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Mainstreeting in Mississauga

Mainstreeting in Mississauga


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Thanks for reading Ottawa Playbook. Let’s get into it.

In today’s edition:

→ On main street in Mississauga-Streetsville with Small Business Minister RECHIE VALDEZ.

→ A multi-million ad campaign out to soften PIERRE POILIEVRE’s image.

→ And a WAYNE GRETZKY cliché that’s giving it 110 percent.


REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK — RECHIE VALDEZ is learning that a Cabinet minister’s schedule is a different beast.

Playbook followed Valdez around for some mainstreeting in her home riding of Mississauga-Streetsville last week, seven days after she was sworn in as Canada’s new small business minister.

We learned at the outset that, like the PM, Valdez doesn’t drink coffee. Instead she relies on tea and juice to fuel her day. Here are a few other notes from the field:

— She brings keener energy: STÉPHANE DION famously went straight from Rideau Hall to ministerial briefings when he was appointed in 1996. Valdez did the same.

She said she wanted to “hit the ground running” quickly after the pomp and ceremony. “As soon as that was finished, I went straight to ISED.”

— Behind that viral moment? Overwhelm: Valdez’s parents met in the Philippines and moved to Zambia where she and her brother were born before they immigrated to Canada. She is the first Filipina woman to be elected federally in 2021 — and the first to be appointed to Cabinet.

Her parents were on her mind when her name was called to take the oaths of office. With her husband and two children seated behind her, clips of Valdez being visibly overwhelmed with emotion made national news.

“Since I was second last, I was watching the process that everyone else was going through. And then in my head, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, I have to stand up.’ And then, ‘Oh, my goodness, and there’s video cameras and photographers.’ But behind the camera is my mum and dad watching on a couch at home and then my family right behind me … all their hard work led up to this moment. And I knew how proud that they would be. And I knew what it meant for the Filipino community who are probably tuning in at the same time … I felt everybody’s hopes.”

— First priorities: TBD. “I’m certainly waiting for the mandate letter,” Valdez said. (Join the club.) The first junket will take her to Atlantic Canada to learn regional nuances facing small businesses.

— New schedule realities: Valdez’s 11-hour itinerary last Wednesday started at 9:30 a.m. with 25 minutes of “media prep” meeting in her constituency office.

On the official schedule:

10 a.m. Visit to Supermoon bakery to meet staff who make fluffy Japanese-style cheesecakes. Actual arrival: 10:08 a.m.

Valdez, a former commercial baker and former small business owner, held a piping bag for the first time in years and casually aced filling a cheese tart on her first go.

10:15 a.m. A stop at Streetsville Florist where owners put out madeleines and refreshments. Actual arrival: 10:37 a.m. Her staff joked that in this riding, where half the population are immigrants, refusing snacks and refreshments without offending constituents is part of the job.

10:30 a.m. The Tea Room to check on the small business and to pick up a hot drink. Actual arrival was 10:58 a.m.

1:30 p.m. Attend local citizenship ceremony at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office in Mississauga (where parking in lots at the front and back of the building isn’t free). Valdez welcomed 93 new Canadians with Immigration Minister MARC MILLER.

— Perks of being a new Cabmin: People gave her flowers. Others interrupted her between the bites of the pork belly liempo she ate for lunch to say hello. There were many hugs.

— Downsides: Spontaneity doesn’t mix with Cabmin scheduling.

On her way out from a tea shop inside a heritage house, Valdez looked up a flight of stairs toward the entrance of an independent bookstore on the second floor.

She asked her four-person team (three Ottawa staffers on loan from Minister MARY NG’s office) if she had time to say “hi.” The answer: No. They had to boot it to a coffee meeting with a local business leader.

Her first trial by fire will be handling calls for Ottawa to extend repayment deadlines on Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) pandemic loans. Small and medium-sized businesses make up 98 percent of businesses in Canada. Some sectors are also calling for full CEBA loan forgiveness ahead of a Dec. 31 repayment deadline, 4.5 months away.

“Right now, it’s being open to explore all the different options, because the impact is massive,” Valdez said over lunch at Carinderia By DFlores, a Filipino restaurant.

Talk of the town

IMAGE REHAB — There are 803 days until the next fixed federal election date and already the Conservatives are putting out videos to improve Conservative Leader PIERRE POILIEVRE’s appeal to women voters by reinforcing his image as a family man.

— Just fyi: Number of days since Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU and SOPHIE GRÉGOIRE TRUDEAU announced their separation: 7.

Poilievre doesn’t say a word in the new, one-minute ad campaign narrated by his wife, ANAIDA, explaining why her husband is in politics in the first place. The message challenges Liberal efforts to paint the Conservative leader as angry and unlikable.

Summa Strategies vice chair KATE HARRISON called the slick ad a smart move on the party’s part, noting it’s “equally impressive the party has the funds to make this a reality many months away from an election.”

803 days = Just over 26 months away.

Global News’ ALEX BOUTILIER reports the party’s planned ad spend over the next three months on its new campaign to soften Poilievre’s image is at least C$3 million.

— Related money moves: Poilievre heads to Halifax, Nova Scotia, next week for an evening fundraiser at the Ashburn Golf Course on Aug. 15 — the same day former leadership rival JEAN CHAREST hosts two fundraising events in Toronto.

