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By Chris Hannay (@channay)
The Manitoba election is expected to begin today, with a vote on April 19. The province's NDP government, led by Greg Selinger – who survived a cabinet revolt last year – has been in power since 1999, but it may be at risk of losing re-election. Recent polls show them running far behind the Progressive Conservatives across the province, though the race is a lot tighter in seat-rich Winnipeg. So far the election has been marked by a slew of controversies over what candidates have been tweeting.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in New York today, where he is scheduled to speak at United Nations headquarters. Representatives of all 192 member states are invited to the speech, where Mr. Trudeau is expected to make his case for why Canada should again sit on the UN Security Council.
> The RCMP has dropped investigations into the disputed expenses of 24 senators, leaving six that are still under investigation.
> In other Senate news, Nunavut's Dennis Patterson has tabled a bill to remove the requirement that senators must own $4,000 of property in their province.
> Sources tell Bloomberg to expect a budget deficit next week of about $30-billion.
> The Liberal government has continued to award projects under the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, which Liberal MPs decried as a $150-million "slush fund" when it was created by the Conservatives last year.
> Documents obtained by the CBC suggest the RCMP are having serious problems with Shared Services Canada, the federal department responsible for IT, which could be putting investigations at risk.
> And Embassy (which will soon be folded into The Hill Times) asked MPs what they thought about Donald Trump. "The only bright light is that he has sort of restored freedom of speech to America," said one MP.
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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Next Tuesday, when the Liberal government tables a budget with a multibillion-dollar deficit, NDP Leader [Tom Mulcair] won't be able to carry a clear, consistent political tune. He'll have to dance instead. He's caught between the election campaign he ran just five months ago, when he insisted on balanced budgets, and the leadership review he faces three weeks from now – when most New Democrats want to toss that 'austerity' pledge into the rubbish bin of history." – Campbell Clark (for subscribers).
Chris Selley (National Post): "Mulcair does seem to run a tighter ship than [Jack] Layton. But Svend Robinson and Libby Davies both felt the sting of Layton's determined efforts to moderate the party's image on the Middle East, and their supporters howled. Layton's popularity, and certainly the party's 2011 breakthrough, kept much of this off the boil. Because the socialists were never happy with Layton, and aren't happy now, they provide useful insight into the party's existential crisis."
Lorna Dueck (Globe and Mail): "The real gulf we must overcome [in the assisted-dying debate] is the argument that there is no room for religious conscience in publicly funded health care."
Colin Robertson (Globe and Mail): "Where trade was once welcomed by free-market Republicans and union-backing Democrats, economic nationalism has suddenly united both Republicans and Democrats. Why? The trade issue intersects at the four corners of anti-globalization, anti-immigration, anti-Wall Street and anti-Washington." (for subscribers)
Ron Graham (Globe and Mail): "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's new government should recommit Canada to helping Myanmar. And that, in the short term, requires only three relatively simple, relatively inexpensive actions."
Daphne Bramham (Vancouver Sun): "Refugees are not like immigrants. They haven't chosen to be where they've ended up. They didn't have time to upgrade their skills, save their money, learn another language or pack all their favourites things before they fled. The stark truth is that, in a more perfect world, most of the nearly 14 million refugees registered with the United Nations would have stayed home."
John Boyko (Globe and Mail): "While enjoying the success of his Washington trip, Mr. Trudeau should recall [Lester B.] Pearson's lesson. Friendship and simpatico between the leaders can help in the complex and nuanced Canadian-U.S. relationship but, in the end, countries don't have friends, just interests. And interests trump smiles every time."
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