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By Chris Hannay (@channay)
In a busy week for Parliament Hill's social calendar – the annual press gallery dinner, a summer social hosted by Rona Ambrose at Stornoway and a garden party at the Speaker of the House of Commons' historic Farm – one of the highlights was last night's gathering for the Prime Minister, where PMO staff, Liberal ministers and Hill journalists mingled. And one of the biggest eyebrow raisers of the night was where it was hosted: the back lawn of 24 Sussex.
Normally this wouldn't be surprising: 24 Sussex has for decades been the official living quarters of the prime minister and his or her family, and the grounds have hosted their fair share of shindigs. But since becoming PM, Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and their children have lived on the nearby Rideau Hall grounds, as years of neglect and postponed renovations have taken their toll on the historic home.
Does last night's gathering indicate a return to the home Mr. Trudeau grew up in? Probably not any time soon. Despite brief rain showers, guests were kept out on the grass outside the building, and the National Capital Commission's official line remains that no decision about the property's future has yet been made.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IN OTTAWA
> In other personal Trudeau-family news, one of the nannies has been let go and another will be hired with personal funds.
> The Senate will continue debating the assisted-death bill today, and will consider at least 50 proposed amendments. With the Supreme Court's deadline passed the medical procedure is now legal, and Alberta has given the clearest signs yet it won't prosecute physicians involved in the process.
> The Liberals made a campaign pledge to hold an "open and transparent" tendering process to replace Canada's fighter jets, but the government appears to be backing off that promise. A pair of CF-18s did see a bit of action in Ottawa last month after a drone was spotted outside the city's airport.
> The federal government is looking outside the public service to recruit executives for the bureaucracy. In related news, Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board, says they will change the rules around bargaining with unions as talks continue to drag on.
> A survey by the Environics Institute suggests non-indigenous Canadians are becoming more concerned about the challenges that indigenous Canadians face.
> And your fun read of the day: Why there's an Istanbul-based clothing chain named "Paul Martin Canadian." (If you'd like prime-ministerial merchandise from closer to home, the Liberals have started selling Justin Trudeau cookie cutters.)
> Ontario: The provincial government will release details of its climate action plan this morning. Premier Kathleen Wynne says at least 40 per cent of all provincial appointments to boards and agencies will go to women by 2019, a move that could help recruitment of female executives in the corporate world. And General Motors of Canada will announce later this week it will hire 1,000 engineers to boost its research division.
> Newfoundland and Labrador: The governing Liberals are introducing a form of carbon pricing to reduce emissions.
> New Brunswick: The Liberals have created the first Minister of Celtic Affairs, a portfolio reminiscent of Nova Scotia's Minister of Gaelic Affairs.
> Alberta: The Fort McMurray wildfires have left the area's soil with a toxic level of contaminants.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "The vast majority of serious economists and think tanks believe Britain would be an economic loser following withdrawal from the EU. As former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and current Bank of England Governor Mark Carney (a Canadian) have argued: There can be no guarantees about what kind of deal Britain might get with the EU. Why trade what works economically for the unknown?" (for subscribers)
John Ibbitson (Globe and Mail): "Justin Trudeau's solution – to appoint senators based on merit who sit as independents – has had an immediate impact. And as it happens, Bill C-14 offers the Senate the perfect opportunity to show what it can do: carefully study and thoughtfully amend a hugely important bill – on nothing less than the right to death – that the House passed in haste." (for subscribers)
Colin Robertson (Globe and Mail): "In short, the relationship between the foreign service and the Harper government was one of mutual contempt. Now, with that decade of darkness behind us, we need a compendium of best practices – our own and those of other nations' – to encourage traditionalists to think out-of-the-box. Canada's diplomats need to change their mindset from that of compliance in just carrying out government orders to one of policy innovation and public diplomacy." (for subscribers)
Matt Gurney (National Post): "If Canada is to buy new jets, we need to buy enough of them, and quickly enough, to make a real difference. We will have to invest heavily in infrastructure and training and simulators. Super Hornets evolved from the same F-18 jet that Canada first bought in the 1980s, but they are, in many ways, very different aircraft and would involve significant expense. Even as an interim solution, the air force would need enough of them to be able to actually deploy in strength."
Edmonton Journal editorial board: "In a place [Fort McMurray] that, at times, has a reputation for cowboy attitudes, it's the best cowboy attributes shining through. People are pulling up to their homes and launching into the hard work of cleaning up. They are going heavy on good manners, not skimping on thank-yous, as they wait in lineups at the restaurants and stores opened with limited staff. And they are reaching out to help their neighbours – especially those displaced by the fire – offering spare rooms and help where possible."
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