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Ottawa chugs toward back-to-work bill

OTTAWA - All aboard!

There'll be a lot of talk about Canada's rail system in Ottawa after the federal government threatened back-to-work legislation to halt what appeared early Wednesday to be a looming strike at CN Rail.

Shortly after Labour Minister Kellie Leitch announced the impending legislation, CN and the Teamsters union announced a new tentative agreement.

It's not yet clear whether the Harper Conservatives will withdraw the threat, or leave it in place until the deal is ratified.

Still, Leitch may be breathing a sigh of relief when she is joined today by Tourism Minister Maxime Bernier at a youth business roundtable to talk about the role of young entrepreneurs in the Canadian economy.

Later today, New Democrat MPs Philip Toone and Yvon Godin will bring trains back into the spotlight as they talk about CN's abandonment of a rail line that they say will deprive the country of east-west VIA Rail passenger service.

Other events in Ottawa today include:

— NDP transport, municipalities and public transit critic Olivia Chow, Dave Ritchie of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and United Steelworkers national director Ken Neumann will present the findings of a joint airport screeners conference.

— The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will release its latest outlook for the country's housing market.

— The parliamentary budget officer is expected to release a report on the economic cost of sick leave in the federal public service.

— The Protect Aid campaign will present a petition calling on the Harper government to protect foreign-aid spending in next week's federal budget.

— And parliamentary secretary Eve Adams will promote healthy eating during pregnancy at a maternity clothing store in Ottawa.

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