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Finance Minister Bill Morneau takes part in a interview with The Canadian Press at his office in Ottawa, Thursday, March 23, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Finance Minister Bill Morneau takes part in a interview with The Canadian Press at his office in Ottawa, Thursday, March 23, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Politics Briefing

Liberal caucus holds rare Friday meeting Add to ...

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The Liberal government is looking at many options for increasing tax revenue, but touching capital gains is not in the cards, Finance Minister Bill Morneau insists. The business community remains cautiously optimistic about the government’s fiscal plans, while the science community hopes new funding will help them lure researchers from the United States and Britain. Transit advocates are grumbling about the elimination of the tax credit in this week’s budget. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose to skip parliamentary debate of the budget in order to campaign for the Liberal candidate in a Toronto-area by-election. He’ll be back in Ottawa this afternoon, when the Liberal caucus will begin a rare weekend caucus meeting.

China’s ambassador to Canada says the Asian country should have unfettered access to invest in the Canadian economy, and any concerns about human rights should be disregarded. “Investment is investment. We should not take too much political considerations into the investment,” Lu Shaye told The Globe in an exclusive interview.

Casual sexism on the Hill: the National Post reports that a male Liberal MP made a lewd comment to a female Conservative MP, and the opposition parties would like the Prime Minister to address it.

Andrew Potter, an academic and former newspaper editor, appears to have been pushed out of a high-profile posting at McGill University after publishing an opinion piece in Maclean’s that was critical of Quebec.

A Quebec First Nation alleges it’s being exploited by its financial manager.

Statistics Canada’s website is increasingly crashing.

Kim Campbell might have found her second calling on Twitter.

And once again, the Angus Reid Institute’s regular polling of approval ratings shows Canadians aren’t too fond of their premiers. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s support is down to 12 per cent in the poll, and only Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall remains above 50 per cent -- but even he is drifting down from earlier heights above 60.

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U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The health care bill from House Republicans is up for a vote today, after leadership cancelled a Thursday vote when it looked unlikely to pass.  Sources tell The New York Times that President Donald Trump, the author of “The Art of the Deal,” has faced rare self-doubt this week over the difficulty of swaying opponents of the bill. Politico says the unclear support for the bill in the Republican caucus makes the vote still too close to call.

TransCanada says its Keystone XL pipeline has received a permit, courtesy of Mr. Trump, after the energy project was blocked by Barack Obama.

“I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.” Mr. Trump gave an interview to Time magazine about truth and falsehood -- an interview that itself contained 14 false things.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): “A symbolic motion to condemn Islamophobia somehow became, even after the shooting deaths of six people at a Quebec City mosque, a toxic debate that leapt off the order paper and onto overheated internet sites. It ended with a quiet, anti-climactic vote that adopted the motion, and most MPs seemed happy enough to slip away afterward.”

Don Martin (CTV): “Now Trudeau’s pushing to change the way the Commons votes, partly because it limits him to one question period of opposition attack per week. But to rush ahead on Liberal-only proposals without obtaining all-party agreement or allowing MPs to vote freely on changing their working conditions is unfair.”

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): “Academic freedom is a core tenet of any university. It is essential so that the faculty can do their jobs, and the university is duty bound to defend it. Even when powerful people get mad. Especially when powerful people get mad. It’s pretty basic.”

Kevin Milligan (Globe and Mail): “In the budget, the government did make some good moves with the tax measures it tackled, but it did not tackle enough. That is, Mr. Morneau may have grabbed some of the low-hanging fruit, but he left a lot of fruit farther up the tree untouched.”

Jennifer Ditchburn (Policy Options): “I’m going to borrow from some of the buzzwordy language in vogue with the government right now as a metaphor for Budget 2017 – it’s like an automated car that is probably going down the right road, but its electric battery is only partly charged.”

Written by Chris Hannay.

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