Canada: government & governance 43rd Parliament

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Canada: government & governance 2019

Taking down the government, how a confidence vote works in Canada
The confidence vote (also known as the vote of no confidence or no-confidence motion) is part of the Canadian parliamentary system’s framework for responsible government. This means the government not only has to be responsible to the people but to the House of Commons and the Legislative Assembly as well.
It can take place at the federal or provincial level, but in order to be successful, confidence votes normally only happen when there’s a minority government as they require the approval of a majority of MPs or MLAs to pass.
A vote of no confidence can also come through defeating an important bill or budget.

Parliament is back tomorrow. Will there be an election soon after that? Here’s what you need to know first
The Trudeau government says its Throne Speech will chart a new course through the pandemic, but without the opposition’s help, they’ll be headed for a political reckoning instead.
Trudeau plans television address Wednesday evening after Throne Speech
One senior government official has told The Globe that the Throne Speech will cover three main themes: the immediate need for dealing with the pandemic in areas such as public health, support programs for Canadians who have lost income from the pandemic, and the longer-term economic recovery. The third section is expected to include a focus on climate change. The official also said the government is prepared to spend whatever is necessary to support the economy, but that the focus is on short-term spending that can be phased out as the pandemic eases.

17-18 September
Trudeau calls byelections for late October, one day after Liberals name candidates
Green party leadership hopeful Annamie Paul said she wants to run for her party in the Toronto Centre byelection but needs special permission to do so.
Paul said the Liberals are making politically motivated decision to call the byelections now, when COVID-19 numbers in Toronto are spiking and before the government knows if it will survive a confidence vote on next week’s throne speech.
Byelections called for Toronto Centre, York Centre on Oct. 26
(CBC) People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said he’s considering running in one of the upcoming Toronto-area byelections.
This will be Elections Canada’s first attempt at organizing a vote during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the independent agency has been looking at changes to how elections work —including a two-day weekend voting period instead of the traditional one-day Monday vote — spokesperson Natasha Gauthier told CBC News the byelection call came too soon for it to tweak the Canada Elections Act.
Broadcast journalist Marci Ien to run as Liberal candidate in Morneau’s former riding
(CTV) Marci Ien, co-host of CTV’s The Social, will be appointed the Liberal candidate in the riding of Toronto Centre — which, until recently, was the seat held by former finance minister Bill Morneau.
… He also said that the Liberals will be appointing Ya’ara Saks as their candidate in York Centre, the seat previously held by Liberal MP Michael Levitt.
This marks a huge shift from the Liberals’ previous approach to elections. Ahead of the 2015 election, the Liberal Party emphasized the importance of open nomination processes, where hopeful Liberal nominees would battle it out to win the most votes and secure the candidacy in any given riding.
“When Justin Trudeau committed to hold open nominations in 338 ridings across the country, he made something crystal clear: our open nomination process is there to ensure that local Liberals, in every riding, get to choose who they want to represent them in the next election,” reads a post on the Liberal Party website from March, 2014. “It wasn’t for him as Leader to decide – it was for Liberals to decide.”
However, this time around, the leader did decide who would represent the Liberal Party in the two upcoming byelections.
Before the party confirmed there would be no nomination race, Ien had announced her planned bid on social media on Thursday.

 

20 July
Amidst recent controversy, The Walrus republished and updated this article from Dec. 16, 2014
Richard Gwyn: Canada’s First Scapegoat
The movement to cast John A. Macdonald as nothing more than a racist, colonialist, drunk is an insult to our history
Stephen Marche’s article about our first prime minister (“Old Macdonald,” January/February) may impress some readers with its sweeping, condemnatory tone. But look behind the attention-getting claims—the display copy tells us “Sir John A. was a racist, a colonialist, and a drunk”—and one finds gaping holes in Marche’s interpretation of Canadian history.
Macdonald was “corrupt.” True—but so were almost all politicians in that era. Macdonald certainly was “a drunk,” too. So as not to spoil the story, though, Marche doesn’t add that Macdonald quit the bottle, an excruciatingly difficult accomplishment even today.
The charge that really matters, of course, is that Macdonald was a racist. His immigration policy, in particular, often is cited as evidence against him. It’s true that he doubted whether Chinese migrants would readily assimilate into such a different country, particularly one divided deeply by race and religion. It’s also true that he continued a head tax on Chinese temporary workers. But as I have written elsewhere, he preceded this with a Royal Commission that told the country’s racists what they least wanted to hear: that the Chinese were “not an inferior race” and were very good workers. Chinese migration was stopped not by Macdonald but by Wilfrid Laurier, who increased the head charge from $50 to a prohibitive $500.
… In the past few years, a cluster of commentators have charged Macdonald with deliberately starving Aboriginal peoples to get them out of the way, to make way for the railway. Or even with full-blown genocide. Hard questions do need to be asked about what he did when the Plains Indians’ food supply vanished with the disappearance of the buffalo. But conspicuously missing from many accounts of this story is how Macdonald did a great deal for Native communities—and did it far better than those before and, for a long time, after him.

