By Chris Hannay (@channay)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have decided to skip an international conference of business executives and celebrities for a town-hall tour of Canadian cities (Mr. Trudeau is in New Brunswick and Quebec today), but not all Liberals made the same sacrifice.
Six cabinet ministers are in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum. That includes Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Treasury Board President Scott Brison, newly-minted Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
While there, the ministers will network with other world leaders and thinkers, and participate in panels about economic growth, carbon markets and how businesses can promote LGBT-inclusive policies.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> The military's No. 2 has been relieved of command after an alleged leak of information. A source tells The Globe that the RCMP is investigating. Vice-Admiral Mark Norman -- until yesterday the vice-chief of the defence staff -- was seen by colleagues as a light-hearted leader.
> Liberal MP Andrew Leslie is being promoted to be an unofficial envoy with the incoming Trump administration in the U.S. Mr. Leslie, a former general, served in Afghanistan with former U.S. generals Michael Flynn and James Mattis, Donald Trump's picks for national security adviser and defence secretary. "We have drawn the conclusion that the two kinds of people these guys rely on is billionaires and generals," a senior Canadian official told The Globe's Robert Fife.
> Weeks before the Liberals' second budget, mayors say they are eager for delayed infrastructure spending to get out the door.
> The three territories have agreed to a health-care deal with the federal government, joining three Atlantic provinces that signed on before Christmas.
> Tech companies are wondering whether the government really needs to keep shoveling money into startup incubators.
> A group of Canadian senators made a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia this week.
> And Tom Pitfield, president of the Canada 2020 think-tank and one of the small group of Liberals to accompany Mr. Trudeau to visit the Aga Khan over the holidays, is in a legal dispute over a series of smoked-meat restaurants.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
Don Tapscott (Globe and Mail): "Both the left and right are wrong about Davos. For 75 years, we have relied on nation states and their institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Group of 20 and the Group of Eight to solve global problems. Increasingly, we can also make progress though non-state networks and organizations involving business, not-for-profits and governments. This is the real meaning of Davos. "
André Picard (Globe and Mail): "In opinion polls, about 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation. But only about 20 per cent have actually consented to donate, by signing their health card or driver's license, or registering online."
Alex Himelfarb and Roy Romanow (Globe and Mail): "These are obvious human costs, but the cutbacks driving growth in homelessness haven't even saved governments money. The failure to address homelessness means government ends up spending more and more – on emergency shelters, health care, and incarceration. For years, as we trimmed budget lines for housing and services, we added even greater costs to other budget lines, all while leaving more people on the street."
Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): "For most Quebecers, Canada's linguistic duality is more than a rhetorical concept to which federal politicians only need pay lip service once in a while. An overwhelming Quebec majority believes the city of Ottawa as the federal capital should be officially bilingual and expects Supreme Court justices to be able to hear arguments in either official language without the help of an interpreter. The same goes for leaders of serious federal parties."
Andrew Coyne (National Post): "And while [Kevin] O'Leary shares some similarities with Trump, including a U.S. mailing address, he differs from him in important ways. Some are to his credit: he shows no interest in exploiting fears of immigration or crime, for example. But while that may make him a better man, it limits his potential as a demagogue. Whatever his many failings, Trump has undeniable political talents, above all utter shamelessness. O'Leary shows early signs of deficiencies in that regard."