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The Ambassador U.S./Canada bridge and border crossing at Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, MI on July 11, 2014. Ottawa is unleashing a lobbying blitz in the U.S. in effort to spare Canadian trade.

Stephen C. Host/The Canadian Press Images

TODAY'S TOP STORIES

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Ottawa unleashes lobbying blitz in U.S. in effort to save Canadian trade access

The Trudeau government is conducting a lobbying blitz of U.S. politicians in key states in an attempt to persuade the Trump administration to spare Canada from protectionist trade measures that are currently being considered. As part of the strategy, cabinet ministers and premiers are travelling across the U.S. this spring in what federal officials are likening to a political campaign – trying to remind American lawmakers and U.S. media of how crucial trade with Canada is to their economy (for subscribers).

Liberals promise to begin holding fundraisers in public, share details online

The Trudeau government is promising to hold fundraisers that feature Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and cabinet ministers only in public spaces and launching a new website that will post the events in advance along with a guest list after the fact. The move comes after a series of revelations in The Globe last fall found that Mr. Trudeau and senior ministers were raising millions of dollars at private fundraisers with tickets as high as $1,500, giving donors access to cabinet away from public view.

RCMP accuse Vice-Admiral Norman of leaking cabinet secrets

The RCMP allege Vice-Admiral Mark Norman violated the Criminal Code by leaking government secrets, an accusation that arises from a 16-month probe into the release of information about cabinet deliberations to a Quebec-based shipbuilder that wanted Ottawa to stop delaying approval of a $667-million contract for an interim naval supply ship.

Trump faces key test of resolve over Syria after denouncing gas attack as 'affront to humanity'

Tuesday's deadly chemical-weapons attack on Syrian civilians is posing a major test for U.S. President Donald Trump, who condemned the "heinous actions by the Assad regime," but is declining to say what the U.S. response will be. Mr. Trump, who has previously lambasted former president Barack Obama for his approach to the conflict in Syria, now finds himself in a similar situation as his predecessor in 2013, when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deployed chemical weapons in a devastating attack that killed more than 1,400 people outside Damascus.

MORNING MARKETS

Stocks slipped and bonds rose on Thursday, with risk appetite soured by signs the U.S. Federal Reserve might start paring asset holdings later this year just as the chance of early U.S. fiscal stimulus seems to be evaporating. And investors were also wary before a potentially tense meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Tokyo's Nikkei lost 1.4 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.5 per cent, while the Shanghai composite gained 0.3 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent by about 5:50 a.m. (ET). New York futures were little changed, and the Canadian dollar was sitting at just about 74.5 cents (U.S.). Oil ticked lower after the U.S. government reported a surprise increase in U.S. crude inventories to a record high.

THE LOOKAHEAD

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida at Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. The Xi-Trump summit has been billed as a chance "to chart a way forward for the U.S.-China bilateral relationship," one that should be "based on a principle of reciprocity," according to a senior White House official.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

"Brian Mulroney was on the outs in Ottawa when Conservative PM Stephen Harper was in power, and now Liberals are inviting him back to the cabinet room. But it's Mr. Mulroney who will do Justin Trudeau a favour when he speaks Thursday to a committee of the Liberal cabinet on Canada-U.S. relations." - Campbell Clark (for subscribers)

"The first problem with the CBC's half-hearted attempt at interpreting Canada's history "for a new generation" is the title. The Story of Us – the 10-part series whose yawn-inducing opening episode nevertheless managed to insult much of the country east of Ontario – is the kind of name you'd expect on a propaganda video, not a serious history of a creation as fraught as Canada." – Konrad Yakabuski

"The marijuana ETF certainly gives investors a relatively broad group of companies, taking the guesswork out of picking a winner. However, it leaves investors with an uncomfortable reality: Even as a group, these stocks are highly speculative, given the backdrop of steep valuations, low- to non-existent profits and a hard-to-define competitive edge." – David Berman (for subscribers)

"So this is what I say to myself every day. We've been down this path before. Most people at their core are inherently good. We fear what we don't know and the only way to defeat racism is to get to know each other, whether through our neighbours, colleagues, teachers, students, books, plays or television shows. A hundred years ago, no one would have believed that two men of Irish heritage, Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan, once part of a despised minority, would be leading their respective countries. Racism is part of human nature, and will always be with us – just ask black people in the United States – but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to rise above it." –Zarqa Nawaz, creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie and the author of Laughing All the Way to the Mosque

HEALTH PRIMER

Toronto health officials to target adults in midst of major mumps outbreak

Toronto is dealing with the biggest mumps outbreak the city has seen in at least 25 years, while officials in Nova Scotia say the number of measles cases tied to a recent outbreak now numbers 13 individuals. A number of factors are contributing to the problem, including the fact some people continue to question vaccines, despite overwhelming evidence of their efficacy and safety. While public health messages continue to emphasize the importance of vaccinating children and adolescents, Toronto officials are preparing to target adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who may not realize they are at risk of contracting mumps because of the way vaccination programs were set up when they were children.

MOMENT IN TIME

Deadly earthquake strikes L'Aquila, Italy

April 6, 2009: Eight years after the devastating earthquake that struck L'Aquila in the mountainous Abruzzo region (about 100 kilometres east of Rome) and killed 309 residents, 55 of them students, the city remains a ghost town. Most of the once-lovely medieval, Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical churches, palaces and apartment buildings are still covered in scaffolding. Progress has been slow because more than half of the €7-billion ($10-billion) in repair funding went to new housing projects outside L'Aquila, while police have been bogged down in investigations to ensure Mafia-controlled construction firms are not on the take. Canada is held in high regard in L'Aquila. Its gift to the wrecked city was a 4,500-square-metre youth community centre next to the city's eponymous university. The vast gymnasium called the Canada Fitness Club has been a huge hit with the students.- Eric Reguly

Morning update is written by Kiran Rana.

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