A senior parliamentary committee has voted to hold hearings on the federal government’s decision to import and repair Russian government-owned turbines for up to two years in circumvention of its own sanctions against Moscow.
Members of the House of Commons standing committee on foreign affairs and international development voted unanimously Friday to call Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and others to explain the government’s conduct.
A committee motion passed Friday seeks to have Ms. Joly and other ministers including Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson appear before MPs by July 22.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week said the decision to repair and return Russian pipeline turbines was “very difficult,” but was designed to spare Europeans the pain from sanctions meant to target Moscow.
Also Friday, a Commons committee on industry and technology has agreed to undertake a study of the widespread outage that knocked out cellphone, home-phone and internet services for millions of Canadians late last week. Story here.
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B.C. APPEAL COURT RULES ON PRIVATE HEALTH CARE - The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of a trial judge who ruled that access to private health care is not a constitutionally protected right despite long waiting times in the public system. The decision is the latest in a 13-year legal battle that is now expected to be headed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Story here.
N.B., PREMIER FIRES HEALTH MINISTER - New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is replacing his Health Minister and the CEO of the Horizon Health Network after a patient died this week in an emergency department waiting room in Fredericton. Story here.
SPOUSE OF NOVA SCOTIA GUNMAN TESTIFIES - The common-law wife of the man responsible for the Nova Scotia mass shooting told an inquiry Friday that she lied to police about his illegal weapons and failed to report earlier violent behaviour because she was deeply afraid of him. Story here.
BANK UNDERESTIMATED INFLATION TRAJECTORY - The Bank of Canada says it consistently underestimated the trajectory of inflation over the past year as a result of unexpected increases in global commodity prices and shifting patterns of consumer spending that it failed to account for fully. Story here.
MAN ACQUITTED IN AIR INDIA BOMBING SHOT DEAD - Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India terrorist bombings, was killed on Thursday in what police described as a targeted shooting in Surrey, B.C. Story here.
NEW AIRCRAFT FOR PM AND GG? - The Royal Canadian Air Force will be getting two Airbus A330-200 aircraft to replace part of its aging CC-150 Polaris fleet, the Department of National Defence announced Thursday – a fleet that includes Can Force One, the aircraft used to transport the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and other VIPs. Story here from CBC.
CRIMINALIZE FORCED STERILIZATION: SENATE COMMITTEE - A Senate committee is calling for the criminalization of forced and coerced sterilization, after emotional testimony of nine people who described being subjected to sterilization procedures without their consent. Story here.
$2.85-BILLION TO THE PROVINCES: FREELAND - Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the provinces, territories and municipalities have now received more than $2.85-billion promised months ago for health care, transit systems and classroom ventilation. Story here from CTV.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Scott Aitchison is campaigning in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Roman Baber is in Winnipeg for a meet-and-greet event. Jean Charest is in Saguenay, Que. Pierre Poilievre is in Kelowna. Leslyn Lewis is in Yukon.
THIRD OFFICIAL DEBATE? - Individual Conservative Party members are being asked if they want a third official leadership candidates’ debate. The question was put to members Friday in a note from Ian Brodie, chair of the party’s leadership election organizing committee, and they have 24 hours to answer. Two previous debates have been held, one in Edmonton and the other in Laval, Que. The party has left open a slot for a third debate. “Ballots will be going out to our newer members soon and this debate would be aimed at them,” said the note from Mr. Brodie. The third debate, said the note, would be a smaller-scale gathering in a private studio without an audience but streamed live on the internet.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
FREELAND IN BALI - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, also the Finance Minister, is attending a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Bali, Indonesia.
NEW IMPACT-AGENCY PRESIDENT - Terrence Hubbard, the acting president of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, is now president for a five-year term that begins in July. 28, according to an advisory from the Prime Minister’s Office. The agency is a federal body, accountable to the environment minister, that delivers assessments for potential projects.
New episodes of The Decibel are not being published on Fridays for the months of July and August. You can check previous episodes here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In the Ottawa region, the Prime Minister visited a local children’s day camp, met with a family to discuss the government’s Climate Action Incentive payment, and visited a local brewery.
No schedules released for party leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the pandemic broke central bankers’ orderly world: “There’s just no pleasing some people. No sooner had the Bank of Canada executed its latest and most decisive move against inflation – a full percentage point increase in its benchmark interest rate, after two half-point increases earlier this year – than it came under hot fire, from some of the same people who had previously complained it wasn’t doing enough to fight inflation. I get it: If the bank had raised rates a little sooner, it would not have to raise rates as drastically now. That’s a fair criticism. But it’s a very different criticism than the one that has been the dominant theme among the bank-bashers: that the bank engineered the present high inflation by “printing money,” the better to finance the Trudeau government’s deficits.”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how the Rogers outage is a reminder of Canada’s failure to set up a secure wireless network for emergency services: “As gratifying as it was to hear Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne scold Rogers Communications Inc. for its network outage, he and his cabinet colleagues should also be taken to task. At least some of the chaos experienced by first responders, hospitals and other public safety workers last week could have been avoided if Ottawa had delivered on an 11-year-old promise to establish a secure wireless network for emergency services.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Danielle Smith selling a fantasy to supporters she betrayed years ago: “What the province needs, of course, is a leader who will level with Albertans: one who will acknowledge the challenges of a boom-and-bust economy where its central commodity is one that the developed world is trying (trying) to move away from, but who will also fight for more representation in Ottawa. Instead, it’s being treated to, among other disappointments, a remorseful turncoat peddling a poor man’s version of Alberta separatism.”
Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) on whether a failing Justin Trudeau will risk a fall election: “As any incumbent will tell you, the joy of incumbency is in controlling the timetable; the Liberals can either fight now, when things are grim, or later, when things are likely to be worse, possibly much worse. Going early would also play to Trudeau’s sense of history. Winning a fourth election in a row? Harper couldn’t do it. Nor could Trudeau 1.0. More importantly, defeating Pierre Poilievre – presuming he wins the Conservative leadership – would represent a victory over the forces of darkness, the purveyors of negativity to which Trudeau views himself as the antidote. Winning that fight would provide one hell of an off-ramp. There’s no alternative, really. Having failed to groom a successor, Trudeau remains the Liberal Party, and the Liberal Party remains Trudeau.”