Le président du Conseil du Trésor du Canada, Scott Brison, quitte son poste


L’un des vétérans du cabinet de Justin Trudeau démissionne. Scott Brison a annoncé qu’il quittait ses fonctions de président du Conseil du Trésor et qu’il ne serait pas candidat aux élections fédérales d’octobre prochain.

Le premier ministre devra donc remanier son Conseil des ministres lundi, à un peu plus de 10 mois du scrutin fédéral.

Un brassage des cartes qui prévoira « des changements », admet-on en coulisses, plutôt qu’un simple remplacement de M. Brison.

Dans une déclaration vidéo publiée sur Twitter jeudi, Scott Brison a partagé cette « décision familiale » prise pendant la pause des Fêtes, qui représente « l’occasion de faire le point ».

Le député de la circonscription de Kings-Hants, en Nouvelle-Écosse, a expliqué qu’après sept mandats et 22 ans comme élu fédéral, il avait envie de changement. « On dit que la vie débute à 50 ans. Et bien, j’ai 51 ans et je suis prêt pour de nouveaux défis. »

M. Brison a en outre insisté sur le fait que la raison principale de son départ était sa famille. « J’ai eu des rôles importants, au fil des ans. Mais les rôles ou les titres les plus importants de ma vie seront d’être l’époux de Max et le père de Rose et Claire », a-t-il fait valoir aux côtés de son mari Maxime St-Pierre et de ses jumelles de quatre ans.

Justin Trudeau a salué le « dévouement » de Scott Brison et remercié sa famille. « Pendant 22 ans, il a défendu sans relâche les intérêts des citoyens de la Nouvelle-Écosse et du reste du Canada, tout en restant l’une des personnes les plus aimables du milieu », a commenté le premier ministre sur Twitter.

Scott Brison a d’abord été élu sous la bannière du Parti progressiste-conservateur en 1997. Il a rejoint le Parti libéral du Canada en 2003 à la suite de la fusion du Parti progressiste-conservateur et de l’Alliance canadienne, notamment en raison de la position du nouveau Parti conservateur du Canada sur le mariage entre conjoints de même sexe.

Au cours de sa carrière politique, M. Brison a été ministre des Travaux publics (2004-2006) et président du Conseil du Trésor (depuis 2015).


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Cabinet shuffle coming Monday as Liberal MP Scott Brison steps down


Longtime Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison says he won’t run for re-election this year and is stepping down from cabinet.

Brison, who sits at the cabinet table as president of the Treasury Board of Canada, made the announcement online Thursday morning.

His departure leaves an opening in cabinet and the Prime Minister’s Office says changes will be announced on Monday.

Brison spent 22 years in politics, and made history as the first openly gay federal cabinet minister.

The father of twins said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his partner and children.

« They say that life begins at 50. Well, I’m 51, and I’m ready for new challenges and excited about pursuing new opportunities, » he wrote in an open letter to his constituents.

« It has been the highest honour of my life to serve you as member of Parliament. »

Brison first won the Kings-Hants seat in 1997 as a Progressive Conservative before crossing the floor in 2003, and has held cabinet portfolios in the Liberal governments of Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau. (He did briefly step aside as an MP so Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark could return to the House of Commons as part of his political comeback.)

« You’ve stuck with me through thick and thin, the good times and the tough ones. What a trip we’ve had together, » he wrote in his letter.

« Two political parties. Seven elections. You stood with me in December 2002, when I came out … and in December 2003, when I came out again — this time as a Liberal. »

Brison fought for same-sex marriage during his Progressive Conservative leadership bid — including a public spar with fellow party member Elsie Wayne —  and the 2004 election.

Brison, right, and his husband, Maxime St-Pierre, married in 2007 and have twin daughters Rose and Claire. (Twitter)

He and his partner, Maxime St. Pierre, married in 2007, making Brison the first MP to wed his same-sex partner. 

« The House of Commons didn’t just shape my career — decisions made in that room shaped my life, including decisions that gave me the opportunity to marry the person I love and raise a family while being open and honest about who I am as a person, all while serving the people of Kings-Hants, » he wrote in his letter.

Role in Norman case questioned

In recent months, he’s had to dodge questions about his role in the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman affair.

