Vladimir Putin considers at least one Canadian a ‘friend’

Politics Insider for July 3: Donald Trump’s not-a-promise to Canada, Andrew Scheer’s royal digs in Whitehorse, and Trudeau’s ministers fan out from sea to sea

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Anne Kingston has assessed the public reaction to E. Jean Carroll’s What Do We Need Men For?, in which the advice columnist details her attack at the hands of Donald Trump in the 1990s—and she’s not impressed. That attack should “summon shock and impeachment proceedings,” Kingston writes—but only “revealed a country and media so corroded, so wearied, so disoriented by Trump’s trampling of political norms and decency without checks and balances that his once-mocked boast of being untouchable and unaccountable has been internalized.” [Maclean’s]

Trump’s so-called promise to advocate for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor when he met with Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the recent G20 summit was widely reported by Canadian media. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “confident,” he said, without elaborating why, that Trump raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart. [Global News]

But did the U.S. president ever solidly make that commitment? And why do senior officials in Ottawa and Washington keep passing the buck back and forth? Writes Shannon Proudfoot:

Have you ever been out with friends, and in the happy flush of the moment late one night, you announce that this summer, you will visit your friend who lives in a remote and not-terribly-appealing city, and when they say “Are you sure,” you roar that of course you will, because you love them and anyway their city sounds great, so let’s book it. That was the vibe with which Trump committed, such as it was, to somehow intervening on Canada’s behalf with China. [Maclean’s]

Ontari-ari-ari-vote: A new 338Canada/Maclean’s analysis shows the battle for votes in Canada’s most populous province is tightening, with Liberals and Conservatives locked in a statistical tie. How’s this for an electoral tease, courtesy of election oracle Philippe J. Fournier?

What if, hypothetically, Ontario were to be split in half between Liberals and Conservatives? According to current data, it could probably mean the election would come down to the results in British Columbia—which would make for a long (and late) election night on Oct. 21. More on this theoretical scenario in a future column. [Maclean’s]

“Dominic LeBlanc’s family, friends, neighbour win 5 of 6 recent judicial appointments.” A PMO media monitor might file this CBC News headline under Stories That, Yikes, Aren’t Ideal For Our Image. As the public broadcaster reports, the tripartite appearance of patronage in the New Brunswick domain of LeBlanc, who is among the most senior federal Liberals, included even donors to his failed bid for the party leadership in 2008. [CBC News]

Royal digs: When Andrew Scheer delivers a speech to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce at noon Pacific time, he’ll stand on hallowed ground in Whitehorse. When they visited in 2016, Prince William and Kate Middleton spent a night in the “Premium King Jacuzzi” suite at the very same Coast High Country Inn. TripAdvisor reviews rate it the third-best stay in town. [Will and Kate’s tale, TripAdvisor]

Tappen to the piggy bank: Trudeau’s lieutenants are busy today from coast to coast. Rural Canada’s cabmin, Bernadette Jordan, starts her morning with a funding announcement at Kamloops airport (9:30 local time). She’ll then head 75 minutes east to Tappen, B.C., for a second turn at the mic on highway improvements (conveniently, the Trans-Canada Highway passes right through town—after a windy trip from Kamloops). [Jordan #1, Jordan #2]

A little further east, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi will be in Leduc, Alta., where an as-yet-undisclosed sum of federal money is headed to “local steel and aluminum sector employer” Apollo Machine & Welding. It’s a little bit awkward that a man with the same name as the company’s CEO, in the same city, donated thousands to federal Conservatives between 2010 and 2015—and gifted $2,500 to Jason Kenney’s party last year. [Sohi’s plan]

Three ministers are on the east coast, figurative cash in hand. François-Philippe Champagne is in Brian Mulroney’s childhood backyard of Baie-Comeau, Que. Lawrence MacAulay is in Saint John, N.B. And Diane Lebouthillier will bestow $75,000 in renos on a heritage building on the tiny Magdalen Islands—where, the Globe and Mail reported last year, rising sea levels are edging ever closer. [Champagne, MacAulay, Lebouthillier, Globe and Mail]

Russia’s favourite Canadian? Over the weekend, a tiny notice in the Canada Gazette announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded his country’s Order of Friendship to John Stuart Durrant, a Memorial University professor—who, it so happens, is also Russia’s honorary consul in St. John’s. [Canada GazetteThe Official Word]

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