Opposition MPs accused Justin Trudeau of a coverup as Liberal MPs continued a filibuster to block the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, from testifying before a Commons committee studying China’s interference activities in Canadian democracy.
MPs on the Procedure and House Affairs Committee met Tuesday during the March parliamentary break to debate an NDP motion to call Ms. Telford to explain what she and the Prime Minister knew about Chinese election interference and what they did to stop it.
But Liberal MPs prevented a vote by reading newspaper articles, talking about their university days and overseas travel, and accusing the Opposition of playing political games. Some said a public inquiry wasn’t necessary at this time or that political staff should not be forced to testify at committees.
Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife reports here.
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TRANSPORT MINISTER PROMISES TO CLOSE PASSENGER COMPENSATON LOOPHOLE - Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the federal government will close a loophole that allows airlines to deny customers compensation for cancelled flights. Story here.
PLANS ANNOUNCED FOR MICHELIN EXPANSION IN N.S. - Michelin and the federal and provincial governments have announced they will spend $300-million to expand the company’s facilities in Nova Scotia, which could create dozens of new jobs at its Bridgewater plant. The plan was announced Tuesday at a news conference attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Tim Houston. Story here from CBC.
SILICON VALLEY BANK FAILURE PROMPTS INCREASED MONITORING OF DOMESTIC BANKS - Canada’s banking regulator is increasing its monitoring of domestic banks’ financial health as the fallout from Silicon Valley Bank’s failure ripples through markets, even after U.S. leaders introduced rare measures designed to avoid repeating the run on deposits that toppled the tech-lending leader. Story here.
WITNESS SAYS BROWN FOLLOWED HER TO HOTEL ROOM - A witness to a physical altercation involving Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown told police the jurist followed her and her daughter to their hotel room and that she was glad a former U.S. Marine protected them. Story here.
NEW FEDERAL LUXURY TAX COULD LEAD TO JOB LOSSES: FINANCE REPORT - A Finance Department report on the projected impact of the new federal luxury tax says it could lead to between 400 and 870 job losses – a finding auto, boating and aviation industry groups argue confirms their warning that the policy will hurt Canadian workers. Story here.
OTTAWA ORDERS IMPERIAL OIL TO CONTAIN TOXIC WATER LEAK - Ottawa has told Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. to take immediate action at its Kearl oil sands site and contain the seepage of toxic tailings-tainted water that it says is harmful to fish. Story here.
SURVIVORS PRAISE JESUITS DISCLOSURE OF PRIESTS ACCUSED OF ABUSE - The decision by the Jesuits of Canada to publish a list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children has been praised by survivors, many of whom have called on more Catholic entities to follow suit. Story here.
MOUNTIES TO FEATURE IN KING CHARLES CORONATION - The Mounties are to feature in King Charles III’s slimmed-down coronation procession in May, as part of a prominent Canadian contingent, including the Governor-General. Story here.
ONE THIRD OF MANITOBA PC CAUCUS EXITING POLITICS -Another member of the governing Progressive Conservative caucus in Manitoba has announced an exit from politics meaning one-third of the 36 Tory caucus members are not seeking re-election later this year. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
ON A BREAK - Both the House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks, with the House of Commons sitting again on March 20, and the Senate sitting again on March. 21.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY - Chrystia Freeland, also Finance Minister, in Toronto held a series of pre-budget consultations, meeting virtually with Quebec business leaders, Canadian economists and the Business Council of Canada.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, in Mississauga, made a funding announcement related to passenger air travel. Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett, in Toronto, announced more than $7-million in federal funding for eight projects to allow Ontarians to access greater prevention, harm reduction and treatment services including access to safer supply programs. Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, in Edmonton, announced federal support to enhance attractions and recreation activities in Edmonton. Justice Minister David Lametti, in Montreal, made a funding announcement regarding support to improve access to justice for Indigenous families. International Trade Minister Mary Ng, in the United Kingdom, leading a women’s trade mission, met in London with Kemi Badenoch, the British Secretary of State for Business and Trade. Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, in Burlington, made an announcement in support of job creation, greening and increasing manufacturing capacity for companies in the aerospace sector. Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, made a funding announcement regarding Nutrition North Canada’s Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund agreements.
