At a daycare centre where two children were killed this week, Quebec Premier François Legault, on Thursday, urged those distressed by the deaths to seek help.
Mr. Legault was backed up by the province’s opposition leaders and a pair of federal cabinet ministers as he spoke to the media at the Laval daycare.
A 51-year-old man charged with first-degree murder after he allegedly drove a city bus into the building, causing the deaths of the children. Six other children were injured.
The incident prompted a wave of concern. In Ottawa, political leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre offered their condolences. MPs held a moment of silence in the House of Commons.
At the site of crash, Mr. Legault said witnesses to the incident, including children, have seen things that will remain in their heads throughout their lives.
“If there’s a message I want to get to people today, it is that they should accept psychological support, that they should go and talk to people,” Mr. Legault said.
He thanked the three provincial opposition leaders for their presence, showing solidarity and indicating all Quebecers are supporting those affected. “Of course, it’s tough because we are talking about children,” he said. “One hundred per cent of Quebecers support the people here in Laval.”
Mr. Legault’s wife, Isabelle Brais, also present at the daycare centre, also spoke out. “We just want to share the pain of the parents because we are parents as well, and it’s the same thing for the opposition leaders, and representatives of the federal government as well,” she said.
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez were with Mr. Legault during the visit.
There’s a full story here on the alleged bus attack and the fallout around it.
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POILIEVRE ACCUSES CBC PRESIDENT OF PARTISAN ATTACK - Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has accused CBC president Catherine Tait of launching a partisan attack on him, saying she is “not even pretending to be unbiased” based on her remarks in a Globe and Mail interview this week. Story here.
TOUGH TALKS BETWEEN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, UNIONIZED WORKERS - The federal government and unionized workers are preparing to lock horns over double-digit wage hikes to account for higher inflation and rules for remote work in what is shaping up to be a heated series of contract negotiations. Story here.
NEW REPORT RAISES DOUBTS ABOUT CARBON-CAPTURE TECH - By betting it can solve its emissions problem with carbon capture and storage, Canada’s oil and gas industry risks saddling itself with expensive stranded assets, a new report argues. Story here.
PLAQUE POSTED TO MARK STANDOFF BETWEEN OTTAWA RESIDENTS, PROTESTERS - A watershed moment of citizen resistance, in Ottawa, to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ last year has been celebrated with a plaque. Story here from CTV.
FRASER HAS `SERIOUS CONCERNS’ ABOUT MISLED AFGHANS - Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says he has “serious concerns” that Afghans desperate to flee the Taliban were misled when they were sent inauthentic Canadian travel documents, leaving them with the mistaken belief that they had been cleared to come to Canada. Story here.
ALBERTA PREMIER HOLDING FIRST NEWS CONFERENCE IN A MONTH - Alberta Premier Danielle Smith was to meet with reporters for the first time in a month on Thursday, with questions expected on health care, Crown prosecutors and perhaps her now-viral limp handshake with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Story here.
LEGAULT HOPES QUEBECERS REMEMBER FEDERAL HEALTH FUNDING IN NEXT ELECTION - Quebec Premier François Legault is inviting Quebecers to “take into account” Ottawa’s refusal to funnel more money to the provinces for health care when they go to the polls in the next federal election. Story here from The Montreal Gazette.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Feb. 9, accessible here.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY - Chrystia Freeland, also the Finance Minister, held private meetings in Toronto and also held an economic roundtable with business and labour leaders as part of pre-budget consultations.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Defence Minister Anita Anand are in Washington meeting with business, industrial and political leaders.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL ON THE ROAD - In the Finland city of Rovaniemi, Governor-General Mary Simon continues her state visit to the country, with events including a speech on the effects of climate change in the Arctic and its impacts on northern communities in Canada and other Arctic regions. The day also included lunch with the mayor of Rovaniemi, and a visit to the Lapland Air Command, which monitors Finland’s territory.