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For your radar

IT’S THE OVER-USED CLICHÉ, STUPID: Trudeau is not the only North American leader out trying to sell an economic agenda. U.S. President JOE BIDEN is also betting on a sweeping economic plan. Although, as POLITICO’s JENNIFER HABERKORN reports and the PMO might note, Bidenomics is not taking off with Americans.

— Whistle on the play: Inside the White House, senior officials have adopted a WAYNE GRETZKY mantra — “skate to where the puck is going,” Haberkorn reports.

It so happens that’s advice that’s over-used with enthusiasm by Trudeau and his Cabinet.

For example:

At Fenway Park in May, Deputy Prime Minister CHRYSTIA FREELAND told Northeastern University’s Class of 2023: “It is time, as Wayne Gretzky said, to skate to where the puck is going, and to build a capitalist democracy that works for the 21st century.”

Last month, the prime minister told the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum, “Canada saw where the puck was going with climate change …”

And here’s what Industry Minister FRANÇOIS-PHILIPPE CHAMPAGNE told Policy Magazine on the post-pandemic economy: “We need to keep our eye on where the puck is going — that means developing upskilling and reskilling plans in tandem with industry.”

Energy and Natural Resources Minister JONATHAN WILKINSON couldn’t resist the urge to be cliché on Tuesday when he made a clean electricity announcement in Vancouver: “Governments are not the only actors who are moving in this direction who see where the puck is going, as Wayne Gretzky used to say, and are taking steps to get there.”

Back to the point: To help move public opinion, Cabinet and senior White House officials in Washington have been on the road touting projects launched by Biden-era investments, Haberkorn reports.

Biden was in Arizona Tuesday to highlight conservation and climate resilience. Today, he’ll travel to New Mexico to talk about the Inflation Reduction Act. On Thursday, he’ll go to Salt Lake City, Utah, to talk about the PACT Act, which provides benefits to veterans exposed to burn pits or other toxic chemicals.

— Rinse and repeat: The White House plans to put the “Bidenomics” message on repeat, with multiple administration officials showcasing its impact.

— But, about all that talk about hockey: As JASON KIRBY once advised in Maclean’s, maybe just “stick to baseball.”


— Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU is on vacation.

10 a.m. Transport Minister PABLO RODRIGUEZ will be at the Ottawa airport to make a cargo capacity funding announcement with Canadian North CEO and President MICHAEL RODYNIUK. They’ll take media questions at the end of the official program.


— “They’re going to be proud of what they see,” Government House Leader KARINA GOULD tells CTV News of school kids heading to the House to watch Question Period.

— With the same optimism, Health Minister MARK HOLLAND tells The Canadian Press: “The only way that we can take on the massive challenge of health is if we set aside our partisan issues, we set aside our egos and we just, with a laser focus, go after how we make the health system better.”

VICKY MOCHAMA writes in the Globe: I’m putting in an offer for 24 Sussex.

— From AMANDA LANG at The Hub: How behavioral science could seriously improve government performance.

SABINA VOHRA-MILLER was on The Big Story pod. The subject: “New guidelines, old hesitancies and the future of Covid vaccines.”


Our latest policy newsletter for Pro subscribers from KYLE DUGGAN, NICK TAYLOR-VAISEY and ZI-ANN LUM: What news will tomorrow bring?

In other news for Pros:

Ottawa to premiers: “The future is indeed electric.”

Canada’s competition watchdog urged to probe Meta.

Manchin offers IRA praise with a big caveat.

CHIP law’s first 5G grants will go to wireless energy efficiency, AI.

As tensions rise, U.S. imports from China plummet.


Birthdays: HBD to former premier of the Northwest Territories JOE HANDLEY. He’s 80 today!

Spotted: MONA FORTIER in fair VeronaKIRSTY DUNCAN sticking it to cancer by celebrating a physio achievement in taking her first steps without a walker.

Movers and shakers: IRWIN COTLER is set to receive the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice’s 2023 Lantos Human Rights Prize.

Foreign Affairs Minister MÉLANIE JOLY has announced a new crop of appointments to Canada’s diplomatic corps: JESSICA BLITT as ambassador to Croatia; GAVIN BUCHAN as ambassador to Romania; KATHY BUNKA as ambassador to Iraq; CAROLINE CHARETTE as consul general in São Paulo, Brazil; as ambassador to Mongolia SANDRA CHOUFANI; and CHERYL CRUZ as ambassador to the Slovakia.

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected] .


Tuesday’s answer: The final 100 days of the First World War — from Aug. 8 to Nov. 11, 1918 — came to be known as the Hundred Days Offensive.

The Canadian Encyclopedia adds more: “The Canadian Corps’ significant contributions along the Western Front generated the name ‘Canada’s Hundred Days.’ During this time, Canadian and allied forces pushed the German Army from Amiens, France, east to Mons, Belgium, in a series of battles — a drive that ended in German surrender and the end of the war.”

View it by days.


Think you have a harder trivia question? Send us your best.

Wednesday’s question: What’s being touted as Barbie’s favorite room at Rideau Hall?

Answers to [email protected]

Playbook wouldn’t happen without: POLITICO Canada editor Sue Allan, Luiza Ch. Savage and Emma Anderson.