Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has “concerns” about the latest version of Quebec’s new language law, which passed Tuesday afternoon, and will closely examine its details before deciding what to do.
The controversial bill passed by a vote of 78-29, with the opposition Liberals and Parti Québécois opposing it.
During a news conference in Vancouver, Mr. Trudeau was asked whether his government would take court action against Bill 96.
The Prime Minister said the federal government’s job “under my watch” is to protect minorities, particularly official-language minorities.
Mr. Trudeau said it’s important to support francophone communities outside Quebec, but also extremely important to protect anglophone communities inside Quebec.
“We have concerns about the latest version of Bill 96 that is being voted on, I believe, this afternoon, but we continue to watch very, very carefully what final form it will take and we will make our decisions based on what we see as the need to keep minorities protected across this country.”
The legislation, intended to bolster the province’s French-language charter, would impose tougher language requirements on workplaces and municipalities in Quebec, limiting the use of English in the courts and public services, and granting powers of search and seizure without a warrant to Quebec’s language regulator. It would also cap enrolment at English junior colleges where students would have to take more courses in French.
As an explainer here notes, critics have said the bill will limit access to health care and justice, cost college teachers their jobs and increase red tape for small businesses.
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CANADA TO SUPPLY 20,000 ROUNDS OF ARTILLERY SHELLS TO UKRAINE - Canada is sending Ukraine 20,000 rounds of artillery shells of the kind Ukrainian forces are using in big howitzer guns as Kyiv warns of being outgunned by Russian forces. Story here.
CANADA NEEDS NEW APPROACH TO DEAL WITH THREATS INCLUDING CHINA, RUSSIA - Canada has become complacent and neglectful of national security and urgently needs to revamp its thinking to counter Russia’s aggression, China’s growing influence and the rise of right-wing extremism in Canada and the United States, according to a major new report. Story here.
CANADA FACES HIGH INFLATION: POLOZ - Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said that Canada is heading into a period of slowing growth and high inflation known as “stagflation” – although he said that this won’t necessarily last long nor result in an outright recession. Story here.
GG DELIVERS EULOGY FOR MISSING CHILDREN OF KAMLOOPS RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL - Governor-General Mary Simon delivered a eulogy for the missing children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School on Monday, as the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation gathered to mark the completion of a year-long period of grieving. Story here.
CALLS FOR CHANGE ON LUXURY TAX - Canada’s aerospace and boating sectors are urging MPs to block or revise a planned new luxury tax included in C-19, the government’s budget bill, warning it will hurt manufacturers and trigger widespread job losses. Story here.
KENNEY RULES OUT RUNNING FOR UCP LEADERSHIP - Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quashed speculation on his immediate political future on Saturday when he explicitly stated he would not be running in the race to pick a new leader for his United Conservative Party. Story here.
GARNEAU SAYS HE’S OKAY - Had things gone as he hoped, Marc Garneau would be foreign affairs minister today, carrying on with a run in the cabinets of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that began when the Liberals won power in 2015. Story here.
ONTARIO ELECTION - Queen’s Park Reporter Jeff Gray reports on how the Ontario NDP hopes that their leader, Andrea Horwath, is fourth-time lucky as she leads the party in her fourth consecutive election campaign. Story here. Meanwhile there’s an Ontario election today overview here as party leaders focus campaigns on Greater Toronto area
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Conservative leadership candidates are largely in Montreal ahead of Wednesday night’s French-language debate in Laval. Scott Aitchison is doing a “meet and greet” event in Montreal on Tuesday night. Roman Baber also has a an evening “meet and greet” with supporters in Montreal. Jean Charest is in Montreal preparing for the debate. Pierre Poilievre is in Montreal where he announced he has written to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland asking her to give people a tax break on gasoline this summer. There is no word on the whereabouts of Patrick Brown or Leslyn Lewis.
