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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at the Francophonie Summit in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, November 27, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at the Francophonie Summit in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, November 27, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

What Trudeau said about Castro Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> The Liberals may not push for electoral reform after all, Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef told CTV. A parliamentary committee is set to release its recommendations this week.

> Also this week: what to do about marijuana. The government’s task force – led by former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan – will weigh in this week.

> Liberal MPs are to keep any criticism of Donald Trump to themselves, sources tell The Hill Times.

> The Canada Revenue Agency is combing through tens of thousands of financial transactions that Canadians made offshore, and has already identified 166 high-risk taxpayers to audit in a tax-evasion probe.

> And what judges think of the victim surcharge, which the Liberals have moved to get rid of this fall. “I can be honest and say I didn’t ponder the legal implications of it. I react emotionally to things, and it was just morally wrong,” said Justice Colin Westman, one of the first to speak out against it.

REGIONAL ROUNDUP

> British Columbia is set to unveil a financial update Tuesday that will pave the way for the B.C. Liberals’ last budget before next year’s election.

> A large Chinese insurance company with a murky structure has bought a significant chunk of B.C.’s largest chain of retirement homes, a Globe investigation found.

> Alberta’s Wildrose party says it was the victim of a break-and-enter and thieves stole many party computers.

> Ontarians are pretty steamed about Hydro prices, a new Nanos poll suggests.

> Solitary confinement: A major B.C. advocacy group says it should be eliminated throughout Canada, and Ontario’s new watchdog says it needs to be tackled as part of a bigger look at the corrections system.

TRUDEAU AND CASTRO

Justin Trudeau was in Madagascar this weekend at La Francophonie summit, where he announced $112.8-million for international aid projects and championed rights for women and Africans who are gay, lesbian or transgender.

Of course, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that. Instead, it was a statement the Prime Minister sent out about the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro that sucked up most of the political oxygen this weekend.  It’s routine for the Prime Minister to send out official statements about goings-on in the world – elections, deaths of famous leaders, and so on – but some considered this statement a little more positive than expected. Tu Thanh Ha dives into the history of the Trudeaus and the Castros. Here, for the record, is the statement the Prime Minister released on Saturday:

"It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba's longest serving President.

"Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

"While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro's supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’

"I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader."

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): “There’s a scene in The Godfather that ties up the many strands of the plot into a sudden series of conclusions in a single day of mob hits when Michael Corleone ‘settled all family business.’ In Ottawa, the next month is going to be a little like that, in a bloodless way, as many of the plot lines of Justin Trudeau’s first year come to a denouement in a rat-a-tat series of announcements.”

John Ibbitson (Globe and Mail): “In praising a man loathed by so many Americans, including the president-elect, Mr. Trudeau was acting as his father’s son, reminding everyone that the Castros and the Trudeaus go back, that successive Canadian governments never accepted or agreed with the American boycott of the socialist regime and that whatever foreign-policy heresies the incoming administration might be preparing to commit, Canada is willing and able to go its own way.”

Michael Den Tandt (National Post): “Was it too much to expect someone in the PMO would have flagged this little cyclone and managed a tweak, to avoid wholly conveying that the prime minister of Canada considered the dictator tantamount to a benevolent, grizzled old uncle? Apparently. Considering the furor in 2013 after Trudeau praised Communist China’s ‘basic dictatorship,’ it is stupefying. Given this government intends to continue to engage with Beijing, a task now made more difficult, it is simply incompetent.”

Terry Glavin (Maclean’s): “Fidel Castro was not merely the ‘controversial figure’ of Justin Trudeau’s encomium. He was first and foremost a traitor to the Cuban revolution. On that count alone, Castro’s death should not be mourned. It should be celebrated, loudly and happily.”

Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail): “Instead of using the cash infusion from taxpayers to improve core services, particularly regional news operations, the CBC is using some of the money to expand its digital footprint into yet more areas where it competes directly with private media for the same advertising dollars. But if a bigger, more predatory CBC only kills off private competitors, how does that serve the public interest?”

Elizabeth Renzetti (Globe and Mail): “I have an idea that will revolutionize political life in this country. You know how all new parents in Finland receive a baby box, filled with delightful but practical Nordic necessities for an infant? In this country, we could give a similar box to women who are about to enter political life, except that it would contain only a very large bottle of gin and a rhino’s hide, sized extra-thick. Maybe the whole project could be called Baby It’s Cold Inside (the House.)”

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

Compiled by Chris Hannay. Edited by Steven Proceviat.

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Justin Trudeau defends statement lauding Fidel Castro (Reuters)

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