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The Canadian military says it is temporarily moving some troops out of Iraq and into Kuwait because of security concerns in the regions.

There are about 500 Canadian soldiers in Iraq, most of whom are part of training operations.

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The security concerns were sparked by the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last week. Iran has vowed retaliation for the death and the Iraqi parliament has asked all U.S. troops to leave the country.

Congressional Democrats in Washington are trying to rein in the ability of President Donald Trump to take further aggressive steps, but their efforts may not amount to much because of the Republican-controlled Senate.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Meanwhile, in the U.S., a Congresswoman in Washington state says her office is looking into cases of Canadians and Americans of Iranian descent who say they were detained for hours at the Canadian-U.S. border.

The RCMP is set to enforce a court injunction against those protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern B.C. later this week.

New data shows the effect the rail strike and global trade worries has had on Canada’s trade deficit.

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And Justin Trudeau has a beard.

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau and the U.S.-Iran conflict: "All options for Canada are bad options, right now. The Prime Minister may believe the best strategy is to say little in public and hope for the best. But that strategy will become less tenable by the day or even the hour. "

Hugh Segal (The Globe and Mail) on what Canada can do: “Canada should, in fact, be calling for immediate NATO ministerial meetings so that this common resolve can emerge. Doing so would further motivate Russia – which engaged in joint naval exercises with China and Iran in the Gulf of Oman in late December and is not without substantive interests and influence in Tehran – to urge restraint on their Iranian client-state colleagues. A Canadian call for an urgent Security Council meeting would also be of value.”

Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on Canadian energy security: “Resuscitating Energy East would also help oil sands producers tap new markets because East Coast facilities are equipped to handle the ultralarge crude carriers needed to ship domestic products to energy-hungry markets in Asia. It’s illogical that the world’s largest refinery, located in western India, owned by Reliance Industries Ltd., receives supertanker shipments originating from countries as far flung as the United States, Mexico and Venezuela but Canadian oil, relatively speaking, barely registers on its radar.”

Matthew Lombardi (The Globe and Mail) on why the federal government should block Huawei from Canada’s 5G network: “Without a hint of exaggeration, this decision will affect the future of every Canadian’s privacy. 5G means more than just faster internet connectivity for everything from medical devices and delivery drones to video streaming and smart home devices. The underlying 5G mobile networks are the piping of the data-intensive modern economy, and control over this underlying infrastructure represents more than a typical government procurement contract. It is a matter of national security, as the piping can be used as a Trojan Horse to spy on every piece of information that crosses the networks.”

Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on the Conservative leadership race: “Justin Trudeau raises the stakes on the whole exercise, because he spent 2019 demonstrating he’s not invincible. The assumption in 2017 was that Trudeau was a two-majority prime minister, if not more. In 2017, cutting the Liberals to a minority and picking up 26 seats would have sounded pretty good. Now that it’s happened, Conservatives are greedy. Which helps explain why Scheer was just hurried to the exits.”

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Daphne Bramham (Vancouver Sun) on fundraising: “Donate $1,275 to federal or provincial political parties and the tax credit is $650. Donate to a charity and the maximum tax credit amounts to less than a third of the value. So, if some Scrooges only make donations to write down their income, the choice is unequivocal. Political donations are the big winners.”

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