Norman is accused of leaking cabinet secrets to executives at the Davie shipyard, in Levis, Que., in the run-up to the signing of a $668-million lease contract for a temporary navy supply ship.

Brison has been hammered in the House of Commons over what contacts he may have had with Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax prior to a key cabinet committee meeting at the heart of the criminal case against the former commander of the navy.

He’s maintained his only engagement with Irving Shipbuilding during the period in question was being copied on a letter the company sent to four cabinet ministers extolling the virtues of their proposal.

Brison also told the House of Commons that his objection to the project related only to his job as Treasury Board president.

Brison, along with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and former Conservative defence minister Peter MacKay, are all on the Crown’s witness list and could be called to testify.

The trial will not get underway until August, just before the next federal election campaign kicks off.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, he denied that his decision to quit politics is in any way related to the controversy.

« If that issue had never occurred, I would be making the same decision that I’m making now, » he said.

Brison told The Canadian Press he’s announcing his decision now to give his riding enough time to organize a nomination race.

« My personal view is that the prime minister and the government are best served by ministers who will be running in the next election, » he said.


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Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir named CP team of the year


The pressure at Gangneung Ice Arena was palpable. The world was watching. But in what was among the most memorable four minutes of the Pyeongchang Olympics, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir delivered the skate of their lives.

A world record total score, and a third gold medal that made the Canadian ice dance darlings the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history. Virtue and Moir perfectly executed a golden plan they’d announced — to mixed reviews — when they’d returned to the sport 18 months earlier.

« When we announced our comeback, no one was happy, competitors, skaters, family, friends, even our governing body, everyone was surprised, because it was such a risk, » Virtue said. « Maybe because we believed in ourselves and believed in what we could pursue, we felt there was so much more to do. »

On Friday, Virtue and Moir were rewarded for their historic comeback performance by winning the The Canadian Press team of the year award for 2018. The ice dancers picked up 39 of 54 votes (72.2 per cent) in a poll of writers, broadcasters and editors from across the country.

WATCH | Virtue and Moir’s Olympic short program performance:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s short program from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 7:15

« Virtue and Moir … it’s up there with Torvill and Dean now, » said Wayne Chamberlain, sports editor of Postmedia’s Editorial Services. « They captivated a global audience with their swan song performance and made many a Canadian eye tear up. »

The Canadian junior hockey team that won gold at the 2018 world junior championships in Buffalo was second with five of 54 votes (9.3 per cent), while Laval’s football team that went undefeated and captured the Vanier Cup was third with four votes (7.4 per cent).

« It’s so incredible, I was looking back at the history of this [award] to get some perspective and just trying to understand how 10 months later people still seem to care, or remember us, and it’s a great moment to reflect, » Virtue said. « Of course it’s the end of the year, but 10 months after the Games, it’s a nice chance to just take a moment and reflect on the impact at the Olympics had across Canada. »

Golfer Brooke Henderson captured the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award on Wednesday as the year’s top female athlete, while freestyle skier Mikael Kingsbury won the Lionel Conacher Award as the top male athlete on Thursday.

Partners for two decades, Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., had been melting hearts since they claimed gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. They stepped away from the sport for two seasons after their silver in Sochi, returning with a single-minded focus of gold in South Korea.

Virtue and Moir held a slim lead over Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France after the short dance, despite the fact Papadakis skated most of the program with the clasp of her dress broken.

The next night, when Papadakis and Cizeron recorded a world record in the free dance, Virtue and Moir were waiting in the wings fingers in ears. They purposely didn’t look at any television monitors.

Then Virtue, in a gauzy backless red dress, and Moir, channelling his inner Ewan McGregor, brought the crowd to its feet with their breathtaking performance to music from « Moulin Rouge, » a movie they’d loved ever since they saw it together as kids.

WATCH | Virtue and Moir’s Olympic free program performance:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s free program from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 9:07

« We knew we were trained, we were fully confident in our preparation. We had never been in better shape mentally. We were laser focused, » Virtue said. « But that doesn’t take away the nerves and it certainly doesn’t take away the gravity of the pressure.

