CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Europe today, where this morning he told the European Parliament that they must sell their citizens on the virtues of the Canada-EU trade deal or it will be the last such major agreement for some time to come. “If we are successful, CETA will become the blueprint for all ambitious, future trade deals. If we are not, this could well be one of the last. So make no mistake about it, this is an important moment,” Mr. Trudeau said.
A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute found more than half of Canadians support the Canada-Eu deal (and most of the rest are unsure). The support is actually down slightly from two years ago -- from 68 per cent to 55 -- as respondents expressed more concern about trade with the United States.
After a reasonably smooth visit to Washington this week, the Liberal government is said to be working hard on bilateral relations with the White House -- leaving Mexico to fend for itself in North American free-trade negotiations. “We don’t want to be part of the triumvirate when the item is [Mexico] drugs coming into the United States, illegal immigration or building a wall,” one highly placed Canadian source told The Globe.
A backbencher’s motion to condemn religious discrimination is getting the full support of the Liberal government. “Racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia have no place in Canadian society,” said Liberal MP Iqra Khalid. Conservative MPs say they don’t like that hatred against Muslims was specifically cited in the motion as something to condemn, and that it was restricting their freedom of speech.
Security is being beefed up at Rideau Cottage, the home of Mr. Trudeau’s family.
Lawyers for more than 2,000 residential school survivors have had their fees knocked back after being told they overcharged their clients or the government.
Mary Ng, the director of appointments in the Prime Minister’s Office, will seek to carry the Liberal banner in an upcoming Markham, Ont., by-election to replace former immigration minister John McCallum.
Amirhossein Zolghadri, a gay Iranian man, has gone public about being dangerously stranded in Turkey after difficulties with Canadian immigration (due to last year’s rapid intake of Syrian refugees) and the Trump administration’s asylum ban.
Media leaders, including Globe and Mail editor-in-chief David Walmsley, say they support a Senate bill to protect journalists’ sources.
And Pierre Karl Peladeau, after a disastrous and short political career, is back as Quebecor’s CEO.
U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Fast food executive Andrew Puzder has abruptly withdrawn himself as Donald Trump’s nominee for labour secretary, before he could face a confirmation vote in the Senate. While Democrats have been routinely opposing Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks, Republicans weren’t happy with his immigration policies and suggestions he had abused his wife.
Senators of both parties say they will investigate Michael Flynn and the Trump administration’s relations with Russia.
And Mr. Trump’s travel ban has had at least one economic impact so far: tourism to the U.S. has been down since the President signed his controversial executive order.
LUNCHTIME LONG READ
Republicans have waited years for the chance to repeal Obamacare, though now that they are in a position to do so some are hesitating because of the complexity of the task. Lost in the policy talks and Capitol Hill machinations, though, are the real people who depend on Obamacare for health insurance.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Brahma Chellaney (Globe and Mail): “If there is any credible U.S. option to deal with Pyongyang, it is to give diplomacy a chance, with the goal of forging a peace treaty with the North to formally end the Korean War – officially just in a ceasefire since 1953. Denuclearization should be integral to the terms of such a peace treaty. But if denuclearization is made the sole purpose of engagement with the North, diplomacy will not succeed. Barack Obama’s administration refused to talk unless Pyongyang first pledged to denuclearize. The North’s only leverage is the nuclear card, which it will not surrender without securing a comprehensive peace deal.”
Michael Byers (Globe and Mail): “If Mr. Sajjan wished to raise [defence] spending further, a responsible next step would be to increase annual spending on maintenance, training, housing and health services, all of which have been neglected in recent decades.”
Andrew Coyne (National Post): “Conservatism used to have some claim to being a coherent political philosophy. Of late it has become a series of dares. The most extreme voice will lay down the most extreme position, then challenge others to endorse it.”
David Bahnsen (National Review): “Traditional Reaganite conservatives like me spent most of the campaign praying that if Trump won he would prioritize the supply-side plank of his platform at the expense of the protectionist plank. ... But from the very beginning of Trump’s campaign, using those around him to gauge his economic priorities has proven futile, because Team Trump has no philosophical harmony on matters of economic ideology.”
Robyn Urback (CBC): “We don't need 100 days to assess this presidency. In fewer than 30, Trump has become everything the doomsdayers said he would be.”
E.J. Dionne Jr. (Washington Post): “Let’s not mumble or whisper about the central issue facing our country: What is this democratic nation to do when the man serving as president of the United States plainly has no business being president of the United States?”
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Written by Chris Hannay.
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