Someone get Jagmeet Singh a newspaper subscription

Politics Insider for January 14: Trudeau shuffles his cabinet, Canadians are suddenly anxious about the state of the economy and Singh needs to brush up on the Canada-China dispute
Ont Singh Francophones 20181122
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during a press conference to comment on the cuts made by Ontario Premier Ford to planned Ontario Francophone universities, in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

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Canada’s economy may be growing, but more than 56 per cent of Canadians feel like the country is in a recession—up 21 points from a year earlier. That’s the finding of a new survey by Pollara Strategic Insights, and the rising sense of economic anxiety could be a big factor in the federal election this fall if it persists:

Pollara’s finding that Canadians are feeling uneasy about the country’s prospects for prosperity comes just after Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz decided to hold interest rates steady, rather than continuing to gradually raise them. The central bank’s main reason for keeping its benchmark rate at 1.75 per cent earlier this week is that the recent drop in oil prices has taken a toll on the economy.

But Poloz suggested that by this coming spring the economy might be strong enough again to absorb higher rates. “As the snow melts, we’ll have a clearer view that the economy is back on track and then likely to grow above or around two per cent after that,” he told reporters.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have to be hoping Poloz is right that the economy might feel like it has more traction by spring or summer—with a federal election campaign set for the fall. “This will undoubtedly influence what the various leaders talk about in the campaign,” Pollara’s Worden said. (Maclean’s)

We’ll find out this morning who’ll be part of Trudeau’s cabinet in the lead-up to the 2019 campaign (barring another shuffle—the last one was only six months ago).  Today’s cabinet shakeup follows the departure of Scott Brison, who resigned as Treasury Board president last week.

UPDATE: Four ministerial portfolios changed hands. Jane Philpott, formerly Indigenous services minister (and health minister before that) takes over for Brison at Treasury Board. Seamus O’Regan, formerly veterans affairs minister, replaces Philpott. Jody Wilson-Raybould, formerly justice minister, replaces O’Regan. First-term MP and cabinet newbie David Lametti replaces Wilson-Raybould and rounds out the shuffle. Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan, also a rookie MP, was named minister of rural economic development. (Global News, Hill Times)

ICYMI, a roundup from the weekend political shows…

  • CTV Question Period’s Evan Solomon had what seemed like a straightforward question for NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, related to Canada’s ongoing dispute with China: what did Singh make of the the headline-grabbing editorial by China’s ambassador to Canada which claimed “white supremacy” was behind the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Singh appeared to have no idea what Solomon was referring to: “Who accused who of white supremacy?” (Twitter)
  • In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the United Kingdom has already begun informal trade talks with Canada that could lead to a trade deal between the two countries within a year. Speaking to CBC’s Chris Hall on The House, the U.K.’s High Commissioner to Canada, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, sought to ease panicked Canadian businesses that do much of their business with the U.K.:  “I think we’re both acutely aware of the potential negative impact of a cliff edge and nothing being in place to allow that [relationship] to continue.” (CBC News)
  • The head of the Business Council of Canada, Goldy Hyder, said the odds of the Trans Mountain pipeline going ahead in the near future are low, given the tensions in the past week between Indigenous people and police over a gas pipeline in northern B.C.: “If I was a betting man, I’d say not anytime soon and it’s not for the lack of effort,” he told the West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson on Global, “I recognize that a government purchased the pipeline, I recognize that the court decision put a bit of a delay in that process. But the question is what happens if what we’re seeing now happened all over again at the TMX site?”

Lastly, continuing a Canadian prime ministerial tradition, Trudeau will make a cartoon cameo appearance on an upcoming episode of Corner Gas – Animated, creator Brent Butt tweeted. Both Paul Martin and Stephen Harper made brief appearances on the original series. (Twitter).