What We’re Watching
- Government House Leader Mark Holland stated the Liberal Party will address ‘global challenges’ facing Canada in forthcoming legislation on three themes: rising cost of living; environment and climate change; and protecting the economy and infrastructure from foreign interference.
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland stated while speaking to reporters that the 2023 federal budget will prioritize spending on health care and the green energy transition, while ensuring the government’s overall fiscal plan is sustainable during what is expected to be a challenging year.
- The federal government announced the upcoming revival of the Law Commission of Canada, a federal body offering legal advice to cabinet. The commission would also be able to answer questions about the constitutionality of proposed legislation, as well as its impact on international laws such as trade agreements.
- The prime minister and provincial premiers will meet in Ottawa on February 7th to discuss a new funding agreement for health care transfers. The prime minister’s office has additionally indicated that they are looking to pursue individual agreements with each province.
- Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra stated on Tuesday that the government will overhaul the airline passenger bill of rights in response to travellers’ claims that the system is fundamentally flawed. Algebra told reporters that major travel disruptions last summer — and a problem-plagued Christmas travel season — have made it clear that reforms are necessary to better protect passengers.
- The Bank of Canada raised interest rates again, however Governor Tiff Macklem stated that the central bank is going on ‘pause’ in its campaign of rate hikes on a conditional basis.
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced Amira Elghawaby as Canada’s first special representative on combating Islamophobia, who will advise the federal government on how to better fight discrimination against the Muslim community.
- Minister of National Defence Anita Anand announced on Thursday that Canada will be donating 4 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Minister Anand stated that the size of Canada’s contribution takes into consideration the need to maintain Canada’s readiness: leaving enough tanks for Canadian troops to train at home and to meet NATO commitments.
- The prime minister and his cabinet finished their three day retreat in Hamilton, Ontario on Wednesday. Talks are said to have focused on “growing and strengthening the economy, making life more affordable and improving health care for Canadians.”
- Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan announced on Thursday that she would be taking a leave of absence on the advice of her doctors in order to address a personal medical issue. She added that she will continue to serve as the member of Parliament for Etobicoke–North, and hopes to return to the House of Commons as soon as possible.
- Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has rejected the Competition Bureau’s request to block the takeover of Shaw by Rogers, a decision that removes one of the final hurdles standing in the way of the $20-billion merger from going ahead.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the pre-emptive use of the Notwithstanding Clause; these comments came amidst the Quebec secularism law Bill 21. The prime minister additionally stated that the federal government will intervene when Bill 21 reaches the Supreme Court, prompting Quebec Premier Francois Legault to condemn “[the Prime Minister’s] frontal attack on our nation’s ability to protect our collective rights.”
In the House
- There are currently a number of bills on the Order Paper and on Government House Leader Mark Holland’s plate that need to be guided through the Commons in the upcoming legislative sessions. These include:
- Bill C-21, the government’s firearms legislation, is before the House Public Safety and National Security Committee
- Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act is currently at report stage
- Bill C-26, the government’s cyber-security bill, is currently at the second-reading stage in the House
- Bill C-34, the National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act would prohibit foreign investment and serve to protect national economic security. It is currently at second reading.
- CIIT will meet today to discuss the Potential Impacts of the ArriveCAN Application on Certain Canadian Sectors, and the Potential Trade Implications of Transporting Goods in Railway Containers
- AGRI will meet today to discuss the Ukraine Goods Remission Order and Global Food Insecurity
- CACN will meet today to discuss relations between Canada and the People’s Republic of China
- HESA will meet on Tuesday to discuss Canada’s Health Workforce
- TRAN will meet on Tuesday to discuss Reducing Red Tape and Costs on Rural and Urban Canadian Airports
- RNNR will meet on Tuesday to discuss Creating a Fair and Equitable Canadian Energy Transformation
- AGRI will meet on Wednesday to discuss Global Food Insecurity
In the Senate
- The senate has a number of government bills on its agenda for the upcoming legislative session including:
- SECD will meet today to examine and report on issues relating to security and defence in the Arctic.
- AEFA will meet Tuesday to begin a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of the Sergei Magnitsky Law, and the Special Economic Measures Act.
- Ontario’s teachers’ unions are warning the Ford government that they are ready to “mobilize” if the province imposes a contract on educators or uses the notwithstanding clause to settle any bargaining dispute.
- Federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault was quoted as saying he has “a legislative obligation to intervene” if species-at-risk are threatened by any Greenbelt development. Premier Doug Ford responded by stating that he’s “really disappointed when I hear that, when we work collaboratively.”
- While announcing that the Brampton Civic Centre will undergo renovations to become the home of the new Toronto Metropolitan University medical school in 2025, Premier Ford stated that he is “very, very confident” that a new deal will be reached with the federal government over health care transfers.
- Former 12-term Mississauga mayor “Hurricane” Hazel McCallion passed away at home early in the morning of Sunday, January 29th. McCallion was 101 years old and served as mayor into her 94th year. Statements by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford remembered McCallion as a tenacious trailblazer for women in politics.
- Premier Danielle Smith called for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February to help shape the upcoming federal legislation expected to help energy workers get jobs in a low-carbon economy.
- The Alberta Premier’s Office has called for apology and retraction by CBC for a number of stories which alleged that the office was in contact with Crown prosecutors regarding the handling of cases tied to last year’s Coutts border blockade. The CBC responded by stating it was standing by its stories.
- Premier David Eby’s recent appointment of special advisers on housing, health and Indigenous reconciliation is fuelling speculation he is building a parallel cabinet in his office, with critics stating that it’s a sign the premier won’t relinquish control on major files.
- B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the City of Surrey, Surrey RCMP and Surrey Police Service need to provide more information before the provincial government can decide which of the two police forces should oversee law and order in the province’s second most-populous municipality.
- Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston announced during his State of the Province address on Friday that Cape Breton University will be the home of the province’s second medical school, with the first students set to be enrolled by the fall of 2025.
- Years of inadequate rate increases at N.B. Power, many imposed on the utility by interfering provincial governments, has been a key contributor to its current financial problems. two senior executives told a committee of MLAs on Thursday.
- The government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced last week that it will be moving ahead with a pre-feasibility study on the construction of a road connecting the Trans-Labrador Highway to communities in northern Labrador.