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Al-Qaeda-linked fighters in northern Mali: a looming disaster that would make Darfur pale in comparison. (Reuters)
Al-Qaeda-linked fighters in northern Mali: a looming disaster that would make Darfur pale in comparison. (Reuters)

Politics Watch: Will Canadian troops intervene in Mali? Add to ...

Politics Watch* 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.

Will Canada intervene in Mali?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomes Thomas Boni Yayi, the head of the African Union and Benin president, to Ottawa today. in the backdrop of the meeting between the two, who are expected to discuss mining issues, are fears of fresh clashes between the government and Islamist rebels. In a statement before the meeting, though, Mr. Harper did not raise the issue of a Canadian military intervention.

“Benin is a democratic African partner that continues to make impressive progress in the areas of economic and institutional reform while promoting regional stability,” Mr. Harper said in the statement. “I look forward to meeting with President Boni Yayi to explore ways of expanding commercial relations and contributing further to Benin’s development.”

Mr. Boni Yayi will also meet with International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino, who is responsible for overseeing Canada’s foreign aid.

Former diplomat Robert Fowler, who was kidnapped in Niger by the al-Qaeda branch causing trouble in Mali, makes the case for urgent action.

The Métis question

A Federal Court judge rules this morning on whether Métis are the federal government’s responsibility. The impact of the ruling could be big, as Ottawa could be told it is has to negotiate with the group on issues such as health and land claims. But this won’t be the final word either way: expect the case to make its way to the Supreme Court within a few years.

* Political Points or Politics Watch? Or something else? Since this daily morning feature started in December, we haven’t settled on what to call it. If you like one of those two names – or have another suggestion – let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

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