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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has once again approved the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would bring more crude from the Alberta oil sands to the B.C. coast. Construction will begin once the company can get the necessary contracts and permits in order. B.C. Premier John Horgan says he won’t obstruct the pipeline, though there are sure to be many local and environmental groups who will.

Mr. Trudeau said he hopes the government-owned pipeline can eventually be sold – at least partly – to Indigenous-led groups. He also said profits from the pipeline would be directed to clean technology to balance out the additional greenhouse-gas emissions that the Trans Mountain project will create.

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is in favour of the Trans Mountain expansion but who has criticized the pace of construction, will announce his own plans later today on how he would meet Canada’s emissions-reduction obligations as prime minister.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

The number of meetings between lobbyists and members of the Trudeau government continues to soar.

Ten members of the famed White Helmet rescue group in Syria were, along with their families, set to come to Canada – but they have remained stuck in a Jordanian camp, and the Canadian government won’t say why. Forty-eight people, in all, are affected.

Canada welcomed nearly a third of all the resettled refugees around the world last year, a United Nations agency says, but the 28,100 who came here are a mere drop in the bucket compared to the 70 million people the UN estimates are displaced around the globe.

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The Liberal government announced two new national strategies this week: a food policy that aims to address access to nutritious food, including in Canada’s north; and a plan to address dementia with research and treatment – though some in the medical community said the $50-million over five years won’t go far enough.

The health sector that helps support those with autism in Ontario is being hit with layoffs because of funding cuts from the provincial government. Hundreds more health-care workers are expected to lose their jobs in other areas of the province.

And a Quebec coroner has ruled that the death of 93-year-old Helene Rowley Hotte Duceppe, the mother of former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, at a luxury seniors residence in Montreal was accidental – but preventable.

Sheema Khan (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec’s religious-symbols ban: “Inclusiveness is the best way to prevent people from nursing grudges rooted in exclusion. Quebec Muslim youth who have been radicalized over the past few years pointed to the PQ’s proposed ban of “conspicuous” religious symbols as a clear sign that they were not welcome. Why invest in a society that rejects you for who you are? Instead, we should communicate the following to all young people: bring your talents, your passion, your dreams to help build a vibrant community.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the politics of the pipeline approval: “Will Mr. Trudeau’s actions convince voters that this government can protect both the environment and the economy, or will it convince them the Liberals can do neither?”

Jeffrey Jones (The Globe and Mail) on the pipeline and the panacea: “Canada’s energy industry has sustained so many body blows as pipelines have become stuck in limbo that Ottawa’s reapproval of the Trans Mountain expansion alone won’t return it to its former glory.”

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Rhiannon Moore (CBC) on environmental problems: “The truth of the matter is that plastic pollution and the climate crisis are symptoms of the same disease. As much as eight per cent of global oil goes directly to plastic production — an estimate that excludes the transportation of single-use plastics to global markets, the energy used to transport plastic to landfill, and the energy used to sort or recycle items, or incinerate them. When we address our single-use plastic gluttony, we address our consumption habits as a whole.”

Daphne Bramham (Vancouver Sun) on climate change and the north: “For millennia, the Inuit have survived harsh conditions that defeated countless explorers and adventurers. They are Canada’s most resilient and optimistic citizens. And as forerunners in this rapidly changing world, they have much to teach us, if only we’re willing to listen.”

Penny Collenette (The Globe and Mail) on the controversial addition to the Chateau Laurier hotel: “Compatibility has been lost completely. The addition does not blend, but rather offends. It jars the eye, not to mention the heart. It overpowers the existing building by its very presence.”

Alex Bozikovic (The Globe and Mail) on the addition, from his perspective as an architecture critic: “I find this debate gratifying and also deeply weird. I believe firmly that places matter and that architecture has an important role to play in shaping who we are. But the protests about the Chateau have been ugly: angry, full of anti-intellectual and spurious arguments, tinged with thoughtless jingoism that misrepresents the history of the city and the country. All this for a polite and well-made box of hotel rooms dressed in glass, limestone and copper. Strange.”

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