LAYTON TAKES ON YORK UNIVERSITY POST - Mike Layton, the son of former federal NDP leader Jack Layton, is the new chief sustainability officer for York University in Toronto. The former Toronto city councilor recently ruled out a bid to seek the mayoralty of Toronto. Details here.
NEWLY APPOINTED DIPLOMAT - Victoria Singmin has been named the new Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in Jakarta, replacing Diedrah Kelly. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly made the announcement on Tuesday.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Bridgewater, N.S., with Premier Tim Houston announced joint support to facilitate a $300-million project to modernize the Nova Scotia facilities of tire manufacturer Michelin. Mr. Trudeau took media questions. He also did an interview to air on CKBW Daily News with Evan Taylor.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is touring the riding of Bécancour-Nicolet-Saurel on March 14 with MNA Louis Plamondon. He will hold a news conference.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, in New Westminster, B.C., held a news conference to announce that a Conservative government would sue pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis, and was scheduled to later attend a fundraising event for the Conservative Party in downtown Vancouver.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Coquitlam, B.C., hosted a roundtable with seniors on the cost of living, then held a news conference. Mr. Singh later toured the Coquitlam campus of Douglas College, and was scheduled to speak at the Iranian Fire Festival.
On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, health reporter Wency Leung talks about why it’s so important to expand our understanding of health beyond our bodies. There’s also an interview with Indigenous psychologist Dr. Rod McCormick about how he helps people connect with communities and nature to find healing. The Decibel is here.
INQUIRY NEEDED INTO ELECTION INTERFERENCE - New polling suggests the majority of Canadians want the federal government to call an independent inquiry into foreign interference in the last two federal elections, but still feel the country’s electoral system is safe. Story here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on a long-term plan for long-term care: “Fifty-eight years ago, Prime Minister Lester Pearson and nine premiers agreed to create the Canada Pension Plan, modelled on a plan crafted by the Quebec government. The CPP, flanked by Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, transformed life for millions of elderly Canadians, giving this country an old-age poverty rate almost half that of the United States. Six decades later, it’s time for a new plan, one that a number of other countries have already adopted: a Canada Long-Term Care Insurance Plan, to provide a guaranteed quality of life for the elderly who are frail.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on how the jury is out on whether a crackdown on private telemedicine will improve health-care access: “It’s all well and good for Ottawa to take a stand against private, for-profit health care, but it would be a lot more useful if they used their energies fixing the crisis in access to primary care. If you don’t like the private, for-profit Maples of the world, then offer the same or better service in the public system. Don’t just pontificate – innovate. Better yet, bring the innovators under the medicare umbrella.”
Jeremy Barretto (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can win the race for battery metals, critical minerals: “But you don’t win a race by going slowly. And that’s what Canada is doing right now – it can take more than a decade to get a battery metals mine approved and built in this country. Our governments need to make urgent changes to the regulatory process so that we can win this global race for battery metals. Compounding this problem of slow assessments is that the environment is an area of shared jurisdiction in Canada, resulting in the need, on occasion, for both federal and provincial approvals for mining projects.”
David Mulroney (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how there is nothing racist about creating a foreign-agent registry in Canada: “Amid reports of Chinese foreign interference in Canadian elections, federal ministers Marco Mendicino and Mary Ng have voiced concerns that setting up a registry of foreign agents could unfairly target Canadians of Chinese origin and even prove racist. But this argument doesn’t just prejudice people before any consultations even begin – it is also based on false assumptions about foreign agents and their victims.”
Tracey Raney and Jeanette Ashe (Policy Options) on how more inclusive parliaments start with better workplace conditions: “Recently, Conservative MP Michael Chong proposed three institutional reforms that if implemented would broaden MPs’ opportunities to participate in debates and committees. These include allowing the Speaker to call on any MP who rises to speak (rather than parties controlling speaking opportunities), and removing the prime minister’s power to name key parliamentary officers such as the clerk of the House of Commons. The clerk is the chief administrative officer of the House and reports to the Speaker. The office of the clerk has considerable power in the House and is responsible for interpreting parliamentary rules, precedents and practices.”
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