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By Robert Fife (@RobertFife), Ottawa bureau chief, with the Prime Minister in Davos, Switzerland
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hit the party circuit last night in Davos mingling with rich celebrities, wealthy tycoons and the political elite.
He attended an event with Hollywood stars Kevin Spacey and Leonardo DiCaprio and Irish rocker Bono. About 1,000 chief executives and 40 world leaders and international celebrities descend on this Alpine ski resort every year for the World Economic Forum.
U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are among the political leaders attending, as well as the King of Jordan.
Today, Mr. Trudeau is holding a series of one-on-one meetings with corporate executives, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra and B. K. Goenka, chairman of Indian steel and textile giant Welspun.
Mr. Trudeau will also participate in a question-and-answer session today with high achievers under the age of 30.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who is travelling with Mr. Trudeau, is expected to take questions from Canadian journalists about Mr. Trudeau’s meeting with Ms. Barra and the fate of the Oshawa GM plant.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
By Chris Hannay (@channay)
> After months of saying the $15-billion arms deal – negotiated by the previous Conservative government – with Saudi Arabia was a done deal, the Liberals are now saying they could suspend or cancel it if the human rights situation gets worse in the Middle East country.
> An open letter from two leading defence analysts is urging Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to significantly scale back plans for new military hardware.
> Stephen Poloz says the upcoming Liberal budget and its promises of stimulus was a key reason the Bank of Canada held rates steady.
> Toronto is joining Ottawa and Vancouver in asking for a temporary reprieve from Syrian refugees, saying the city is running out of room to accommodate them all.
> EU officials are quietly asking Canada to revisit the investment protection clause in the free trade deal.
> Should MPs be fined for heckling in the House?
> Michael Wernick, a former deputy minister at Aboriginal Affairs, is the new clerk of the Privy Council, the top bureaucrat in Ottawa.
> And meet Mike McNair, Mr. Trudeau’s directory of policy, who will have a key role in the Liberals’ upcoming carbon-pricing policies – and who helped Stéphane Dion create his signature “Green Shift” policy in the 2008 election. (for subscribers)
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WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
“Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz held open the door for the Liberal government to bring in a bigger stimulus package in its budget, and a bigger deficit.That wasn’t the central banker’s goal, of course. The bank decided not to cut interest rates (again) on Wednesday because of the risk that it would send the low Canadian dollar sliding further, and spark another set of ills with inflation. But Mr. Poloz’s assessment of Canada’s economy came with another implication: It’s time for the government, rather than the central bank, to take over efforts to stimulate the economy.”
– Campbell Clark (for subscribers) on the Bank and the government.
David Parkinson (Globe and Mail): “So the big question for the government is, how desperately does it need to stimulate the economy right now, at the expense of a bigger bang for taxpayers’ bucks over the long haul?” (for subscribers)
Yves Boisvert (Globe and Mail): “Philippe Couillard is a lucky man. After two years of harsh budget cuts and economic hardship, the Liberal Premier of Quebec should be in deep political trouble. But the opposition parties are preoccupied these days; they’re much busier fighting among themselves in new and entertaining ways.”
Brent Rathgeber (iPolitics): “Easing the tension between the [Wildrose and Alberta PC] parties might require the efforts of an outsider, someone able to calm the waters and form an actual partnership, rather than a takeover. The surprise name that emerged in speculation over the holidays was Jason Kenney, who might be seeing his dream of occupying 24 Sussex slipping away. [Rona] Ambrose might be a better fit, however. ”
Thomas Walkom (Toronto Star): “Trudeau’s Liberals won power on a pledge to end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq and Syria – in the air and on the ground. If they are serious about this, why should we expect the Americans to include Ottawa in their combat deliberations?”
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