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Liberals prepare to table second budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Feb. 14, 2017.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The Canada Infrastructure Bank is expected to be fleshed out in the federal budget the Liberals will table on Wednesday. Two dueling reports out this morning give different takes on how important or costly the bank will be.

Liberal MPs will gather for a special two-day caucus meeting later this week after the budget is tabled.

The inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is set to begin soon, and the commission behind it says it only has about 90 cases on its list -- far fewer than the 1,200 names compiled by the RCMP just a few years ago. The government, which has collected many more names, says it can't hand them over to the inquiry because of privacy concerns.

Former Harper cabinet minister Jason Kenney has won the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party. The next step: convince members of the Wildrose Party, Alberta's other small-c conservative party, to merge their two camps.

Shenanigans continue in the federal Conservative leadership race: After more than a thousand names of supporters were struck from the roles after Kevin O'Leary's campaign complained, now Maxime Bernier's campaign is firing back.

Senator Vern White, a former Ottawa police chief, says the actions of his colleague Don Meredith fit the model of a person in authority "grooming" a young woman for sexual activity.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is imposing slightly stricter guidelines for the transportation of animals for food, but documents show the agency didn't go as far as scientific data suggested they should after they received industry pressure.

And you thought morale at your job was rough: a public service manager in Gatineau, Que., says her employees threatened to kill her and "eat her liver."

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U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

FBI Director James Comey
will be at a congressional hearing today as lawmakers try and understand to what extent U.S. President Donald Trump and his team had contacts with the Russian government during the election campaign.

After backlash on multiple fronts, Paul Ryan and the White House are tweaking their replacement for Obamacare. Republicans are conflicted over the bill and those in toss-up districts are feeling the heat from constituents and may end up voting against the bill.

Mr. Trump has promised to put American workers first, but he could end up hurting American consumers in the process. Although details remain scant, his policy proposals on infrastructure, taxes and trade raise the spectre of inflation

And inside the White House the power struggle continues. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, long at odds, have formed an alliance against the more moderate New Yorkers that often side with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

LUNCHTIME LONG READ

What happens when Canada tries to deport someone to their home country -- but that country doesn't want them? The Toronto Star tells the story of Kashif Ali, who has been in prison for years awaiting a trip back to Ghana that may never come.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Jamie Oliver (The Globe and Mail): "We all hate taxes, right? But taxing sugary, sweetened drinks could be the most symbolic, progressive part of your imminent budget. It could be the absolute game-changer in your much-anticipated childhood-obesity strategy, making it even more robust. There's a big caveat though – the money must go into food education and sports initiatives."

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail): "The Red Chamber can't judge whether [Senator Don] Meredith can be redeemed. It must decide whether he crossed a line with conduct that damages the dignity of the Senate, such as it is, and whether he is in contempt. His deceit, in the relationship with the teenager and when Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard investigated, means the answer is yes."

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail): "This activist President may horrify with his mendacious tweets or his rude treatment of foreign leaders, but the agenda is what matters. That agenda is being implemented at full speed."

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail): "Inclusivity, diversity, sisterhood: Those are politically powerful words in the United States right now, incendiary even. As tensions increase at U.S. borders, it won't be surprising if Canadians take a leaf from the Guides' handbook, and decide to spend the next little while at home. And why not?"

Thomas Homer-Dixon (The Globe and Mail): "[Trump's] performance so far suggests his administration will instead lurch from crisis to crisis. To make some sense of these outcomes, I've charted the most likely crisis types. Drawing on analysis by a wide range of scholars, I've also estimated the probabilities of each type at one, two, and five years into a Trump administration."

Lawrence Downes (New York Times): "That spirit of welcome has migrated and is now lodged in Canada. Or maybe it's fairer to say that Canada's longstanding decency has suddenly been thrown into sharp relief by political developments to the south. Call it the understudy beacon of tolerance, now with a chance to shine because the lead actor is sidelined with a flareup of an old condition, xenophobic fever."

Written by Chris Hannay and Mayaz Alam.

Video: Jason Kenney aiming to 'bury the hatchet' with Wildrose party (The Canadian Press)
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