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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada is talking to Ukraine about reopening the Canadian embassy in Kyiv as allies restore operations at their diplomatic missions in the Ukrainian capital.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington alongside Ukraine’s Minister of Finance Sergii Marchenko, Ms. Freeland said Ottawa has begun discussions even as Russia’s military assault continues in eastern and southern Ukraine. She said she met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal Thursday night and he talked to her about the efforts the Ukrainian government is making “to restore regular life in Kyiv.”

“He talked about how the Ukrainian government is working very hard to make it safe and possible for embassies to return to Kyiv,” she said.

Ms. Freeland said she will discuss the matter with the Canadian government.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday the United Kingdom was going to reopen its embassy in Kyiv, on the heels of more than a dozen European countries that have already reopened their posts in Ukraine’s capital. The European Union has also opened its mission there.

Story from senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase here.

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TODAY'S HEADLINES

CANADIAN MILITARY GETTING ADVANCED SPY PLANES IN $247-MILLION DEAL - Canada is expected to take delivery this year of the first of three surveillance planes – with a combined price tag of $247-million – in a deal brokered by the U.S. government that will give the military new tools to snoop from the sky. Story here.

BANK OF CANADA’S TIFF MACKLEM WON’T RULE OUT EVEN LARGER INTEREST RATE HIKES - The Bank of Canada might consider hiking its benchmark interest rate by more than 50 basis points in a single move as it pushes borrowing costs higher to try to quell runaway inflation, Governor Tiff Macklem suggested on Thursday. Story here.

OTTAWA FACES BLOWBACK FOR PLAN TO REGULATE INTERNET - Newly released documents reveal Twitter Canada told government officials that a federal plan to create a new internet regulator with the power to block specific websites is comparable to drastic actions used in authoritarian countries like China, North Korea and Iran. Story here.

OTTAWA DROPPED SOME DRUG PRICING REFORMS TO MEET NEED FOR ‘STRONG’ PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY, HEALTH MINISTER SAYS - The federal government withdrew some of its long-promised drug pricing reforms, which would have shaved billions off industry profits, in order to ensure a vibrant pharmaceutical industry in Canada, the Health Minister said. On Thursday, Jean-Yves Duclos defended Ottawa’s decision to dramatically scale back pricing changes that the Liberals first promised five years ago, and had made a hallmark of their health care policy. Story here.

MILITARY OFFICER RETIRES, HEADS TO UKRAINE AMID SEX MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATION - A senior leader in the Canadian Armed Forces has retired and travelled to Ukraine to help defend the country from Russia’s invasion while still under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct. The Department of National Defence confirmed Thursday that lieutenant-general Trevor Cadieu retired on April 5 after more than 30 years in uniform, even as military police continue their investigation into his conduct. Story here from The Canadian Press.

CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM GOFUNDME LOBBIED MPS BEFORE TESTIFYING ON TRUCK CONVOY PROTEST - Grappling with the political fallout from hosting a fundraiser for the convoy protest that paralyzed downtown Ottawa, crowdfunding platform GoFundMe lobbied members of Parliament behind the scenes before company executives testified publicly before two parliamentary committees. Story here from CBC.

ONTARIO NDP PROMISES TO COVER PRESCRIPTION BIRTH CONTROL UNDER OHIP - Prescription birth control would be fully covered by Ontario if the New Democrats win the June 2 election, the party promised Thursday. Leader Andrea Horwath said her plan would cover all prescription contraception, including emergency birth control such as Plan B, the pill, intrauterine devices, implants, shots, patches and rings. Story here from The Canadian Press.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

Pierre Poilievre will hold a meet and greet in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Friday evening.

Leslyn Lewis will meet supporters in Mississauga Friday night.

Roman Baber is in Halifax for a meet and greet.

