This Week In Ottawa January 13, 2023

Top news

  • Prime Minister Trudeau traveled to Mexico this week for a summit with US President  Biden and Mexican President López Obrador. The leaders signed the Declaration of North America committing to work together across six priority areas in including climate change and the environment, competitiveness, migration and regional security. 
  • The PM also had bilateral discussions with President Biden to talk about Canada-US issues and cooperation. The two leaders announced a new agreement by Canada and the US to facilitate NEXUS interviews at airports as the latest step to try to reduce the backlog of NEXUS applications that have developed. President Biden also committed to making a visit to Canada in March of this year. 
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida made his first official visit to Canada this week. He met with Prime Minster Trudeau in Ottawa where the leaders talked about Canada’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy and Japan’s recently announced National Security Strategy and on-going concerns with Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and China’s threat to the stability of Asia. The Japanese Prime Minister reiterated Japan’s interest in looking to Canada as a source of energy particularly as a source of LNG and elements used in electric batteries. PM Trudeau announced there will be a Team Canada trade mission to Japan in October 2023 to seek more opportunities between Canadian and Japanese businesses. In early spring a delegation of Japanese businesses will come to Canada to explore opportunities related to zero-emission vehicles and batteries.
  • The House of Commons Transport Committee held hearings on the travel difficulties experienced by air travelers during the Christmas season with witnesses from airlines, airports and the government testifying. Transport Minister Alghabra indicated the government is looking at changes to the Air Passengers Bill of Rights to prevent some of these issue reoccurring in the future.  
  • The CUMSA dispute settlement panel ruled in favour of Canada and Mexico’s challenge of US rules of origin for automotive products. The panel agreed the US interpretation of the rules of origin was inconsistent with the agreement negotiated in CUMSA.
  • Opposition MPs are seeking a committee investigation of the rapid growth of federal contract with the firm McKinsey. The PM has asked Ministers Jaczek and Fortier to conduct their own review of the contracts.


Government Announcements

  • The federal government announced it has finalized the purchase of the F-35 fighter jet as the replacement for the RCAF’s fleet. The announcement marks the end of a very long running procurement process.
  • Minister Champagne announced the launch of the National Quantum Strategy which will direct the allocation of $360M the government has set aside to help build the quantum computing industry in Canada.
  • Minister Bibeau announced $17.6M for crop research to support projects trying to develop crops better able to deal with challenges like disease and climate change.
  • Minister Miller announced the appointment of a Ministerial Special Representative who will provide advice and recommendations, through engagement with survivors, families, partners and organizations, in support of Call for Justice 1.7 to  create an Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson.
  • Minister Anand announced Canada will spend $406M to purchase a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) from the US and donate the system to Ukraine to support its on-going conflict with Russia.
  • With China’s rate of COVID-19 infections growing rapidly the Canadian government has announced it was imposing a temporary requirement for travelers coming to Canada from China that they provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a fleet to Canada. The requirement will be re-evaluated at the end of January.   
  • Minister Joly has recently announced sanctions directed at target in a number of countries including Sri Lanka, Haiti and Iran. This week Canada also delivered armoured vehicles that are being donated to Haitian police to help them combat gang violence.

Economic Numbers of the Week

  • 104,000:  The Labour Force Survey reported that Canada saw strong job growth in December with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.0%.

Coming Up

  • The federal cabinet will be holding a retreat in Hamilton, Ontario Jan 23-25th to plan in advance of the return of the House of Commons on January 30th


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