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Politics This Morning: La Machine has arrived

By Peter Mazereeuw      
A gigantic mechanical horse-dragon called Long Ma will be sauntering through Ottawa for much of the next few days. Who said this city was boring? Photograph courtesy of Ottawa 2017
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Good morning,

If you see Liberal MP Marco Mendicino today, wish him a happy birthday.

Those sticking around Ottawa on this July day will be treated—or confounded, depending on the route of their commute—to a view of the street theatre production La Machine in action. Two huge mechanical beasts, Long Ma, a horse-dragon, and Kumo, a spider, will be strutting about downtown throughout the day. Expect traffic delays and hysterical dogs.

Out of town, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will continue trying to hustle up some extra goodwill among the electorate, while big-cheque season is in full swing for government MPs and ministers.

Mr. Scheer is continuing his swing through tourist destinations and events in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area of Quebec today, adding some polish to the Conservative brand ahead of a byelection in the Lac-Saint-Jean riding to replace outgoing Conservative MP Denis Lebel, who announced last month he would be resigning his seat.

Mr. Trudeau will be in Kenora, Ont., this morning, and plans to take a boat tour through the Lake of the Woods vacation area, which bills itself as “one of the most dramatic, mysterious and surprising lakes in the world.” He’ll go from there to join Kenora Liberal MP Bob Nault for a community BBQ shortly after 11:00 a.m., then leave Kenora for Winnipeg, where he has an afternoon meeting scheduled with Mayor Brian Bowman. At 7:00 p.m., Mr. Trudeau is scheduled to join Sport Minister Carla Qualtrough to help open the Canada Games in the Bell MTS Place arena, home of the Winnipeg Jets.

In Toronto, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen will join Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains at Ryerson University at 9:00 a.m. to make an announcement about the Start-up Visa Program, which aims to bring entrepreneurs to Canada. Mr. Bains will also deliver a speech this afternoon at Environics Analytics’ Toronto office about the government’s vision for, you guessed it, using analytics to drive innovation.

There will be several funding announcements today as well: Mr. Bains in Etobicoke; Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and David Lametti, parliamentary secretary to the innovation minister, in Sherbrooke, Qué.; Liberal MP for King-Vaughan Deb Schulte in her riding; and Liberal MP for Halifax Andy Fillmore in his. Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef will also announce a feasibility study for a school in Curve Lake, Ont.

In case you missed it:

The NDP announced yesterday it will hold a leadership debate Aug. 2 in Victoria, the sixth debate so far. Candidates Guy Caron, Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, and Jagmeet Singh are all expected to attend.

The government announced the appointment of Francois Daigle as the new associate deputy minister of justice, effective July 31. Mr. Daigle has served since August 2015 as the assistant secretary to the cabinet for social development policy in the Privy Council Office.

South of the border, the White House announced that First Lady Melania Trump will lead the U.S. delegation of athletes headed to Toronto for the Invictus Games from September 23 to 30. The Invictus Games, established by the U.K.’s Prince Harry in 2014, is a forum for wounded military servicepeople to compete in adaptive sports, such as wheelchair rugby and archery. 

U.S. political leaders have decided to scrap, for now, a proposed import tax that would have posed a big problem for Canadian traders, drawing applause from Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

And episode 188 of the Trump administration serial drama played out in Washington over the past few days, with new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci publicly trashing other key players in his own administration, including both chief of staff Reince Priebus, and his own underlings, whom he threatened to fire.

What will happen in Washington today? As Terrell Owens might say, “getcha popcorn ready!”

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