The rest of the campaigns did not appear to have any public events Friday.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House is adjourned until Monday, April 25, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

HOUSE OF COMMONS SET TO WELCOME BACK PUBLIC, LIFT COVID-19 BAN ON PUBLIC VISITORS - The House of Commons will next week lift a ban on public visits, introduced more than two years ago to stem the spread of COVID-19. The Commons chamber’s public gallery will reopen on Monday, allowing people to once again watch MPs’ debates in person. Next month, guided tours of the House of Commons will also restart for the first time since March, 2020. Story here from The Canadian Press.

THE DECIBEL

On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Globe reporter Jason Kirby takes a look at oversaturated craft beer market. He explains how the industry got here, why the pandemic exacerbated the problem and how the craft brewery landscape will change in the coming years. There’s no shortage of craft breweries in Canada. Over the past decade, they grew at an explosive rate, from just a few hundred breweries in 2008 to almost 1,200 in 2020. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

The Prime Minister is in Winnipeg Friday, where he will start his day by making an announcement alongside Southern Chiefs’ Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels and Premier Heather Stefanson. They will be joined by federal Ministers Patty Hajdu, Ahmed Hussen and Dan Vandal.

Mr. Trudeau will also have one-on-one meetings with Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Ms. Stefanson Friday afternoon, followed by a meeting with local youth to mark Earth Day.

LEADERS

People’s Party of Canada Leader, Maxime Bernier, is in Ottawa Friday to announce the appointment of “regional lieutenants” who will represent the party in four areas of Canada: western Canada and the territories, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. A previous Politics Briefing incorrectly said Mr. Bernier’s announcement was Thursday; in fact, it is Friday.

No other schedules released for party leaders.

TRIBUTE

GUY LAFLEUR - Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur, one of hockey’s all-time greats, has died. The team confirmed the Hall of Famer’s death Friday. Lafleur was 70 years old. Tributes poured in for Mr. Lafleur Friday. In a tweet, the Prime Minister, a noted Canadiens fan, said Mr. Lafleur was “unlike anyone else on the ice.” Quebec Premier François Legault also took to Twitter to remember the Thurso, Que., native: “Guy Lafleur is one of our legends. He left a mark on an entire generation of Quebecers. He made us dream. He made us win.”

OPINION

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on whether the head of the Anglican Church will finally bring restitution to Indigenous peoples: “No number of apologies can ever be enough to truly forgive what has happened to survivors and their families. If the Archbishop of Canterbury wants to visit, he had better come prepared to offer financial support for the revitalization of languages that the church did so much to wipe out, and with a true promise to release all Anglican Church records and those from the New England Company, which ran the Mohawk Institute from 1885 to 1920.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Pierre Poilievre’s taps into textbook populism: “I get why this sort of thing, like his endorsement of the anti-vaxxers, excites the fringes. It might even be enough to carry him to the party leadership. It’s just not clear yet why it makes him a serious contender for prime minister.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on why the Ontario Liberals’ proposed handgun ban is opportunistic – and voters can’t afford to fall for it: “The tactic of exploiting inflammatory issues to gin up support is annoying enough when it happens during a typical election. But it’s particularly loathsome ahead of what is probably a once-in-a-generation opportunity to discuss health care reform before an entire province that has very recently yielded to its frailty and is now primed for a debate. Ontarians were subjected to some of the longest lockdowns and restrictions of any peer jurisdiction, and it’s important to look at why, now, before we all start to forget.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on why Shannon Phillips’s ordeal is yet another reason why women don’t enter politics: “The other story here is the way Ms. Phillips has been treated during this whole disgusting saga. Being a New Democrat in southern Alberta isn’t easy at the best of times. Being a woman makes it immeasurably worse. The threats and harassment and bullying she has faced would have had others quickly handing in their resignation papers. No one needs that.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how politics have poisoned the authority of public-health institutions in the U.S.: “The mask mandate, which had been one of the last public-health measures still in place, came to be a symbol of the CDC’s politicization under both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump. The latter curtailed the once widely-admired agency’s independence during the early months of the pandemic; the former signed an executive order on his first day in office, directing the CDC to impose the mask mandate along with several other health measures.”

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