What We’re Watching
- Investigations of foreign interference in Canadian elections continue, with the Prime Minister’s chief of staff appearing as a witness before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs last Friday. Conservative and Liberal parliamentarians remain heavily divided as to whether the Prime Minister took appropriate action.
- Federal political parties are challenging B.C.’s efforts to strengthen privacy laws surrounding political parties in the province. B.C.’s privacy commissioner issued an order in March 2022 that provincial privacy laws apply not just to provincial parties, but also to federal parties operating in the province. There are currently no privacy laws restricting the collection of data by federal political parties on potential voters. The federal Liberals, Conservatives, and New Democrats are all striving to preserve the status quo. The parties are challenging the authority of a provincial government to set restrictions on the operations of federal political parties.
- A union representing over 120,000 federal public servants across Canada announced on Wednesday morning that its members voted in favour of a strike mandate. The strike may occur at any point within a 60-day window ending on June 10th. Negotiations are focusing on wages that are outpaced by rate of inflation and on the right to remote work.
- The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation continues to be in the political spotlight. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called for an investigation into the foundation early last week. This came in the aftermath of the resignation of the foundation’s volunteer Board of Directors, as well as its President and CEO. The resignations were in response to revelations that $140,000 was donated to the charity in 2016 by a businessman linked to the Chinese government. The Prime Minister reiterated his complete lack of involvement in the organization over the past decade.
In the House
Legislation and Committee Updates (Forward looking only)
- FEWO will meet today to discuss human trafficking of women, girls and gender diverse people.
- ENVI will meet today to discuss toxic leaks of tailings ponds.
- CIIT will meet today to discuss the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act on firms and workers in Canada.
- INAN will meet today to discuss the improving of graduation rates and successful outcomes for Indigenous students.
- AGRI will meet today to discuss food price inflation.
- CACN will meet today to discuss Canada-People’s Republic of China relations.
- FINA will meet on Tuesday to discuss the Report of the Bank of Canada on Monetary Policy.
- RNNR will meet on Tuesday to discuss motions concerning the creation of a fair and equitable Canadian energy transformation, and federal assistance for natural resources industries.
- CHPC will meet on Thursday to discuss the activities of Google in reaction to Bill C-18.
In the Senate
Legislation and Committee Updates (forward looking only)
- APPA will meet on Tuesday to examine the constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
- BANC will meet on Wednesday to study matters relating to banking, trade, and commerce generally.
- AEFA will meet on Wednesday to examine and report on the Canadian foreign service and elements of the foreign policy machinery within Global Affairs Canada.
- AGFO will meet on Thursday to examine and report on the status of soil health in Canada.
- The Prime Minister declared on Thursday that his government will not change the agreements granting Prairie provinces control over natural resources. The comments came in light of criticism by Indigenous leaders of the Natural Resources Transfer Agreements. These agreements were reached in 1930 after disputes between Indigenous peoples and the provinces over control of natural resources. The Prime Minister supports the constitutional status quo of provincial control, but urged the provinces to work on reconciliation efforts on the matter with Indigenous peoples.
- Quebec Premier Francois Legault shared a tweet praising the Catholic heritage of Quebec on Easter Monday. This sparked controversy and charges of hypocrisy in light of his government’s ban on religious expression by government employees on the job.
- Pierre Poilievre urged Twitter to label the CBC as government-funded media. Twitter labels content as coming from government-funded sources to indicate possible control by states over editorial content. Poilievre’s demand resulted in discussions about the differences between publicly-funded and government-funded media outlets, as well as the degree of impartiality in CBC content.
- The Prime Minister’s top national security advisor revealed the dates of briefings provided to the Prime Minister’s office and cabinet regarding foreign electoral interference. The dates span from 2018 to 2023.
- The Ontario Ministry of Energy announced that hydro customers will be able to choose an “ultra-low” overnight rate aimed at people who use more electricity at night. The new rate will be 2.4 cents per kilowatt per hour everyday between 11pm and 7am, a reduction of 67 percent from the current off-peak rate. Choosing this plan will mean accepting higher on-peak rates in return.
- The Ministry of Labour will lower diesel exposure limits in mines in an effort to improve the health of underground workers, particularly by lowering the risk of bladder and lung cancer associated with long-term exposure to diesel exhaust. The province will reduce exposure levels by 70 per cent while also requiring improvements in mine ventilation.
- The Alberta ethics commissioner announced an investigation into whether Premier Danielle Smith interfered in the administration of justice relating to a COVID-19 prosecution. This is the second investigation into possible judicial interference by the provincial government in over a year.
- Alberta signed an agreement with Saskatchewan and Manitoba to collaborate on joint infrastructure networks. The effort is designed to improve trade and economic growth across the Prairies. The infrastructure will include roads, utilities, pipelines, and railways.
- The B.C. government announced an investment of $26 million in new funding for public electric vehicle charging stations. It will support 250 more public light-duty stations to accommodate the rapidly rising number of registered electric vehicles in the province. EVs rose from 5,000 in 2016 to over 100,000 today, with 30,004 bought just last year.
- Chinese community leaders in B.C. met with the federal Minister of Public Safety to discuss intimidation campaigns by foreign powers and proxies during municipal and federal elections. The minister emphasized the provision of $50 million for law enforcement and national security agencies to protect Canadians from intimidation or harassment by foreign actors.
- The B.C. Liberal Party officially announced its name-change to BC United.
- The provincial government fined Nova Scotia Power $10 million for missing renewable electricity targets. The company was required to generate 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, but delays in the Muskrat Falls project made that impossible. The deadline was pushed to the end of 2022, but it was still missed by the firm. Nova Scotia Power plans to appeal the fine.