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Politics This Morning: NDP caucus meets in Saguenay for winter strategy session; sixth round of NAFTA renegotiations start in Montreal; Trudeau meets with global business leaders in Davos; Champagne starts swing through Southern Ontario

By Marco Vigliotti      
The NDP national caucus, led by Jagmeet Singh, is convening in Saguenay today for the start of its winter strategy session.
The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Good Tuesday morning,

It’s a busy day in the world of Canadian politics, with the federal NDP opening its winter strategy session in Saguenay, Que., and the sixth round of NAFTA renegotiations starting in Montreal.

Beginning with NAFTA, the sixth round of renegotiations of the continental trade deal is tentatively scheduled to run from today to Jan. 27. Interestingly, it comes only days after the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump‘s inauguration as U.S. president. Of course, Mr. Trump agitated for renegotiations of the decades-old continental trade deal by threatening to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA, unless significant reforms were made.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo are scheduled to meet in Montreal next Monday as part of the NAFTA renegotiations.

As for the NDP, the three-day session in the northeastern Quebec city comes mere days before the House resumes sitting on Jan. 29. It is also the first pre-session caucus meeting overseen by new NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

On Tuesday, NDP Parliamentary Leader Guy Caron and NDP MP Karine Trudel will hold a media availability at 4 p.m. at the Delta Saguenay in Jonquière, a borough of Saguenay that Ms. Trudel represents in the House.

Looking internationally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is spending his second day at the annual meetings of the influential World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On Tuesday, Mr. Trudeau is meeting with the CEO of Thomson Reuters James Smith, the CEO of UPS David Abney, executive director of Oxfam International Winnie Byanyima, chair of the board of directors of UBS Axel Weber, and CEO of the ABB Group Ulrich Spiesshofer.

Mr. Trudeau is also scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, attend separate diners hosted by Alibaba founder Jack Ma and chairman and CEO of BlackRock Larry Rink, and participate in a reception co-hosted by Tina Brown of Women in the World and Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam.

Staying abroad, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is attending the fourth ministerial meeting of the Lima Group today in Santiago, Chile, as the high-profile grouping of representatives of states in the Americas gather again to discuss the volatile political situation in Venezuela.

Back in Canada, International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is starting a two-day tour across Southern Ontario’s manufacturing corridor, where he will hold roundtable talks with representatives of businesses and manufacturers in the region.

During the tour, Mr. Champagne will speak with members of the business community in Burlington, talk shop with representatives of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, and promote the benefits of the newly enacted Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

He’s also slated to visit auto giant Ford’s engine plant and research facility in Windsor-Essex, and take part in a roundtable talk on trade hosted by Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

In Ottawa, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott is holding a press conference at the National Press Theatre at 11 a.m. to outline the key priorities and scope of the new Department of Indigenous Services Canada. She will be joined at the presser by Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services Jean-François Tremblay. The creation of the new department, spawned from the halving of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, was announced last summer.

Meanwhile, at 9 a.m., the the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is posting two new reports on its website: Economic and Fiscal Monitor—January 2018 and PBO and Finance Canada Long-term Projection Comparison.

Out west, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is announcing new investments in genomics and precision health research in British Columbia at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Vancouver.

The announcement, made on behalf of the federal science minister, is set to take place at 10 a.m. (Pacific time).

Sport and Persons with Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr is making a similar announcement about funding for research in neighbouring Alberta at 9 a.m. (Mountain time) at the University of Calgary.

Out in the Maritimes, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is making an announcement in Moncton about new measures to protect North Atlantic Right Whales

It goes at 11 a.m. (Atlantic time) at the Gulf Fisheries Centre.

Have a great day!

The Hill Times 

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