This Week In Ottawa May 12, 2023

Top news

  • The Canadian government has declared Chinese consulate official Zhao Wei persona non grata over allegations of foreign interference. The House of Commons also unanimously supported a motion to investigate whether MP Michael Chong’s privilege’s as a MP were violated by the incident following a ruling by the Speaker that he had found a prima facie case for that they were. 
  • In an additional response to the foreign interference controversy the federal government is preparing to introduce legislation to create a foreign agents registry with sources telling the media that the aim is to introduce it before the House rises for summer. 
  • The federal government has unveiled a new passport design which has drawn criticism from groups like the Canadian Legion over the decision to drop the current passport’s use of historic Canadian figures and events such as the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Terry Fox in favour of more generic scenes. The government also announced that starting the fall there will be an option to renew passport online rather than having to submit it in person or by mail. 
  • India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and International Trade Minister Mary Ng re-iterated a commitment to securing an initial agreement on trade talks between the nations by the end of this year as Minster Goyal made an official visit to Canada last week.
  • The government sought to distance itself from a resolution passed at last week’s Liberal convention calling for the government introduce regulation to prevent “misinformation”. The Prime Minister and other cabinet members said the government has no intentions on making the resolution government policy. 

Government announcements

  • Minister O’Regan announced that new regulations under the Canada Labour Code that will require all federally regulated employers to provide free access to menstrual products at workplaces will come into effect on December 15.
  • Minister St Onge announced a series of measures the government is taking to improve the governance and safety of federally funded sports organizations.
  • Minister Joly announced Canada will seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the 2028-30 term.
  • Minister Mendocino announced $390M in new funding for programs to address the issue and guns and gangs with the renewal of the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence.
  • Minister Blair released the released the National Risk Profile which offers strategic, national-level disaster risk assessment which provides an overview of the risks Canada faces from hazards like earthquakes, floods and wildfires. 
  • The CRTC has opened the first stage of consultations about its expanded mandate granted in Bill C-11. The CRTC is asking for submissions on what a new contribution framework for traditional and internet broadcasters should look like and which online streaming services should be required to registered and be regulated by the CRTC. 

In the House of Commons

  • Bill C-13: The bill to amend the Official Languages Act was approved at Report stage in the House.
  • Bill C-21: The government used a House motion to force an end of the debate over the Liberal’s gun control bill at committee. Following the adoption of the motion with support from opposition parties other than the Conservatives the Public Safety Committee completed its review of the bill and sent it back to the House last night.
  • Bill C-46: The bill which implements Budget 2023’s increase of the GST credit as a “Grocery rebate” received Royal Assent clearing the way for the extra payments to be distributed in July. The bill also approves the $2B top-up of the Canada Health Transfers committed as part of the new health funding agreements with the provinces. 

Economic numbers of the week 

  • 11.3%: The value of building permits in Canada increased by 11.3% in March to $11.8B in total permits with non-residential permits seeing the biggest growth. 

Coming Up

  • Prime Minister Trudeau will make bilateral visit in Seoul, Korea from May 16 to 18 before he goes to Japan to attend the 2023 G7 summit from May 19 to 21.

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