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Politics Politics Briefing: Provinces diverge on how legal marijuana will be sold

A vendor trims marijuana with scissors during the annual 4-20 cannabis culture celebration at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on April 20, 2017.


Good morning,

Alberta and Quebec are the latest provinces to reveal their plans for legal marijuana, and a geographic trend is emerging: Eastern provinces favour government control while private retailers rule in the west. Of all the provinces to release plans, only Alberta and Manitoba will allow private retailers to sell marijuana when it's legal next year, and B.C. has suggested at least some sales in the province could be through private stores. Ontario, New Brunswick and now Quebec are instead favouring government-run distribution, cutting out the illegal dispensaries that have been popping up across the country. Alberta's government isn't relinquishing complete control, however: The government will run an online, mail-order system (and take a cut of the profit).

And speaking of profit, here is one unusual tale of entrepreneurship: Julian Fantino, former police chief and Conservative cabinet minister, is getting into the medical marijuana business after a lifetime of cracking down on the drug.

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The foreign minister of the Kurds' government in northern Iraq says his people feel forgotten by many Western governments and is requesting Canada do more to help. "We have played a major role in the fight against [Islamic State], but it seems … some people have forgotten this," Falah Mustafa Bakir told The Globe.

Canada and Mexico are working together against the United States as a new round of North American free trade agreement talks kicks off.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is nearing his choice for the next Supreme Court justice, and The Globe's Sean Fine has more about the names he might be choosing from.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank has announced its initial board of directors.

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A woman fired from working with the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women says the commission has serious internal problems.

B.C.Premier John Horgan is acknowledging that one of his government's signature priorities — an affordable $10-per-day child-care system — can only happen with help from the federal government. The New Democrats spent the spring election campaign fending off criticism that a number of promises, including a $1.5-billion-per-year daycare system, were unaffordable. Mr. Horgan said the issue of child-care money came up in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday — but neither said whether Ottawa is prepared to help.

British Columbia's NDP government is taking credit for a series of positive economic indicators, including an upgraded GDP forecast and Standard & Poors' decision to reaffirm the province's AAA credit rating. While the new government was quick to bask in the good news, the province has been among the top performers in terms of GDP and employment for several years.

And Tobias Enverga, the first Filipino-Canadian Senator, has died at the age of 61 while on a parliamentary trip to Colombia due to what is believed to be a heart attack. His wife, Rosemer, was by his side. "He had a character about him which sort of oozed the human values of decency and someone who cared a lot about being in Canada, being a Canadian, and you could see that with his work in the Filipino territories and communities," Conservative Senate Leader Larry Smith said. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on homelessness: "Everyone agrees we need to do something about homelessness – as long as we're not impacted or inconvenienced in the process. The fact is, many of us are hypocrites when it comes to this problem. We earnestly shake our heads in anger and despair when we read about the growing number of people sleeping in alleyways and under bridges, of a mother living in a tent in the woods. But how many of us are prepared to do something to help make a difference? Solve homelessness? Sure. Just somewhere where I don't have to see it."

Tessa Hill (The Globe and Mail) on sexual education and consent: "We need to learn that consent can be affected by power dynamics, the influence of substances and perceived safety. In order for us to feel safe and empowered in our decisions, conversations must be constant and reflective of our experience. Education has to start young, acknowledging that consent is not only mandatory for sex but also for any kind of healthy relationship. It's one answer that may seem too simple, yet many still grasp to understand."

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Muneeza Sheikh (CBC) on sexual harassment at work: "Employees would be far better served with the tightening of human rights and occupational health and safety legislation, and by creating a more efficient route to have complaints heard by regulatory bodies (meaning getting to hearings and mediations without having to wait more than a year in most cases). Encouraging internal resolutions and employer intervention will only further compound the problems many employees face at work."


A former judge from Venezuela is seeking refuge in Canada, The Globe's Michelle Zilio has exclusively learned. Ralenis Tovar claimed refugee status after what she describes as three years of threats, stalking and a kidnapping attempt by members of President Nicolas Maduro's regime. "They started issuing arrest warrants or laying charges upon people that had nothing to do with crime, but were just political actors," she said of her country's changing judiciary. Canada has brought forward sanctions against 19 Venezuelans, including the president, under the newly passed Magnitsky-style law, which allows governments to target human-rights abusers.

