Politics Briefing: The repercussions of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Good morning,

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is an incredibly complex, and contentious, geopolitical issue. When U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin the process of moving America’s embassy there, he enraged not only Palestinians but also his allies in the Middle East.

Hamas, the Islamist political movement, has called for a new intifada. In Arabic, the word “intifada” means to “shake off.” In this context, the political and military movement is calling for an uprising against Israel. During the second intifada, which lasted nearly five years, around 4,000 people died. Hopes for a diplomatic solution to de-escalate tensions in the region are slim.

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Although Mr. Trump sells himself as a dealmaker, Doug Saunders writes in a column that Mr. Trump has thrown away his most powerful tool for enacting real change: “Jerusalem was the most valuable bargaining chip – the promise of its normalization and partition persuaded Palestinians to recognize Israel and Israelis to negotiate stable and legal borders and an end to illegal settlements. Mr. Trump has now cashed in that chip in exchange for no concession at all from either party.”

The policy shift was unprecedented and has brought the threat of violence to the forefront. Protests broke out in the West Bank and Gaza yesterday and although what happens next is uncertain, many are expecting an escalation in conflict.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated throughout the day and through the weekend. The Globe’s Eric Reguly (@ereguly) is in Jerusalem to cover the situation on the ground.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa, Mayaz Alam in Toronto and James Keller in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

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Canada’s veterans die by suicide at a much higher rate than the general population, according to a new report released yesterday. The new data, which looks at deaths from 1976 to 2012, found that both female and male veterans were more likely to die by suicide. Suicide was the cause of death for 40 per cent of the 435 male veterans who died before the age of 25. The rate for this demographic group was 2.4 times more likely than a Canadian male not serving in the military. Veterans affairs and the Canadian Armed Forces say they will use the data and annual reports released hereafter to help shape a joint suicide-prevention strategy.

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Mr. Trudeau is returning from China empty-handed but the Liberals are planning on doubling down on their progressive trade policies. Employment Minister Patty Hajdu will be meeting with labour unions today in advance of the next round of NAFTA negotiations. Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, on the other hand, will be in Argentina this weekend for a World Trade Organization ministerial conference. He’s expected to bring up gender equality, labour rights and environmental sustainability, a government official told The Globe’s Bill Curry.

A simmering animosity between Alberta and Saskatchewan has boiled over in a fight about, of all things, licence plates. Saskatchewan has declared contractors displaying Alberta plates won’t be allowed on new provincial highway projects, prompting Alberta to openly mock its neighbour and threaten legal action. The bizarre dispute didn’t just come out of nowhere: It follows tensions over tax policies, pipelines and interprovincial beer sales.

Kinder Morgan has won a key ruling at the National Energy Board that will allow it to begin construction of its Trans Mountain pipeline despite a permitting dispute with Burnaby, B.C. The company asked the NEB to intervene after it complained about permitting delays. The NEB says Kinder Morgan doesn’t need to follow two Burnaby bylaws — a ruling that’s been met with outrage by the city’s mayor and B.C.’s Environment Minister.

Federal by-elections often don’t receive much attention from party leaders or the media, but a vote on Monday in Surrey, B.C., has taken on an outsized importance. The riding of South Surrey-White Rock has been reliably Conservative for years, most recently held by former mayor Dianne Watts. But both the Conservatives and Liberals are expecting a close race, with the leaders stumping for their local candidates in a city — and a province — that will be critical to the next federal election.

The Assembly of First Nations is calling on Marion Buller, head of the missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry, to resign. The AFN says the commission should be restarted and be given more time to do its work of examining the root causes of why Indigenous women are disproportionately the victims of violence.

A so-called passengers’ bill of rights appears stalled in the Senate, where it has been sitting for five weeks. Parliament passed C-49, which would prohibit airlines from bumping passengers against their will and require compensation for delays and cancellations, as well as lost or damaged bags. The Liberal government appears to be growing impatient, but Senators say the bill is more complicated than it seems and they won’t be bullied into rushing it through.

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Nova Scotia and PEI have both set their legal age for marijuana use at 19, mirroring the drinking age in both provinces. The two Atlantic Canadian provinces will be taking separate paths on how to sell and distribute recreational marijuana. Nova Scotia will sell cannabis at its provincial liquor store alongside alcohol while PEI will create separate stores that are run by its provincial liquor body.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen was mum on whether the federal government would keep its warning against female genital mutilation in the new study guide for the Canadian citizenship exam. A leaked draft of the document, which is sent to permanent residents who have applied for citizenship, showed that the reference to FGM had been removed.

Ontario will offer naloxone to police and firefighter services as opioid overdose-related deaths continue to rise. Naloxone is a medication that helps reverse the effects of an overdose.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that shipments of Canadian softwood lumber to the U.S. are harming producers south of the border. Canadian lumber shipments have been slapped with total duties averaging 20.83 per cent.

U.S. Democratic Senator Al Franken, a former cast member on Saturday Night Live, has resigned from his role after being accused of sexual assault by several women. Earlier this week, the majority of Mr. Franken’s Democratic colleagues called on him to step down from his role. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has named state Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith as his interim replacement. An election to ultimately replace his seat will happen in November, 2018.

Andrei Sulzenko (The Globe and Mail) on U.S. tax reform and NAFTA: “The bottom line is, either way, the outcome of efforts to pass tax legislation in the United States will probably have a net positive effect for Canada in the continuing NAFTA negotiations. Success will diminish the need for a big administration win on trade, while emboldening Republicans in Congress against future Presidential excesses. Failure will further diminish the administration’s ability to make good on its agenda, branding the President as a loser with whom co-operation is perceived to lead only to Congressional unelectability. That’s a win-win for Canada.”

Glen Hodgson and Brent Dowdall (The Globe and Mail) on the cost of pollution: “Pollution has an economic cost. If we are to treat it as a higher social priority and develop better practices and processes for mitigating its negative impacts, a better understanding of what pollution is costing us would be a critical input.”

Oliver Schmidtke (The Globe and Mail) on symbols of hate: “We are confronted with a deliberate and insidious attempt to muddy the waters regarding what constitutes intolerable racism, especially when political elites accept this gradual normalization of exclusionary nationalism.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec’s language wars: “The PQ motion in the National Assembly calling on service-sector workers to greet the public “warmly with the word ‘bonjour'” was adopted unanimously after the PQ agreed to remove the part about “Hi” being an “irritant.” Silly stuff, really, that sent eyeballs rolling in the trenches, where sales clerks are far too busy these days catering to the whims of Christmas shoppers to play politics. But, que voulez-vous? The PQ is at 19 per cent in the polls and desperate for attention. A matter worthy of more serious consideration is the report of the provincial Auditor-General released last week on the abysmal state of programs aimed at the linguistic integration of new immigrants.” (for subscribers)

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