What we are observing: Freeland, pandemic financing in the spotlight

With only a week before the House of Commons closes for the season, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is set to deliver its second fall financial update on Tuesday. It will be “limited” both in terms of scope and expenditure, according to Reuters’ source, which is unnamed but presumably looping. (Tuesday PM)

If this is correct, it will likely disappoint those hoping for a more comprehensive mini-budget style mid-year plan, including its fiercest critics, who made the Trudeau team recognize the risk posed by the outbreak. inflation, and the prospect of interest rate hikes starting next spring.

Before appearing in parliamentary limelight, Freeland will join Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem to officially unveil the central bank’s renewed mandate, which is unlikely to disrupt the market. It will also not change the current inflation target of 2%, but “will add new guidance to take into account employment levels when making decisions”, according to to the Globe and Mail. (Monday AM)

COVID-19 Omnibus Support Package and Labor Bill Run Time to the Legislative Finish Line

It’s safe to assume that Freeland and his team will also monitor the progress of its omnibus attempt to extend several key pandemic support programs, including emergency wage and rent subsidies for businesses and targeted support for workers affected by the pandemic. blockages.

After lengthy negotiations between parties, $ 7.4 billion in aid was sent to the House FINANCE earlier this month, as well as the government’s pledge to make Freeland herself available for questioning during her quick review of the fine print.

Freeland did appear before the committee last Thursday.

IPolitics reported on Friday that the committee had agreed to complete its work on the bill by Monday evening, which means it could be back in the House of Commons as early as Tuesday.

It remains to be seen, however, whether it will be the subject of a last-minute rewrite during the final stage of the committee’s review, which may be necessary to gain the support of at least one other party when it will be an all-or-nothing final decision. vote later this week.

“Both the Conservatives and the NDP have signaled their opposition to the bill,” notes the Canadian Press, while the Bloc Québécois “has set several conditions that must first be met”, including “direct assistance to workers in the sector. cultural “.

With this condition in mind, Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez is scheduled to appear before the committee on Monday morning.

Also on the final witness list are Auditor General Karen Hogan, Canadian Labor Congress President Bea Bruske, and a not yet appointed senior official of the Canada Revenue Agency. (Monday AM)

As for the other bill on the Liberals’ pre-holiday priority list, Minister of Labor Seamus O’ReganThe two-story rhetoric of Harassment of health workers or patients seeking health services, and of requiring federally regulated employers to provide at least 10 days of paid sick leave, was brought before the committee in a row. Record time. Although he succeeded with the support of all parties, opposition members stressed in the first round of the debate the need to revise the terms in depth to avoid any unintended consequences.

Even so, just five days off the parliamentary clock, it would take significant aisle cooperation to get through any remaining milestones by Friday.

In the event that it gets more and more into the Senate before the recess, it is already under preliminary consideration both in the LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS and SOCIAL AFFAIRS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY committees, with O’Regan himself booked for a question hour Monday night. (Monday afternoon)

Also on the committee’s pre-vacation bucket list: gun and gang violence, ethics rules

PUBLIC SAFETY Members will continue to determine a preliminary timeline for their House-assigned investigation into “gun control, illegal gun trafficking and the increase in gun crime by members of street gangs.” Specifically, they will continue to reflect on a motion presented by Bloc Québécois MNA Kristina Michaud to hold “a minimum of two meetings” before the end of the week, in order to hear Minister of Public Security Marco Mendicino and “representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police”. (Tuesday AM)

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is scheduled for a 90 minute briefing Tuesday at HOME PROCEDURE AND AFFAIRS. (Tuesday AM)

According to a House order passed last week, the remaining standing committees are to schedule their respective organizational meetings by Friday. Parliament’s website shows that 23 have already done so.

Also out this week:

  • Minister of Defense Anita Anand team up with Chief of the Defense Staff Wayne Eyre and Deputy Minister of Defense Jody Thomas issue – on behalf of the Federal Government, the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defense, respectively – a “virtual public apology to all current and former members of the Defense team who have been victims of sexual assault, harassment sexual or discrimination based on sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. The mea culpa will be streamed live on the Canadian Armed Forces Facebook page, according to the advisory. (Monday afternoon)
  • Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam is holding a virtual press conference to discuss its latest annual report, which is due in the House on Monday. According to its title, it will offer “a vision for transforming Canada’s public health system”. With the Omicron variant causing renewed concern, however, there’s a good chance it will answer questions about the risk of increased infections after the holidays and when booster shots should be dispensed. Across the country. (Monday AM)

Finally and especially, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “virtual holiday event” for members of the Liberal Party Laurier Club card, which is open to anyone willing to donate at least $ 1,600 per year – all at once , or in pre-authorized monthly installments.

Party chairman to join him for digital celebrations Suzanne cowan, as well as newly installed Minister of Sports Pascale St. Onge and a full contingent of Liberal MPs. Depending on the invitation, “virtual guests” can register to “receive a personalized Laurier Club cocktail / mocktail kit” by mail. Not surprisingly, alcohol is “not included”. (Wednesday afternoon)

Also on Wednesday evening, City TV broadcasts its exclusive end-of-year interview with the Prime Minister. From the previewTrudeau will comment on Quebec’s controversial law banning public servants from wearing religious symbols at work, as well as the “strained” relationship between Canada and China, but not whether Huawei will be allowed to participate in Canada’s 5G network. (Wednesday afternoon)

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