Let the Games Begin | Your Look Ahead from Summa Strategies

5 minute read

What We’re Watching

  • Several convoys of truckers from across the country arrived in Ottawa over the weekend. The convoy organizers and supporters were protesting government mandates requiring truckers to be vaccinated in order to cross the Canada-U.S. border. It has grown into an angry populist movement opposing other COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. A number of Conservative MP’s have voiced their support for the convoy, including Leader Erin O’Toole, Pierre Poilievre, Andrew Scheer and Candice Bergen. Amid security concerns, the Prime Minister and his family were moved to an undisclosed location in the National Capital Region. Protesters vowed to remain in Ottawa on Monday as MPs were set to resume sittings in the House of Commons.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began a five day self isolation period on the 27th, a result of one of the PM’s children testing positive for COVID-19. This comes at an inopportune time, during the Liberal Party caucus retreat in advance of the House of Commons reconvening today.
  • Minister of Transportation, Omar Alghabra, announced on twitter that the National Supply Chain Summit will take place on January 31st, bringing together Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister Mary Ng, and Minister François-Philippe Champagne, as well as a number of stakeholders from across the industry. 
  • Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole continues to face internal scrutiny. Three conservative riding associations recently passed motions calling for a leadership review no later than June 15th. This follows Saskatchewan Senator Denise Batters’ petition late last year calling on the CPC to move ahead the leadership review, which is currently slated for August 2023. Batters was kicked out of the national Conservative caucus for this move, however Saskatchewan MPs voted to continue to include Batters in their regional caucus meetings. A recent poll showed Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre is currently the preferred individual to lead the Conservatives in the next election. 

In the House:

  • When Parliament rose for the holiday break in December, four government bills were left on the Order Paper. The most consequential of these bills is C-5, which would change the ways in which mandatory minimum sentences are used and applied within the justice system. 
  • Bills C-7, C-8 and C-9 remain at second reading, and are likely to be picked up quickly when MPs return to parliamentary business.
  • In a press conference last week, the Prime Minister stated that his legislative priorities, in order, are COVID, climate change, economic recovery and affordability. 
  • Committees are set to return to work as well,with most meeting this week to determine subjects for study this session. Notably, five committees have already resumed meetings since the holiday break, following various requests from opposition members. 
    • The Finance Committee reconvened early in order to study rising inflation in Canada, and will hold at least ten meetings on the subject.
    • The Health Committee reconvened early in order to discuss the rise of the omicron variant, and other pressing health matters as the country faces a fifth wave of the pandemic. 
    • The Ethics Committee was recalled to vote on initiating a study around the collection and use of Canadians’ cell phone data in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first meeting on this study is scheduled for Thursday. 
    • The Industry Committee also returned to work early after the Conservatives requested a study to take place concerning the sale of a rare earth minerals company “Neo-Lithium” to a Chinese state owned firm. Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne appeared before the committee on this subject last week .
    • Lastly, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities met to study service standards for employment insurance claims.

In the Senate:

  • There are no government bills currently in the senate
  • 29 public senate bills are currently working their way through the red chamber, the majority of which are still at first reading.
  • The Senate Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee will hear from both the Governor and Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada On February 2nd.

ICYMI

  • Thousands of protestors descended on Ottawa this weekend, calling for an end to vaccine mandates, and COVID-19 health and safety protocols across the country. Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole met with protestors, however he disavowed what he called “extremist elements” within the protest group.
  • While taking part in an interview, Conservative MP Michael Cooper was filmed in front of a Canadian flag defaced with a swastika. This prompted swift backlash from many of Cooper’s house colleagues calling on him to speak out against those carrying hate symbols at the protest.
  • Video emerged this weekend of a protester jumping on top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this coming after a number of trucks had to be removed after they parked on the grounds of the National War Memorial. Both incidents lead to swift reactions from the Minister of Defence, Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Chief of the Defence Staff, all of whom strongly denounced the inappropriate acts.
  • Minister of Defence Anita Anand traveled to Ukraine this weekend, this visit coming after the federal government announced last week a renewal and expansion of the Canadian military training mission in Ukraine. In a Sunday statement, Global Affairs Canada announced it would withdraw all non-essential staff from the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine.
  • The Bank of Canada announced on January 26th that it would be holding interest rates steady, however they warned that interest rate hikes are coming to reel in inflation, which has reached its highest point in three decades. Governor Tiff Macklem stated that rates must rise in order to cool inflation, striving for the central bank’s two per cent target.
  • Saturday saw the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack on a Quebec City Mosque that led to the death of six people, with nineteen more being inquerd. The solemn event was marked with ceremonies taking place in both Montreal and Quebec City.
  • The Prime Minister convened a virtual cabinet retreat from January 24th to 26th. The  retreat focused on the Government of Canada’s efforts to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and work toward a strong recovery that benefits all Canadians. Another issue which was the topic of much conversation was Canada’s response to increased Russian aggression towards Ukraine.
  • The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all recently held caucus retreats, determining their policy and legislative priorities for the new session of parliament. 
  • The Prime Minister announced the extension of Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces training mission in Ukraine. The mission was to come to an end in March, but it has now been extended for another three years, with an additional 60 troops being deployed, on top of the already 200 armed forces personnel in the country.
  • Former Conservative MP James Cumming released his post-election report during the CPC’s caucus retreat this past week, laying out the main issues with the party’s 2021 campaign. The report will not be released publicly, however a number of its main findings have made their way into the press. The report is said to have found that O’Toole had a strong start to the 36-day electoral contest but faltered at the finish because he was “over-managed” and “over-coached” by senior staff. Additionally, the report concluded that O’Toole needed to be more “authentic” and get out on the road to meet with Canadians so they could get to know him better.
  • The Prime Minister and the Premier of Nunavut announced last Monday that they had agreed to a child care funding partnership, leaving Ontario as the only province or territory yet to sign onto the government’s childcare program.

Read more from this week's Look Ahead

Subscribe to our mailing list.