Les six crises post-pandémiques du Canada
Le Canada de l’après-pandémie est un pays non seulement traumatisé, mais qui connaît aussi mal ses propres enjeux réels.
Irvin Studin, Rédacteur en chef du magazine Global Brief et président de l’Institute for 21st Century Questions
(La Presse) Alors que le discours public demeure préoccupé par les taux d’infection à la COVID-19 au jour le jour, le pays fait déjà face à six crises nationales de « système » – c’est-à-dire six crises dont la maîtrise dictera la qualité de vie des Canadiennes et Canadiens dans un avenir prévisible, mais dont la non-maîtrise risque de causer la désintégration du pays.
Ces six crises sont intimement interconnectées et possèdent un caractère existentiel pour le Canada. Pour en sortir, il faudra avancer des solutions de qualité et de taille similairement systématiques, sinon « transystémiques ». Toute proposition qui ne répond pas à ces critères sera soit décevante, soit une pure distraction.
La première crise pancanadienne est bien évidemment celle de la santé publique – d’après moi, la moindre de nos crises à partir de l’automne.

2 September
Trudeau defends Payette, says he is not considering replacing GG ‘right now’
(CBC) The Privy Council Office has launched an external review of working conditions at Rideau Hall – the contract is valued at more than $88,000 and the review’s results are expected later this fall.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today called Julie Payette an “excellent” Governor General and said he has no intention right now of asking the Queen to replace her in the wake of CBC reports alleging harassment and a toxic workplace environment at Rideau Hall.

24 August
Erin O’Toole wins federal Conservative leadership race
Erin O’Toole, an Ontario member of Parliament, defeated Conservative heavyweight Peter MacKay and was named leader of the Conservative Party early Monday.
Mr. O’Toole spent 12 years in the military and 10 years as a corporate lawyer. He ran a pointed, message-driven campaign and embraced becoming the inheritor of Stephen Harper’s party. This was Mr. O’Toole’s second time running for leadership of the party; he was defeated in 2017 by Andrew Scheer. Mr. O’Toole won with 57 per cent of the vote on the third ballot. “Today you have given me a clear mission to unite our party, to champion our Conservative principles, to show Canadians what we know so well — that Justin Trudeau and his team are failing our great country,” Mr. O’Toole said in his victory speech shortly after 1:00 a.m. ET.

21 August
Why Trudeau’s self-serving prorogation of Parliament should be Canada’s last
, Professor of Political Science, Carleton University
(The Conversation) Most Canadian federal and provincial governments prorogue at least once between elections. Trudeau was exceptional in not proroguing at all in his first term from 2015-19.
This time around, the prime minister has given a plausible explanation why he now wants a reset. He said that “the throne speech we delivered eight months ago made no mention of COVID-19.… We need to reset the approach of this government for a recovery to build back better.”
But there is another reason governments turn to prorogation: to escape sticky situations. And indeed, Trudeau’s prorogation shuts down the parliamentary committee inquiries into the WE affair that have ruined his summer.
… Prorogation is also manipulated in Canada as a pre-election tactic. Provincial governments have prorogued the legislature shortly before an election. They then return with a throne speech that serves as the election platform, as happened in Ontario in 2018.Compared to the above cases, Trudeau’s move is not particularly egregious. But we should not leave him off the hook. This is clearly a self-serving move, by someone whose 2015 platform pledged to not “use prorogation to avoid difficult political circumstances.” And it reminds us that prorogation is a tool regularly abused by Canadian governments.

19 August
Tom Mulcair in defense of Julie Payette
Julie Payette deserves better
The timing of this latest round of complaints against her, which began a few weeks ago, is somewhat suspect
(Montreal Gazette) The timing of this latest round of complaints against her, which began a few weeks ago, is somewhat suspect, as it diverts at least some attention from the turmoil a series of scandals has caused to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his most senior ministers. And on Monday, the same day Finance Minister Bill Moreau resigned, a new story about Payette surfaced based on unnamed sources complaining that she was not co-operating with her RCMP security detail.

