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politics briefing

A CF-18 sits on the tarmac in Kuwait last year.Combat Camera

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POLITICS BRIEFING

By Chris Hannay (@channay)

It's been nearly a year since the House of Commons voted to extend its military mission against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and today we'll find out the latest evolution in our contribution to the war.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to lay out the Liberal government's new plans for the mission at a 10:30 a.m. (ET) "important announcement" with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

As sources told The Globe's Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife last week, the number of Canadian Special Forces training Kurdish militia will more than double to about 150, up from 69. The CF-18 fighter jets will be withdrawn, as Mr. Trudeau has pledged, but reconnaissance and refuelling planes will remain. And Canada will donate $15-million in annual funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and participate in NATO-led training missions in nearby Jordan and Turkey.

All of which would be broadly in line with public opinion. A poll conducted for The Globe and Mail by Nanos Research found only 9 per cent of respondents wanted to pull out of the mission entirely, though 29 per cent favoured keeping the fighter jets in the fray. Thirty-four per cent of respondents most favoured some kind of training of local forces.

The Nanos poll was a hybrid telephone-online survey of 1,000 Canadians reached from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The Liberals have pledged to bring the renewed mission to the House of Commons for another vote, before the current mandate expires at the end of March.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> The Liberals' promises to legalize marijuana – without saying how or when – is sowing chaos across the country, police chiefs are warning.

> The federal government will face a legal challenge in an attempt to block shipments of light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The court action will force the governing Liberals, who have otherwise been quiet on the deal, to justify the $15-billion arms sale to a country with a poor human rights record.

> Immigration Minister John McCallum says "radical changes" are coming to the Citizenship Act in a few weeks.

> Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is facing pressure from Quebec television producers to reinstate a tax credit worth, on average, 13 per cent of shows' budgets.

> "That's the stuff they don't teach you in diplomatic boot camp." Gary Doer reflects on his last six years as Canada's ambassador to Washington.

> And from the weekend, a deep dive into how entrepreneurs in London, Ont., are trying to create new jobs in a region hit hard by a decline in the manufacturing sector. (for subscribers)

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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

"As Conservatives look to 2019, it is important to remember how strong the party actually is. The party didn't lose the last election because it was ill-prepared or lacked a strong organization. The Liberals won because Canadians had an overwhelming desire for change, the extent to which wasn't fully appreciated until after the campaign had started. The 2015 election had been different than the past six national campaigns I worked on – two as national campaign manager and two as deputy chief of staff. Never had the desire for change been so great." – Jenni Byrne in The Globe.

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): "Jim Carr is no fool. The Natural Resources Minister knows that the political mission he's been handed, to bridge energy development with environmental and indigenous concerns, will end up with people on either end of the issue hopping mad."

Justine Hunter (Globe and Mail): "Politicians of all stripes have resorted to the same tactic: When environmentalists oppose resource development, accuse them of trying to kill jobs for good working folk." (for subscribers)

Nik Nanos (Globe and Mail): "Perhaps there is a moral tipping point. Even though the economy is weak and Canadians want jobs, doing business with a government that, some argue, has among the worst human rights record in the world makes Canadians uneasy." (for subscribers)

David Shribman (Globe and Mail): "The main question for [the New Hampshire primary on] Tuesday night is whether billionaire Donald Trump, who has disrupted the psyche of a party that until recently prided itself on its staid proceedings, retains the lead that he has had since early autumn. If he does, he will have obviated his loss in Iowa and will present the fading Republican establishment with new worries and with fewer chances to stop him." (for subscribers)

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