No Such Thing as a Free(land) Lunch | Your Look Ahead from Summa Strategies

4 minute read

What We’re Watching

  • The federal budget will be unveiled tomorrow. Expected highlights include the recently announced healthcare funding agreements with provinces and territories, additional investments to spur the clean economy, and a new emphasis on fiscal restraint. 
  • MP Han Dong announced last week that he will leave the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent, following allegations he worked against the release of the two Michaels.
  • Following vocal concern from the NDP and after several MPs’ attempts to filibuster, the Liberals announced that Prime Minister Trudeau’s Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, would appear before a parliamentary committee as a witness on the issue of foreign interference in elections. That meeting is expected to take place in early April. 
  • The restaurant industry is preparing for the largest jump in Canada’s alcohol excise duty in over 40 years. Some have warned that this could lead to bar and restaurant closures. 

In the House

  • Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, is under consideration in the House of Commons for amendments made by the Senate.
  • Bill C-27, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, is currently at second reading.  
  • Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Railway Safety Act, is currently at second reading. 
  • Bill C-26, An Act respecting cyber security, is currently at second reading. 

Committee Business

  • INAN will meet today to discuss improving graduation rates and successful outcomes for Indigenous students. 
  • JUST will meet today and Wednesday to discuss Canada’s bail system. 
  • AGRI will meet today to continue discussing food price inflation and global food insecurity. 
  • CACN will meet today to continue discussing Canada-People’s Republic of China relations. 
  • HESA will meet tomorrow to discuss children’s health. 
  • SRSR will meet tomorrow to discuss support for the commercialization of intellectual property. 
  • SDIR will meet on Friday to discuss the current situation in Haiti and the rights and freedoms of women globally, and of women in Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. 

In the Senate

  • Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, is currently at Senate pre-study.
  • Bill C-18, the Online News Act, is currently at second reading. 
  • Bill C-233, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Judges Act (violence against an intimate partner), is currently at third reading. 
  • Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Act, is being considered in committee. 

Committee Business 

  • RIDR will meet today to discuss Islamophobia in Canada. 
  • SECD will meet today to discuss cyber threats to Canada’s defence infrastructure. 
  • OLLO will meet today to study the application of the Official Languages Act, with the President of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier, scheduled to appear. 

ICYMI

  • U.S. President Joe Biden visited Ottawa last Thursday and Friday, his first trip to the capital since his election in 2020. Progress on issues including Roxham Road, Haiti, critical minerals and protectionism were discussed
  • Last week, numerous provinces including Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia tabled their 2023 budgets.  
  • MP Han Dong stated last week that he has received death threats throughout the ongoing foreign election interference allegations. 
  • After opposition motions called for the prime minister’s chief of staff Katie Telford to testify on the topic of foreign election interference, Telford agreed to appear at committee before mid-April.  
  • On Thursday, MPs passed a motion calling on a public inquiry into foreign interference. All of the opposition parties voted to pass the motion, while the Liberal party voted against it. 

Provincial Updates

#ONPoli

  • Ontario tabled its largest budget ever on Thursday afternoon, with spending highlights including healthcare, infrastructure and job creation. 
  • As the race for Toronto mayor continues to heat up, Premier Ford says he’s staying out of the race and will be happy to work with whomever is elected.  
  • Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Merilee Fullerton, unexpectedly resigned as minister and as MPP for Kanata-Carleton on Friday afternoon. A reason for the early departure has not been provided.  

#ABPoli

  • Premier Danielle Smith spoke at the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference last week. Her speech highlighted the work conservatives have to win votes in cities. 
  • The Alberta government may have to return $130 million in leftover unused funding from $1.7 billion provided in 2020 by the federal government to clean up old oil and gas wells. 
  • On Friday, Alberta’s Minister of Finance Travis Toews announced that he will not be seeking re-election this spring. That was closely followed by a similar announcement from Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, Sonya Savage. The two departures come just weeks before the expected start of the official election period. 

#BCPoli

  • The City of Vancouver has asked volunteers who were keeping vigil over a temporary residential school memorial outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery to remove the tribute. It was installed following the May 2021 discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. 
  • Ahead of the annual spring melt, some lakes and rivers in BC are unusually dry. The levels are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

#ATLPoli

  • Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick tabled their 2023 budgets last week at $9.8 billion, $14.4 billion, and $12.2 billion respectively. The provinces focused on health-care spending. 
  • P.E.I. PC Leader Dennis King is defending himself after a clip was shared of him discussing transgender rights. Pride P.E.I. says he will not be welcome at this year’s parade.

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