17 – 18 August
Parliament prorogued until Sept. 23 as Trudeau government reels from WE Charity controversy
Parliamentary business, including committees probing WE Charity matter, is suspended
Kathleen Harris, Aaron Wherry
(CBC) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had sought approval to suspend Parliament from Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, who will deliver a speech from the throne on Sept. 23, the same week the House of Commons was previously scheduled to return.
A speech from the throne would give Parliament a chance to give the government a mandate, and to debate the government’s spending plan, ahead of an economic statement or even a full budget in October.
Freeland replaces Morneau as Trudeau’s finance minister
Chrystia Freeland was sworn in as Canada’s new finance minister today, becoming the first woman to take on the powerful role.
She will retain her role as deputy prime minister but hands over her responsibilities for relations with the provinces to Dominic LeBlanc.
As the Liberal government looks to chart its path forward, Freeland said she will ensure that growth agenda is implemented with the decarbonization of the economy in mind.
“The restart of our economy needs to be green,” she said. “It also needs to be equitable, it needs to be inclusive and we need to focus very much on jobs and growth.”
Konrad Yakabuski: Freeland just inherited the hardest job in Canada. How long can she keep it?
[Mr. Morneau] was a rare voice of fiscal caution around a cabinet table of progressives for whom debt and deficits are an afterthought. His departure leaves a massive hole at the centre of power.
Had that hole been filled by former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, as many on Bay Street had hoped, Mr. Morneau’s departure would be no big deal. Most domestic and foreign investment analysts who cover Canada would have hailed Mr. Carney’s arrival as a good news story. The addition to cabinet of a former governor of the Bank of England would have offset concerns of fiscal policy gone adrift.
Bill Morneau resigns as finance minister and MP, will seek to lead OECD
(CBC) Bill Morneau has announced his resignation as finance minister, and will also step down as the MP for Toronto Centre, after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier Monday.
“I met with the prime minister today to inform him that I did not plan to run again in the next federal election,” Morneau told reporters Monday evening. “It has never been my plan to run for more than two federal election cycles.”
Morneau said he was not pushed out of government. He said it was time for a new finance minister to carry Canada forward as it continues to battle the economic realities of the pandemic.

11 – 12 August
Trudeau, Morneau, Telford must resign, or trigger an election: Blanchet
Bloc Quebecois Jean-Yves Blanchet said Wednesday his party will force a confidence vote against the Liberal government this fall unless Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his finance minister and his chief of staff resign.
But the New Democrats don’t seem ready to back the effort and with 24 MPs, they have enough seats in the House of Commons to be the deciding factor in whether Canada moves toward a fall election in the middle of a pandemic.

Robert Fife: Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s job could be in jeopardy after clashes with Prime Minister, sources say
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Prime Minister came to rely on Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England and Bank of Canada, for informal policy advice, and now on plans to revive the economy, sources say. The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment on Mr. Carney’s advisory role.
Sources did not deny that Mr. Carney could replace Mr. Morneau if he is interested in the finance minister’s job, although he would need to win a seat in Parliament. Other contenders are Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, according to insiders.
Mr. Morneau has privately said he would leave politics early if he could not keep the high-profile job, insiders say.

Steve Paikin: How this era of no-scrum journalism has made Doug Ford one lucky premier
The premier has defied expectations. But he’s also benefitting from the way pressers work during COVID-19
Let’s stipulate right off the top that Premier Doug Ford has surprised millions of Ontarians by rising to the occasion and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in ways many thought unimaginable.
Compared to other jurisdictions in North America, Ontario’s recent success rate of fewer than 100 new cases a day is deeply impressive.
However, let’s in the same breath acknowledge that, as much as Ford has defied expectations, he’s also gotten incredibly lucky when it comes to his relations with the media

8 August
Aaron Wherry: Julie Payette’s controversies could be a big problem for Rideau Hall
(CBC) … [Michaëlle Jean] was also not the first Governor General to find trouble. Her immediate predecessor, Adrienne Clarkson, came to be described as “controversial,” in part because of questions about her expenses. Years earlier, Jeanne Sauvé was criticized for seeming to weigh in on the debate over the Meech Lake accord and blamed after the grounds of Rideau Hall were closed to the public.
While the examples of Jean and Clarkson suggest controversies can be overcome, Payette is contending with a difficult combination of questions about her approach to the job, her treatment of staff and her use of public funds.
The resignation or dismissal of a governor general might reflect poorly on both the office-holder and the prime minister who was behind the nomination. But the potential ramifications of the current situation go well beyond the personal reputations of Payette and Trudeau.
… It is the Governor General who presides over the formation of a new government and, in rare circumstances, settles disputes over who should be entitled to seek the confidence of the House of Commons. It is in that specific circumstance that damage to the office could have the most acute impact.
Trudeau government refuses to support Gov. Gen. Julie Payette while under scrutiny
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland drew a sharp distinction between her support for the office of the Governor General and its current occupant, Julie Payette, in the wake of reporting by CBC News showing unusual spending to meet Payette’s demands for privacy. … The selection has been fraught with controversy from the beginning, and Trudeau has been notably silent in offering any defence of her.

5 August
Trudeau’s popularity has slipped since WE Charity scandal broke, poll finds
Nearly half of Canadians would support an election being called if the federal watchdog finds Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have violated the Conflict of Interest Act again over the WE charity affair, a new poll suggests.
The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies also suggests the WE controversy has taken a bite out of Trudeau’s popularity, as well as that of the federal Liberal party, putting the Conservatives within striking distance of victory.

