Need to Learn How to Smoke Pot? Ask The Government.

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Of course the Conservative finance critic makes Liberals furious, but he’s hardly universally popular among Conservatives either. That he is soft-spoken and thoughtful in private does him little good, since he’s just about only ever been a pit bull in public. He’ll be a formidable candidate if, as seems likely, he runs. And he may attempt a personality transplant, on the theory that his previous public persona was a carefully constructed artefact and can easily be swapped out for a new one.

Indeed, last night, the Toronto Star reported that Poilievre would launch a leadership campaign later this month. And whatever he does with his public image, he’ll apparently have the organizational muscle of two big Tories in his corner: John Baird, the former cabinet minister who’s writing the post-mortem on the party’s last failed campaign; and Jenni Byrne, a longtime senior campaign hand who recently served as Doug Ford’s principal secretary. [Toronto Star]

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Canada has 500 troops stationed in Iraq. Half of them are part of a NATO training mission that was suspended soon after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered air strikes that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Over the weekend, Iraqi parliamentarians voted to expel foreign troops. The government has not yet responded to that non-binding vote.

What instability means for Canada: We know that global oil markets and domestic stock markets don’t trade in a vacuum. They respond to international crises. You might expect headlines to scream that Canadians should brace themselves for catastrophe. But a Global News analysis says the “stakes for Canadian investors and motorists may not be as high as the political headlines suggest.” We have our own volatile job numbers and potential western recession to worry about. But at least gas prices aren’t spiking for most of us, right? [Global News]

Freeland has landed in the west: If the deputy PM’s new year resolution was to shake hands in the west, she’s a woman of her word. Yesterday, only six days in to 2020, Chrystia Freeland met Edmonton mayor Don Iveson, among the friendlier faces on her westward trip. Today, she’s set to meet Premier Jason Kenney in Edmonton, surely a testier tête- -tête. Later, she’s headed to rural northwestern Alberta to hear from locals. [Global News]

What U.K. Labour can learn from a decade-old Gordon Brown rally: In his column from our print issue, Wells ponders the eternal questions that face left-leaning political parties when they’re out of power and looking for a leader. Do they prioritize principle over winning, or winning over principle? Read his tea leaves for yourself.

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The Canadian Coast Guard announced yesterday a plan to remove a floating rust bucket from the Fraser River near Surrey, B.C. The fishing vessel, M/V Spudnik, is polluting the river and looking generally decrepit. But it has an explosive history. Sixty-five years ago, Spudnik was known as LSMR-401, a U.S. Navy ship that could fire hundreds of rockets at a time—and did, at North Koreans bent on taking over the Korean peninsula. Navy records say LSMR-401 won seven battle stars in that war. Those sailors never could have guessed how their ship would finally meet its end. [Coast Guard news, U.S. Navy records]

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