Joe Biden will be making his first official visit to Canada this March since he became United States President in 2020.
The White House confirmed the visit Tuesday in a summary of a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City.
“During the meeting, the President also stated he looks forward to travelling to Canada in March of this year,” said the statement, available here.
The office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also confirmed the visit although there were no immediate details on how long the U.S. President will be in Canada, and such matters as whether he will address Parliament.
“Prime Minister Trudeau invited President Biden to Canada. The President will visit Canada in March,” said a statement from Mr. Trudeau’s office on the meeting between the two leaders.
“Certainly, it’s a win in a modest way by showing that Biden is prepared to pay serious attention to Canada. The length of the visit will disclose how much of a win,” Robert Bothwell, a professor in the international relations program of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, said in an interview amidst news of the visit.
Mr. Biden last visited Canada as vice-president in the Obama administration. However, he has not been here since becoming President. Former U.S. president Donald Trump did not visit Ottawa during his time in office but attended a G7 summit in Quebec.
U.S. correspondent Adrian Morrow and senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase reported here from Mexico City on Mr. Biden’s visit and that Canada and the United States have reached a workaround deal in a dispute over the popular Nexus trusted traveller system.
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OPPOSITION LEADERS TO PROBE MCKINSEY CONTRACTS: The three main opposition parties in Parliament are planning to co-operate on an investigation into the spike in federal outsourcing contracts with the McKinsey and Company consulting firm since the Liberals formed government. Story here.
SUPREME COURT SESSION BEGINS - The Supreme Court’s influence over Canada’s shape and future as a federation highlights the winter session beginning Tuesday, which also includes major cases on Indigenous rights and sexual assault. Story here.
FIRST OF NEW JETS ARRIVE IN THREE YEARS - The first of 88 new F-35 fighter jets will be delivered to Canada in three years, beginning a process of replacing the country’s aging fleet of CF-18s that the federal government says will be complete by 2032. Story here.
COMMITTEE TO PROBE TRAVEL CHAOS - A parliamentary committee has voted to launch a study into the causes behind Canada’s chaotic holiday travel season and to hear not only from industry giants, but also from some of the passengers who saw their plans upended. Story here. Meanwhile, Via Rail Canada is apologizing to travellers for extensive delays and cancellations over the holiday period as it offers refunds and travel credits. Story here.
SRI LANKA LEADERS SANCTIONED - Canada is imposing sanctions on four senior leaders of Sri Lanka, including two recent presidents, accusing them of human rights violations during that country’s civil war. Story here.
ALBERTA INFLATION RELIEF COMING - Albertans on income support programs will automatically receive the first instalment of the government’s inflation-relief payments at the end of the month, while other eligible residents can submit applications next week. Story here.
DIVERSITY QUESTIONS ABOUT ORDER OF CANADA - The 2022 list of appointees to the Order of Canada is far less diverse than the Canadian population and even less diverse than it was in 2021, a new analysis shows. Story here by CBC..
STEFANSON SHUFFLING CABINET - Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is planning a cabinet shuffle after several of her Progressive Conservative caucus members recently announced they will not run again in the election slated for Oct. 3. Story here.
QUEBEC TOWNS PUSH TO PROVIDE BILINGUAL SERVICES - In Quebec, towns and cities at risk of losing their bilingual designation are rallying to continue providing services in both French and English to their citizens despite the new law Bill 96, which aims to strengthen and protect the French language. Story here from Global News
ONTARIO LIBERALS TAKING TIME TO SELECT NEW LEADER - The Ontario Liberals are in no rush to select a new leader, with the party’s executive council set to start consultations on changing the leadership process itself, as recommended in a report on the “devastating” 2022 election loss. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
HOUSE ON A BREAK – The House of Commons is on a break until Jan. 30.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS DAY - Chrystia Freeland is in Washington for private meetings, a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet L. Yellen, is to meet with Brian Deese, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council, and attend a working dinner hosted by Secretary Yellen.
POILIEVRE CRITICIZED FOR FUNDRAISER - The NDP is raising questions about three $1,700-per-ticket fundraisers that federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is attending in light of his affordability agenda. The first, on Tuesday at the venerable Toronto Club, has been organized by Mark Mulroney, the son of former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney. According to the Conservative Party website here, Mr. Poilievre will be attending $1,700-per-ticket fundraisers in Winnipeg on Jan. 12 and Montreal on Jan. 16. “Only the ultra-rich have access to Pierre Poilievre,” said NDP MP Matthew Green said in a statement. “He pretends he’s mad about the cost of living, but listens exclusively to the people who can afford to buy an hour or two with him for $1,700. He’s not listening to working folks, and not working for families like yours.” Mr. Poilievre’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was scheduled to make a funding announcement at the Huron Central Railway Inc. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett, in Toronto, with Marci Ien, minister for women and gender equality and youth, announced funding to support mental-heath programs for youth. Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, in Welland, Ont., announces funding for francophone services.