26 July
The BBC’s very complete summary of theWE charity scandal – A simple guide to the new crisis for Trudeau

24 July
Karl Nerenberg: Are the Liberals shopping for a new leader?
(Rabble) … There is another name, however, someone outside of politics (for the time being), who does actually excite Liberal insiders: Mark Carney.
… Carney headed both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, which gives him well more than a decade in senior managerial leadership roles.
At the Bank of Canada, he took bold action during the crisis of 2008, when, still new to the job, he slashed the interest rate by half a point to help make credit more available to a floundering economy. He was ahead of the curve then. His European colleagues were still raising rates.
Recently, Carney has moved somewhat to the progressive side of the political field, working on climate change for the United Nations. More important, he has written tantalizingly about how the current pandemic has made it necessary for us to radically rethink our ideas of equality, fairness, opportunity and of the sacrosanct market economy itself.
Carney outlined some of his thoughts in an article for The Economist magazine in April. A good deal of what he had to say is tantamount to heresy in the world of investment bankers, where he cut his teeth.
“We have been moving from a market economy to a market society,” Carney wrote. “Increasingly, to be valued, an asset or activity has to be in a market. For example, Amazon is one of the world’s most valuable companies, yet the Amazon region appears on no ledger until it is stripped of its foliage, and converted to farmland … In this crisis, we know we need to act as an interdependent community, not independent individuals, so the values of economic dynamism and efficiency have been joined by those of solidarity, fairness, responsibility and compassion.”
Carney is a banker and an economist, and so one could not expect him to abandon ideas of “efficiency.”

21-23 July
Privy Council Office launches workplace probe of Governor General’s office over harassment claims
The country’s top bureaucratic office has launched an independent review after sources told CBC News that Payette has created a toxic environment at Rideau Hall.
Sources say many staffers have fled what they call an atmosphere of ‘bullying and harassment at its worst.’ … where some have been reduced to tears or have left the office altogether, sources tell CBC News. Four members of Payette’s communications team have departed during the pandemic period alone. A fifth person is leaving this week and another two have taken leaves of absence. It’s just the latest wave of staff to quietly transfer out of the small office in response to mistreatment during Payette’s mandate, multiple sources said.

Chris Selley: Why is Bill Morneau still here? This catastroWE isn’t his first blunder
If even Justin Trudeau can smell the oblivious privilege wafting off his finance minister, it’s all the more baffling he’s still in charge of the national pocketbook
In a normal government, Bill Morneau would be given the boot
… for a government that has long championed its connection to the middle class, a Finance Minister who can’t keep track of his holding corporations, his French villa and his $40,000 vacations should be seen as a distinct liability – to say nothing of what ought to be an intolerable and disqualifying ethical breach.

Evidence should guide the design of any student service program
Since Prime Minister Trudeau announced the Canada Student Service Grant on June 25, to say controversy has swirled around the initiative is an understatement. The federal ethics commissioner, at the request of two opposition parties, is investigating the circumstances around the awarding of a since-cancelled $900-million contract to the WE Charity for the administration of the grant. Meanwhile, concerns have been raised from within the nonprofit sector on everything from the program delivery to the design.
Ilona Dougherty, Amelia Clarke
(Policy Options IRPP) To ensure student programs like the Canada Student Service Grant are effective, they must be designed based on evidence and best practices.

21-22 July
John Ivison: As the WE scandal rises, Bill Morneau can feel himself sinking
The conjunction of WE and the Liberal Party is remarkable, to the point where it is becoming hard to say where one stops and the other begins
Bill Morneau looked like a drowning man after he revealed to a parliamentary committee that he had received $41,000 in paid travel and hospitality from WE Charity, the organization his government subsequently handed a $900 million contribution agreement.
John Ivison: WE scandal has the potential to lead to Humpty Dumpty’s fall
This is the crux of the scandal, if there is one. Did the Trudeau government throw WE a financial lifeline by concocting the broad parameters of a program that only WE could deliver?
Andrew Coyne: Ottawa’s WE deal has many parts – and each one contributes to the makings of a scandal
Like all good scandals, the WE mess is not just one thing but several. It is only one part abuse of process, though that has been the focus of most attention: the rank cronyism, the failure to seek competing offers, the multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, the casual unregistered lobbying of a government that seems almost to invite it by those who stand to profit by it.

