Politics Briefing: Liberals continue to lead polls

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017

Good morning,

Every week, Nanos Research asks 250 Canadians which of the political parties they like most. Since the 2015 election – the results of which almost exactly lined up with Nanos’s polling – the Liberals have led in each weekly tracking poll. This week’s, for instance, shows the Liberals are the first-ranked choice of 40 per cent of respondents, followed by the Conservatives at 31 per cent and the NDP at 17 per cent. The Liberals also have the highest proportion – 54 per cent – of people who say they would consider voting for them. If the Liberals received 40 per cent of the vote in the next election, they would probably win another majority of seats.

But as Nik Nanos likes to point out, it’s the trends that matter. And since reaching highs of support last spring, the Liberal’s level of support has drifted down in fits and starts. The question is whether the Liberals are settling down into a sustainable level of support now that the Opposition parties have elected their new leaders – or whether the downward trend will continue.

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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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is still in China, where he says he is pressing leadership on the issue of human rights and Canadians detained in the country. The Liberal government continues to work on negotiating the terms of free-trade talks with China, but no more movement has been announced publicly.

Canada’s chief negotiator in the North American free-trade agreement talks says some of the U.S. proposals have been “completely unworkable.”

Small-business owners say they are worried about the government’s planned tax changes to split income between family members. The government says changes will be made that will go in effect Jan. 1, but hasn’t yet released the details of the overhaul.

Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier says when she said the Canada Revenue Agency had collected $25-billion in previously-unpaid taxes, what she meant was that investigators had identified $25-billion that they want to collect.

As the federal government prepares to go to court Friday to fight veterans who were given the antimalarial drug mefloquine, Ireland has given a “substantial” amount of money to a former soldier there for the damage he said the drug caused him.

A group of disabled veterans say they’re considering a Supreme Court of Canada appeal after losing a legal challenge of a Harper-era change to disability pensions. The B.C. Court…

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