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Canadian soldiers take aim at a suspected Taliban "trigger man" who may set off a remote controlled bomb in the village of Kairo Kala in Panjwaii District west of Kandahar City in April, 2010. (Louie Palu/The Canadian Press)
Canadian soldiers take aim at a suspected Taliban "trigger man" who may set off a remote controlled bomb in the village of Kairo Kala in Panjwaii District west of Kandahar City in April, 2010. (Louie Palu/The Canadian Press)

Politics Briefing

Military tackles mental health Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

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

By Chris Hannay (@channay)

• Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Argentina today, where he’s making his pitch to Argentine and Canadian businesses. While in Cuba, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau spoke passionately about the need for men to teach their boys to respect women.

• The military says it will create a new structure for dealing with mental health, after a Globe and Mail investigation into veterans who have died by suicide. Separately, the military’s Surgeon-General is casting doubt on Health Canada findings that the antimalarial drug mefloquine can cause long-term psychiatric damage.

• The saga of Canada’s fighter jets continue: now the Liberals look likely to go with the Super Hornet option.

• A senior Ukrainian politician is urging Western countries to remain united against Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the new U.S. administration appears to be warming to him.

• Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is putting an optimistic spin on global climate co-operation after Donald Trump’s election win. “Everyone is absolutely committed to climate action,” she said after a week at a United Nations summit.

• Liberal MPs questioned Facebook about the rise of fake news, as a BuzzFeed study suggests made-up stories outperformed real ones during the U.S. election.

• Hackers – possibly state-sponsored – have hit government servers more than 4,500 times so far this year, with almost half of those cyber attacks directing to the resources sector. Hackers also caused mischief with the Canadian Forces recruiting website on Thursday, and it’s unclear who was responsible.

• Alberta says it is strongly opposed to a federal plan to privatize airports. “There’s no reason to sell them off,” provincial Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said.

• Niagara residents have elected the youngest Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario’s history: 19-year-old Sam Oosterhoff. The pair of by-elections last night were to test Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s popularity, but both incumbent parties – the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives – held on to their respective seats by comfortable margins.

• The architects behind a controversial proposal to expand the Chateau Laurier have unveiled their new design, which looks remarkably like the old one.

• And the ethics commissioner has ruled: a retiring Mint CEO shouldn’t have accepted a model ship worth $150 at his going-away party.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Globe and Mail editorial board: “A year later, however, Canadian special operations soldiers are very much on the ground in Iraq. There are about 200 of them, a number that has roughly tripled since the Harper government. And those troops are clearly in combat – regularly shooting at and killing the enemy, and themselves being shot at – though Ottawa goes to great lengths to keep the details scarce. That is because the Trudeau government continues to maintain that the combat mission it expanded is actually the combat mission it ended. It’s Orwellian.”

Roland Paris (Globe and Mail): “The U.S. remains the cornerstone of security and trade arrangements that have underpinned the international order since 1945. Mr. Trump is mercurial and eccentric. No one should write off his pronouncements as mere campaign rhetoric. Alliances can weather internal discord, but they cannot endure distrust among their members on the core question of whether they will come to one another’s defence.”

Gary Mason (Globe and Mail): “When Rachel Notley led the NDP to power in 2015, ending the Tory’s four-plus decades in power, it was viewed as another signal that the province had entered a new phase of its existence, a period of progressive, feminist enlightenment few saw coming. Well, maybe not as it turns out. Politics in Alberta is not showing well these days. In fact, the situation is about as ugly and disturbing as you’ll find anywhere in the country.”

Don Braid (Calgary Herald): “MLA Sandra Jansen defects from the PC opposition caucus to the NDP, alleging sexism, extremism and intolerance in her own party. She says it’s being taken over by a radical fringe. Donald Trump’s name is mentioned. After competing in a primary and failing, she’s decided to go with Hillary, oops, Rachel. ...Politically, though, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of Jansen’s move. What I heard Thursday was the opening of a declared culture war in Alberta. Notley lamented the ‘extreme version of conservatism’ that’s taking over the PCs (code for Jason Kenney).”

Colby Cosh (National Post): “If you are a newspaperman, you cannot help noticing how much of our everyday folklore is still concocted, or at least propagated, by columnists and editors. The alleged profusion of artificial collective nouns for animals is another example of a supermoon-style invention: phrases like ‘a murder of crows’ and ‘a clowder of cats’ have no actual English-language provenance, but they enjoy a mysterious quasi-official standing because someone made them up in a spirit of playfulness and hustling.”

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