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Accountants urge transparency in federal budget

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on Oct. 20, 2016

CHRIS WATTI/REUTER

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Professional accountants say Ottawa needs to be more transparent about upcoming tax changes in the federal budget, expected for March.

And then there were three: With Ontario MP Charlie Angus announcing he'll run for the NDP leadership, and Quebec MP Guy Caron expected to do the same today, the New Democrats finally have a race. Candidates will take part in a series of debates and campaign until voting in October. One curious aspect of the party's itinerary: there are no leadership events scheduled in Alberta, home of the only NDP government in Canada.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is in Washington to get to know the Trump administration.

Rumours are starting to surface about who will be the new U.S. ambassador to Canada.

The Hill Times explains how the Liberal government has used Brian Mulroney to get closer to Donald Trump.

However, the Canadian government will support a global safe-abortion fund that needs extra money after Mr. Trump disavowed it.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is warning that computer problems in the federal government could lead to "catastrophic" consequences if they aren't fixed.

And while PEI politicians push for legal recognition of their role as the "birthplace of Confederation" on Canada's 150th birthday, New Brunswick says they deserve credit for coming up with the idea.

U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

American lawmakers return to Washington today after a congressional recess that was marked by tense town halls where constituents grilled representatives on Obamacare and the Trump administration's relationship with Russia.

The White House will send departments a budget proposal today that slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department while increasing funding for the Pentagon. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also said that the budget proposal would not include any cuts to major social programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Another Trump cabinet nominee has withdrawn from consideration. Businessman Philip Bilden, Mr. Trump's nominee to be secretary of the Navy, cited concerns about conflicts with their business interests.

While Canadian conservatives gathered at the Manning Conference, their American counterparts were at the Conservative Political Action Conference. In contrast to last year's event, where a central theme was the "Never-Trump" movement, Mr. Trump's impact on Republicans was evident, leaving some young conservatives torn over his nationalist vision.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats began charting a path for the future, electing former Obama Labour Secretary Tom Perez as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Perez bested Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a key Bernie Sanders surrogate during the Democratic primary, leaving Mr. Sanders' most strident supporters on the outside looking in. Although Mr. Perez, a progressive Latino, immediately named Mr. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, as deputy chair, the party still faces some division in its grassroots as Democrats try to pick up the pieces after the election.  

And in the White House, Press Secretary Sean Spicer has started random phone checks of communications staffers as part of the administration's war with leakers. During a meeting outlining the new measures, Mr. Spicer ordered aides not to leak the news. The story leaked.

LUNCHTIME LONG READ

The migrants crossing the Canada-U.S. border at unprotected spots in Manitoba and Quebec aren't just numbers -- many are people who have escaped war in places like Somalia and are fearful that the Trump administration will send them back. The Globe met with many to tell their stories, even as they made midnight trips across the border.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): "The big problem is that the NDP still has to figure out if it can have an unequivocal anti-pipeline policy and still retain the now-dented dream of taking power in Ottawa. The B.C. election is likely to shape opinions."

Shachi Kurl and Dave Korzinski (Globe and Mail): "When it comes to canvassing what role Canada should play in aiding those affected by the crisis in Syria, how many refugees we ought to take and how best to settle those coming from vastly different cultures, we found significant regional variations that look – at first glance – as though they play out along the traditional political spectrum."

Anthony Doob (Globe and Mail): "The report highlighted the fact that, in most provinces, very few (less than 1 per cent) of court appearances involved preliminary inquiries. When they were used, 89 per cent of preliminary inquiries in Ontario took only one or two court appearances. This alone makes one wonder why preliminary inquiries are seen as the Achilles heel of the court system, at least in terms of resolving the currently very serious problem of court delay."

Chris Selley (National Post): "The Conservatives have a fraught relationship with conservative policies — one that's complicated not just by a lurch amongst some of its supporters toward Trumpian populism, but also by the party's decidedly mixed record over a decade in government. The beauty of full-blown Liberal partisanship is there's almost no policy your government can implement that will disappoint you on principle: pragmatism is the only virtue; ideology is haram. Conservatives, however, are supposed to stand for something other than a collection of shared grievances. And it's not clear whether they do anymore."

Elizabeth Nolan Brown (Reason): "Whatever CPAC 2017 did represent, it wasn't a radical departure from the same mixed-bag of limited-government principles, frightening authoritarianism, and performative populist rhetoric that the conference has cultivated for years."

Jonathan Chait (New York Magazine): "Republicans may not have even realized until recently how deeply their ability to make political hay on Obamacare depended on not having power. They could posture against every inconvenient aspect of an industry nobody has ever liked, and promise all things to all people, with no responsibility to fulfill their grandiose promises. Now the dynamic has reversed."

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Written by Chris Hannay and Mayaz Alam.

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