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Politicians have their elbows up over hockey lockout

James Neal of Team Stamkos scores on Team Subban goalie Martin Biron during the NHL Players’ Association Charity Challenge hockey game at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, the old Maple Leaf Gardens, in Toronto.

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

Political Points is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters.

Politicians not impressed by hockey lockout

The Stanley Cup has long been associated with the National Hockey League, but it does have some political roots.

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The trophy was bequeathed to the people of Canada (not the NHL) by then-governor-general Lord Frederick Stanley in 1892.

A group of hockey-loving Toronto lawyers is now hoping to get the Cup awarded to an amateur team if the league loses the rest of the season in a labour dispute – and at least one Canadian politician is behind them.

Outspoken Tory backbencher Brent Rathgeber has been one of the plan's most prominent supporters.

"Why should the Holy Grail of Hockey collect dust simply because billionaire owners cannot work out their differences with millionaire players??" the Edmonton MP wrote on his blog. For what's it worth, the current G-G is staying out of it. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a well-known hockey fan legendarily working on a book on the subject, said the lockout saddened him. U.S. President Barack Obama, also a sports fan and recreational basketball player, has said the league and players should come to a deal – at least for their fans.

Albertans support doctors over province: poll

Alberta's doctors, who are locked in a dispute with the province over a new contract, are buoyed by a new poll that shows increasing public support for physicians.

While the public appears turned off by a failed provincial government attempt to impose a contract, according to the ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. poll released today, both sides will try to move ahead with mediation with the help of Dr. Thomas Marrie, dean of the faculty of medicine at Dalhouise University.

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But only the province remains "optimistic" a deal can be reached by the end of February deadline. Dr. Michael Giuffre, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said Dr. Marrie's selection as mediator won't even meet the Dec. 31 deadline.

Dr. Giuffre said he'd like everyone to stick to the deadlines, but goodwill has vanished in this process – and the poll shows the public is now picking up on it.

"The sense of trust and trustworthiness is absent," he said.

– Dawn Walton in Calgary

#idlenomore

All week, there's been a rumble of aboriginal protests across the country. If you're on Twitter, you've probably seen it: #IdleNoMore.

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The Idle No More movement, aimed at the federal government, "is part of what so many of us have been saying is a moment of reckoning," Shawn Atleo, the head of Canada's largest aboriginal group, told the Globe's Gloria Galloway. "We need to see real movement right now."

The rallies and events, including a hunger strike by an Ontario chief and closed highways, culminate in a march on Parliament Hill tomorrow. It's one of the largest and widespread protests by native people in many years.

The viral spread of the hashtag, too, provides yet another example of the mobilizing effect of social media, such as the Arab Spring or Occupy.

Meanwhile, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission take the federal government to court today over its reluctance to release millions of pages of documents. Health reporter André Picard has an excellent roundup of some of the issues fuelling their "winter of discontent."

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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