With the summer break in view, MPs are facing a punishing schedule to get a string of bills through Parliament. Government House Leader Mark Holland told reporters Wednesday that MPs would have to stay up long after their usual bedtimes.
“We’ll sit every single night until midnight from here until the finish,” he declared.
Ministers are also queuing up to present a slew of policy announcements before the summer break. On Wednesday, it was the turn of Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, who unveiled an update to the Express Entry system that will fast-track people with specific skills who want to settle in Canada.
People in particular trades and professions, as well as French speakers, will be invited to apply for permanent residence this year, under the reshaped program. They include workers in health care, science, engineering and technology, carpenters, plumbers and contractors in other trades. To plug vacancies for bus, train and truck drivers, the federal government is also inviting people in the transport sector to apply. They are also looking for workers to fill vacancies in agriculture.
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages. These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed,” Mr. Fraser said. “We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter written today by Marie Woolf. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
MINISTERS MAY GET BODYGUARDS - The RCMP is planning to offer close protection services to senior federal ministers and public servants in response to the rising threat of political violence, sources told the CBC. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said Wednesday that female and racialized ministers are particular targets of threats. Story here.
SPIES BRIEF FORMER CONSERVATIVE LEADER - Former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said Canada’s spy agency has told him he was – and remains – the target of a misinformation and voter-suppression operation by the Chinese Communist Party. Story here.
BILL C-18 COULD ALLOW NEWSROOM SNOOPING - Changes are needed to the online news bill to prevent the regulator from snooping in newsrooms and threatening the independence of the press, leaders of media organizations told senators Tuesday. Story here
ARRIVECAN GUILTY OF PRIVACY VIOLATION - Erroneous orders from the federal government’s ArriveCan app urging more than 10,000 Canadians to quarantine last year under threat of heavy fines was a violation of the Privacy Act, Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne says. Story here.
ALBERTA ON COLLISION COURSE WITH OTTAWA ON ENERGY - Alberta Premier Danielle Smith pledged to put a stop to two of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s marquee energy policies in her election-night victory speech. Story here.
GERMANY TO SHUT RUSSIAN CONSULATES - The German government on Wednesday said it would shut four out of five Russian consulates in the country, a tit-for-tat move after Moscow’s decision to limit the number of German officials in Russia to 350. Story here.
WARNINGS PLANNED ON INDIVIDUAL CIGARETTES - Ottawa has made changes to regulations so it can make tobacco companies put health warnings on individual cigarettes and rotate graphic health messages on packages to increase their impact. Story here.
U.S., CANADA TO BOOST CYBERSECURITY FOR DEFENCE CONTRATORS - Canada will work with the United States to draft a cybersecurity certification framework for defence contractors as incidents of malicious hacking increase, the Defence Minister said on Wednesday. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
A DAY OFF TO MARK THE KING’S BIRTHDAY - Governor-General Mary Simon made a little-noticed proclamation this month fixing Victoria Day as the official date on which the sovereign’s birthday is celebrated in Canada – not just for King Charles but all future kings and queens.
Her proclamation sets in stone the Canadian tradition of celebrating the sovereign’s birthday on Victoria Day. The custom dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), when May 24 – Queen Victoria’s birthday – was declared a holiday.
In 1952, Canada redefined its celebration of Victoria Day as being the Monday immediately preceding May 25, which it remains to this day under the Holidays Act.
The Governor-General’s proclamation gives an official stamp to Victoria Day as a day off work, in honour of the monarch’s birthday. The pronouncement earlier this month was not publicly advertised, and took even officials in the Heritage Department by surprise.
“Now Know You that We, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada, do by this Our Proclamation fix the day for the celebration in Canada of the birthday of the Sovereign to be Victoria Day,” the proclamation said.
It was witnessed by “Our Right Trusty and Well-beloved Mary May Simon” the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
To make it even more official, the Great Seal of Canada was affixed to it.
Globe reporter and columnist Kelly Cryderman explains what the Alberta election result means for the rest of the country. Alberta is a province with a long history of conservative rule. And on Monday, Danielle Smith and the UCP added a new chapter by winning a majority. But it wasn’t a blowout. Rachel Notley and the NDP managed to score 38 seats, up from 23 in the previous sitting of the legislature. This is creating a new political dynamic in the province.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
The Prime Minister is in Ottawa where he will have meetings, and chair the meeting of the Liberal caucus. He will also attend Question Period.
Mr. Trudeau announced the appointment of Adeline Webber, a member of the Teslin Tlingit Nation, as the next Commissioner of Yukon.
Jagmeet Singh will be at Question Period and attend the NDP caucus meeting.
He is also meeting with New Economy Canada, a recently formed group of business, labour, Indigenous and sectoral experts focusing on transitioning to a decarbonized economy.
In the afternoon MPs are to vote on Mr. Singh’s bid, together with NDP MP Jenny Kwan, to have the Commons procedure and house affairs committee draft terms of reference for an inquiry into foreign interference.
Pierre Poilievre will attend Question Period.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how MPs should be debating interference, not David Johnston’s honour – “If you only tuned into parts of Tuesday’s parliamentary debate on foreign interference, you might have thought it wasn’t much of a debate – and that it wasn’t really about foreign interference.
At times, it seemed like the whole thing might just be about the honour of Mr. Johnston, as Liberal MPs professed their outrage – nay, their disappointment – that anyone would ever question the former governor-general’s word.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the Trudeau government is choosing to shift responsibility, rather than fix public trust - “A government holds power in a democracy only on loan from the public. The onus is therefore always on the government to show that it is worthy of the public’s trust. It is the price of power.”