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Wildrose Leader: ‘My own home is in flames’

Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean walks through the crowd after being declared the official opposition in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Tuesday May 5, 2015. Jean says he'll renew efforts in 2016 to hook up with the very Progressive Conservatives who tied a cement block to his party and tossed it off a bridge.It's a job Jean says he is surprised to be leading. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

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POLITICS BRIEFING

By Chris Hannay (@channay)

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Fire is still raging through Fort McMurray today, with the Alberta town under a total evacuation order. And one of those who lost their homes is Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean.

"I understand...my own home is in flames," Mr. Jean told Global News. He said he had spoken with relatives who informed him, as he wasn't in town when it happened.

Mr. Jean, who was also a member of Parliament for the region from 2004 to 2014, said he had spoken to federal and provincial political leaders, who told him they would bring as much aid to the town and its residents as they could.

If you're looking for help – or looking to help – here's what to do.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. (ET) to mark six months since he was sworn into office.

> One of the things Mr. Trudeau may announce: Sources tell CBC News that U.S. President Barack Obama will address Parliament in a special session on June 29 or 30, ahead of a Three Amigos meeting between the leaders of Canada, U.S. and Mexico.

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> Saudi Arabia is starting a charm offensive on Parliament Hill with a four-day cultural exhibition later this month.

> Yesterday the Auditor-General found a few small problems with Governor-in-Council appointments – those jobs handed out by cabinet – but as John Ibbitson writes, patronage has been dying a slow death in Ottawa, accelerated by Justin Trudeau. (for subscribers)

> Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr promises that mental health issues do not have to be the end of a soldier's career.

> An executive at KPMG told the finance committee that complicated tax-evasion schemes are no longer in vogue, even as the accounting firm has been challenged by the Canada Revenue Agency.

> Statistics Canada has been hit with a deluge of Canadians eagerly filling out their census forms.

> The rollout of a unified government email system has been delayed yet again by Shared Services Canada.

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> Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has disciplined some Liberal MPPs for sexual harassment, but will not say how many or who.

> And if you're looking for some fun on your coffee break, the National Post's Brice Hall has created the game no one knew they wanted to play: Question Blaster, the question-period combat simulator.

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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

"Recognizing medically assisted dying as an exception [in the Criminal Code] also helps to establish that access to it is not a right but rather, under certain conditions, an immunity from prosecution for a criminal offence – which carries an important anti-suicide public health message. As well, this characterization of legal immunity for providing a hastened death, not a right to access it, will assist in protecting the Charter rights of health-care professionals, who refuse involvement for reasons of conscience or religion." – Margaret Somerville.

Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "The Liberal government favours both [trade deals in Europe and the Pacific], the negotiations for which began long ago under the Harper Conservatives. No domestic opposition of consequence exists, apart from the usual grumblers who don't like free trade, period, but who are are no longer consequential, except in their own minds. Neither deal, however, is a sure thing, for reasons that have nothing to do with Canada." (for subscribers)

Lysiane Gagnon (Globe and Mail): "Nobody knows for sure what goes on inside a couple's relationship. But what is sure is that [former Parti Quebecois leader Pierre Karl] Péladeau felt compelled to leave politics for deeply personal reasons."

Robyn Urback (National Post): "Organizations looking for a great return on investment should consider donating to the Ontario Liberal Party. The province's teachers unions, which have donated nearly $800,000 to the Liberals directly and millions more in partisan attack ads through the Working Families coalition, can speak to the benefits of such an investment: for them, it has paid off in the form of a series of lucrative contract deals and a few million dollars in secret payouts to cover the cost of bargaining."

Pete McMartin (Vancouver Sun): "Therefore, the logic goes, public sector salaries should approach, if not match, those in the private sector if – and this is the important part – government wants to attract capable people. I find it odd that we would not apply the same premise when it comes to our politicians. Indeed, public sentiment is exactly the opposite, that politicians shouldn't concern themselves with the size of their paycheque, that they should be satisfied with the privilege of not only serving the public but being vilified by it, too. This, to me, seems a guarantee to attract the least capable people to political office. I could name names."

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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