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The Canadian government has selected Lockheed Martin Corp., the American manufacturer of the F-35 fighter jet, as its preferred bidder in a $19-billion search for a new warplane.

Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi and Defence Minister Anita Anand announced the decision at a news conference Monday afternoon.

This development means Canada starts negotiating solely with Lockheed Martin on a contract to supply 88 combat aircraft, they said.

If negotiations are successful, Canada could start taking delivery of new fighters as early as 2025.

Senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase reports here.

ALSO MONDAY:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed he will release government’s new climate-change targets in Vancouver on Tuesday. At a news conference in Brampton, Ont., Mr. Trudeau suggested the turmoil around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has morphed into a heightened urgency for the transformation of the energy mix toward lower carbon emissions in coming years “Canadians will see a plan that remains extremely ambitious when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time will ensure a proper transition for workers,” Mr. Trudeau said. Globe climate-change columnist Adam Radwanski looks here at the fragile sense of co-operation between Ottawa and the oil patch to reduce emissions.

The Williams Lake First Nation in British Columbia also announced that Mr. Trudeau will be visiting this week. The visit follows a January announcement that 93 potential graves have been found at a former residential school. “This trip has been a long time in the making, and we have much to discuss about the St. Joseph’s Mission investigation, the Government of Canada’s role in residential school investigations and Canada’s commitment to the goals of Reconciliation,” said a statement from Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars released Monday.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

ONTARIO AND OTTAWA HAVE A CHILD-CARE DEAL - Ontario families will start reaping the benefits of a new child care deal with Ottawa next month, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday. At a joint news conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Brampton, Ont., the two leaders released the details of the long-delayed deal to make Ontario’s sky-high daycare costs more affordable for families. Story here.

JOLY PRESSED TO ACT ON CASE OF CANADIAN JAILED IN CHINA - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is facing calls from members of her own Liberal caucus to appoint a special envoy to China who could pursue the release of a Canadian citizen jailed by Beijing in controversial circumstances for more than 15 years. Story here.

MÉTIS DELEGATION OPTIMISTIC AFTER MEETING WITH POPE - The Métis delegation to the Vatican emerged from an hour-long meeting with Pope Francis convinced that he was becoming more fully aware of Indigenous peoples’ suffering in the long, dark era of Catholic-run residential schools. But he did not apologize to them for their suffering. Story here.

ONTARIO LIBERAL LEADER PROMISES $16/HOUR MINIMUM WAGE - Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca is promising that his party will increase the minimum wage to $16, work to set regional living wages and compensate businesses for legislating 10 paid sick days if they win the June election. Story here.

HILLIER FACING CHARGES IN OTTAWA PROTEST - Randy Hillier, an independent member of Ontario’s legislature, surrendered to Ottawa police on Monday to face nine charges related to his involvement in the protest that seized the core of the national capital last month. Story here.

ELECTIONS BODY SURPRISED BY GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITMENTS - The body in charge of administering Canada’s elections was taken by surprise by this week’s announcement that there could be major reforms coming to the way people vote, including a three-day-long polling day. Story here.

MENG WANZHOU DELIVERS PUBLIC ADDRESS - Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has delivered her first public address since resuming her duties last fall at the Chinese technology giant. Story here.

GYMNASTS CALL FOR FEDERAL INVESTIGATION OF TOXIC CULTURE IN THEIR SPORT - A group of more than 70 current and former elite Canadian gymnasts are calling on the federal government to investigate what they say are abusive practices and a toxic culture inside their sport. Story here.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

SEEBACK BACKS BROWN - Ontario MP Kyle Seeback has announced his support for Patrick Brown.

POILIEVRE CAMPAIGNS - Pierre Poilievre is campaigning Monday in London, Ont., where he will buy lunch using Bitcoin and deliver remarks on Bitcoin and the blockchain economy. He is later holding a rally in the Southwestern Ontario community of Oldcastle.

PATZER BACKS LEWIS - Saskatchewan MP Jeremy Patzer (Cypress Hills-Grasslands) has announced his support for Leslyn Lewis. In a statement, he cites four reasons for backing her, including “She was one of the very few who joined me in challenging the central COVID narrative from the very beginning, demonstrating courageous leadership in a time when our country is in desperate need of it.”

CHAREST POSITIONED TO WIN ELECTION: POLL - A plurality of Canadians surveyed see former Quebec premier Jean Charest as the Conservative leadership candidate best able to win the next general election, a new poll suggests. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, March 28, accessible here.

