This Week In Ottawa March 17, 2023

Top news

  • The Prime Minister has appointed former Governor General David Johnston as the special rapporteur who will review the allegations of election interference and make a recommendation about whether whether the PM should appoint a public inquiry to further investigate the issues.. The appointment has been met with skepticism by the Conservative and BQ leader, who have repeatedly called the PM to call an inquiry immediately.
  • Liberal MPs have continued to filibuster an attempt by the House Procedure and House Affairs Committee to call the PM’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford to testify at the committee. The Conservatives have indicated they plan to introduce a motion that will force a vote of all MPs next week on whether she should testify at committee.
  • MPs at the Canadian Heritage Committee are planning to introduce a motion to expand their hearings into Facebook and Google’s response to Bill C-18 including with a request for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to appear at the committee and defend the suggestion that Facebook might stop allowing links to Canadian news if the bill passes.
  • A Spanish company has dropped its proposal to build an LNG export facility in Saint John, NB saying it has concluded the costs were too high to make it economically feasible.
  • Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre announced that if elected, his government would join the lawsuit filed by provinces against pharmaceutical companies to recover costs associated with the opioid epidemic.
  • The federal government is preparing for US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ottawa next week on March 23 and 24th. The President will hold meetings on joint priorities and give an address to Parliament.

Government announcements

  • Minister Alghabra announced $75M in funding over 3 years for the Canada Transportation Agency to help end the backlog of complaints under the Air Passengers Protection Regulations.
  • Minister Freeland issued a statement about the collapse of the American Silicon Valley Bank noting she had met with Canadian financial regulators and heads of national and regional financial institutions and could assure Canadians that Canadian financial institutions are “stable and resilient.”
  • The Prime Minister announced the launch of the Housing Accelerator Fund, which will make $4B available to municipalities to fast-track the creation of 100,000 new homes.
  • The Prime Minister announced the federal government is contributing up to $44M from the Strategic Innovation Fund towards Michelin Tires $300M project to upgrade their manufacturing facilities in Nova Scotia.
  • Deputy Commissioner Mike Duheme has been appointed as the interim Commissioner of the RCMP while the government continues the process of choosing a new permanent Commissioner to replace Brenda Lucki who retires today.
  • Minister Guibeault issued a statement about the spill at the Kearn Oilsand mine, expressing disappointment with how it has been handled by the company and suggesting the creation of a joint federal-provincial-indigenous working group that would work with the company to address concerns about it.
  • Minister Rodriguez announced the renewal of Canada’s Creative Export Strategy, which will provide $57M in funding to support projects that will help Canada’s creative sector export their work.
  • The government announced a new $30M commitment to the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to support projects with promising innovations dealing with aging and brain issues such as dementia.

Economic numbers of the week 

  • 2.4%: Statistics Canada reported that wholesale trade rose by 2.4% in January with sales up in 6 of the 7 subsectors surveyed.

Coming Up

  • The House of Commons will return for a two-week sitting starting on March 20th.
  • On Monday Minister Anand will appear at the OGGO hearings about the Government of Canada’s contracts with McKinsey. 
  • Agriculture groups will testify at the Agriculture Committee’s review of Bill C-282 on Monday. 
  • The federal budget will be tabled on March 28th

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