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.
Mixed up in Mali
At 8 a.m. ET , a C-17 Globemaster is scheduled to take off from CFB Trenton. (Update: it got delayed.) That military transport plane and its 35-person crew are – at least so far – Canada's biggest contribution to a military intervention in Mali. The C-17 will assist France's efforts to assault on the rebels in the north, an attack that has failed to halt their advance. Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday played down the chance of mission creep. "It is not our intention to see a direct Canadian military mission to Mali," he said. The reason for Canada's involvement is clear: it's long supported Mali, a country that had been until recently one of western Africa's bastions of democracy. A military coup last year showed how fragile that state was.
Canada and the debt ceiling
The talk of Washington has shifted – slightly – from the fiscal cliff to the debt ceiling (yes, again). As John Ibbitson writes, Canadians have a lot to fear from the dysfunction of Congress.
Meeting of NDP minds
B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix, facing a May 14 election, is looking forward to today's meeting in Ottawa of provincial NDP leaders as an opportunity to talk with premiers who have won elections.
"For some of us who are preparing for provincial election campaigns whether they are in Ontario or British Columbia, it will be an opportunity to discuss (2013 elections) with premiers Dexter and Selinger, who have obviously had successful campaigns most recently," Mr. Dix told reporters at a scrum in Vancouver yesterday.
Greg Selinger of Manitoba and Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia have led their provinces since 2009.
The B.C. New Democrats are running far ahead of the governing Liberals in the polls. If the NDP wins this May, they would be back in government for the first time since 2001 when they were reduced to two seats in the then-79-seat legislature.
Mr. Dix, elected NDP leader in 2011, noted that the last such meeting was held in 2008, and he has looked forward to such a gathering. "Mr. Mulcair has wanted to do this for some time and I am strongly supporting it. I wanted to do it too."
– by Ian Bailey in Vancouver
And now for something completely different...
@InfoAlerteBot: NDP PROVINCIAL LEADERS TO MEET IN OTTAWA. ALL NINE ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE RITUAL SUMMONING OF J.S. WOODSWORTH.
A clear way for first nations to effect change
As Shawn Atleo recovers from norovirus and other first nations leaders prepare for round two with Ottawa, Idle No More protesters are set for tomorrow's day of action. In the meantime, they may consider this analysis of 2011's federal election: if aboriginal groups voted at the same rate as the general population, the Conservative government may have been reduced to a minority. Éric Grenier of ThreeHundredEight.com also identifies at least 10 ridings that have the potential to elect a "first nations party" – a block of MPs that could have serious influence in Parliament.