« There were so many times throughout that day, and especially that half an hour leading into our final skate, where Scott just looked at me and reminded me: ‘You know, this is exactly what we asked for. This is what we wanted when we decided to come back to competition,’ . . . a ‘bring it on’ sort of a thing. And it was terrifying and unsettling, daunting, and yet also really exhilarating.

« That thrill of taking the ice on the world’s biggest stage, the pressure mounting, I think that’s the sort of exhilaration we’ll be chasing for the rest of our lives probably. »

The duo were among the Games’ most popular athletes. Fans swooned to their chemistry and lapped up the Canadian « love story, » which wasn’t so much a love story as a tale of friends and business partners.

« Virtue and Moir saved their best for last and captured Canada’s hearts with a flawless Olympic finale in a sport where judging means that is sometimes not enough, » said Dave Peters, the Montreal Gazette’s sports and photo editor.

Virtue still hasn’t watched her performance from South Korea. She’s too much of a perfectionist. But millions of people have. Just one YouTube video of their Olympic free dance program has almost three million views.

Virtue and Moir are the second figure skating duo to win the award, which was first presented in 1966 to the Montreal Canadiens. Pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier won it in 2001.


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Scott Moe uses fight against carbon tax to define 1st year as Sask. premier


Scott Moe is almost one year into his tenure as Saskatchewan premier and he has used his opposition against a federal carbon tax as a major front in the early battle to define his leadership.

Moe points to the pending tax as one of the biggest economic headwinds facing his province. Since replacing Brad Wall as premier at the end of January, he has asked the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to rule on whether the federal government’s plan to impose one on the province is constitutional.

UCP, Suzuki Foundation granted intervenor status in Saskatchewan carbon tax challenge

The province argues its own climate change plan, which doesn’t include a carbon tax, is enough to reduce emissions.

“We need to ensure that we are able to stand up against these policies and ensure that we can continue to grow our economy so that we can have the opportunity to invest in the services that people expect,” Moe said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

WATCH BELOW: Sask. premier calls carbon tax a ‘vote-buying scheme’

Moe has aligned himself with fellow anti-carbon-tax crusader, Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The two have visited each other twice and held a joint news conference at a premiers meeting in New Brunswick this summer.

Moe said Ford was elected to fight the carbon tax and Moe admires Ford’s ability to do what he says he will.

Moe is the first to admit he’s brought a different style to the job than Wall. Wall had was consistently ranked as one of the country’s most popular and well-known premiers and his gift for delivering a good sound bite made him popular on the national stage.

Moe said replicating that has never been his goal.

“I’ve just tried to be myself and I think that’s important if there’s going to be any success at all,” he said.

Saskatchewan says federal government not doing enough to resolve western oil crisis

Saskatchewan’s Opposition NDP also has a relatively untested leader as well.

Ryan Meili, named to the party’s top job in March, has raised mental health, addictions and Indigenous issues over the last year.

He doesn’t think the province should go ahead with the carbon tax court case.

“The thing that concerns me is they (government) have no backup plan,” he said in a year-end interview. “They got this court case which nearly every expert, it’s pretty clear, (says) is highly unlikely to be successful. And even if it is, it’s months and maybe even years away.”

Meili said the government has resisted taking action on climate change and that has been harmful.

“Certainly nothing you could refer to as leadership, and that’s been an embarrassment,” he said.

The Appeal Court will hear the case in February.

And Moe said he is looking forward to the next federal election in October 2019. The next provincial election is October 2020.

“It’s an interesting time for people that are political watchdogs,” Moe said. “We look forward to the next number of months.”


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Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir named CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year


Everything that can be said about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir pretty much has already been said — and deservedly so.

The iconic ice dancers who enthralled Canadians for years concluded their illustrious careers with not one, but two gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The subsequent celebrations and farewell tour gave their many admirers one last chance to see Tessa and Scott — their fans always call them by their first names — and to reflect on a partnership that has spanned two decades.

Now it’s our turn. Naming Tessa and Scott the CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year gives us another opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and to relive a moment that captivated an entire nation in 2018.

Take a look back at Tessa and Scott’s career together:

A look back at Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s figure skating legacy, set to Jim Cuddy’s « Pull Me Through ».​ 4:32

It could have all ended much differently at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Tessa and Scott entered the free dance with an incredibly slim lead over France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, despite breaking their own record score in the short dance the night before.

