What we’re watching: Tories target Telford, broadcast overhaul

Having obtained the necessary approval – albeit reluctantly – from the House for the policy set out in his inaugural budget speech, Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland now faces a second, and perhaps even more important, cross-cutting challenge: convincing at least one opposition party to support its candidacy for the implementation of some of the measures set out in last month’s presentation, thanks to the draft omnibus law of 366 pages tabled in the Commons file on Friday.

As has become common practice under the Tiny Minority regime, in addition to a long list of budget proposals – to extend various emergency COVID-19 benefits over the summer, expand insurance coverage – employment and instituting a federal minimum wage of $ 15, to name a few. – the bill also includes several distinctly non-tax add-ons. These include new protocols for salaries and pensions of judges in the event of the resignation of a judge, as well as a proposed solution to the law prohibiting “false declarations” during election campaigns, which a judge of the Superior Court of Ontario recently ruled unconstitutional.

While such a regrouping will undoubtedly trigger light to moderate grunts from the opposition benches, no particular concerns have been raised to date regarding the content of the bill. But that could change this week, as MPs and party staff have now had the weekend to review the fine print.

Judging by how quickly he rose to the top of the Liberals’ legislative task list, they are clearly taking nothing for granted in their efforts to get the bill through the House and Senate before the recess. summer.

Last week, Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez informed his Commons colleagues that the first round of debate will begin on Wednesday afternoon and continue until Friday if necessary. As always, however, that timeline could be scaled up if opposition parties used their combined majority to hold back its progress.

When it is finally put to a vote, the bill will automatically be considered a matter of confidence. This could spark a new wave of speculation about a hasty election – an election that, depending on how it unfolds, could continue until its final round in the upper house.

Tories target Telford, last-minute change to broadcast overhaul in latest opposition motions

Before Freeland can start defending his budget plans, the Conservatives will have another chance to temporarily take control of the House agenda, thanks to an upcoming opposition day. Judging by the latest motions added to the Order Paper, they are ready to devote the day to one of the two politically charged controversies that are currently making headlines and harassing Team Trudeau.

The first, which stands in the name of Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen, would like the House to ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “fire” his longtime chief of staff, Katie Telford, “For failing to inform him of a serious allegation of sexual harassment at the highest levels of the Canadian Armed Forces and for being complicit in keeping the truth from Canadians.”

The motion comes as Tory MPs are pushing for Telford to be called to testify before the House Defense Committee for cross-examination on what exactly she knew about previous allegations of sexual misconduct against the Leader of the then Defense Staff Jonathan Vance. The move prompted Liberal committee members to ignore the clock at Friday’s meeting, temporarily preventing the bill from being votable, thanks to opposition support at the proposal their party was virtually guaranteed to lose.

The committee is scheduled to meet again on Monday afternoon, when the debate will theoretically resume. According to the latest notice, however, the meeting itself will take place in camera.

It is interesting to note that, even if the Conservatives decide to act on the motion on Tuesday and manage to convince the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrats to support it, it still would not bind the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, a second motion now on the shortlist for Tuesday’s debate would give the Conservatives a full day to castigate the Liberals for the last-minute change to their proposal to overhaul the broadcasting regime: in particular, remove the exemption. proposed for social media, a move that sparked widespread outrage among free speech advocates and others.

If passed, the motion would cause the House to formally state that “the government’s plan to give itself sweeping new powers to regulate, censor and block social media users without effective legal protections or guarantees poses a significant threat to the law. freedom of expression for all Canadians.

However, the motion was not mentioned in that the government would not have been able to make the change in committee without the support of at least one other party. In this case, both the Bloc and the New Democrats supported the decision to change the text because they feared creating a loophole that could allow broadcasters with large audiences to evade the Canadian content rules and to disregard Canadian content rules. other broadcasting protocols.

As for the bill itself, it is still being examined clause by clause in the Canadian Heritage Committee, the next meeting being scheduled for Monday morning.

