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The Russian government slapped sanctions on 61 Canadians Thursday, prohibiting them from entering Russia in what Moscow called retaliation for measures enacted against its own people.

The sanctions targeted politicians, government officials, journalists, military leaders and academics.

The measures come as Russia’s military assault on Ukraine nears two months in duration. Canada has hit Russia with a slew of punitive sanctions over the aggression and has sent $110-million in military aid to Kyiv with another $500-million promised including heavy artillery.

Those targeted include Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae and Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A number of Canadian premiers were also named including Ontario’s Doug Ford, Manitoba’s Heather Stefanson, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Alberta’s Jason Kenney and B.C.’s John Horgan.

Among the journalists named are The Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief David Walmsley and Globe senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon, as well as Catherine Tait, president of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio Canada and Michael Melling, head of CTV News.

Read the story, which includes the full list of sanctioned Canadians, from senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase here.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

OTTAWA SCALES BACK DRUG PRICE REFORMS THAT WOULD HAVE COST BIG PHARMA BILLIONS - Ottawa is dramatically scaling back regulatory changes to reduce the cost of drugs, five years after heralding them as a once-in-a-generation effort to cut costs and shave billions off industry profits. Story here.

WIFE OF JAILED RUSSIAN HUMAN-RIGHTS ACTIVIST ASKS CANADA AND ALLIES TO PRESS FOR HIS RELEASE - The wife of Russian human-rights activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was jailed this month after a CNN interview in which he condemned Moscow’s war on Ukraine, is urging Canada and other Western countries to press the Kremlin to release him and other prisoners of conscience. Story here.

NEW POLICY WILL PROVIDE FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS A ‘BASELINE OF KNOWLEDGE’ ON INUIT HOMELAND, HISTORY - A new policy set to apply across federal government departments will fundamentally change how business is done with Inuit in Canada, says the president of a national advocacy organization. The policy, which has the support of Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet, is expected to be formally endorsed on Thursday at the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, which is designed to advance work on shared priority areas between Inuit and the federal government. Story here.

CANADA-WIDE ACTION NEEDED TO CRACK DOWN ON HANDGUNS, ADVOCATES TELL FEDERAL MINISTER - Prominent firearm-control advocates are urging the Liberal government to abandon plans to allow provinces to ban handguns, saying regional measures will lead to a disastrous patchwork across Canada. In a new letter to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, several high-profile groups call instead for countrywide measures to phase out the private ownership of handguns. Story here from The Canadian Press.

PIERRE POILIEVRE AMONG THE DOZENS OF MPS WITH RENTAL PROPERTY AMID HOUSING CRUNCH - Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre is among the dozens of MPs who own rental property even as he blasts the unfairness of Canada’s housing market for young Canadians, Global News reports. Mr. Poilievre, the perceived frontrunner in the party’s leadership race, has made housing unaffordability a central part of his campaign so far, and has frequently criticized what he calls the “gatekeepers” keeping homes out of reach for home-buying hopefuls. Story here from Global.

‘SOAP OPERA’: ALBERTA PREMIER SAYS HE’S BEEN TOO TOLERANT OF OPEN DISSENT - Premier Jason Kenney says Albertans don’t appreciate the intraparty fighting “soap opera” of his United Conservative government and, if anything, he has been too soft on public dissenters. Kenney made the comments while taking questions on a Facebook town-hall meeting. Story here from The Canadian Press.

SENIOR SOLDIER ONCE TASKED WITH ARMY COMMAND RETIRED WHILE FACING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT PROBE - The senior military leader who was poised to take command of the Canadian Army retired from the military earlier this month as an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him continued. Retired lieutenant-general Trevor Cadieu was set to be sworn in as the head of the army in a ceremony last fall. Story here from CBC.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

The newsletter reached out to the Conservatives leadership campaigns to see what they were up to Thursday.

Pierre Poilievre is in Toronto, where he made an announcement about his proposed housing policy. He will later hold meet and greets with party members in Fergus and St. Catharines, Ont.

Jean Charest is in Toronto, where he released his plan to end COVID-19 lockdowns and get the Canadian health care system off “life support.”

