Four stories to watch today

1. Trade: If it’s Friday, it’s Brussels, with Stephen Harper flexing his political muscles. The prime minister is in the Belgian capital, the political heart of the European Union, to sign an early draft of a long-awaited free-trade deal billed as Canada’s biggest since NAFTA. The official announcement, along with release of the agreement in principle, will come at an event with Harper alongside European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. But the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, as it’s known, has its critics in Canada, particularly among the provinces — notably dairy producers in Quebec and Ontario.

Update: Canada declares broad new free-trade deal with European Union to rival NAFTA

2. Supreme Court of Canada: Back home at the Supreme Court of Canada, the high court rules today on a case that takes a mirror-image look at some of the thorniest aspects of the end-of-life debate. Hassan Rasouli, a 61-year-old Iranian emigre, remains on a ventilator following surgery for a brain tumour in 2010. Doctors say it’s time to end his treatment — ergo his life. His wife, however, has refused consent. Two lower Ontario courts both sided with Rasouli’s wife, but left it to the Supreme Court to sort out the legal complexities.

3. Senate scandal: Fridays are often quieter on the question period front, but don’t expect the NDP or the Liberals to ease up on the Conservatives over the Senate scandal. The Tories tried to blunt the criticism by promising more disclosure on expenses by its parliamentarians and with Senate motions to suspend three of the scandal’s principal players: senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau.

4. Economy: Look for fresh inflation numbers this morning from Statistics Canada.

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