8-17 July
WE pitched detailed youth plan on day Trudeau announced $912-million student grant program
Hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $912-million student volunteer program on April 22, WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger sent the senior civil servant responsible for the program an unsolicited pitch to run the initiative, MPs were told at a House of Commons finance committee hearing.
Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE Charity contract discussions
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized today for failing to put some distance between himself and the decision to award the WE Charity a multi-million-dollar contract.
‘I made a mistake in not recusing myself. I am sorry,’ Trudeau told reporters
Justin Trudeau drops into another pitfall of his own making
There was always going to be an odour coming off the WE arrangement — money just made it worse
(CBC) Trudeau insists that the recommendation to partner with WE came from public service officials and an associate deputy minister has defended the choice. A committee of the House of Commons has requested the internal documentation related to the government’s decision and the paper trail will now be studied closely.
Even without the participation of Trudeau and his family members in WE events, it’s now obvious that the charity’s involvement would have attracted WE’s various critics regardless. In fact, it was criticism of WE’s general practices and new complaints about how it was administering the volunteer program that compelled the government and the charity to walk away from their arrangement last week.
See: Inside The “Cult” Of Kielburger (Canadaland, June 2019)
Bill Morneau has family ties to WE Charity, did not steer clear of cabinet discussion of contract
Finance Minister Bill Morneau did not recuse himself from the Liberal cabinet’s consideration of a $19.5 million contract for WE Charity, despite the involvement of two of his immediate family members in the charity — one of them as a paid contract employee.
Chris Selley: From the Aga Khan to WE, Trudeau still can’t seem to grasp reality
Any normal human being could have told the prime minister that awarding a giant contract to such an organization would set off alarm bells. And no normal human being would be anything but further perplexed by the PMO’s efforts at damage control: first insisting only the WE Charity was capable of administering the program, then shortly thereafter cancelling the contract and handing it to the civil service. While admitting no impropriety, Trudeau then suggested WE would have done a better job. That’s just utterly bizarre.
The WE Charity fiasco is a quintessential Trudeau-Liberal mess, involving the same mingling of personal relationships and government contracts as the Aga Khan’s Island fiasco. The only major difference is that, unlike the Trudeaus’ Bahamian vacation, WE Charity’s $19.5-million contract to administer more than $900 million in summer jobs programming has been withdrawn by mutual consent. Still, Craig and Marc Kielburger’s WE brand is so similar to that of the Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau, it seems almost inevitable in hindsight that they would have wound up embroiled in the same controversy.
WE Day events involve packing thousands of hyped-up adolescents into arenas on school days, where they shriek adulation at various celebrities in the name of inspiring themselves to change the world for the better. No doubt a few of them go on to do just that. A few more will go on work trips to impoverished countries — the cost of which could do (at a guess) 100 times more good in the form of a cash donation — and return “humbled” and with improved resumés. The rest will at least have avoided an afternoon’s education, and WE Day’s corporate sponsors — among them RBC, KPMG, Telus, Unilever, Ford and The Keg — will leave valuable brand impressions on a demographic soon to be in the market for cars, mortgages, mid-range steak dinners and management consultants.

1 May

Trudeau announces ban on 1,500 types of ‘assault-style’ firearms — effective immediately

The ban will be enacted through regulations approved by an order-in-council from cabinet — not through legislation. Trudeau said the government was ready to enact this campaign promise months ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the legislative agenda.
The term “assault-style” has no legal definition in Canada. The Firearms Act also does not currently classify firearms as “military-style” — that term would have to be defined in the new regulations.
Generally speaking, an assault-style weapon is a semi-automatic firearm with a large ammunition magazine, built to fire quickly.
All Canadians must be in compliance with the law by April 2022, Justice Minister David Lametti said, adding that gun owners who have not disposed of their banned firearms by that point could face sanctions under the Criminal Code.
While there is an amnesty period, the firearms cannot be used anywhere as of today. Lametti said firearms owners may return the firearms to the manufacturer or export them as part of a sale between now and 2022.
Radio-Canada obtained an early draft of a list of firearms that will be included in that 1,500 figure. Guns like the M16, M4, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles will be banned; those styles were used in the Sandy Hook, New Zealand, Las Vegas and Orlando mass shootings. There are an estimated 83,572 of them in Canada.
The Ruger Mini-14, the type of firearm used in the École Polytechnique shooting, is also on the list. There are an estimated 16,859 of them in Canada.
The M14 rifle, used in the Moncton shooting, is also expected to be banned. There are an estimated 5,229 of those in Canada

5 April
The pandemic is breaking down political barriers between provincial and federal governments
Unity of purpose brings former foes together in ways that Canada has not always seen in past crises
(CBC) On Thursday night, there was a tangible spirit of goodwill around the virtual table when the prime minister and Canada’s premiers took part in a teleconference on the novel coronavirus outbreak. Sources tell CBC News that gratitude and appreciation was expressed at both ends for the collaborative work the two levels of government have been doing.
Meetings of first ministers can be acrimonious but there was no troublemaker at the table this time. One source said that “everyone [was] very sympathetic to Quebec,” the province that has been hit the hardest by the outbreak. In the past, the province has butted heads with other premiers on everything from pipelines to face veil bans.
Speaking on background, a federal Liberal source told CBC News that some premiers were willing to divert deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) from their own province to provinces with greater needs.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, normally an inveterate foe of Trudeau, tweeted during the call how he was “impressed by how [Canada] is coming together to fight this invisible enemy” and “moved by strong solidarity for Alberta’s double whammy: the COVID recession [and] the energy price crash.”

