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Evening Brief: Trudeau says McLellan report won’t be released until ethics commish completes probe

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Good evening.

The Lead

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a report announced at the height of the SNC-Lavalin affair on whether to separate the attorney general and justice minister roles won’t be released until the ethics commissioner finishes his probe into the political controversy.

In response to a question from iPolitics, Trudeau said his office has provided the report to commissioner Mario Dion “to finish his own investigation” into the SNC-Lavalin controversy and that it will be released at the same time as the ethics watchdog makes his report public.

Trudeau had tapped former Liberal deputy prime minister Anna McLellan to conduct the study, which she submitted to his office in late June. The study has since sat on the prime minister’s desk for almost a month and a half.

Trudeau’s office declined to comment on why the McLellan report is being released at the same time the findings of Dion’s probe will be published, or why its findings are relevant to the ethics study.

In May, Dion said his office was working hard to produce the report “within the next few months.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Conservatives released a statement calling on Trudeau to immediately release the report.

Jolson Lim reports.

In Canada

A do-over of a dedication ceremony that was held in secret for a cenotaph honouring those who were killed as part of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan will be held this weekend in Ottawa.

The Canadian Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that the “rededication” for the Kandahar Cenotaph will be held in front of the Afghanistan Memorial Hall at the Department of National Defence’s Headquarters at its Carling campus on Saturday.

Families of the fallen in Afghanistan have been invited to this go at the ceremony, which the earlier version was criticized for excluding.

The first dedication ceremony for the Kandahar Cenotaph, which was built by military members who served in Afghanistan to memorialize those who were killed during Canada’s mission to the country, was held in May inside National Defence’s Carling Headquarters at its new Afghanistan Memorial Hall. Charlie Pinkerton reports.

Pinkerton also interviewed 18-year-old NDP candidate Kevin Hua, who’s looking to unseat veteran Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre in his Ottawa riding.

Meanwhile, Trudeau met with Toronto Mayor John Tory on Tuesday, and as CBC News reports, the two were largely in step about how to combat the city’s recent spike in gun violence by calling for a complete approach that looks at issues like housing, education and infrastructure.

But the two have yet to fall in line on an all-out handgun ban in the city championed by Tory and long contemplated by the Liberals.

Pressed on the ban issue, Trudeau wouldn’t commit his support, saying only his party’s platform in the October election would include “strengthening gun control.”

As well, Canada’s competition watchdog is asking the Ontario government to liberalize the province’s liquor laws to increase competition in the sector.

In an open letter to Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips, Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell said consumers and businesses in the province would benefit from a “less restrictive system,” arguing existing caps on the number of retailers, in particular, makes price competition more difficult.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips told iPolitics that the Ford government welcomed the support from the competition commissioner, who he said “agrees that greater competition will lead to greater choice and fairness for people in Ontario, and even more economic opportunities for retailers.” Marco Vigliotti reports.

And in case you missed it, the latest poll from Mainstreet Research for iPolitics suggest most Canadians believe the upcoming federal election will produce a minority government. More than 56 per cent of respondents said they think October’s vote will lead to a minority government. Vigliotti has the full breakdown.

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In Other Headlines

Two Conservative riding associations return event proce to donors (Canadian Press)

‘Significant and clear’ threat: What Canada’s spy chief says about China behind closed doors (National Post)

Canada largely successful in managing economic immigration: OECD study (Canadian Press)

Canadian drug price regulator may be flexible on rare diseases (Reuters)

Internationally

BBC News reports that for a second day, business at Hong Kong’s international airport was disrupted because of anti-government protests. Flight check-ins were suspended at the airport, one of the world’s busiest. Outside, police and protesters clashed and pepper spray was deployed.

Chinese state media have published images of convoys of military police gathering in the border city of Shenzhen. Massive pro-democracy demonstrations reached its 10th straight week.

U.S. President Donald Trump also weighed in on the crisis, posting on Twitter that American intelligence had informed him of a deployment by “troops,” adding: “Everyone should be calm and safe.” Speaking earlier to reporters, he described the situation as “tricky” and said he hoped it would end peacefully.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the Trump administration is delaying some tariffs it planned to impose on Chinese goods and dropping others altogether, in response to pressure from businesses. Trump originally planned for 10 per cent tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods on Sept. 1. Instead, tariffs will kick in on Dec. 15 for electronics and some shoes and clothing.

The wire service also reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping appears ready to play hard ball in the ongoing trade war, firing off what economics called a “warning shot” at the U.S. by letting its yuan currency weaken in response to Trump’s latest tariffs. Chinese buyers have also canceled multibillion-dollar purchases of U.S. soybeans and regulators are threatening to place American companies on an “unreliable entities” list that might face curbs on their operations.

Lastly, Reuters reports that Gibraltar authorities will not yet release an Iranian oil tanker that has been held for more than a month, despite an Iran report that it could do so on Tuesday.

The Kicker

The Los Angeles Times reports that facial recognition software mistook one in five California lawmakers for criminals.

In an effort to get facial recognition technology banned from police body cameras in California, the American Civil Liberties Union used software to screen pictures of state lawmakers against a database of 25,000 publicly available booking photos.

A total of 26 lawmakers were deemed to be criminals – a finding likely to aid their efforts.

Until tomorrow.

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