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Politics Today: Patrick Brazeau’s big Senate day

Senator Patrick Brazeau leaves a courthouse in Gatineau, Que., after he was formally charged with assault and sexual assault on Feb. 8, 2013. Mr. Brazeau could become a part of a small group of individuals excused from the Senate.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Politics Today 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.

Keeping trouble from the Senate

Senators will vote today on suspending Patrick Brazeau from the red chamber (with pay), in light of his charges. He would be allowed back once a session until all this is settled, to ensure he didn't lose his seat. In an unrelated matter, Conservative and Liberal leaders in the Senate want improper housing expenses paid back – with interest. At this point, many Canadians just want the problem to go away. A Canadian Press poll found 32 per cent of respondents want the Senate abolished.

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Canadian work for Canadian contracts

It's not enough to fulfill a defence contract, you've also got to be an industrial benefit to Canada, says a new report into military and security budgets. The report, to be tabled today, argues that Canada has relied heavily on foreign contractors and not looked enough at how to build up the country's domestic industries.

Nice guys finish first

Ontario's new finance minister, Charles Sousa, climbed his way to the top by being a nice guy and consensus-builder, according to a report by Adrian Morrow and Grant Robertson. His first experience in politics was to try to get John Tory elected mayor of Toronto in 2003. Four years later, they were on opposite sides: John Tory lead the Ontario Progressive Conservatives into an election they lost, and Mr. Sousa was elected as a Liberal MPP.

The Obama paradox: if he wants immigration reform, he should zip up

The funny thing about what U.S. President Barack Obama does is that sometimes he makes a situation worse just by talking about it. In Washington's very partisan atmosphere, if Mr. Obama publicly supports something he increases pressure on Republicans to disagree with him. A Washington Post poll brings some insight into what Mr. Obama should talk about in tonight's State of the Union. Respondents were more likely to support an assault rifle ban, an end to the war in Afghanistan and policies to address climate change when Mr. Obama was mentioned, but were less likely to support immigration reform.

Some other reading:

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– Politico's 5 things to watch tonight, including Republican Marco Rubio's response. The senator's meteoric rise has often been compared to Mr. Obama's.

– Some important moments have come out of past addresses, including George W. Bush's "axis of evil" and a telling "not true" remark that spoke volumes about the relationship between Mr. Obama and the Supreme Court.

– If you want to watch past State of the Union speeches, why not watch them all at once?

– And here's a neat infographic from PBS to give you a sense of just how much the United States has changed since Woodrow Wilson gave his State of the Union in 1913.

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