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Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna responds to a question in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Feb. 19, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna responds to a question in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Feb. 19, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

Environment ministers meet in Ottawa Add to ...

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Canada is indicating it will renew a military training mission in Ukraine, which is set to expire at the end of March. The mission sees a rotating contingent of Canadian soldiers help Ukrainians against Russian-backed separatists.

Federal and provincial environment ministers will meet in Ottawa today and tomorrow, with a focus on conservation. Environmental groups are warning the ministers to do more to protect boreal forests and woodland caribou populations.

Water treatment plants are failing on reserves across the country, a Globe investigation reveals.

Canada’s financial watchdog is helping police track human trafficking.

More families of Afghan war veterans who died by suicide will receive a military honour from the government.

After booting Tom Mulcair from the leadership last year, a growing group of New Democrats now say they would like him to stay.

Liberal MPs in B.C. have been hearing plenty of concern from constituents about the approval last year of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Now those MPs say they are organizing to make sure the safety of the pipelines is monitored effectively.

And the British Columbia government releases its budget today, just a few short weeks before the next provincial election. The B.C. Liberals have been in power since 2001.

U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

We’re officially a month into the Trump era and there’s a new  national security adviser, Lieutenant-General H.R. McMaster. He takes the job after Mr. Trump’s first choice to replace Michael Flynn declined the role, reportedly because he wouldn’t be allowed full authority over staffing decisions. Mr. McMaster is already being praised in segments of the liberal and conservative media alike but questions remain as to whether he’ll be given a chance to do his job. 

On the trade and immigration fronts, Mr. Trump has repeatedly targeted Mexico. He may run into a roadblock in ripping up NAFTA, however, as the country issued one of its most stern warnings yet that it will retaliate. Mexico’s economy minister says that it will cease to co-operate with the U.S. on drug enforcement, migration control, security and intelligence gathering.

Despite only being in the White House for a month, Mr. Trump is facing unprecedented levels of opposition. The exact level of unpopularity varies considerably from poll to poll. Democrats are already looking to take advantage with an eye on midterm elections in 2018.

After a botched rollout of an executive order that sought to ban immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, Mr. Trump is vowing to reboot the policy in the coming days.

And while closed borders have been a consistent hallmark of Mr. Trump’s policy agenda, he may need to embrace immigration, however unlikely that may be, in order to achieve the robust economic growth he’s promised.

LUNCHTIME LONG READ

It was the site of the Confederation talks in 1864 that led to the formation of Canada, but now Province House in Charlottetown is falling apart. We explain why Ottawa is on the hook for the building and how they’re trying to save it. Meanwhile, PEI says New Brunswick is trying to steal its birthplace-of-Canada thunder.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Eden Robinson (The Globe and Mail): “While the rest of the world was raining (rightful) condemnation on President Donald Trump for his Muslim ban, many Canadians probably didn’t notice that Mr. Trudeau didn’t do a town hall in Vancouver. He’s done his apology tour for his sketchy vacation in the Bahamas in Tim Hortons outlets across the country, but not in B.C. Certainly not in Vancouver. Mr. Trudeau got credit for standing up in hostile rooms to hostile crowds, but I want you to notice who he’s willing to face and who he isn’t.”

Benjamin Perrin (The Globe and Mail): “The Supreme Court’s test in R. v. Jordan is on the verge of causing hundreds of charges to be stayed for “unreasonable delay” under the Charter. Under Jordan, criminal charges have a best-before date of 18 months in provincial court and 30 months in superior court. When I explained the test to a group of trial judges several months ago, looks of shock and surprise were exchanged between them. While delays in our justice system must be addressed, Jordan may be a cure worse than the disease.”

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board: “Playing an abrasive businessman on a reality television show in no way prepares a person for the complexities of leading a party, a caucus, a government, a bureaucracy and relations with other countries, all at the same time. Getting that experience requires time in the halls of government, or a serious study of what goes on in those halls, and how the machinery works.”

Mark Kingwell (The Globe and Mail): “Mr. Trump is not all that different from other thin-skinned, overprivileged and narcissistic people. Nothing is ever their fault, critical motives are always dark and failures to acknowledge their excellence are jealous, never factual. The obvious difference is that few, if any, command Mr. Trump’s global field of fire. ”

Susan Glasser (The New York Times): “Don’t worry too much about whether Trump and the Russian leader are working together. Worry about what they have in common.”

This is the daily Globe Politics newsletter. Sign up to get it by e-mail each morning and let us know what you think.

Written by Chris Hannay and Mayaz Alam.

McMaster named Trump's national security adviser (The Associated Press)
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