This Week in Ottawa: February 9, 2024

Top news

  • There was a focus on the problem of auto theft in Canada this week with the government hosting a national summit on how to reduce car thefts. The federal government also announced it is investing $28 million in the CBSA to assist in stopping exports of stolen vehicles.  Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre also announced his own proposal on reducing auto theft announcing a Conservative government would create a new mandatory minimum jail time of three years for offenders who still 3 or more vehicles, change the bail rules, and invest in x-ray scanning at Canada’s ports.
  • NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh warned this week that he will end the agreement with the Liberals if the government does not meet the deadline to introduce legislation to create a national Pharmacare program by March 1. The NDP is reportedly considering withdrawing its support for time allocation motions and other tools that allow the government to advance legislation as a way of putting pressure on the Liberals.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government’s Indigenous child welfare law is constitutional rejecting an argument by Quebec that it infringed on provincial jurisdiction.
  • Ontario became the latest province to agree to a health care funding agreement with the federal government with Premier Ford and the Prime Minister signing a $3.1-billion agreement to  “increase access to family doctors, reduce wait times, hire more health care.”
  • Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre announced that a Conservative Government would implement an optional First Nations resource charge that would allow First Nations governments to directly collect tax revenue from resource projects.
  • Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s officially opened the province’s new office in Ottawa during a visit this week. She also met with Federal Ministers Boissonnault and Wilkinson for a discussion in which the federals officials raised their concerns about Alberta’s new gender policies and the prospect of Alberta leaving the CPP while the Premier noted her opposition to the proposed emissions cap on oil and gas production and clean electricity regulations .  

Government announcements

  • The government announced new measures on affordability including additional support for low-income renters and the homeless and new funding for consumer advocacy groups to investigate inflation in the grocery sector.
  • Finance Minister Freeland announced the federal government is extending the ban on foreign ownership of Canadian housing by an additional two years to January 1, 2027.
  • Natural Resources Minister Wilkinson announced the federal government will introduce a new phase of the Greener Homes Initiative. The government will stop accepting applications for the current phase of the program in the next two weeks.
  • Global Affairs Minister Joly announced Canada has sectioned 11 Hamas leaders over the attacks on Israel of October 7.
  • The government has opened consultations on a national strategy to advance environmental justice, and to assess, prevent, and address environmental racism.

In House of Commons

  • Bill C-57: The updated Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement was approved at 3rd Reading in the House and sent to the Senate.
  • C-332: This bill to create a new criminal offence for controlling or coercive conduct passed 2nd Reading in the House and was referred to the Justice Committee.
  • Bill C-352: Jagmeet Singh’s PMB to strengthen the powers of the Competition Bureau was passed at 2nd Reading and sent to the Industry Committee for study.  
  • Bill S-15: This bill which would ban keeping elephants or great apes in captivity subject to some exemptions was introduced in the Senate.
  • Bill S-16: This bill to implement the federal government’s agreement with the Haida First Nation was tabled in the Senate.  
  • MPs voted for a motion to declare May as Polish Heritage Month.
  • A motion calling for the creation of a citizens’ assembly to study electoral reform for Canada was defeated.

Economic numbers of the week

  • +37,000:  The Labour Force Survey found that Canada created 37,000 net new jobs in January with the unemployment rate dropping by 0.1% to 5.7%.

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