That, plus two American pairs within striking distance, left every conceivable outcome in play — from gold to missing the podium outright. Things only became more tense when Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, skating before Virtue and Moir and seemingly unfazed by a costume malfunction that marred their short dance the day before, set a new world record in the free program.

The French team’s performance, set to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, mesmerized the judges, who gave them the highest overall score ever.

In that moment, the chance of a golden send-off for Tessa and Scott seemed to be slipping away. To eclipse their French training partners — how’s that for additional intrigue? — they would need to surpass their previous personal best in the free skate and shatter a freshly minted world record.

No matter what, it would still be a fine farewell for the venerated Canadians, who had won a team-event gold in Pyeongchang to go along with their ice dance title from Vancouver in 2010 and a pair of silvers from Sochi. Tessa and Scott took the ice as fans around the world watched in quiet anticipation. That silence would not last long.

Watch Tessa and Scott’s full free dance:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s free program from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 9:07

The Moulin Rouge free routine was a perfect fit — a dance exuding the raw passion the duo became famous for.

As the spectacle unfolded on the ice, any feelings of doubt or uncertainty among their fans gave way, replaced with a sense of awe and an appreciation for what was happening.

The intimacy Tessa and Scott brought to that final routine made it seem as if everyone had a front-row seat to their performance — from those watching in their Ontario hometowns of London and Ilderton, respectively, to Canadians nationwide and fans glued to their screens at home or at viewing parties.

When the final note sounded, a roar erupted from the crowd in South Korea as the two embraced on the ice. The final scores came shortly after — Tessa and Scott would cap off their Olympic careers with gold around their necks and a new overall world record.

Watch highlights from Tessa and Scott’s farewell Olympics:

A look back on the final Olympic Games for Canadian figure skating legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. 5:46

The year 2018 was filled with remarkable performances by Canadians, and Tessa and Scott were far from the only ones considered for our Athletes of the Year.

Golfer Brooke Henderson, with her entire career still ahead of her, secured her place in the pantheon of great Canadian athletes by becoming the first woman in 45 years to capture the national title — against an immensely talented field of competitors, no less, at the CP Women’s Open.

Figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, another member of the Canadian squad who won Olympic team gold, went toe to toe with a pair of Russian titans to capture women’s bronze in Pyeongchang and later followed it up with a world championship crown.

On the subject of royalty, 2018 Lou Marsh Trophy winner Mikael Kingsbury captured a long-coveted Olympic moguls gold to go along with a pair of Crystal Globes from the World Cup circuit and is showing no signs of slowing down. He recently surpassed 50 career World Cup wins and has kept adding to his haul since then.

These impressive feats emphasize the elite company that Tessa and Scott found themselves in this year. Their final free skate will be remembered fondly as a moment that transcended sports and made Canadians feel united, however briefly, by the grace and power of two of their finest champions.


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Peter MacKay, Scott Brison could be called as witnesses in Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s trial


The Crown in Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s breach of trust case tabled its witness list today — and it reads like a political, military, bureaucratic and business who’s-who of official Ottawa.

It includes current and former cabinet ministers, a high-profile lobbyist, a former journalist, senior military brass and well-known business executives.

The list, dated July 5, 2018, was presented to the Ontario Superior Court on Friday during pre-trial arguments over the disclosure of federal government documents requested by Norman’s defence.

Federal Treasury Board President Scott Brison, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and former Conservative defence minister Peter MacKay are among 24 witnesses who might be called to testify against the former commander of the navy.

The list was presented to Judge Heather Perkins-McVey to help her decide on the relevance of documents being requested by the defence.

It is subject to revision. The Crown is under no obligation to call each person and no subpoenas have been issued yet.

The trial will not get underway until next August — just before the next federal election campaign kicks off.

During submissions on Friday, Norman’s lawyer, Marie Henein, said the Liberal government has been watching the case closely for political reasons.

« We have a variety of information that would suggest that there are explicit discussions between the PCO and the PMO office about the timing of this trial as it affects the next federal election, » she told the court.

Norman is accused of leaking cabinet secrets to executives at the Davie shipyard, in Levis, Que., in the run-up to the signing of a $668 million lease contract for a temporary navy supply ship.

