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Politics Today: Is it right to expose the personal lives of politicians?

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty photographed during a an interview in his Parliament Hill office on Jan. 30, 2013, in Ottawa.

Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Politics Today is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters.

Flaherty's illness

In a revealing interview with The Globe and Mail, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has revealed the cause of recent weight gain and lack of sleep is due to medication he is taking for a rare skin disorder. Mr. Flaherty's health had been a source of worry after a recent video interview with Bloomberg, among other appearances. Details of his condition are here, and the full transcript of the private interview is here.

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When to report?

One stark difference between politics in Canada and the U.S. is, for the most part, the lack of reporting up north into the personal lives of most politicians. It generally becomes a matter to report when the personal issue has demonstrable effects on the ability of the politician to conduct their business. In the case of Jim Flaherty, John Ibbitson writes , his health had become a serious point of speculation.

Shedding a little light on Alberta's opaque elections

Alberta, generally one of the provinces with the least restrictive campaign-finance laws, will become a little more transparent today when Elections Alberta releases details of illegal campaign donations it has investigated in recent years. Opposition parties deny they're implicated in any of the to-be-released cases, meaning the focus is likely to be on the Progressive Conservatives that have governed the province for more than 40 years.

Meanwhile, Ms. Redford has given an appointment to the man who brokered a particularly controversial donation in last year's election.

Muddled Mali message

From the beginning, the extent of Canada's involvement in Mali has been a confusion of messaging. As Campbell Clark argues, the government has consistently denied any presence in the African country – whether it be the lending of a transport plane or diplomats' guards – even in the face of contradictory messages. That drip-drip has given the impression that Canada has gotten more and more involved, instead of presenting a clear role from the beginning.

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Precedent to be set in spy case

Jeffrey Delisle's two-day sentencing hearing begins today in Halifax, and the naval spy who sold secrets to Russia will be the first person in Canada to be convicted under the Security of Information Act. Mr. Delisle's sentence will therefore be precedent-setting. Lawyers are expected to ask for a stiff sentence, though likely not the maximum of life in prison.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More


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