Morning Brief: ‘Eyes wide open’ after two Michaels’ release – iPolitics



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Good morning, iPolitics readers.

The two Michaels are home: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor landed safely in Canada on Saturday morning after more than 1,000 days in detention in China. Prime Minister Trudeau greeted them both at the airport in Calgary. Their sudden release came after the U.S. Justice Department struck a deal to allow Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to return home from house arrest in B.C.

According to Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., it was China that initiated the dialogue to release the two Michaels during negotiations with the U.S., due to pressure it was receiving from Canada’s allies. “I think the Chinese government decided that, you know, it was time to put this behind them and move on,” Kirsten Hillman told CTV News.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said Canada’s eyes are “wide open” when it comes to the future relationship with China, and that Canada is under no illusions in terms of a normalization of those relations.

Kady O’Malley is back with iPolitics AM: “While there’s still no word on exactly when the 44th Parliament will assemble for its inaugural meeting — although as noted in the iPolitics weekly precap, on the same day that she formally dissolved the previous parliament, Governor General Mary May Simon issued a pro forma proclamation summoning members back to the capital on Oct. 18 — newly elected MPs can start prepping for their new responsibilities this week, courtesy of the comprehensive orientation program offered by the House of Commons.”

Sajjan speculation: Speculation is heating up over Harjit Sajjan’s future as defence minister, as Prime Minister Trudeau prepares to name his new cabinet, Global News reports. Questions are reportedly being raised about what message his continuation in the role might send.

The Canadian Press looks at the fact that Canada’s only female defence minister (who later became Canada’s only female prime minister), held the role in 1993 — so maybe in light of the sexual misconduct scandals in the military, it’s time for a woman to take the lead again.

Greens lose to NDP in Nanaimo-Ladysmith: After days of suspense, Paul Manly, one of only two Green MPs in the House of Commons at the time of dissolution, has lost his seat in Nanaimo-Ladysmith to the NDP’s Lisa Marie Barron. Now the Green Party’s only two MPs are former leader Elizabeth May, of Saanich-Gulf Islands, and Mike Morris of Kitchener Centre.

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AROUND THE WORLD

Germany voted – but it’s still not clear who will be the next chancellor. German’s centre-left Social Democrats narrowly beat out Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU-CSU union, but both parties are now scrambling to try to form a coalition government — a process that could take weeks or months. Merkel, who is stepping down, will stay on as chancellor until one of them succeeds in forming a government.

It was the worst-ever performance for the conservatives, who received 24.1 per cent of the vote compared to centre-left party’s 25.7 per cent. The latter party is led by Olaf Scholz, who was Merkel’s finance minister in the last coalition government. After an election dominated by climate change, the Greens made history with almost 15 per cent of the vote; they and the liberals will now play kingmakers.

Switzerland adopts same-sex marriage: Switzerland has become the 30th country in the world (and one of the last in Europe) to adopt same-sex marriage after 64 per cent of Swiss voters supported the measure in a national referendum. Same-sex couples will be able to get married by July, according to the justice minister.

Elsewhere in referendums, the European micro-state of San Marino voted to legalize abortion in a referendum over the weekend.

Dark scenes in Afghanistan: The Taliban have said they will resume extreme punishments such as executions and amputations. To send the message home, they hung the bodies of four men in public squares in the city of Herat. They say the men were kidnappers who seized a businessman and his son. Local residents say one body was hung from a crane. Meanwhile in Helmand province, the Taliban have banned barbers from trimming beards.

‘Europe did not recover morally’: Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama told BBC News why his country is hosting thousands of Afghan refugees — and why he thinks the rest of Europe, and NATO, has let them down. “It’s safe to say that since the big refugee crisis, back some years ago, Europe did not recover — it didn’t recover morally, strategically, and it still suffers the politics of refusing to open the doors,” he said.

Elsewhere: Five Palestinians killed in Israeli West Bank raid against militants. U.K. gas stations are running dry, and it might deploy the army to serve as truck drivers. Iceland misses out on Europe’s first female-majority parliament after recount. Spain launched a new visa schemed aimed at digital nomads to try to revive its ghost towns. U.S. infrastructure bill expected to pass this week. Ghana is building a world class W.E.B. Du Bois museum complex. Sudan says it has repelled an attempted “incursion” by Ethiopian troops into its territory. Theoneste Bagosora, architect of Rwanda genocide, dies at 80.

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THE KICKER

Angela Merkel spent one of her last days as chancellor at a bird zoo, and, frankly, we just want you to see the photos.

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