16 March
Canada to bar entry to travellers who are not citizens, permanent residents or Americans
Exceptions will be in place for U.S. citizens, diplomats, crew and immediate family members of citizens
The prime minister also said no one who is displaying symptoms will be permitted to board a flight to Canada, and that air operators will be required to complete a basic health assessment of every passenger based on guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“I know this news will spark concern among Canadians travelling abroad. I want to assure you that our government will not leave you unsupported,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the decision to keep the border open to Americans was made to reflect the integration of the two economies and populations, and to maintain essential supply lines for things like food.
“That border is absolutely vital to the daily lives of the people who live on both sides of that border,” she said.
Exemptions for essential workers
Everyone arriving in Canada from another country is now going to be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Essential workers, including air crews and truck drivers, will be exempted from that rule, Freeland said.

13 – 14 March
Canadians abroad urged to come home while they still can amid tightening travel restrictions due to coronavirus
The federal government urged Canadians abroad to return home while they still have a chance as countries around the world impose ever-tighter travel restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Word from Global Affairs Canada came on Saturday as Canadians travelling in Europe scrambled to book flights ahead of looming border closures in many European Union countries.
Pay attention, Trump: Trudeau’s coronavirus response is a lesson in leadership
By John Ibbitson
(Globe & Mail) Constitutionally and by convention, provincial governments deliver health care, while Ottawa helps fund it. The federal government also plays a co-ordinating role and sets certain basic standards.
The system can be piecemeal and inefficient. But when a public health emergency strikes, things typically work pretty well. During this coronavirus emergency, British Columbia and Ontario have led the response, because they have had the bulk of the cases. Other provinces have been watching and acting accordingly, depending on their own circumstances.
… The federal system has also responded to the economic crisis resulting from the public health crisis. Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a tranche of stimulus measures Friday, while promising more is to come, even as the Bank of Canada reduced interest rates by another 50 basis points.
Ottawa shuts down
After a quick series of unprecedented steps — including the swift passage of the USMCA — Canada’s political leaders suspended Parliament as the country readies for Covid-19.
(Politico) Over five extraordinary hours on Friday, Canada’s federal government suspended Parliament, delayed its federal budget, imposed new restrictions on international travel and promised a major fiscal stimulus package, while the Bank of Canada slashed interest rates as the country collectively braces for the impact of coronavirus.
The announcements rolled out, one after another, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remained in isolation at his home in Ottawa, dealing with the fallout of a global pandemic that has turned personal — his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Thursday, though her symptoms are mild. Trudeau has no symptoms of the virus, which has so far infected 157 people in Canada and caused one death.
Parliament suspends for five weeks over coronavirus concerns
…on Friday morning at 10 a.m., all five of Canada’s major political parties agreed to a motion to adjourn the House of Commons until April 20, in response to the spread of Covid-19. The suspension could be extended if necessary. Parliament has also passed spending-related bills that will allow the government to keep cash flowing while the House of Commons and Senate aren’t sitting. “We will face this together, and we will get through this together,” Government House Leader Pablo Rodríguez told reporters.
The parties have agreed to a process to allow Parliament to be recalled over the coming weeks, if needed, with a skeleton crew of members present — likely those who live within driving distance.
Even with Trudeau in isolation, Canada is responding well to the coronavirus
It’s an extraordinary moment, but Canada’s immediate response to managing the pandemic has been, on balance, sound and effective.
(WaPo) At a news conference in front of his home on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is self-isolating after his wife tested positive for covid-19, announced new measures and recommendations to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus. The fact that the prime minister is working from home has not caused general concern — in fact, the country’s institutions seem to be responding effectively, aided perhaps by the relative lack of partisan shenanigans.
Trudeau recommended that Canadians forgo unnecessary travel and said a fiscal stimulus package was forthcoming. The finance minister, Bill Morneau, announced a CAD $10 billion credit fund for businesses and a possible delay of tax filing. And there’s more to come next week. The Bank of Canada announced a rate cut of half a percentage point.
The government limited inbound flights. Members of Parliament suspended the legislative session until at least mid-April and delayed the budget that was due this month. Trudeau is taking calls and holding meetings remotely.
In Canada, one of the central concerns surrounding the coronavirus and its fallout is the United States. The Canadian response has been measured, mostly well-communicated, and timely. The debate over when officials ought to endorse social distancing stands out as a point of friction, a key one, but otherwise most of the country looks to be rowing in the same direction.