BANK GOVERNOR IN SWEDEN - Tiff Macklem, Governor of the Bank of Canada, in Stockholm, was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion at the Sveriges Riksbank’s International Symposium on Central Bank Independence. He was expected to take audience questions.
Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features Globe columnist Andrew Coyne looking at the big issues likely facing the federal government in 2023 and what this means for leaders Justin Trudeau, Pierre Poilievre and Jagmeet Singh, and the possibility of a federal election. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Mexico City for the North American Leaders’ Summit, held private meetings, and met with U.S. President Joe Biden. Mr. Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau attended the summit’s official welcoming ceremony. He then met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and Mr. Biden, and was, afterward, scheduled to hold a joint media availability with the other two leaders. Mr. Trudeau was then to meet with the president and chief executive officer of Torex Gold Resources, Jody Kuzenko and then the chairman of the board of Alfa Group and chairman of the board of Alpek, Armando Garza Sada, and Alpek’s chief executive officer José de Jesús Valdez Simancas.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media availability on Parliament Hill to discuss questions about the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. securing federal government contracts.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre held a media availability on Parliament Hill to discuss matters around McKinsey & Co. Mr. Poilievre was later scheduled to attend a fundraising event at the Toronto Club in Toronto hosted by Mark Mulroney, the son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the federal Liberals promised $4-billion to cities by fiscal 2025 for more housing density. They will miss that deadline: “During the 2021 federal election campaign, the Liberals pointed a finger – correctly – at a core problem in Canada’s housing market: ossified civic zoning rules that prevented enough new homes from being built. The party pledged $4-billion over three years for a “housing accelerator” program that would help to build an additional 100,000 “middle class” homes built by 2025. That was an ambitious number, given that Canada has seen an annual average of about 200,000 homes completed in recent years. Ambition has been slow to turn into reality.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how, despite Ottawa’s rebrand of pending policy, Alberta finds ‘just-transition’ anything but that: “It is hard to imagine a worse-sounding catch phrase than “just transition.” In terms of heavy-handedness, it’s reminiscent of a 10-year-old expression from the other side of the political spectrum: “ethical oil.” But people know it’s more complicated than that – that such grandiose language will surely let you down. Anyone talking with earnestness about just transition is probably well versed with the Paris Agreement but removed the day-to-day realities of the energy sector. People in cities might picture a roughneck moving seamlessly into a new career installing solar panels. Oil and gas workers are more likely to imagine their incomes and daily purpose disappearing, and a regional economy artificially ground to a halt.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on questions about Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s passport story: “At some point Mr. Poilievre needs to begin showing that he is prime ministerial material, that he has the gravitas to ascend to such an important position. Because up to now, he’s been one of the least serious Conservative leaders we have seen in some time. Yes, he’s articulate and can make a great video. But mostly he’s demonstrated an ability to whip up fear and stoke anger. Every conceivable problem in this country he lays at the feet of Mr. Trudeau. His predecessor, Erin O’Toole, recently said that some of the “hyperaggressive” rhetoric his party has been associated with in the last while is slowly “normalizing rage and damaging our democracy.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on how the COVID ‘Kraken’ has been released, but it’s not a variant – it’s our indifference: “The risk of COVID-19 infections, or reinfections, increasing in the population just jumped another notch. But that doesn’t mean XBB.1.5 is more dangerous or that our individual risk is higher. No matter how theoretically transmissible a virus is, it’s ultimately our behaviour that matters. We’ve essentially abandoned collective mitigation measures. We’ve just come through a busy holiday season, with lots of travel, and it’s now winter, when respiratory viruses spread more readily. We’ve created the perfect conditions for a new variant to spread. That environment, combined with XBB.1.5′s higher transmissibility, means we will likely see a surge in cases.”
Don Martin (CTV) on seven resolutions for Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre to top the polls in 2023: “Be it resolved that Pierre Poilievre needs help. When a majority of the respondents with an opinion, even in truest-bluest Alberta, tell pollster Nik Nanos that the Conservative leader should be replaced, this while Poilievre’s still supposedly basking in his political honeymoon period, the alleged prime-minister-in-waiting clearly needs to embrace some New Year’s resolutions for a rise in public approval. It should be noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had an even higher level of unpopularity in the same poll. So, while insiders bet Poilievre is more likely to double down on controversial positions and policies than moderate them for the mainstream, here are seven New Year’s resolutions for a more popular political personality to woo the voters he needs to win.”
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