This Week in Ottawa: October 20, 2023

Top news

  • Auditor General Karen Hogan tabled her Fall 2023 reports. Among the issues she looked at were the government’s failure to support the modernization of information systems, the Benefits Delivery Modernization and risks that the process is facing in failing to meet the goals of the process, and the government’s efforts to reduce the backlog for refugee and immigration applications.
  • Global Affairs Minister Joly announced on Thursday that Canada has removed 41 diplomats from India after talks to avoid India’s demand that Canada reduce its diplomatic numbers in India failed. The move means that all in-person services at consulates in India have been suspended.
  • Jagmeet Singh received 81% support in the vote on his leadership held at the NDP convention last Saturday. In his speech to delegates, Singh addressed concerns about the NDP’s deal to support the Liberal government, arguing that the NDP was making important progress for Canadians with the deal.

Government announcements

  • Finance Minister Freeland announced a number of new measures that she said will help ensure Canadians are treated fairly by banks.
  • The Competition Bureau released a new study reviewing Canada’s competitive intensity over the last two decades, finding that the intensity has declined across all indicators reviewed in the report.
  • Labour Minister O’Regan announced he appointed two experts to report on the questions and terms of reference that the promised port dispute review under section 106 of the Canada Labour Code should consider. The study will consider how best to ensure stability at Canada’s ports while respecting workers’ rights.
  • The new Joint Policy Statement on Developing and Transmitting Clean, Reliable and Affordable Power in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick commits the federal government to working with the two provinces as they work to meet the goals of phasing out coal powered electricity by 2030 and having a Net Zero grid by 2035.
  • Global Affairs Minister Joly announced Canada had renewed its sanctions on Iran in response to mounting concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
  • Immigration Minister Miller announced the launch of the CAN Work Philippines pilot project, which will streamline the process for employees in critical sectors seeking to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada.

Parliament this week

  • Bill C-49: This bill, which will amend the regulatory system for renewable energy projects off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, passed 2nd reading and was referred to the Natural Resources Committee.
  • Bill C-57: This bill to implement the 2023 trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine was introduced in the House.
  • Bill C-244: MP Wilson Miao’s bill to amend the Copyright Act to allow for maintenance and repair was passed unanimously at 3rd reading and sent to the Senate.
  • Bill C-314: MP Ed Fast’s PMB to stop the scheduled expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying in adding mental illness as a condition eligible to qualify for MAID was defeated by a vote of 150 in favour to 167 opposed.
  • Bill C-319: This PMB to amend the Old Age Security Act passed 2nd reading and was referred to the HUMA Committee.
  • Bill C-320: This PMB that would require the victims of a crime be informed about eligibility dates and review dates for temporary absences, releases or parole of their offenders was passed at 2nd reading and sent to the Public Safety Committee.
  • Bill C-225: MP Pierre Paul-Hus’s proposal to create a new criminal offence for breaching conditional release conditions was defeated at 2nd reading.

Economic numbers of the week

  • 3.8%: The Consumer Price Index rose by 3.8% in September, down from 4.0% in August. A rise in gas prices was the largest driver of the year over year increase.   

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