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Metro Snapshot: January 26, 2009

<strong>For all that you need to know today, read the Metro Snapshot.</strong>

BACK TO THE HOUSE: Federal politicians return to the House of Commons on Monday with the spectre of an opposition coalition attempting to wrest power still haunting Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has appeared cool to the idea of toppling the government by defeating this week's budget, but has continued to threaten the possibility if Harper slips another "poison pill" -- such as the previous last fall's attempt to financially cripple the opposition parties -- into the budget.

In the latest of a series of carefully orchestrated budget leaks, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said the government will make $1.5 billion available for job training and help both workers collecting employment insurance and those who don't qualify for traditional jobless payments.

The Canadian government hasn't run a deficit sine 1996, and much has changed since the tandem of former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin delivered the first of what would become a series of surpluses. The $34-billion shortfall expected in the budget is certainly a lot of money, but just what could be purchased with such a vast sum?

TASER INQUIRY: Two markedly different images of Robert Dziekanski are emerging at the
public inquiry into his death after being Tasered by RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport: the sweaty, erratic and visibly agitated
man described by investigators, and the calm, polite and courteous
person encountered by many of the people who saw him last. The inquiry spent its first week exploring what caused the previously calm Polish immigrant to begin throwing furniture in the international arrivals area.

SILENT SOLIDARITY: Six thousand people silently marched through the Belgian town of Dendermonde to honour the victims Friday's bloody rampage at a local daycare, allegedly perpetrated by a young man wearing white face paint with dark patches around the eyes.

SPENDING CAPITAL: After spending the first days of his presidency boldly reversing some of the more contentious policies of the Bush Administration, President Barack Obama will spend the week -- and some of his considerable political capital -- trying to convince reluctant lawmakers to support his $820-billion economic stimulus package. The president has met resistance from Republican members of Congress who are unhappy with what they call "pork-barrel" spending and the plan's reliance on government spending as opposed to tax relief. Among Obama's most prominent critics is his former rival, Sen. John McCain, who said the plan would require big changes to win his vote.

ALL IN THE OPTICS: With capitalism in crisis, the thousands of political and economic leaders decscending on Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum will scale back on the glitz that typically glamourizes the event. Stars such as Bono -- who regularly attended the event to cajole humanitarian aid out of world leaders -- will skip this year's event and attendees will focus on working to shape the world after the current economic crisis ends.

 
 
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