27 February
Trudeau invites Indigenous leaders to first ministers meeting in March
Leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Métis National Council will be invited to meet with first ministers in Ottawa on Thursday, March 12. Mr. Trudeau and the provincial and territorial premiers will then hold a first ministers meeting the next day.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the agenda will include ways to mitigate climate change, “while at the same time developing our natural resources sustainably and creating good, middle class jobs.”
Health care, infrastructure and transfer programs are also listed as agenda items.
“There is no relationship more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples. This meeting will focus on how we can work together to make a real difference for Indigenous families and communities across the country,” Mr. Trudeau said in a statement.

21 January
Report finds MPs vote with own party 99.6 per cent of the time, warns of unhealthy partisanship
An independent analysis of the last Parliament found MPs voted with their own party 99.6 per cent of the time and displayed unhealthy levels of partisanship, polarization and hostility.
In its latest report on parliamentary trends, the Samara Centre for Democracy spoke with MPs who sat in the House the Commons between 2015 and 2019. The centre also conducted a detailed analysis of voting trends, government tactics and the length of time MPs spent debating legislation.
It said the level of party loyalty in Canada is “extreme” when compared with the British Parliament, where MPs are “notably more rebellious.”
Looking at government tactics in the House of Commons, the report noted that the Liberal government continued a controversial practice of the previous, Conservative government: introducing large “omnibus” bills that can be hard for MPs to review properly.

13 January
Harry and Meghan, and why members of the Royal Family can’t live in Canada
(Globe & Mail editorial) Britain is the inventor of one of the world’s great innovations in government: a monarchy that reigns but does not rule. Canada took that system and improved it, by pushing it one step further. The Canadian monarchy is virtual; it neither rules nor resides. Our royals don’t live here. They reign from a distance. Close to our hearts, far from our hearths.
On Monday, the British paper the Evening Standard reported that sources had told it that Ottawa had agreed to pay for security costs for the soon-to-arrive royal couple. When asked, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters that was untrue, and that his government had not even discussed the matter. The dollars and cents of supporting a royal resident might be significant, but that’s not what’s really at issue. It goes deeper than the possibility of the feds having to find a few million extra bucks.
Canadians like their monarchy, and visits by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family tend to produce outpourings of public enthusiasm. But while the people who embody the Crown pay visits from time to time, they don’t set up a home on the premises. A royal living in this country does not accord with the long-standing nature of the relationship between Canada and Britain, and Canada and the Crown.

9 January
Is Justin Trudeau eyeing the exits?
By Konrad Yakabuski
Even with a majority, Mr. Trudeau was the most risk-averse prime minister in memory. Apart from the Canada Child Benefit and a tentative move toward carbon pricing, nothing Mr. Trudeau did during his first term was very ambitious. There were lots of earnest declarations but precious little in the way of transformative policy.
Granted, Mr. Trudeau was never a policy wonk. Now, however, he appears to have grown tired of politics, too. The country is dangerously divided; perhaps he has concluded that he cannot do much about that. He has shown none of the passion of a Prime Minister determined to reconquer the hearts of Canadians, one selfie at a time, during a second term.
Meanwhile, there are a slew of tough files on his desk that he must be dreading. For starters, he must decide whether to approve Teck Resource’s Frontier oil-sands project and whether to ban Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from Canadian 5G networks. There will be no easy way to spin either of those decisions. But that’s what governing is all about.
Prescient Liberals are already talking about Mr. Trudeau’s replacement, with one name above all others on their lips – and no, it’s not Ms. Freeland’s. Departing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is returning to Ottawa within weeks. For many Liberals, it won’t be a moment too soon.

23 December
Trudeau keeps the jets, Freeland does the work (video)
Freeland will be doing all the hard stuff for this government, while Trudeau poses for pictures.

16 December
Campbell Clark: Trudeau takes steps to insulate himself from political risk
Justin Trudeau has set up his second-term government like a leader who realizes he just had a narrow escape. He has created rows and rows of defensive barriers between the Prime Minister and political risk.
During his first term, Mr. Trudeau made himself the face of virtually everything his government did. Everything, seemingly, came from the PMO: Mr. Trudeau in front, and behind the scenes, his two senior advisers, Gerald Butts and Katie Telford, orchestrated it all. But that meant every problem, and every mistake, was at the top.
Now, a new operating procedure is taking shape. Ministers will be seen handling files and speaking to issues more, and Mr. Trudeau less. There will be layers of insulation between the Prime Minister and any misstep.