THE DECIBEL

Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast looks at issues around Canada removing mask mandates in public schools as some question whether now is the right time for the move and some even challenge the shift. Sophia Alexanian, a 16-year-old high school student from Toronto, who co-founded a group called Ontario Students for COVID Safety talks on the podcast. She organized a province-wide school walkout to protest the end of the mask mandate in schools. Also on The Decibel is Caroline Alphonso, an education reporter for The Globe and Mail. She talks about how the conversation about removing the mask mandate in schools is playing out across Canada. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

In the Greater Toronto Area, the Prime Minister held private meetings, then spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, participated in an early-learning and childcare announcement with Premier Doug Ford, and travelled to Vancouver to attend a local Nowruz celebration.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

TRIBUTE

Former Liberal MP Claudette Bradshaw, a labour minister who championed for the underprivileged and represented the New Brunswick riding of Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe for 10 years, has died at the age of 72. Story here.

PUBLIC OPINION

PUBLIC VIEWS ON LIBERAL-NDP DEAL - The Angus Reid Institute checks out public opinion on the recently announced NDP-Liberal confidence-and-supply agreement, and finds on one side overwhelming majorities of past Liberal and NDP voters either support or strongly support the agreement. On the other, a near-unanimous number of past CPC voters and half of past Bloc Québécois voters oppose it. The details are here.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how, with Budget 2022 coming, it’s time to distinguish between spend and invest: “A federal budget is coming, so it is time to contemplate the meaning of the word “invest.” In last year’s budget book, variations of that word – invest, investing, or investment – were used 675 times. The major English-language dictionaries all provide primary definitions of the word invest similar to the one in Merriam-Webster: “To commit (money) in order to earn a financial return.” But the 2021 budget tabled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland repeatedly confused the word with another verb, “spend.” Merriam-Webster defines that as: “To use up or pay out: expend.” The question for the coming budget, expected in April, will be whether Ms. Freeland continues to conflate the two concepts.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Bob Rae enjoying his finest hour taking on Russia at the United Nations: “With each new report of babies being killed and doctors performing surgeries with kitchen knives because their hospital was destroyed by bombs, Bob Rae becomes more determined to see Russia held accountable for its crimes against the Ukrainian people. Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, often using very undiplomatic language on social media platforms such as Twitter to convey the rage he feels over what is taking place. “I don’t know how anyone can be diplomatic when it comes to describing what Putin is doing in Ukraine,” Mr. Rae told me in an interview.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on how postponing the federal carbon tax hike is an inflation break that Ottawa could and should deliver: “Recent calls for Ottawa to scrap its planned April 1 carbon price hike could easily be viewed as opportunistic attempts from opponents to turn back the clock on government fossil-fuel measures. Or cynical appeals to segments of the electorate who question the value of carbon taxation. Or self-serving lobbying from business interests who have a knee-jerk objection to any tax increase. Which all could be true. But delaying the increase could also be a very good, very practical idea – one that even the supporters of the federal carbon tax should embrace.”

Thomas Juneau and Bessma Momani (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada should renew its mission to help stabilize Iraq: As the war in Ukraine reminds us, the international political system continues to be volatile and Canada must play an active role, where it can, to support our broader alliances. One arena of conflict that continues to simmer is Iraq. Our mission there, Operation Impact, expires at the end of March. We ought to renew it, but we must do this with our eyes open to new risks and the evolution of our mission. To defeat the Islamic State, the Canadian Armed Forces have been in the region to assist in training the Iraqi security forces and to support NATO’s mission in Iraq.”

Daniel Veniez and Rick Peterson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can do great things, but the sensible centre mustn’t be distracted by the fringes: We are, to borrow a hockey analogy, in the centre-ice zone of Canadian politics. And we’re not alone. This middle ground – or sensible centre – is where most Canadians live. It’s where majority governments are formed and where big ideas that build the foundation for Canada’s future growth can find support. We, in this vast and rich middle ground, agree on many things: The importance of the rule of law; fairness; social justice; equal opportunity; tolerance and inclusiveness; and respect for our differences. These are our core beliefs. Our political parties, however, spend almost no time paying attention to this centre-ice zone. Instead, they patrol the edges of the political rink, the Liberals targeting support on the left while the Conservatives flirt with the right.”

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