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By JANE TABER (@JaneTaber1)
Just after his government was sworn into office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked why he appointed women to half of the positions in his cabinet: "Because it's 2015," he famously replied.
His answer spurred a hashtag and was quoted in media around the world – shocking, really, to think that women finally achieving gender parity around the cabinet table was considered such a bold and controversial move. After all, it comes 100 years since women in Manitoba became the first in Canada to win the right to vote and hold public office. Clearly, though, Mr. Trudeau's gesture shows how little progress women have made in the world of Canadian politics.
Today, the Globe and Mail is launching a new column, Women in Politics, which will appear every week. It will look at the women who serve in our House of Commons and provincial legislatures. It will tell their stories. It will also examine the issues that women are bringing to the political arena, and how they deal with those issues. Is Parliament different with more women at the cabinet table, which some advocates of elected women believe it will be? We'll see.
The column will look at women who want to run for office, and their triumphs and challenges. Do women bring a different perspective to issues? Do women make decisions differently? And do they behave any better in Question Period than their male counterparts? Do women matter in politics? The column will examine all of these questions – not because it's 2015 or 2016, but because diversity is always good and makes for a healthier democracy.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
By Chris Hannay (@channay)
> Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in La Loche, Sask., today, the site of a recent school shooting. The provincial government is currently looking into extra security measures for the school to comfort residents.
> Canada's spy agencies are inappropriately sharing information with foreign allies and not always destroying data they are being told to, according to a pair of federal watchdogs.
> Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc and Treasury Board President Scott Brison will be holding informal meetings with MPs of all parties next week on how to better keep track of government spending.
> Lisa Raitt, the Conservative finance critic and former transport minister, says she's supportive of getting rid of Friday House sittings and other measures to improve work-life balance for MPs. "Looking back on it, had I known, I don't know whether or not I would have made the leap [into politics]," she told Jane Taber. "So once you're in it, you've got to deal with whatever the situation is. I don't regret it … although I have no friends. My friends are my children and my staff."
> Innovation experts, including Jim Balsillie, are expressing concern over the briefing given to Minister Navdeep Bains by his department. (for subscribers)
> Some First Nations groups and the mayor of Burnaby, B.C., say they are disappointed in new pipeline assessment rules announced by the Liberals this week. "It's clear the oil company lobbyists and the lobbyists for the pipelines have gotten to the Liberals very quickly, and suddenly we're hearing a very different tune from ministers and from the Prime Minister. During the election, it was 're-start the process, the public has no faith' … and now we're hearing a desperation to get this oil to the shore," Mayor Derek Corrigan said.
> CBC is starting a new interview series where regular Canadians will interview Mr. Trudeau in his office.
> And ahead of Monday's Iowa caucus, the first real indication of support for the U.S. presidential nomination races, we explain: what the heck are caucuses, anyway?
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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Since I took office [as Mexico's foreign minister] five months ago, one of my main priorities has been to strengthen and consolidate the regional and bilateral agenda Mexico has with the United States and Canada. There are few issues that aren't better addressed than through a North American perspective. We do better when we work together. Now more than ever, leaders in North America need to be more committed to achieving greater economic integration. This integration can and should be achieved by increasing our regulatory co-operation and facilitating trade between our countries through improved transportation links and efficient infrastructure." – Claudia Ruiz Massieu writes in The Globe and Mail ahead of today's trilateral in Quebec City.
Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "Whether native Torontonians, or people who moved there for career purposes, the Prime Minister's staffers are disproportionally from that city. By contrast, the paucity of francophones from Quebec in a government led by a Quebecker has been widely and disapprovingly noted in the Quebec media." (for subscribers)
Gary Mason (Globe and Mail): "The minister's challenge is to tell us something we don't already know. Failing that, the MMIW [murdered and missing indigenous women] inquiry is going to be a costly but ultimately political exercise designed to make us feel less guilty about what is taking place."
Sara MacIntyre (Toronto Sun): "Canada's resource sector, now hear this: Stop waiting for Ottawa to fix your problems."
Jen Gerson (National Post): "If the practical impact of Trudeau's regulatory overhaul is to create a system that effectively bars all future pipelines, Albertans are going to see this as further evidence that the deck is being stacked eternally against it; that central Canada is rigging the economic and political rules to its own benefit under the guise of environmental concern."
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