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Canada is sending up to 150 troops to Poland to assist efforts to support Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s military assault on their country.

Defence Minister Anita Anand announced Thursday that Canadian Armed Forces members will work at refugee reception centres operated by the Polish military to help with the processing of Ukrainians who are headed for points across Europe.

Ms. Anand said Canadians will offer some medical care and mental health support as well as spiritual services.

She said the Canadian soldiers will also offer support for Ukrainians wishing to work and study in Canada.

Senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase reports here.

Earlier Thursday, Chief of the Defence Staff Wayne Eyre said in a speech, in Ottawa, that his force is “stretched thin” as demands for its assistance continue to grow at home and abroad. Story here.

Please Note: There will be no Politics newsletter on Friday, April. 14.

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

ARTILLERY, ARMOURED VEHICLES AMONG TOP UKRAINE ARMS PRIORITIES: DIPLOMAT - Ukraine’s top priorities for the $500-million Canada earmarked for military aid to Kyiv in the 2022 budget are the same ones it’s asking of all allies: anti-aircraft weapons, artillery and armoured vehicles, a senior Ukrainian diplomat said Wednesday. Story here.

STOP STOKING ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT: SINGH -NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stop stoking anti-Muslim sentiment in India. Story here.

TALIBAN PREVENTING AFGHANS FROM LEAVING: MINISTER - Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says thousands of Afghans have been approved for refugee resettlement in Canada, but the Taliban is preventing them from leaving the conflict zone. Story here.

AFTER A DECADE, SALMON STUDY RELEASED - For 10 years, Kristi Miller-Saunders could not fully disclose the results of her study that showed a virus spreading among fish-farmed salmon in British Columbia. The federal Fisheries Department in the government of Stephen Harper would not release the 2012 report into open-net fish farms, a position that continued with the Trudeau government. Story here.

RATE HIKE SET TO AFFECT REAL-ESTATE MARKET - The Bank of Canada’s aggressive rate hike will push up borrowing costs and likely start to slow the country’s booming real estate market after two years of rapid home price increases. Story here.

NEWFOUNDLAND PREMIER TO DISCLOSE TIME HE’S SPENDING AS DOCTOR - When Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey entered politics, his political opponents criticized him for continuing to work as a doctor, something he needs to do to maintain his licence. Now, more than a year since he became Premier, he says he will release information about how much time he’s spending working as a doctor, even though his government is blocking the release of key details. Story here from CBC.

KING FACES TWO NEW CHARGES - Ottawa convoy organizer Pat King is facing two new charges, the day after his bail review hearing came to an abrupt and unexpected halt Wednesday when his lawyer’s computer appeared to be hacked. Story here.

JUDGE RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT APPOINTMENT OF UNILINGUAL N.B. LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2019 appointment of a unilingual lieutenant-governor in New Brunswick violated language guarantees in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge has ruled. Story here from CBC.

PUBLIC INQUIRY NEEDED ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN FEDERAL WOMEN’S PRISONS: COMMISSION - The Canadian Human Rights Commission says Canada needs an independent public inquiry to address serious issues of sexual violence and coercion in federal prisons for women. Story here.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

LEADERSHIP PROSPECTS ON THE ROAD - The newsletter reached out to the campaigns to see what they were up to on Thursday. Not all replied. Scott Aitchison began the day in the Greater Toronto Area, and was headed to Orillia this afternoon before ending the day at home in Huntsville. After tour stops in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Leona Alleslev was meeting with supporters in York Region, north of Toronto. Jean Charest is in Montreal , and was scheduled to talk, on air, about his childcare policy with broadcaster Mario Dumont on Mr. Dumont’s TV show. This week, the former Quebec premier has been to Belleville, Kingston, and Peterborough. Leslyn Lewis has an event this evening in North Vancouver. Pierre Poilievre is holding a “meet and greet” with supporters in Edmonton.

THIS AND THAT

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

TORONTO MAYOR HAS COVID-19: Toronto Mayor John Tory says he has tested positive Thursday for COVID-19. He is now isolating at home, and participating in virtual meetings, said a statement from his office. “I am thankful that I have been fully vaccinated and have the best protection possible against COVID-19,” Mr. Tory said in the statement. “I know this also gives me the best chance at a quick recovery so I can be back to a busy in-person schedule as soon as possible.”

