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The MacLaurin family from the Fort William First Nation near Thunder Bay includes some status Indians and other relatives who are non-Indigenous band members, but who do not qualify for status benefits. (Courtesy of Damien Lee)
The MacLaurin family from the Fort William First Nation near Thunder Bay includes some status Indians and other relatives who are non-Indigenous band members, but who do not qualify for status benefits. (Courtesy of Damien Lee)

Politics Briefing

Ontario First Nation seeks status expansion Add to ...

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

For many years the Indian Act has governed how Indian status is conferred. An Ontario First Nation is trying to change that, touting the ‘right to self-determination’ to say that the federal government should no longer determine who gets status. The Globe reported earlier this month that Fort William opened its membership to a non-status person, a likely first in Canada.

In an interview with the Globe, outgoing Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig points to Toronto Pearson Airport’s megahub plans as the ideal kind of project for the yet to be launched Canadian Infrastructure Bank. Mr. McCuaig is leaving his role at the transportation agency to take on an advisory role with the federal government.

The Bank of Canada will likely leave its policy rate the same when it convenes this week even though there are numerous indicators that Canada is in the midst of an economic upswing.

Canadian business executives are optimistic about U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-business stance. Seven in 10 say they’ll benefit from the Trump presidency. They have little faith in him or his team, however, with fewer than one in five assured of his ability to handle files with cross-border ramifications such as trade and immigration.

B.C. is preparing for its provincial election, with the writ expected to drop tomorrow. Politicians are preparing for a brutal campaign in which the provincial NDP looks to unseat the BC Liberals, who have been in power since 2001. Premier Christy Clark, who pulled off an unexpected upset in the 2013 election, heads into this campaign facing a very different set of circumstances.

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U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington he won assurances that Canadian NAFTA provisions would only require “tweaking.” That was February 13. Last Thursday, former prime minister Brian Mulroney warned the Liberal cabinet that Mr. Trump would want more than a tweak. And yesterday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that “I think [NAFTA] needs much more than a tweak. I think the President has made that exceedingly clear.”

What will the U.S. do next in Syria? Since tomahawk missiles rained down on a Syrian air base last week, many have been wondering what comes next. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said that “we don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the Syrian people will decide their fate. The somewhat contradictory statements do little to answer the question of what the U.S. and its coalition partners’ plan for Syria is.

Another dimension in the long-running conflict is what Russian President Vladimir Putin wants in Syria. From energy to location to testing the West, Russia has seen Syria as the key to influencing the Middle East. But with Washington taking a harder line against the Kremlin during the weekend over its support of the Assad regime, this week’s visit to Russia by Mr. Tillerson, who was awarded the Order of Friendship by Mr. Putin in 2013, takes a new twist.

And you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Republicans in Washington are missing former president Barack Obama. Or at least they’re missing opposing him, which they did without fail throughout his presidency.

SECUREDROP

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LUNCHTIME LONG READ

Policy makers and economists have long worried about Canada’s housing market. The Calgary boom was stymied by the drop in oil prices. Vancouver’s real estate bubble slowed by the foreign buyers tax. Now, the focus turns to Canada’s largest city and its surrounding greater metropolitan area, where about a fifth of all Canadians live. As the Globe’s David Parkinson and Barrie McKenna report, all of Canada would pay if the city’s real estate bubble bursts. (for subscribers)

QUOTABLE

“I’ll probably remember this until I’m a hundred.”  13-year-old Max Vandervoort in France, reflecting with awe and wonder at the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail): “Canada’s Senate is struggling to reinvent itself, to shed its reputation as a refuge for party hacks, to become instead a truly non-partisan body of sober second thought.”

David Herle (The Globe and Mail): “From an economic perspective, Canadian business see a party shaping up in the United States. The important question is whether we are invited or excluded from that party.”

Aisha Ahmad and Daniel Douek (The Globe and Mail): “The most dangerous thing about Mr. Trump is that neither his friends nor his enemies can make sense of his signals. Being unpredictable might help you win in the boxing ring, but in international relations, this is a losing strategy. Every time a superpower behaves erratically and sends mixed messages to the world, its rivals get confused, miscalculate their next moves, and overreach. The result is inevitably calamity.”

Krista Jones (Policy Options): “The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution has begun, and it’s going to take all of us — government, businesses and employees — to steer through the resulting workforce disruption. More than just helping our kids avoid jobs that machines will take over in the future — from driving trucks and reading X-rays to picking stocks and balancing the books — we need to look at ways of retraining the millions of adults who will be displaced by machines and get them back doing meaningful, relevant work.”

Trevor Tombe (Macleans): “The deal is a complete redesign of the very structure of Canada’s internal trade arrangements. It makes it more likely that future rules and regulations will be harmonized across provinces, and begins a multi-pronged attack on existing differences. The deal may plausibly, albeit slowly, ratchet Canada towards broad internal liberalization. At worst, it shines new light on areas previously in the dark.”

Margaret Sullivan (The Washington Post): “Missile strikes may seem thrilling, and retaliation righteous. But journalists and commentators ought to remember the duller virtues, too, like skepticism, depth and context. And keep their eyes fixed firmly there, not on the spectacular images in the sky.”

Written by Mayaz Alam.

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