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Politics Briefing

Days after shaking hands with Trump, Trudeau meets Merkel Add to ...

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Justin Trudeau is in Germany
today, where he is taking time in his schedule to visit Berlin’s Holocaust memorial and a market that was the site of a deadly terrorist attack in December. He meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and will hold a joint news conference later today.

Much of the focus of the House of Commons this week has been on competing motions from the Liberals and Conservatives that condemn racial and religious discrimination, but differ on the emphasis they place on hatred toward Muslims. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who introduced her motion from the backbench, shared with her colleagues some of the horrible messages that Canadians have sent her during the debate.

Many survivors of Canada’s residential schools lost out on compensation because of a technicality raised by federal lawyers known as the “administrative split.” The government now says it will revisit some of those claims, but many of those Indigenous people may never be identified.

The Assembly of First Nations would like the government to change the name of the building that houses the Prime Minister’s Office, because it was named after a major proponent of the residential schools.

An Ontario judge has been rebuked for contributing to major delays in the court system by wrapping up work at 4 p.m. two days in a row while witnesses waited to speak.

And a federal watchdog has released a report about an executive in the Public Health Agency of Canada who abused staff. The public servant is not identified in the report and they apparently still work in the government -- they were just moved to a different department.

U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Donald Trump’s pick to be his national security adviser -- after Michael Flynn stepped down over concern about his ties to Russia’s government -- says he will not take the job.

A fight heating up between U.S. intelligence agencies and the Trump administration could affect information sharing in the Five Eyes network, which includes Canada.

Mark Sanford, the controversial former South Carolina governor and current Republican Congressman, has some frank words for his party’s President. “I tell the staff all the time: Look, we’re in the business of crafting and refining our arguments that are hopefully based on the truth. Truth matters. Not hyperbole, not wild suggestion, but actual truth,” he says.

The Trump family’s elaborate lifestyle could be costing U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars a day in Secret Service and police expenses.

And if you’re in the mood to speak your mind, the Republican Party has put out a Mainstream Media Accountability Survey with questions like: “Do you believe that the media uses slurs rather than facts to attack conservative stances on issues like border control, religious liberties, and ObamaCare?”

LUNCHTIME LONG READ

It was the news conference heard ‘round the world: it’s worth reading (or watching) U.S. President Donald Trump’s full hour-and-a-half, “not ranting and raving” talk with the press.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Don Martin (CTV): “A motion was put to the floor calling on all MPs to condemn Islamophobia and launch a committee discussion on stamping out racism and all religious intolerance. Gosh, motherhood meet apple pie. But no, nothing can be that easy when Islam is up for discussion.”

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): “There’s a critical point that must be grasped by those who don’t spend their days watching Commons debates: Motions are passed every week, and they don’t change the laws of the land. If anything, the worst thing about most Commons motions is that they’re all talk.”

Paul Wells (Toronto Star): “It’s not a law. It would be an expression of MPs’ opinion. The motion makes no mention of sharia law. It would not lead to penalties for the expression of any opinion. When I was at Maclean’s magazine, the House passed a motion complaining about our journalism. We kept doing journalism.”

Michael Coren (iPolitics): “The motion is moderate and largely exploratory, and is in part a response to the grotesque slaughter of Muslim worshipers in Quebec City in January. Frankly, it would be shocking if Ottawa had not initiated some sort of response to Islamophobia and religious hatred.”

Globe and Mail editorial board: “Given the context, it’s no surprise that Muslim Canadians feel under threat. That’s why it’s important for Parliament to pass a resolution expressing solidarity. MPs should come together, condemn anti-Muslim violence and anti-Islamic prejudice, and say, on behalf of all Canadians, that any attack on Muslim Canadians is an attack on all Canadians, and any discrimination against our fellow citizens because of their faith or their race is illegal, unconstitutional and unCanadian.”

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Written by Chris Hannay.

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