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politics briefing

The Weeknd poses with members of the RCMP in Washington on March 9, 2016.Laura Stone/The Globe and Mail

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POLITICS BRIEFING

By Laura Stone (@l_stone) in Washington, D.C.

"Unbelievable."

That's how the Toronto R&B star The Weeknd (real name: Abel Tesfaye) describes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The horizontal-haired Mr. Tesfaye, who took the time to pose with some Mounties and take selfies with adoring fans on the street, was one of the guests at Wednesday night's cocktail party welcoming Mr. Trudeau and the Canadian delegation to Washington.

Mr. Tesfaye also "had a great time," and apparently responds to the name Mr. Weeknd.

The party was at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, across from the White House. The lights were dimmed and red, and partygoers dined on smoked meat sandwiches and drank signature cocktails called L'Habitant and The Canuck, while Rihanna's new single "Work," blared in the background.

When they arrived from the adjoining Blair House, the president's guest house next door, Mr. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, worked their way through the crowd of Liberal staffers, academics, U.S. senators and the odd ambassador, shaking hands and posing for pictures.

The vibe was trendy, the music was loud and the crowd was friendly, although the Trudeaus didn't stay too long after the Prime Minister's seven-minute speech. (Something tells us they have a few things to do today.)

At the end of his speech, Mr. Trudeau thanked his wife.

"I would be tremendously remiss if I didn't point out ... that behind every successful man is an astonished woman," he joked, as Ms. Grégoire-Trudeau waved to the crowd.

But more parties – including the White House state dinner – will be had tonight.

LATEST STATE DINNER NEWS

By Chris Hannay (@channay)

> As The Globe reported earlier this week, Canada and the U.S. have agreed to cut methane emissions as part of their climate strategy. Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife looks at the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two countries, and columnist Campbell Clark says the Obama and Trudeau camps are getting awfully clubby. (for subscribers)

> Globe media columnist Simon Houpt says the U.S. media has turned into a "purring pussycat" over Mr. Trudeau's visit.

> It may not be long before Mr. Trudeau and Barack Obama see each other again: the Ottawa Citizen is reporting that Canada is set to host a Three Amigos summit with the presidents of the United States and Mexico in June.

> And Conservative MP Tony Clement, a former Harper cabinet minister, is worried that so many prominent members of the Liberal government are gathered in one place for the state dinner, including the top staff in the Prime Minister's Office and the clerk of the Privy Council.

WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> A group of New Democrats, including former union leader Sid Ryan, are preparing to organize against party leader Tom Mulcair in his leadership review next month. "Is there a tremendous amount of angst out there about the result of the election and how the election was run? No question about it, there is," Mr. Ryan said.

> Transport Minister Marc Garneau says he is "not happy" about serious financial problems in his department. Unions representing Transport workers say that staffing cuts are having an impact on safety.

> Former Quebec premier Jean Charest confirmed he spoke to the Prime Minister's Office about the Energy East pipeline, but insists he was not lobbying for TransCanada.

> The Liberal government is proposing to allow members of the RCMP to form a national union, but without the right to strike.

> And a document leaked to the National Observer says the federal bureaucracy is working on plans to become much more transparent.

SECUREDROP

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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

"This week, our spiffy new Trudeaus fly to Washington for their first state dinner with President Barack Obama and the first lady. Presumably, Michelle will share a few words of wisdom with Sophie on the subject of how to completely sublimate your own ego and professional ambitions for the better part of a decade in the prime of your working life because that's just what "the role" requires. Don't get me wrong, Michelle Obama is a fantastically impressive woman, her lengthy résumé speaks for itself. But I always found it slightly incongruous that her approval ratings soared during the first half of her husband's first term when she seemed to spend most of her time weeding communal gardens with inner-city school children in pink sweater sets and pearls." – Leah McLaren.

Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "It is noteworthy that [Donald] Trump and [Bernie] Sanders strike the same note about the untrammelled and nefarious influence of 'lobbyists' and are rewarded politically for their attacks. They share, too, the same general diagnosis that Washington is not working, but they and their parties are sharply divided about why." (for subscribers)

Shari Graydon (Globe and Mail): "The results [of an indepedent media analysis] revealed that, more than two decades after our earlier research, the ratio of women's voices had inched up seven points, to 29 per cent. ... But women also make up 60 per cent of all university graduates, head many private and public organizations, and dominate a host of health and social services professions. So we should be doing better."

Desmond Cole (Toronto Star): "Each year, our border security agency detains thousands of migrants, even though it is not a crime to be in Canada without status. ... The federal Liberal government has the power to end this disgusting practice, and must do so without delay."

Rick Mercer (CBC): "It's embarrassing. [Kevin O'Leary] is up here in Canada, doing Donald Trump's act – not as well – and it's working. He's like a Rod Stewart impersonator: big crowds, in small towns only."

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