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One hundred and one years ago, soldiers laid down their arms to end the First World War, and, 100 years ago, the first Remembrance Day was observed to mark those who had lost their lives in the conflict.

Governor-General Julie Payette and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among the crowds in Ottawa who remembered veterans and their sacrifices. Ceremonies like it took place across the country this morning (perhaps you were at one?) and across the world, with even British Conservative Leader Boris Johnson taking a break from campaigning to lay a wreath at St. Peter’s Square.

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In honour of Remembrance Day and in honour of taking a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have served their country, here are the most famous words written down about the First World War, from Canadian physician, poet and soldier John McCrae: In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

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We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

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If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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.


Alberta Premier Jason Kenney escalated his dispute with the federal government on the weekend by making a landmark speech and a new set of proposals for his province to gain more independence from Ottawa. Mr. Kenney said his government would look into establishing its own pension plan (like Quebec), collecting its own taxes (like Quebec), and creating its own provincial police force (like Ontario). A government-commissioned panel that includes former Reform Party leader Preston Manning will make recommendations on a path forward by the end of March.

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Also in Alberta, a United Conservative backbencher has tabled a bill that would allow doctors to abstain from medical procedures that they morally object to, such as abortion or assisted dying. The bill passed first reading with the support of many other United Conservative MLAs. During the provincial election campaign earlier this year, Mr. Kenney had suggested a government led by him would not reopen debates on issues such as this.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is set to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in person tomorrow.

When asked whether the federal Liberal government should pursue a carbon tax or expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, respondents to a Nanos Research poll said the government should do both.

Lindsay and Irene Mathyssen of London, Ont., have made history as the first daughter-mother political dynasty in the House of Commons.

The Canadian Council for Refugees says border agents continue to hold children in detention, despite a directive from the Liberal government two years ago that the practice should end.

Cameron Ortis, the former head of the RCMP’s intelligence unit, is back in jail after having his bail revoked. The Crown had challenged an earlier judicial decision to give him bail just 2½ weeks earlier.

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The founder of the Syrian White Helmets was found dead in Istanbul. Police are still investigating how he died.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Trump administration’s former ambassador to the United Nations, says in a new memoir that former chief of staff John Kelly and former secretary of state Rex Tillerson often worked behind Donald Trump’s back to push back on his policies and try to “save the country.” Ms. Haley said she resisted their entreaties and that she told them they should quit if they didn’t like working for President Trump.

And Hong Kong’s government said it will step up efforts to end the months of anti-government protests as violence on the weekend escalated to the point that one person was shot and another set on fire. “I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong’s government, said

Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how to transition veterans to a postservice life: “It’s a disgrace that Ottawa leaves veterans in the lurch when other countries, such as Australia, assist defence personnel in planning their postmilitary lives as soon as they enlist. Here in Canada, charities and non-profit organizations try to pick up the slack. But what’s really needed is a call to action in Corporate Canada that goes far beyond wearing poppies and marking two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day.”

Shireen Ahmed (The Globe and Mail) on Don Cherry’s controversial comments about Remembrance Day: “For Mr. Cherry to point at immigrant communities and blame them for a perceived lack of respect is disgusting and unacceptable. This, too, from a man who has never served a day in his life.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta’s economic concerns: “But don’t tell the rest of Canada that it doesn’t understand the pain of seeing an industry that was its economic bedrock crumble beneath it. Don’t try to explain to people in places like Oshawa, Ont., where the auto assembly plant is closing, or Shawinigan, Que., where the paper mill was shuttered, or Bonavista, N.L., where the cod disappeared and took a quarter of the town with it, what it’s like to have your livelihood threatened by the unstoppable march of change. They know.”

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Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on whether those outside Alberta will listen: “But this points to a larger truth: that the Alberta Premier will continue to find a receptive audience for anger directed at the rest of Canada as long as Alberta’s position on federal energy policy, and worry about jobs and investment, are dismissed as whiny and regionalist.”

Elizabeth McCallion (Policy Options) on gender in the Senate: “Gender and politics scholarship has shown that meaningful representation of women’s interests is likely to occur not just because of a critical mass of women, but because of the presence of critical actors. It seems that a group of independent feminist senators have the potential to be critical actors in the representation of Canadian women’s policy interests. Their efforts will be ones to watch in the next Parliament.”

Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on the future of the Conservative Party: “If the Conservative base – an amalgam of social and fiscal conservative factions – wishes to see its leader form government again, it must allow the leader (whomever that is) to woo more people. It must make room for new voices and views under the blue tent. Ultimately, members must decide what is more important to them: being in power or maintaining ideological purity. The former will require uncomfortable compromises. The latter may well doom the party to opposition status for the foreseeable future.”

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