He is also alleged to have leaked the results of a Liberal cabinet decision to temporarily put the program on hold in November 2015 to a now-former CBC reporter, James Cudmore — who is also on the Crown’s witness list.

Spencer Fraser, the Davie executive whom Norman is alleged to have fed secrets, is another one of the names on that list. So is Kevin McCoy, the president of rival Irving Shipbuilding.

The country’s top military commander, Gen. Jonathan Vance, is on the list, along with the current commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, who was Norman’s deputy at the time the leased supply ship deal went down.

There are a number of senior current and retired members of the military, as well as current and former officials at Public Services and Procurement Canada, who may end up being called to testify.

Brian Mesereau, chairman of Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, one of the biggest lobby firms in Ottawa, is also named as a potential witness.

Crown lawyer Mark Coven told the judge Friday the list has been through several revisions since he and his colleagues began drawing it up.


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Scott Brison denies lobbying for shipbuilder in Mark Norman affair


A senior Liberal cabinet minister denied Tuesday lobbying on behalf of one of the country’s leading shipbuilders, which has been swept up in the court fight surrounding the military’s former second-in-command.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison faced a second day of questions in the House of Commons over what contacts he had with Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax prior to a key cabinet committee meeting at the heart of the criminal case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

Court documents filed last week alleged that Brison had a « close relationship » with the shipyard and that he was fronting an effort to scuttle a proposal from rival Davie Shipyard, of Levis, Que. in the fall of 2015.

« The only engagement I had with Irving Shipbuilding during the period in question was being copied on a letter sent to two other ministers, » he told the Commons, referring to a letter the company sent to four cabinet ministers, extolling the virtues of their proposal.

« My job as Treasury Board president includes expenditure review and due diligence to ensure the integrity of government contracting. That is exactly what I did, my job. »

The political, bureaucratic and corporate tug-of-war over acquiring a leased supply ship for the navy is underpinning the Crown’s case against Norman.

He was charged last spring with a single count of breach trust.

Prosecutors allege the former vice chief of defence staff favoured a $668 million proposal by the Davie yard. When the newly elected Liberal government wanted to pause the project, Norman allegedly leaked word of the secret decision of the cabinet committee.

At the time, he was head of the navy.

‘Obstructing justice’

The ensuing political uproar over the possible cancellation forced the Liberals to back down and the ship was eventually completed and has now entered service.

The leak to CBC News became the basis of an RCMP investigation. The reporter who wrote the story, James Cudmore, left journalism shortly afterwards and went to work as a policy advisor in Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office.

The disclosure motion, which has put Brison in the crosshairs of the Conservative opposition, was filed on Friday by Norman’s lawyers who are asking the court to release a trove of secret and confidential documents related to the handling of the leased supply ship program.

The prime minister’s office, according to the court documents, is blocking the release of the information. Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen said officials were « in essence, obstructing justice » by blocking the naval officer’s right to a fair trial.

Hiding behind the courts

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he wasn’t prepared to comment about an ongoing court proceeding.

« Due process will apply and justice will be done, » he said. « I am sure the honourable member knows that criminal prosecutions are not pursued on the floor of the House of Commons. »

The Conservatives, however, countered that the case had already been politicized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who on two occasions, before charges were laid, made remarks which Norman’s lawyers seized on in the court filing.

Asked about the investigation on April 6, 2017, Trudeau said he believed the matter « will likely end up before the courts » and then on Feb. 1, 2018, he stated the RCMP investigation would « inevitably » lead to « court processes. »

Lisa Raitt, the Conservative deputy leader, said Goodale is trying to hide behind the court process by saying it’s improper to comment.

« Maybe he should tell that to the prime minister who deemed even before an investigation had concluded that the admiral would be charged, » she said.

« For a government that is in love with the Constitution, I really thought it would understand that the right to a fair defence and the right to procedural fairness of the individual would trump their desire to hide some uncomfortable things that were probably said at a cabinet meeting.

Why is the government putting its self-interest above somebody’s defence? »

The Crown and Norman’s lawyers will be in court Nov. 2 to argue over the disclosure of documents.

A trial is not expected until next summer.


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