- Amid growing concerns regarding sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, appeared at the Standing Committee on National Defence last Friday. Earlier last week, the Conservatives attempted to pass an opposition motion calling upon the Prime Minister to dismiss Ms. Telford for allegedly failing to notify him about sexual harassment allegations against General Jonathan Vance.
- Bill C-10 has been the subject of significant debate in Ottawa recently. Conservative MPs have been criticizing the government for attempting to regulate user-generated online content and thus failing to protect freedom of expression. Conservative leader Erin O’ Toole repeated this criticism on Friday, even after the government introduced amendments they claim limit the CRTC’s power over social media content.
- The federal government announced increased access to rapid COVID-19 testing last Friday for business and organizations looking to implement workplace screening projects.
- The COVID-19 situation in India remains extremely serious, as direct flights from the country to Canada remain prohibited. Last Wednesday the federal government sent medical supplies, including ventilators from its National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, to help respond to the critical situation.
- Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office reiterated that Enbridge must stop operating the Line 5 pipeline by May 12, 2021. There was an emergency debate on the issue in the House of Commons last Thursday.
- Applications opened last Thursday for a new pathway to permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary workers and international graduates of Canadian institutions.
- Last Thursday, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, announced an investment of $80 million over four years to launch the new Cyber Security Innovation Network program. The program will fund the creation of a national network composed of multiple centres of expertise on cyber security that are affiliated with post-secondary institutions from across Canada.
- Also last Thursday, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan announced that the federal government will move forward with the construction of two Polar icebreakers under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver will build one of the icebreakers while Davie Shipbuilding in Quebec will build the other.
- Last Wednesday, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age.
- Last Wednesday, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra participated in a G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting, where the countries “committed to working on a common set of principles to guide the resumption of international travel when it’s safe to do so.”
In the House
- This will be the final sitting week of the recent five week stretch. MPs will have a break from House proceedings next week, before returning for another lengthy period of consecutive sitting weeks until the House rises in late June.
- Today, MPs will continue second reading debate of Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (COVID-19 response).
- Tuesday will feature second reading debate of Bill C-30, Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1
- On Wednesday, MPs are expected to consider Bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, at report stage.
- Thursday will be an opposition day.
- The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will meet today to continue their clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-10 (or at least try to).
- The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will meet today to draft instructions for a report on single-use plastics and to consider a draft report regarding the enforcement of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
- The Standing Committee on International Trade will meet today to continue studying Canada’s exports of environmental and clean technology.
- The Standing Committee on Health will meet today to continue hearing from witnesses concerning the emergency situation facing Canadians in light of COVID-19.
- The Standing Committee on Natural Resources will meet today regarding Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Offshore Health and Safety Act.
- The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates will meet today to continue hearing from witnesses regarding the government’s response to COVID-19.
- The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development will meet tomorrow to hear from additional witnesses concerning the granting of arms export permits and to draft instructions for a report.
- The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology will meet tomorrow to continue studying the economic recovery from COVID-19.
- The Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food will meet tomorrow for a clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel).
- The relationship between the Ford government and the federal government remains rocky. Last Thursday, the Ontario PC Party released a video advertisement blaming the Trudeau government for the COVID-19 variants in Canada and emphasizing the need to “protect our borders.” On Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters that he has offered to help Ontario restrict travel but hasn’t heard back from Premier Ford.
- Last Thursday, the Ontario Liberal Party released their childcare plan. Leader Steven Del Duca committed to working with the federal government to implement universal $10-a-day licensed childcare in Ontario.
- The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to ramp up across Ontario, as more people become eligible and Pfizer and Moderna vaccines become available in pharmacies. Last Wednesday, health officials said that the province is on track to have administered first doses to 65% of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
- Last week, Premier François Legault indicated that he wants to develop a post-pandemic reopening plan in the near future. He said that he was inspired by Saskatchewan’s plan, which sets out a timeline for reopening based on vaccination rates.
- Recent polling indicates that 86% of Quebecers have been or plan to be vaccinated. Quebec plans on administering a first COVID-19 vaccine dose to most residents by June 24, 2021.
- After a legislative break last week, BC MLAs will reconvene today, with five sitting weeks remaining on the parliamentary calendar for the spring session.
- Last week, the BC government announced the board of directors for the province’s new InBC Investment Corp., a recently established independent $500 million strategic investment fund created by the Government of British Columbia.
- Premier Kenney announced new public health restrictions last Tuesday, as the province hit the highest COVID-19 infection rates in North America. The measures include a temporary shift to at-home learning for students, the closure of indoor dining, and the implementation of a 10% capacity limit at retail stores.
- As of today, COVID-19 vaccine appointment bookings will expand to include Albertans ages 12 to 29.
- Nova Scotia continues to struggle with rising COVID-19 cases. On Friday, Premier Iain Rankin imposed tougher public health measures including the extension of school closures, tighter border restrictions, and limits on shoppers. These restrictions came following a record 227 new cases reported on Friday.
- Last Thursday, Newfoundland & Labrador premier Andrew Furey’s Economic Recovery Team released their long-awaited report regarding the economic future of the province. Entitled, The Big Reset, the report acknowledged that the province is facing “an unsustainable fiscal situation that requires immediate action.” The team provided 78 recommendations, ranging from various tax increases to the establishment of a Future Fund to support the transition to a green economy.