DAWSON EXITS THE SENATE - Dennis Dawson has exited the Senate after 18 years. The former Quebec Liberal MP, appointed to the Senate in 2005 on the recommendation of then-prime minister Paul Martin, departed Wednesday. “I am proud of my years as a senator. Those years have been wonderful in spite of a few bad curves. I wish the best of luck to those of you who will continue to be part of this institution, but it is time for me to go home to my wife, my family and — yes, I will repeat — to my daughter,” Mr. Dawson said in a goodbye speech in the Senate. “I will be back every once in a while, but as a tourist.” Asked why it was time to go, Mr. Dawson, in an e-mail, cited various reasons, including the successful passage of C-11, the online streaming bill, as well as the birth of a granddaughter, and the feeling that the timing felt right. On the issue of what’s next for him, Mr. Dawson replied: “No plans.”
HANDSHAKE SUGGESTION - The two members of the NDP’s Alberta caucus show here how professional handshakes should be done in light of the deeply analyzed shake this week here with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
“Private meetings” for the Prime Minister according to the itinerary released by his office.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, spoke, in Parliament, the Block’s opposition day motion this week, namely: “That the House remind the government that it is up to Quebec and the provinces alone to decide on the use of the notwithstanding clause.”
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre held a news conference on Parliament Hill, and also attended Question Period.
Green Party of Canada Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault is in Quebec City region through Saturday to meet with members and supporters,and attend events.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Quebec City, attended the African-Québécois Arts Festival at the Museum of Civilization.
On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, health reporter Kelly Grant talks about the proposed $46.2-billion injection in new federal health care funding for the provinces and territories that Ottawa announced this week. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the Liberals do no harm, but not much else with their health-care funding proposal: “First, do no harm. That medical maxim is the best that can be said of the Trudeau Liberals’ proposed increases to federal health care funding. Those extra billions of dollars – far less impressive than Ottawa had portrayed – will do nothing to address the fundamental flaws in Canada’s health care. But there are two enormous pitfalls that the Liberals have avoided, so far. The most obvious, and most egregious, mistake by the Liberals would have been to accede to the demands of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to bar the provinces from expanding the use of private delivery of publicly funded health care. Similarly, the Liberals, at least for now, are refusing to cave in to demands from the provinces for a massive increase in federal health transfers without conditions.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre learned half of Stephen Harper’s lesson on health-care deals: “It was smart for Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre to quickly announce that he would honour the health-funding proposal Justin Trudeau put forward on Tuesday. It showed that he learned an important political lesson from former prime minister Stephen Harper. But then Mr. Poilievre kept talking, and undid some of the favours he had done himself. The student apparently didn’t learn the whole lesson.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on the political precedent for Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s ‘awkward’ handshake with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Reflecting on a long political career, Peter Lougheed said a salutation to prime minister Pierre Trudeau in 1981 was one of his biggest regrets. It was a festive champagne-glass toast to celebrate a National Energy Program compromise – an image not well-received at home in Alberta, where Ottawa’s policy enacting sweeping changes in the oil and natural gas sector was deeply unpopular. The photos of that moment have had the staying power of a gaffe, often running alongside histories of the province or biographies of Mr. Lougheed.”
James Hymas (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, in this politicized climate, the Bank of Canada needs to be a lot better at communicating: “In such an environment, public confidence in monetary policy is more important than ever. Businesses, their employees, their investors and their customers all need some assurance that financial conditions will not change drastically overnight at the caprice of a politician. To build that trust, decision-makers must be transparent about the rationales underlying their decisions; this will also defend the banks’ independence. The Bank of Canada’s inaugural release of its policy minutes on Wednesday is a step in the right direction, but the bank has also made too many major communications missteps that have damaged public confidence.”
Sheema Khan (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how a Quebec current affairs show offered a model for how to talk about Islamophobia: “So it was bold for Radio-Canada to enter the fray with a televised debate around these very issues, on the popular current affairs show Tout le monde en parle, hosted by the brilliant Guy A. Lepage. The guests were Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, the former mayor of Gatineau, Que., and Boufeldja Benabdallah, a co-founder and spokesman of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, where six Muslim worshippers were murdered in 2017. But while the two men differed on a number of issues, they did so respectfully, with nuance, humour and a heartfelt appeal for mutual understanding.”
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