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With 2017 federal budget date set, Liberals keep one eye on Trump

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 25, 2016.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

On March 22, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will table the Liberals' second budget. Sources say that the federal budget will focus on infrastructure spending, skills training and an innovation agenda. The tax credit review promised during the 2015 election, which is estimated to add $3-billion to federal coffers, will extend beyond 2017 as the Liberals watch for how the business and economic climate shifts in the U.S.

At a global energy conference in Houston, National Resources Minister Jim Carr reiterated the need for Canada to stick to its long-term strategy on energy and climate policy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will give the keynote speech at the conference Thursday.

For the third straight month Canada posted a trade surplus, a sign that the economy is beginning to gain momentum after sluggish performance in 2015 and 2016. Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. grew to $4.52-billion, which may pose problems for upcoming NAFTA renegotiations.

As part of International Women's Day, female delegates representing each of the 338 seats in the House will be on Parliament Hill as part of Daughters of the Vote, a campaign designed to familiarize young women leaders with the levers of politics in Canada. New research from Abacus Data showed that 58 per cent of Canadians think there are the right number or too many women in Canadian politics. In the House of Commons, women currently represent 26 per cent of all ridings.

On Monday night, Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier posted a meme from the Matrix movies on Twitter that that has been appropriated by men's rights activists and misogynists. He was criticized by other members of his caucus and was asked to clarify the intent of his tweet. Later in the night, he clarified that the meme "obviously refers only to the Matrix movie and to nothing else."

And we're No. 2! Again. Canada was named the world's second best country for the second straight year, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The only country better than us? Switzerland, which took the mantle as best in the world from Germany.

U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The battle to repeal and replace Obamacare continues in Washington, where U.S. President Donald Trump has come out forcefully for the proposal put forward by House Republicans. Analysis shows that the bill would cut taxes for the wealthy and healthcare funding for the poor. Additionally, health insurance companies stand to be a big winner under the bill. Criticism is coming from all corners, despite Mr. Trump and senior Republicans' efforts to quickly repeal and replace.

Hawaii will file the first lawsuit against Mr. Trump's revised immigration ban targeting citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.

While a lot of ink and pixels have focused on Mr. Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration and his executive order targeting Muslims, he is also determined to decrease the amount of legal immigration to the U.S. 

WikiLeaks released a mountain of documents that allege that the CIA engaged in widespread hacking of devices, including computers, smartphones and even smart TVs. The breach may highlight vulnerabilities in Canada because of the two countries' relationship in the "Five Eyes" intelligence group, according to a former security analyst.

Across the U.S. and the world, women will be striking today on International Women's Day as part of "A Day Without a Woman," and the International Women's Strike. The strikes intend to highlight the need for economic and social equality and show the importance of women in paid and unpaid work.

LUNCHTIME LONG READ

Political strategists have long talked about commanding the air waves. In 2017, the air war is increasingly fought on the Internet with memes and anonymous user names. They helped influence the 2016 election that put Mr. Trump in the White House and are looking to bring a wave of far-right governments to Europe. Politico calls it 'World War Meme.'

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail): "Bill Morneau is the artist asked to paint a picture without much paint. He is the Liberal finance minister without much latitude for spending." (for subscribers)

Denise Balkissoon (The Globe and Mail): "Women's rights are human rights, and putting the least heard among us at centre stage could have positive benefits for everyone else. When you flip over your desk and walk out early this International Women's Day, may I suggest you yell about the need for a fair minimum wage."

Mariefaye Bechrakis and Helle Bank Jorgensen (The Globe and Mail): "Solving the wage-gap issue will require the active participation of men and the private sector to ensure that women reach their fullest potential, both within the work force and outside of it."

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail): "Regional tensions that rocked the country from the 1960s almost to the century's turn have disappeared. The Afghanistan war is over. And while economic growth is no great shakes, there are more ups than downs."

Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight): "Health care is a notoriously difficult issue to tackle — most presidents have failed in their efforts to make wholesale reforms, or paid a substantial political price for attempting to do so (or both). But it's worth considering why this is the case."

Noah Smith (Bloomberg): "There really are two Americas -- one that's healthy, rich and growing, and a second that's increasingly being left behind. The two nations-within-a-nation are divided not so much by region or race or religion, but by the kinds of industries they support."

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Written by Mayaz Alam.

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