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The deputy prime minister will attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees—of which she is a member—on Friday. Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains told reporters on a call from Davos, Switzerland that he’d met with executives from automakers Volvo and Mitsubishi; chemical company Dow; U.S. telecom giant Verizon; and Indian IT consulting firms Tata Consultancy Services and Tech Mahindra. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Though the Prime Minister’s Office told The Logic earlier this month that neither he nor Freeland would not be attending, Freeland’s office said the Davos trip, announced Thursday morning, did not represent a change in her schedule. Meanwhile, the entries on Bains’s Davos dance card fit his reported agenda of promoting a 50 per cent corporate tax cut for firms creating emissions-reduction technology. He told reporters that, in meetings, he’d highlighted Ottawa’s funding programs for cleantech, including Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Strategic Innovation Fund, and said they “will be seeing [the tax measure] enacted very soon to to help with their future investment decisions.” Some Canadian cleantech executives have expressed concern that the benefits of the policy would flow to companies in existing carbon-intensive sectors using technology to reduce emissions, since many domestic startups don’t have meaningful profits to tax.

Correction: The name of the Ottawa program is Sustainable Development Technology Canada. This item has been updated.

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Canada’s foreign minister said she agreed with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desire to update the deal’s language to make prescription drugs and increase protection for unions. However, Freeland said reopening the deal could be a “Pandora’s box.” (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: U.S. Democrats, who have a majority of seats in the House of Representatives—which will need to approve the deal—have repeatedly said they will not support the USMCA as currently agreed to. On Thursday, Freeland said Canada might refuse to ratify the deal if tariffs on aluminum and steel remain in place, echoing a similar threat she made last week. Some Republican lawmakers have pressured U.S. President Donald Trump to lift the tariffs, but he has so far refused to do so. Both countries are running short on time to ratify the deal prior to Canadian federal elections in 2019 and U.S. presidential elections in 2020.

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The foreign affairs minister is holding a news conference this afternoon to discuss extradition procedures, a day after a Vancouver judge ruled that Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, can be released on bail of $10 million while awaiting extradition to the United States to face charges of violation U.S. sanction laws with Iran. (Reuters)

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Talking point: Following the court ruling, U.S. President Donald Trump said he’s prepared to intervene in the extradition, which Meng is currently fighting. If a Canadian judge rules in favour of extraditing Meng, Canada’s justice minister will then decide whether to fulfill the request. Trump’s threat to intervene in that decision places added pressure on Canada as it tries to balance its ties with U.S. and China amid an intensifying trade war.

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In reports issued Thursday, Nancy Bélanger said Benjamin Bergen and Dana O’Born, respectively executive director and director of strategic initiatives of the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), did not contravene the conflict-of-interest or political-activity provisions of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct. Both worked on Chrystia Freeland’s 2015 re-election campaign and were part of her riding’s electoral district association. The lobbying commissioner found no evidence either had lobbied her directly, or that their 2016 interactions with her then-parliamentary secretary David Lametti or his staff broke the rules. CCI also said Bélanger had informed Bergen she would not investigate a separate 2017 incident involving then-environment minister Catherine McKenna’s staff. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The lobbying commissioner’s findings have been a long time coming. Democracy Watch, a transparency watchdog, and then-NDP MP Nathan Cullen first called for investigations into CCI in July 2017. In the time since, Bélanger has replaced Karen Shepherd in the commissioner’s chair, and both Bergen and O’Born have served the majority of the five-year cool-off period for former senior campaign staff. Democracy Watch will challenge the ruling in court, co-founder Duff Conacher told The Logic, saying the commissioner had a “negligently weak record of enforcement” and relied on questioning but did not check communications. CCI, which represents domestic scale-ups, isn’t the only tech lobbyist active in Ottawa. In July 2019, The Logic reported foreign tech giants had more than tripled their government relations activity under the Liberals.

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In meetings with government officials Thursday, MacNaughton—the former Canadian ambassador to Washington who now serves as president of the Canadian arm of controversial big data company Palantir—reportedly planned to advocate for his former deputy, acting ambassador Kirsten Hillman. In response to questions about how MacNaughton continues to advise the Prime Minister’s Office, and on what files, the PMO directed The Logic to a statement from Alex Lawrence, a spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, that expressed confidence in Hillman, and said an appointment would be announced “in due course.” Palantir did not respond to The Logic’s request for comment before deadline. (CBC)

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Talking point: Hillman has led Canada’s diplomatic team in the U.S. since MacNaughton stepped down at the end of August 2019, and spent the two years before that in Washington. Her diplomatic background is in trade, including working on the new USMCA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She also has experience with the World Trade Organization, a key area of international contention right now, as the U.S. and Canada pursue different reform plans. MacNaughton, meanwhile, has long been an influential adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his most senior staff, although he’s banned from talking to the government about Palantir for a year.