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A private member's bill to change the lyrics of O Canada has passed the House of Commons by a vote of 225 to 74, with all Liberal, NDP and Green MPs in favour, and many Conservatives joining them. The bill would change the lyrics to "in all of us command" instead of "in all thy sons command." (Bloc Québécois members have abstained from the vote as the bill only changes the English lyrics.)
The bill moved through the House at a very fast clip for a private member's bill, owing to the fact that its sponsor, Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, has had his health deteriorate quickly from the fatal neurodegenerative disease ALS.
At its current pace, the bill could receive royal assent soon. The Senate is scheduled to begin second reading of the bill on Friday, and Senator Nancy Ruth – the sponsor of the legislation in the Red Chamber – says she thinks there's enough support for the changes to become law. But, she warns the Ottawa Citizen, senators may not get around to a final vote in time for Canada Day.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IN OTTAWA
> The Senate has passed a changed version of the assisted-dying bill 64 to 12, which sends it back to the House of Commons. MPs are likely to undo the major amendments and, in turn, send it back to the Red Chamber, setting up a legislative showdown.
> Justin Trudeau is in Vancouver today, where he and B.C. Premier Christy Clark are set to announce $740-million in transit funding for the region.
> The Liberals are tabling a bill this morning to create a new national-security oversight committee.
> Provincial finance ministers already appear to be coming to a compromise on expanding the Canada Pension Plan, ahead of a meeting next week.
> Federal lawyers – backed by the Liberal government – have picked up a line of legal argument first proposed then abandoned by the former Conservative government that denies Ottawa has any special "duty of care" to wounded veterans.
> Hundreds of people infected with Hepatitis C from tainted blood could go uncompensated even though the federal government has another fund for other victims of the scandal.
> The Liberals say they will look into changing migrant-detention policies that can keep people imprisoned for years on end.
> A new federal pay centre is being set up in Gatineau to deal with the problems of the Phoenix pay system for public servants.
> The Native Women's Association of Canada wants a review of police conduct to be part of a national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women.
> And the day Mr. Trudeau was sworn into office the government began work scrubbing Stephen Harper from Google search results, iPolitics reports.
> Nova Scotia: The province's Green Party has shut down for lack of interest.
> Ontario: A Progressive Conservative MPP is complaining that a Liberal cabinet minister has blocked him on Twitter.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): "The 2015 election was, Elections Canada now tells us authoritatively, a break with decades of elections before: Millions more came out to cast ballots, and young people voted in dramatically higher numbers. Elections in Canada will never be the same."
Jane Hilderman (Ottawa Citizen): "The 2015 turnout numbers show ignoring youth is no longer an option – a fact that should be on the minds of political leaders as they consider overhauling Canada's election system before 2019. The time in between elections is a key opportunity to find ways beyond the ballot box to hear from youth on this issue and other policy choices."
Lenny Carpenter (Globe and Mail): "When will Canada commit to making a healthy long-term structural investment in the root causes of this nationwide suicide epidemic? How many more suicides will it take? Prime Minister Trudeau pledged to begin a new 'nation-to-nation' relationship with First Nations and to begin reconciliation. His recent funding announcement is a band-aid solution at best."
Joanna Quinn (Globe and Mail): "This is not an intractable problem. My own research, for example, has shown that for people like me – a Canadian who has benefited mightily from that inequality – all that is needed to begin the resolution process is to take the time to understand what has been done to indigenous Canadians, and to increase awareness that a great number of indigenous Canadians now face a set of circumstances that are not of their own choosing. We need to acknowledge there is a problem because unless we do, we perpetuate the inequality that divides us as Canadians, and foreclose any prospect of reconciliation."
Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "Not buying the F-35 would put Canada way offside with its NATO allies, negating the important military utility of 'interoperability' of equipment with allies. It would also put Canada behind emerging stealth threats sure to come from Russia and China. Buying the F-35 would be to both proceed down the track of the Harper government, heaven forbid, and to break a campaign promise. Moreover, the process has not been 'open and transparent' to date, but rather completely opaque, the matter having been placed in the hands of a special cabinet committee." (for subscribers)
Robyn Urback (National Post): "Indeed, to continue to pursue the government's appeal is not simply for Trudeau to break another vow, but to also undermine the sacrifice that Canada's veterans have made for our country. After campaigning off the backs of veterans, the Trudeau government seems to content to now turn its back to them. More than a broken promise – it's a disgrace."
Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): "No one knows for sure whether at that point a majority of senators would kill the [assisted-dying] bill rather than defer to the elected house. My educated guess is that having done due diligence on the legislation, enough of them would ultimately bow to the will of the House of Commons for it to pass. If, as many senators (and others) believe, Bill C-14 is too restrictive to be constitutional, the courts will fix it."
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