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Politics Today: Will Patrick Brazeau finally lead to Senate reform?

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.

Note: former Opposition leader Preston Manning will be doing a live chat with Globe readers at noon ET to talk parliamentary reform. Join us. And read Mr. Manning's case for why parliamentarians should get extra training before they serve.

Brazeau charged

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Senator Patrick Brazeau is facing charges of domestic and sexual assault, Gatineau police announced this morning. Mr. Brazeau was arrested yesterday morning and kicked out of the Conservative caucus. Also, you're probably wondering: Can someone be kicked out of the Senate? Yes, though it's unlikely.

Can it be reformed?

It's always hard to get people excited about Senate reform, but now may be the time with the chamber's reputation in tatters. A few senators, including Mr. Brazeau, were already facing controversy over whether they were improperly claiming housing allowances – not to mention famous cases of poor attendance. But it's worth noting that, when the Conservatives asked the Supreme Court to vet their plans for Senate reform last week, they asked whether they could just get rid of the red chamber all together.

Kool Topp Guy

Three veteran party strategists – Brian Topp, Don Guy and Ken Boessenkool – are teaming up to start a new advisory firm, Steven Chase reports. The three have all served in senior roles across the political and, if you don't recognize the latter two, you surely remember Mr. Topp's nearly successful run to replace Jack Layton as NDP leader. Their firm will give advice to lobbyists (without lobbying themselves) and may help campaigns in other countries.

John meets John

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will be U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's first foreign visitor today. The two have a lot to talk to about, what with international crises and all, but the Keystone XL pipeline will surely be the biggest political hot potato.

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After 35 years, Rae may call it quits

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae (who we had online for a chat with readers yesterday) may be planning an exit this summer after 35 years in politics, the National Post's John Ivison reports. If so, it would mark the end of a long career as an NDP MP, Ontario NDP leader and (first, so far only) premier, Liberal MP and leader.

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