This Week In Ottawa May 19, 2023

Top news

  • Prime Minister Trudeau made an official visit to South Korea, where he addressed the South Korean Parliament and signed an MOU with the Korean government regarding critical minerals and a new youth mobility agreement.
  • From South Korea, the Prime Minster travelled to Hiroshima, Japan, to attend the annual G7 leaders summit. He is participating in the summit and having bilateral meetings with other leaders, including the Prime Ministers of Italy, Japan and France’s President Macron.  
  • On his way to Asia Prime Minister Trudeau stopped in Alberta to visit Canadian Forces members who are assisting with the effort to fight the wildfires that have caused significant evacuations in Alberta. 
  • special ad hoc committee has been established to review the documents related to the dismissal of two employees at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The documents have been the subject of a long-running dispute between the opposition, which has requested access to uncensored documents and the government’s insistence that they cannot be released for national security reasons. The committee will work with a panel of former judges who will serve as arbitrators in deciding disputes over which documents should be publicly released.
  • Construction on a new battery plant in Windsor backed by Stellantis and LG Energy was halted by the company, which says it believes the Canadian government has failed to live up to the promises of support it made in the agreement the government made with the battery plant last year. The company is looking for increased public support to bring it in line with the recent announcement of support for the VW plant. The federal government has been publicly putting pressure on the province of Ontario to help share the additional costs that a new agreement would require. Premier Ford committed today that Ontario will put more money on the table to save the plant.
  • By-elections have been called for 4 vacant seats in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, with voters to go to the polls on June 19th. The by-election in also vacant Calgary-Heritage will be called after the Alberta election.
  • Dominic Barton testified before a House of Commons committee where he was asked to explain emails which appeared to show his former firm McKinsey was interacting with him while he served as Canada’s ambassador to China. He told the committee he diligently followed all ethics rules while serving in the post.

Government announcements

  • The Federal government announced it has concluded a deal with Mastercard and Visa to lower credit card transaction fees for small businesses.
  • Minister Wilkinson announced the government has started accepting applications from industrial facilities for the Green Industrial Facilities and Manufacturing Program. The program will provide up to $10M in support for each approved energy efficiency project.
  • Minister Guilbeault launched the Conservation Exchange Pilot, which works with non-profits and businesses on conservation projects.
  • During his trip to Japan, Prime Minister Trudeau announced additional sanctions on Russian backers of the war in Ukraine and funding to support international efforts to investigate North Korea’s WMD activities.
  • Canada and Finland have signed a new youth mobility agreement. 
  • The Competition Bureau has launched a legal against Cineplex following an investigation into the theatre chain’s advertising practices. 

In the House of Commons

  • Bill C-13: The bill to amend the Official Languages Act passed 3rd reading in the House and was sent to the Senate.
  • Bill C-21: The government’s gun control bill has been passed at 3rd reading in the House and sent to the Senate. Two Liberal MPs voted with the Conservatives against the final version of the bill, which got support from the rest of the Liberal caucus and other opposition parties.  
  • Bill C-22: The bill to create a Canadian disability benefit was passed by the Senate with amendments meaning the bill has now returned to the House to consider whether it will accept or reject those changes.
  • Bill C-45: An Act to amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act passed 3rd reading in the House and was introduced in the Senate.
  • Bill C-48: This bill was introduced in response to recent requests by provinces and police officials that the federal government revise Canada’s bail regime. The bill would expand the use of reverse onus for offenders charged with using a weapon or domestic violation.
  • Bill S-5: This bill to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act was approved at report stage in the House.  
  • Bill C-280: MP Scot Davidson’s bill to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in regards to the treatment of perishable fruits and vegetables passed 2nd reading in the House.
  • The Conservative Party used an opposition day to call on the government to rethink its policy on providing “safe supply” to drug users and redirect funding to treatment options instead.

Coming Up

  • Special Rapporteur David Johnston will release his preliminary report on foreign interference including his recommendation on whether to hold a public inquiry on Tuesday, May 23rd. 

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