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of the Globe and Mail podcast, Globe reporter Zosia Bielski talks about sexually transmitted infections and how “Less detection equates with more spread.” Sexual health testing took a nose dive during the pandemic, as health care workers and resources were diverted toward the fight against COVID-19. Now, the rate of STIs, from gonorrhea to HIV, has risen precipitously in many places across Canada. Ms. Bielski explains why the conditions of the pandemic – from the shame of breaking lockdown rules, to online schooling – have accelerated a decades-long trend of rising STIs in Canada. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

The Prime Minister is on a “personal” day in Whistler, B.C., according to the itinerary advisory from his office.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Toronto, attends Vaisakhi celebrations.

No other schedules released for party leaders.

TRIBUTE

CHARLIE BARNABY - A former chief of the K’áhshó Got’ı̨nę First Nation and one of the founding chiefs of the Indian Brotherhood, which went on to become the Dene Nation, will be laid to rest in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., Thursday. Charlie Barnaby, known for his good humour and strong voice for Dene rights, passed away on April 9 at age 90. Story here from CBC.

JIM HUME - Vaughn Palmer of The Vancouver Sun writes here on the passing, this week, of the legendary British Columbia journalist Jim Hume:From time to time over the years, we regulars on the political beat would be idling in the legislature corridors only to be confronted by the dean of the press gallery, veteran reporter and columnist Jim Hume. “Get to work you lazy bums!” he’d berate us. “Standing around waiting to collect spit on microphones — go dig up a story of your own.” Hume, who died Wednesday at 98, famously disliked pack journalism. “I don’t do scrums,” he’d say.”

OPINION

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the federal Conservatives’ torment: Constantly losing to a Trudeau: With the Conservative leadership race in full swing and a Trudeau at the nation’s helm, there’s something Conservatives might bear in mind. It is their record against Pierre and Justin Trudeau. In the eight elections in which the Conservatives have faced a Trudeau, they’ve lost no fewer than seven of them. The only time they haven’t served as a punching bag for Pierre or Justin was in 1979, when Joe Clark won a minority against the elder. The relief didn’t even last a year before the Liberals won a majority back. Pierre and Justin Trudeau have vanquished five different Conservative leaders, enabling them to rule Canada for 21 years thus far. The number will likely extend to 24 and maybe more should Justin Trudeau decide to run again.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how, in Quebec, the only thing deader than sovereignty is federalism: “Still, Mr. Legault seemed to take special pleasure in defeating his former party in a riding where the Yes side won more than 60 per cent of the vote in the 1995 sovereignty referendum. Across Quebec, Mr. Legault’s 10-year-old CAQ has stolen PQ voters with a Duplessis-style nationalist platform that treats the Canadian Constitution as a minor detail. He effectively runs the province as an independent country, without having to give up federal transfer payments or the loonie. For voters, it comes down to this: Why vote for an openly separatist party, and all the potential chaos that could entail, when the CAQ already provides the next best thing to independence with none of the inconveniences that sovereignty implies? Mr. Legault’s strategy is working, for now.”

Nancy Qian (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on China being caught in a COVID-19 trap of its own making: By staking so much on the zero-COVID strategy, the Chinese political leadership has positioned itself between a rock and a hard place. If it doubles down, it will further hamper the country’s economic recovery, imposing costs that the people no longer believe to be worthwhile. But if it eases COVID-19 restrictions, infections and deaths will likely increase rapidly as the virus spreads through a population that lacks the level of immunity found in most other comparable countries.

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on Jonathan Denis being the being the third Alberta justice minister facing heat over their actions: “But, really, what a bizarre run for Alberta conservative justice ministers, past and present. Kaycee Madu recently lost the Justice post after he was found to have called the Edmonton police chief over a traffic ticket. Madu was replaced in Justice by Tyler Shandro, who faces a Law Society investigation over allegations that he harassed critics when he was health minister. That’s still underway and the allegations are unproven. No minister of the Crown is allowed to interfere with a trial, exercise influence on police, or (as in the Shandro allegations) use information obtained through government to seek out critics. It’s improper to give even the appearance of such actions.”

Pam Frampton (Saltwire) on What the heck were they thinking? Recent government gaffes reveal lack of insights: “Don’t get me wrong — governments develop policies and programs that can make real improvements to people’s lives. So, this is not a blanket slagging of governments or politicians. Instead, it’s an observation that sometimes governments make decisions that leave you scratching your head in puzzlement or feeling completely alienated. Did they even think things through, or are they someone’s off-the-cuff bright ideas that turn out to be, in fact, quite dim?”

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