TORY MEMBER QUITS MEMBERSHIP - A Conservative Party member who sent a racist e-mail to the Patrick Brown leadership campaign has resigned his membership, ending the party’s investigation into the matter. Story here from CBC.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House has adjourned until May. 30.
COTEAU TO CO-CHAIR BLACK CAUCUS - Michael Coteau, Liberal MP for Don Valley East, is the new co chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, which represents the needs and interests of Black Canadians. He replaces Greg Fergus, who stepped away from the role earlier this year. Mr. Coteau is a former Ontario minister of children, community and social services. Senator Rosemary Moodie is the other co-chair of the caucus.
OLIPHANT IN AFRICA - Robert Oliphant, parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister, is visiting South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania from May 22 to May 27, holding talks with government officials, civil society organizations, the private sector and others on shared priorities, including, global health, democracy, climate co-operation, and multilateralism. He will also discuss the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
WILKINSON HEADED FOR BERLIN The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, will attend the G7 Climate Energy and Environment Ministerial meeting from May 25 to May 27, 2022, in Berlin, Germany.
UPCOMING SPEECH BY BILL MORNEAU - Former finance minister Bill Morneau is returning to the spotlight, delivering a keynote address on the direction of Canadian economic policy at the C.D. Howe Institute’s annual directors’ dinner on June. 1 in Toronto.
Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features journalist Connie Walker , who has been reporting on Indigenous stories for most of her career, talking about the importance of healing through sharing the truths, what she found out about her own family’s secrets and her new podcast, Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s. In the last year, Ms. Walker decided to look into her deceased father’s past a after her brother shared a story in the wake of the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In Metro Vancouver, the Prime Minister attended private meetings, met with a local family to discuss federal investments in housing, delivered remarks and held a brief media availability. The Prime Minister was also scheduled, with British Columbia Premier John Horgan, to make an announcement regarding the 2025 Invictus Games, and visit a food bank to meet with volunteers.
No schedules released for party leaders.
CANADIAN VIEW ON CENTRAL BANK POLICY - Almost half of Canadians surveyed say they would like the country’s central bank to hold firm at 1 per cent for its key benchmark interest rate and see how that affects inflation before taking further action, according to a new survey from the Angus Reid Institute. Details here.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how Conservative leadership contenders should debunk the conspiracy theory some candidates embrace: “For weeks, many MPs and senators’ offices have been deluged with e-mails from people demanding they stop an imminent move to sign away Canada’s sovereignty to the World Health Organization. The thing is, that is not happening. Yet there are apparently lots of people who think it is. That includes at least two candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Leslyn Lewis and Roman Baber.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how, as rural Ontario becomes less rural, the province’s political culture could be in flux: “Rural Ontario as we know it may not exist for much longer as cities burgeon, farmland becomes suburb and professionals migrate to the countryside and telecommute. In this election, Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston may stay blue. But Ontario’s political culture could be in flux, as rural Ontario becomes less rural by the year.”
Melanie Paradis (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the wave of anger that toppled Jason Kenney is a danger to all conservatives: “The Conservative leadership contest currently under way has spent more time focusing on who has, and hasn’t, boarded a plane to Davos than it has on how Canada will deal with a looming geopolitical confrontation with China, or how to build supply chain resilience as the continent grapples with a startling baby formula shortage. We are indulging the dangerous fantasies of people lost in their Facebook feeds instead of acting the way serious people who want to govern a G7 country should act.”
Mark Winfield and Peter Hillson (Policy Options) on understanding Doug Ford’s political durability: “How is it that Ford’s Conservatives, in early polling, seem to be on the road to victory when their public policies are at odds with the priorities of Ontarians or the policy lessons from the pandemic? The answer, at least in part, is the Ford government’s rhetorical ability to explain the challenges of COVID-19 and other developments. Ford has also been helped by the inability of the opposition to provide a compelling counternarrative – one that moves beyond the managerial approach emphasizing balance among competing interests and agendas.”