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Former U.S. president Barack Obama stands between painted portraits of himself and former first lady Michelle Obama at the Smithsonian‘s National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Feb. 12, 2018.


Good morning,

Stroll through the presidential paintings in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, and you'll see a lot of brown, grey, white, black and blue.

Leave it to Barack Obama to pick something a little more eye-catching.

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Mr. Obama's official portrait, unveiled yesterday, is striking: The former president, clad in a dark suit with no tie, is being nearly swallowed up by the thick brush of vegetation behind him.

Michelle Obama's portrait is striking, too, though in its grace and modernity. (Vogue has more on why the dress she is wearing is significant.)

To this Canadian observer, it all brings to mind the bold yellow background of Jean Chrétien's official portrait – which really stands out in Centre Block's grey, limestone corridors.

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The Liberal government is promising to examine how juries are selected, after a controversial verdict on Friday night found Gerald Stanley not guilty of murdering Colten Boushie. Mr. Boushie's family are in Ottawa, where they met with cabinet ministers yesterday and are set to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today. An online crowdfunding campaign for the family has raised nearly $140,000.

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The Canadian government is urging Iran to formally investigate the death of an Iranian-Canadian, who passed away in custody under strange circumstances. Iranian lawmakers insist the professor died by suicide, but the family is requesting an autopsy.

The Liberals say they have ordered a national security review into the sale of Canadian construction company Aecon to a major Chinese-state-owned firm. Meanwhile, one of the opponents of the sale has been revealed to have been convicted of fraud.

An anti-workplace-harassment bill would cover interactions inside and outside the workplace, Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says. Meanwhile, the Senate has said an independent senator should not use her office budget to cover the legal fees of staffers who have harassment complaints.

The federal government says it will ensure British Columbia cannot "stall or stop" Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which has fuelled a trade war between B.C. and Alberta. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the federal government will defend its jurisdiction over the pipeline project, which the Trudeau government has defended as being in the national interest.

Some NDPers in Vancouver are mulling bids for mayor.

B.C.'s NDP government is set to present a Throne Speech and a budget in the next week that will unveil the long-awaited pathway toward an affordable daycare system. A 10-year plan to create $10-per-day child care was a signature plank of the party's election campaign last year, but details have been slow. And much of the plan hinges on federal money that the province has yet to secure.

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Leaders from Ireland and the U.K. met in Belfast to help break through the political stalemate in Northern Ireland. The region has not had a government for more than a year.

In September, U.S. President Donald Trump moved to terminate protections that prevented the  deportation of 700,000 or so undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Since then, the fate of the "Dreamers," as they are commonly known, has hung in the balance. Lawmakers have failed to reach a deal on their status, despite opinion polling showing that the vast majority of the public are in favour of granting legal status in some way. The Globe's Joanna Slater lays out the three possible outcomes.

The U.S. is denying a claim by Israel that the two countries are in the process of discussing the latter annexing settlements in the West Bank. The two longtime allies have been fairly close since Mr. Trump assumed office and the dismissal by the White House was a rare display of disagreement.

And Mr. Trump says that the United States cannot be taken advantage of by other countries. "Canada does not treat us right in terms of the farming and the crossing the borders," Mr. Trump said.

Peter Shawn Taylor (The Globe and Mail) on a soda tax: "While a soda tax may satisfy latent urges for greater tax revenues or as a way to punish big corporations or overrule individual choices – when it comes to their alleged purpose of making people thinner or healthier, they're flat-out useless."

Paul Seesequasis (The Globe and Mail) on Gerald Stanley and Colten Boushie: "The people of Saskatchewan are all treaty people. The intent of the treaties is to establish a working relationship. One of trust and co-operation. The events of last week would indicate that day remains a long ways off."

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John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on politicians: "But ministers of the Crown cannot and must not question the verdict of a trial. With their prejudicial tweets, they undermined the justice system they are charged with upholding. And they have made it harder, not easier, to fairly examine the jury-selection process, which the Prime Minister and Justice Minister promised to look into Monday."

Vicky Mochama (Metro) on the justice system: "Giving Indigenous communities control of their justice and policing gives youth a much-needed chance to break the cycle of criminalization. Understanding cultural circumstances — from intentional and systematic deprivation to residential schools to experiences with the child welfare system — would give the courts a way to break their own biases."

David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on Trump's tax plan: "With expansive and expensive tax cuts and a refusal to tackle so-called entitlements – the Social Security retirement supplement and the Medicare health program for seniors – the discipline that Republicans traditionally brought to American budgets has disappeared in an era where the GOP controls the White House and both houses of Congress."

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on carbon pricing: "All [Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidates] claim to acknowledge the reality of climate change, yet they refuse to do anything meaningful about it. Or where they do commit to do something, it is by the most expensive, least effective means possible: regulatory and subsidy programs, the kind we already have in abundance at every level of government, and which have so signally failed to make much progress in reducing national emissions."

Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on Caroline Mulroney: "It's hard not to be just a wee bit cynical about Caroline, of course. Like Justin Trudeau, she is a dynastic candidate, but with far less political experience than he had when he ran for leader. She seems to be a hard worker and a lovely person, with a close-knit family, a supportive spouse, photogenic kids, and a degree from Harvard. But so far she has expressed no vision for Ontario, and her policy positions (more resources for mental health, etc.) are mainly platitudes. Maybe some sort of vision will come to her in the next couple of weeks."

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The NDP pushed Justin Trudeau for answers Monday in the wake of Gerald Stanley’s acquittal in the death of Colten Boushie. The Prime Minister wouldn’t address the case directly, but said work to “fix the system” for Indigenous people was ongoing. The Canadian Press
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