Leona Alleslev will host a meet and greet in Kingston Thursday evening.

Marc Dalton will hold a rally in Pitt Meadows, B.C. Thursday evening.

The other campaigns did not reply.

THIS AND THAT

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

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Dr. Ken Fry tells us why it’s so hard to get rid of mosquitoes – and why learning to live with the pesky bloodsuckers is the better solution. Warmer weather means summer, picnics, camping … and mosquitoes. Edmonton is particularly famous for their mosquito season. But with a focus on environmental sustainability, the city is ditching the pesticide spraying they’ve used for years to control mosquitoes, instead turning to a more natural solution – bats and dragonflies. Dr. Fry is an entomology instructor in the School of Life Sciences & Business at Olds College in Alberta, and grew up in Edmonton. He studies pest control management and mosquitoes. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

The Prime Minister is in Ottawa, where he will co-chair a meeting of the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee with President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed. They will hold a media availability Thursday afternoon, where they will be joined by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is in Toronto Thursday, where he will address the Canadian Club on “making the very rich and wealthiest corporations pay their fair share to invest in Canadian families.”

The Bloc Québécois is holding a forum on forests and climate change Thursday in Trois-Rivières, Que., here leader Yves-François Blanchet will deliver a speech.

People’s Party of Canada Leader, Maxime Bernier, is in Ottawa Thursday 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.

No other schedules released for party leaders.

PUBLIC OPINION

CANADIANS MORE OPEN TO CUTTING TIES WITH MONARCHY, BUT STILL SUPPORT QUEEN: POLL - Canadians are growing more open to severing ties with the British monarchy, a new poll suggests, despite an ongoing affection for Queen Elizabeth herself. The new Angus Reid poll — released Thursday on the Queen’s 96th birthday — found while 51 per cent of Canadians are against continuing as a constitutional monarchy, nearly two-thirds still view Elizabeth favourably. Story here from Global.

ONTARIO PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVES LEAD BY FOUR AS DOUG FORD’S IMAGE AND PERFORMANCE RATING IMPROVES - When asked how they would vote if an election was held today, 36 per cent of Ontarian respondents said they would vote PC followed by the Ontario Liberals at 32 per cent and the NDP at 23 per cent. The Greens are at 6 per cent while four per cent would vote for another party. The poll was conducted by Abacus Data, which is conducting regular surveys to gauge public opinion and reaction to the Ontario election campaign. Poll here.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how Mr. Poilievre’s message about “normal life” has hit home: “It’s not so much that Pierre Poilievre drew a crowd to an event in downtown Toronto. It’s that after the rally, hundreds stood in a long, swirling line for as long as an hour-and-a-half, waiting for a picture and a few words with the politician and his wife, Anaida.

So if you are still wondering: Yes, this is a thing. Mr. Poilievre has hit a nerve, and has some people responding in a rare way in Canadian politics: expending shoe leather to hear a politician speak.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Patrick Brown dives dangerously into diaspora politics: “At 43, Brampton, Ont., Mayor Patrick Brown is too young to have pioneered diaspora politics. But he has emerged as one of its most adept practitioners, and it may just be his secret weapon in his below-the-radar bid to win the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. He aims to sell thousands of party memberships to members of targeted ethnic groups, who can swing the vote in critical urban and suburban ridings, by promising to pay special attention to their concerns.”

Don Martin (CTV) on how an unlikely Conservative rock star takes the stage in the heart of Liberal-owned Toronto:And in the here and now, it must be acknowledged that Pierre Poilievre is attracting impressive crowds to large halls in very unlikely locations. He is getting euphoric reactions from the base to his quip-filled policies, even if they are politically problematic. And his team is undoubtedly selling hundreds of loyal Poilievre memberships at every pitstop of the tour.”

Heather Scoffield (Toronto Star) on how Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter should be setting off alarm bells in Ottawa: "The list of worrisome social media tentacles is never going to get any shorter, and the polarization around whether government needs to take a heavier hand or be hands-off completely is only intensifying.

The platforms themselves have taken some initiatives to self-regulate, partly in an attempt to get out ahead of regulation. But Musk’s push to take over Twitter suggests even the tendency toward self-regulation goes too far.”

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