As iPolitics reported last week, the motion’s sponsor, Conservative women’s critic Rachael Harder, also launched a separate attempt to force the government to table an updated Charter statement for the bill. , on the grounds that removing the social media exemption constitutes a substantial amendment to the bill.

In any case, the Conservatives have until Monday afternoon to decide which motion to present on Tuesday. This could result in both motions being bypassed, at least for the time being, in favor of a motion already notified.

Alternatively, they could choose to go with a third new addition sponsored by the party’s foreign affairs spokesman Michael Chong, who would ask the House to “condemn Iran’s election to the United Nations Commission. on the status of women ”, which would probably be the case. thanks to everyone’s support.

Also on the House and Senate committee circuits:

HEALTH Members continue their in-depth investigation into the “emergency facing Canadians” due to the ongoing pandemic, with testimony from expert medical and public health experts, including representatives of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Nunavut Department of Health, as good as Timothy Evans, Executive Director of the COVID-19 Immunity Working Group, Gregory Marchildon, University of Toronto Health Policy Research Chair, and Amir Attaran, professor at the University of Ottawa. (Monday AM)

More than INDUSTRY, MEPs will focus on the possible “economic recovery” in back-to-back roundtables with representatives from Canadians for Tax Fairness, Clean Energy Canada, Enerkem, Whitecap Resources Inc., as good as Robert Lyman, Director of the ENTRANS Policy Research Group and the League of the Wilds. (Tuesday afternoon)

Meanwhile, FINANCE Members are still going through the fine print of billions of dollars in COVID-related spending. They also monitor ‘related monetary policy‘, with representatives of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Generation squeezeand an international housing advocacy group The passage on the witness list this week. (Tuesday afternoon)

FOREIGN AFFAIRS members to receive briefing on ‘current situation’ from Russian anti-corruption crusader and outspoken critic of Putin Alexei Navalny, courtesy of his chief of staff, Leonid Volklov, which will review the latest developments in the ongoing imprisonment of Navalny and the The recent Kremlin decision to declare its organization “extremist”. (Thursday afternoon)

Deputies on the INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS SUB-COMMITTEE will also receive an update on the situation in Hong Kong and the Philippines. (Tuesday afternoon)

The main committee has also scheduled another two-hour session to explore arms exports to Turkey, which will include testimony from the Turkish Canadian Business Council, as good as Canadian Association of Defense and Security Industries, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. (Tuesday afternoon)

Finally, the CANADA-CHINA RELATIONS COMMITTEE will hear from two former senior security officials – just once national security adviser Richard Fadden and Ward elcock, who led the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) – as good as Justin Li, Director of the National Capital Confucius Institute for Culture, Language and Business, and the director emeritus of the Chinese Institute of the University of Alberta. (Monday PM)

On the Senate side:

  • NATIONAL FINANCE has blocked two days to view the latest estimates. (Monday / Tuesday morning)
  • Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem Head towards BANKING, TRADE AND COMMERCE to discuss the latest monetary policy report. (Wednesday afternoon)
  • FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE members will ask questions Minister of International Affairs Karina Gould on Canada’s “international response” to the pandemic, with representatives from Oxfam-Quebec and CARE Canada also on deck to testify. (Thursday morning)
  • While the bill itself awaits second reading approval, INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS launch a pre-study of the government’s candidacy to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, starting with a joint appearance of Minister of Justice David Lametti and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. (Friday morning)

On a walk on the ministerial hustings:

Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna Launches Back-to-Back Funding Disclosures With In-Person Appearance at Montreal Headquarters Library and National Archives of Quebec. Alongside his cabinet colleague and regional deputy Marc Miller and Minister of Education of Quebec, Isabelle Charest, it will present new federal support for “the region’s recreational and sports infrastructure”. (Monday AM)

Later in the morning, she will team up with Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson and representatives of Community Foundation of Ottawa and the Plants Pool Recreation Association to highlight the funding of the city’s seniors. (Monday AM)

Meanwhile, Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte Will “share highlights” from his government’s latest budget and recap his efforts to help seniors during the pandemic, in a virtual meeting with members of Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP). (Monday PM)

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