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Making his first public appearance in months, Stephen Harper spoke at Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas mansion last week about how to unite fractured parties.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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POLITICS BRIEFING

By Jane Taber (@janetaber1)

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Last month, Globe and Mail feature writer Ian Brown wrote about his search for Stephen Harper, concluding that since the October election that he lost, and nearly 10 years leading the country, the former Conservative prime minister has "virtually vanished."

Not so fast. The American news organization Politico found him. In a piece about the state of the Republican Party, fundraising and where the richest GOP donors are putting their money, or not, Politico reported that Mr. Harper had spoken last Thursday at Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas mansion to the top officials of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The former prime minister was speaking about how to unite fractured parties, according to the newspaper's account. There is no mention of exactly what he said or how his message was received. But Mr. Harper is an expert on the issue, having successfully united the federal Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties in 2004 – a move that led to nearly a decade of power.

Mr. Adelson, noted in the article, is the 22nd richest person in the world, and has been a big donor to prospective Republican presidential candidates. But, he has not donated to anyone yet in the 2016 race.

In addition, Mr. Adelson, who owns the spectacular Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, is also described as a media mogul in Israel, owning a daily newspaper. He is a huge supporter of the country.

Mr. Harper, meanwhile, is also a big proponent of Israel, and showed that during his tenure in Ottawa. He visited the country in 2014 and was treated like a rock star as he was greeted enthusiastically by Israeli officials and even regular people were chanting, "Harper, Harper."

The former prime minister has kept a low profile since his party's defeat last October. He does come to Ottawa from his Calgary riding when the House is sitting, and participates in votes - but he avoids the media.

That will be harder for him to do in May. The Conservatives announced last week that he will be speaking at the party's convention.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

By Sarah Nolan (@sarahmarienolan)

> The chief justice of Alberta's top trial court says his province's courts are in desperate shape, as the Liberal government has yet to name a single judge to a federally appointed court anywhere in Canada since taking office. No previous government has been as slow off the mark.

> CBC is reporting that at least one senior military official is being investigated over a 2009 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed three soldiers, two of whom were Canadian.

> Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne laid out a framework for political fundraising reforms on Monday, including a ban on corporate and union donations. Although she says she wants the process to be non-partisan, it has been anything but.

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> The federal and provincial governments have deployed health teams to the remote Ontario community of Attawapiskat after the First Nation declared a state of emergency due to a youth suicide crisis. There is usually only one federally-funded psychiatrist that holds clinics once a month on the reserve.

> Members of Tom Mulcair's caucus say he was a marginal presence at his own convention over the weekend. "People didn't see Tom all weekend," Ontario NDP MP Charlie Angus told The Globe.

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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

"Getting through all those other uncomfortable governing issues the Liberals have to face without tripping will be a lot easier if the opposition is distracted. And then, of course, they're rubbing their hands because opponents could hand them advantages." – Campbell Clark on how Trudeau can benefit from the instability of the Conservatives and the NDP. (for subscribers)

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Jen Gerson (National Post): "At least Mulcair had a chance and earned his loss. The leader we really should feel sorry for is Rachel Notley. Her own party cheered to her face and then slit her throat for a shout-out in Naomi Klein's next book."

Adam Radwanski (The Globe and Mail): "As ugly as it may have been, and as messy a situation as it may leave them in, New Democrats made the right call when they handed Tom Mulcair his walking papers."

David Reevely (Ottawa Citizen): "Getting other candidates to sign up with a party that doesn't know what it stands for and doesn't have a real leader will be hard. Getting them to do it knowing that Mulcair is on his way out, already rejected by his own people, will be almost impossible."

Mike Strobel (Toronto Sun): "How can we help the NDP rediscover its loopy leftness? For starters, I'd get Bernie Sanders up here for a pep talk."

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