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By Chris Hannay (@channay)
Toronto will play host to the Invictus Games next year, a sporting event for wounded soldiers. Prince Harry, who founded the games, made the announcement yesterday, and he'll visit Toronto in May to officially launch the event.
Harry may not be the only member of the Royal Family visiting Canada in the near future. 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation, and the government has been working for years on planning celebrations. Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly was told by public servants – in briefing materials obtained through access to information – that next year's celebrations were a good time to invite the Royal Family. "Canada Day 2017 present an opportunity to host a royal tour … Her Majesty The Queen attended celebrations on Parliament Hill for Canada's Centennial in 1967," the briefing note says.
When asked a few weeks ago where plans stood, a spokesperson for Canadian Heritage would only say "nothing is planned" yet. "Royal Tours are usually announced four to six months in advance," the spokesperson said.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> The Liberal government has quietly changed rules for Atlantic seafood processors to allow them to bring in unlimited temporary foreign workers, after successful lobbying from Liberal MPs. Processors have said the labour shortage in the region is so bad that they've had to throw lobster in the trash.
> Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion says the government will introduce new rules to make Canada's weapon export regime more rigorous – but a $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia will have to stand, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "Canada is a country of the rule of law, a country of democratically elected government, and regardless of how we may feel about a previous government, the fact is they were democratically elected. They signed on to a contract and we are bound to respect that contract," he said.
> The military spent $6.4-million on renovations for bases to house Syrian refugees, but none of the facilities have been used yet.
> Indigenous people who were caught in the "Sixties Scoop" – where children were taken from reserves and placed with non-aboriginal families – are urging the government to settle a long-standing class-action lawsuit.
> The federal government has hired advisers to study the feasibility of a $1-billion aid package for aerospace manufacturer Bombardier.
> The Council of Canadian Innovators, a lobby group representing tech startups, has hired a young Liberal staffer as its first executive director. (for subscribers)
> The head of the largest union for federal public servants says she's surprised the Liberal government has adopted many of the same negotiating positions as the former Conservative government.
> Canada's religious freedom ambassador has joined a Christian think tank under uncertainty about the continued existence of his office.
> And apparently Rona Ambrose has so impressed Conservatives as interim leader, many are wishing she could run for the post permanently.
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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Canada has met its self-imposed deadline to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees. Should we now pat ourselves on the back for a job well done? Surely not, given that there are still more than four million Syrians seeking refuge, and more than 7.5 million displaced internally in Syria. Taking in refugees is only a start, and should remain a priority within the wider government agenda of addressing Syria's future." – Rouba Al-Fattal in The Globe and Mail.
Michael Byers (Globe and Mail): "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defends the $15-billion sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia on the basis that he must respect a contract signed by Canada's previous government. However, the contract is already void – because of crimes against humanity committed by Saudi-led forces in Yemen."
Aaron Wherry (CBC): "The Harper government was arguably very successful at establishing a Conservative idea of Canadian foreign policy: strident and outspoken and ready to use military force. The Liberals might now establish or re-establish a different idea. And at the start of the next decade, they might have a Security Council seat to point to as confirmation."
Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): "Overall, the NDP has tended to do best in provinces where it could substitute itself for a weak Liberal party. But a stronger New Democrat presence has not translated into more progressive governance in those provinces than the Canadian average."
Linda McQuaig (Toronto Star): "The most memorable moment of the 2015 federal election may be the release of a surveillance video capturing a candidate urinating into a stranger's coffee cup. That episode comes to mind, oddly, as I think of what I learned during my recent two-year foray into electoral politics."
Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg View): "Strong economic leadership, as Trudeau seems to understand, does not begin with protectionist or socialist policies that vilify scapegoats. It begins with uniting people around a hopeful and realistic vision that can be fulfilled if government works in concert with markets."
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