Who is Donald Trump, the negotiator? The Globe's Joanna Slater asked some of his biographers. Here's what they had to say.

Gwenda Blair, who wrote a book about his family: "He's never going to be generous and take a larger view. He doesn't care about lifting all the boats. He's concerned about his boat."

Author of The Art of the Deal Tony Schwartz: "[His approach] has always been to push and push and push until the other side backs down. That doesn't work every time, but it certainly worked for him many times in his career. He outlasts people, wears them down."

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The Globe's Geoffrey York reports from Zimbabwe that while locals are celebrating the demise of President Robert Mugabe's rule, they are worried that the next government will be dominated by the military and will continue to repress the public.

Nearly two weeks after Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri surprisingly resigned amid a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's president hopes that Mr. al-Hariri's visit to France this weekend will end the political crisis.

Russia has once again used its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to block action on the Syrian war. It marks the 10th time since the bloody conflict in 2011 that the Kremlin has shot down a UN action. The most recent resolution would have renewed an international inquiry into who is behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Intelligence points to the Syrian government, which is allied with Putin's Russia, as the perpetrators.

Norway has a sovereign wealth fund worth $1-trillion that it amassed by pumping oil and gas. Yesterday, it said that it was looking to divest the billions it currently has invested in stocks of fossil fuel-producing companies.

Jared Kushner, the U.S. president's son-in-law and senior adviser, failed to disclose a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite," that he received to lawmakers.

And U.S. Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, has been accused of groping and forcibly kissing a women in 2006 without her consent. The long-time comedian joined the Senate in 2009 and other Senators called for an ethics investigation into his behaviour.

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Laura Dawson (The Globe and Mail) on zombie NAFTA: "The most likely short-term option is a zombie NAFTA that is neither alive nor dead while North American business waits for a presidential change of heart or a change of president. The zombie option is preferable to a completely dead NAFTA, but the economic effects of such instability are undeniably negative for all three countries." (for subscribers)

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on nuclear weapons: "After decades of very little attention outside wonk circles, defence journals, peace activism and academia, the spotlight is finally back on nuclear strategies. Buzzfeed and Vice News covered the Senate hearings, so the word may be getting out to younger generations. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, and Toronto's Setsuko Thurlow, Hiroshima survivor and disarmament activist, will be in Oslo to help receive it. Two U.S. congressmen, Democrats Ted Lieu and Edward Markey, have introduced a bill that would require the president to get a declaration of war from Congress before launching a nuclear first strike (Barack Obama reportedly considered adopting a no-first-use policy in the last year of his administration, but did not.)" (for subscribers)

Carl Mortished (The Globe and Mail) on Brexit and Ireland: "The British had hoped that the troubling issue of the Irish internal border had been kicked into the long grass, at least until the big talks about the post-Brexit EU trading relationship had started. No such luck, because Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland's Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, has persuaded Brussels to play it hard, very hard. What Mr. Varadkar is proposing is a special free-trading status for Northern Ireland, a sort of Macao or Isle of Man, where the six counties of Northern Ireland form part of the EU for the purposes of commerce, trade and employment (everything that matters to most people) while remaining nominally part of the United Kingdom." (for subscribers)

David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on tax reform in the U.S.: "Overhauling the American tax code – thousands of pages long, chock full of rates, brackets, credits, deductions, exemptions, exclusions, depreciation tables, reporting requirements and intricate pass-throughs, all rendered in impenetrable language – is a massive undertaking. The process involves lengthy hearings, expensive lobby offensives, emotional citizen entreaties, macroeconomic forecasts, political imperatives and actuarial reckonings. And, of course, ideological considerations. Then, as if the process were not sufficiently complex already, Republicans had to go and complicate the matter by tossing health insurance, which accounts for one-sixth of the American economy, onto the tax bill. Only the brave or brazen tackle tax overhaul alone. It takes a special audacity to put repealing elements of Obamacare into the mix." (for subscribers)

David Brooks (New York Times) on whether we feel attached to other citizens: "Naked liberalism has made our society an unsteady tree. The branches of individual rights are sprawling, but the roots of common obligation are withering away."

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