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U.S. Vice0President Joe Biden waves as he concludes his speech about sound financial sector regulation at Georgetown University in Washington, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Biden will be in Ottawa on Dec. 8.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

POLITICS BRIEFING

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden is in Ottawa tonight, where he is intended to smooth Canada-U.S. relations as the new Trump administration takes over. He'll be talking to the Prime Minister and premiers, who are hoping to have a climate-change plan together by the end of the week.

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> The civil servant in charge of Canada's spy watchdog was caught musing that our country should stop sharing intelligence with the United States if Donald Trump is serious about bringing back torture.

> Another class-action lawsuit about sexual harassment in the military is in the works.

> The Veterans Ombudsman is calling out the government for still not fixing a gap in veterans' medical coverage before they get their disability awards.

> Sandra Buckler, a former Stephen Harper spokesperson, has a new contract with the Toronto Police.

> And visitors to Parliament Hill are, apparently, quite happy with its Christmas lights.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail): "The hope of both Mr. Chong and Mr. O'Toole is that the many hardliners in [the Conservative leadership] race – the types the left deride as knuckle-draggers – will kill one another off. Hardliners? There's Maxime Bernier and Steven Blaney, Dr. Pepper and Brad Trost – and others, whose platforms stop just short of bringing back hanging."

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Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): "If the federal Conservatives are looking for a leader liable to hold his or her own against Justin Trudeau in a French-language election debate in 2019, then more than half of the current contenders for Stephen Harper's succession are wasting their time."

Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail): "When Justin Trudeau promised before last year's election to introduce a new voting system before the next one, members of his inner circle claimed it was not just a campaign tactic, but a reflection of the Liberal Leader's personal enthusiasm for the subject. … If that was true then, let alone if it remains true now, there is some sad irony to the way Mr. Trudeau has mangled this file from the first moment that he laid his hands on it. Beyond just failing to move it along himself, he may be in the process of ensuring nobody else wants to touch it for a good long time."

Anna Pippus (Globe and Mail): "While the government does not regulate farm conditions – choosing instead to finance and endorse industry-created codes of practice – it does get involved in regulating transport and slaughter because of the food safety and interprovincial trade dimensions. If the government is going to do something, we want them to do it competently."

Terry Glavin (National Post): "It could well be that the Liberal party intends to screw us out of the national referendum on a proportional-voting system that the majority of us wanted and expected. It could also be that in all the shouting, we're missing a larger and far more important point: Canadians are almost uniquely fortunate among the people of the world at the moment, in that we're even capable of having these kinds of elaborate and arcane arguments at all. We don't know how lucky we are."

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Written by Chris Hannay. Edited by Steven Proceviat.

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