pact, if you will — and that they will “publicly” help one another. Their goals are similarly aligned: a united but more inclusive party that represents the country. Each anticipates the other’s supporters will mark him as their second choice on the party’s ranked ballots, and they may make that expectation clear when members start receiving their ballots this summer.

Suit settled: Patrick Brown’s path to the leadership was cleared somewhat on Wednesday when he reached an agreement with CTV to settle a lawsuit over a 2018 story about allegations of sexual misconduct, the Post reports.

On Monday, CTV National News signed an agreement with Brown indicating that they “have resolved their legal dispute.” CTV also expressed regret for inaccuracies in its reporting that cost Brown his job as Ontario PC leader four years ago. “Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown,” said the CTV statement.

CTV has a story on the settlement that points out no money changed hands.
Unfortunate: In iPolitics, Michelle Rempel Garner has a column saying CTV’s error set women back.

Soon: Brown tells the Globe he is “going to make a decision very soon” about entering the race

Trouble ahead? Le Journal de Montréal reports that Charest is opposed to Quebec’s Bill 21, which outlaws religious symbols, which could pose problems with francophone voters he would need in Quebec, where the law is popular.

Paul Wells has an insightful column reflecting on the upcoming contest between Charest and Pierre Poilievre, with a good refresher on Charest’s long career, which has featured some ups and downs.

Charest and Poilievre will ask Conservatives two different questions. Charest’s is: Are you tired of losing yet? Poilievre’s is: Are you tired of leaders who will say anything to win, and then don’t even win? Just about everyone I know who thinks Conservatism has gone downhill since Joe Clark retired is rooting for Charest. The ones who wish Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole hadn’t bothered to pretend that they cared about climate change are with Poilievre. I feel comfortable saying that among current Conservative members, the we-miss-Joe crowd are outnumbered by the climate-change-is-Davos-socialism crowd.

Long race: In the Post, Chris Selley has a thoughtful column on the CPC race, which he thinks needs to be long in order for the party to get beyond “cheap sloganeering” from Team Poilievre.

Aid to Ukraine: In Berlin on Wednesday, Justin Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and promised to send more military equipment: “We have obtained a number of specialized equipment, including cameras used in drones.” Zelensky has accepted an invitation to address the House of Commons, the PMO said.

Mr. Trudeau made the announcement in Berlin on Wednesday following a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The Prime Minister also spoke at a security forum where he said he “unquestionably” believes Ukraine will win the war. “The question is how long its going to take, how we manage to get there with the least amount of loss possible,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Foreign fighters: CBC’s Murray Brewster has an interesting story on Canadian veterans who have gone to Ukraine to fight, including an interview with a Canadian sniper who recently crossed over from Poland.
“I want to help them. It’s as simple as that,” said Wali, who also did a stint as a foreign fighter with the Kurdish forces which battled Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq several years ago. “I have to help because there are people here being bombarded just because they want to be European and not Russian.”
Maple Leaf battalion? A Ukrainian government source tells the Post that so many Canadians have shown up in Ukraine that they have their own battalion.
50 years later: Lawrence Martin, who wrote a good book about Soviet hockey, has a thought-provoking column in the Globe on the long history of Canada-Soviet relations, pegged on the 1972 Canada-Russia series. He concludes that the bridge that hockey built is now in ruins.
Kenney in trouble: A new poll from Think HQ Public Affairs shows Jason Kenney might lose the leadership vote coming up in Red Deer, Don Braid writes in the Calgary Herald. The polls shows 61 per cent of Albertans want a new leader for the UCP, but only members vote.

Diehard party loyalists are the most likely to pay the fee and vote. The core of the UCP could yet hold for Kenney. “It really depends on who shows up in Red Deer,” (pollster Marc) Henry says. “There are segments of the party, voters and current members, where he enjoys more support, although it’s not a majority.”

— Stephen Maher


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