13 December
Speedier airport screening, universal pharmacare: Trudeau hands cabinet ministers their to-do lists
Mandate letters guide policy objectives, governing style for minority government
Trudeau issued mandate letters to each of his ministers Friday, outlining the key policy objectives each minister is tasked with as well as the overarching goals of the government. The ministers’ to-do lists mirror the promises in the Liberal election campaign platform, with its goals of making life more affordable, strengthening the health care system, fighting climate change and promoting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“It is more important than ever for Canadians to unite and build a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country,” reads the opening of the letters.
“The government of Canada is the central institution to promote that unity of purpose and, as a Minister in that Government, you have a personal duty and responsibility to fulfill that objective.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been handed the most critical and wide-ranging job; she’s tasked with working across cabinet to advance the government’s agenda and working with provinces and territories on health care, climate change action and gun control measures.
In each letter, Trudeau directed ministers to turn to him as well as Freeland “early and often” for support in their roles.
Chrystia Freeland is now the minister for almost everything
When Freeland was announced as the new deputy prime minister and intergovernmental affairs minister, it wasn’t obvious what she would be doing, beyond perhaps shuttling between provincial capitals to broker peace with recalcitrant premiers.
With the release of her mandate letter on Friday, it’s now clear what files Freeland will be involved with: nearly all of them.

12 – 13 December
This could be ugly
New Speaker says he’ll evict Wilson-Raybould if she doesn’t leave willingly
While Wilson-Raybould said she would like to stay where she is, Rota said it’s not up to her.
“There’s a minister who wants to go in there and that minister has the right to go in because it’s been chosen as his office,” he said. “As an Independent, unfortunately, [Wilson-Raybould] is at the bottom of the list or near the bottom of the list.”
Jody Wilson-Raybould is refusing to move out of her entire ministerial office suite
Wilson-Raybould said she invited Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda to bless the offices after her swearing-in following the October election. … Commanda said the ceremony to cleanse and bless the office also included a prayer for Wilson-Raybould to keep her office space. … Commanda said Wilson-Raybould wanted to respect the fact Ottawa sits on unceded Algonquin land and she wanted an Algonquin elder to conduct the ceremony to help her prepare for the opening of Parliament.
Wilson-Raybould’s supporters made the office dispute an issue at last week’s meeting of the Assembly of First Nations.

12 December
The list of possibles is a long one.
Who’s next? Conservative speculation about Scheer’s replacement breaks into the open
Leadership talk has been simmering since the election. On Thursday, it boiled over.
Since the Conservative Party’s near-miss in the October election, most prospective candidates have held back on revealing their ambitions. Now that Scheer’s made the decision to quit, the rumour mill is grinding away louder than before.
An internal party review of the Conservatives’ election performance is underway. Many within the party have already pointed to Scheer’s leadership as the prime factor in the party’s defeat.
Conservative commentator Geoff Norquay said the next leader must have a national vision that resonates with voters in urban areas, women and Canadians concerned about climate change.
The next step in the leadership contest is for the Conservative Party’s National Council to form a leadership election organizing committee, which will decide on the rules, procedures, process and timelines for the contest, said party spokesman Cory Hann.
The Conservatives already have a policy convention scheduled for April in Toronto, but it’s not clear if that could also serve as the forum to pick a new leader. Conservative caucus backs Scheer as interim leader amid private school backlash
Prime Minister welcomes new parliamentary secretaries
The Prime Minister will soon release an updated version of Open and Accountable Government, which sets out his expectations for Cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries, as well as their roles and responsibilities. The updated guide will also clarify the role of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, incorporating recommendations made by the Honourable Anne McLellan in her recent report on the issue.
In March 2019, the Prime Minister sought advice from former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Anne McLellan on the relationship between the federal government and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Her review of the roles of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was published in August 2019.

10 December
Trudeau’s minority Liberal government survives first confidence vote
Confidence vote passes 205-116, but opposition win vote to compel Liberals to study China at committee
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals survived Tuesday their first test of confidence in the House of Commons but got a pointed reminder of how opposition parties can still make life complicated for a minority government.
The motion authorizes the committee to order the prime minister, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Canada’s ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, to appear as witnesses “from time to time as the committee sees fit.”
But while that could tie up Trudeau and his ministers and dwell on sensitive diplomatic and trade conflicts with China that the Liberals would prefer to deal with outside the public spotlight, they will at least get to continue governing.
The Liberals, with the support of all opposition MPs but the Conservatives and one Green MP, passed a series of votes on supplementary spending estimates. The estimates passed on a vote of 205-116, ensuring that previously planned government programs get the funding they need to operate.

9 December
After years of mixed messages, Trudeau signals he’s treating the Crown more seriously
(National Post) After nearly three years of leaving the post vacant, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed a new Canadian secretary to the Queen, amid rumours of the Crown beginning preparations for its inevitable transition and the possibility of a Canadian royal tour next year.
Shortly after his government was first elected in 2015, Trudeau had removed the previous secretary, Kevin MacLeod who had been appointed by Trudeau’s predecessor Stephen Harper. Last month, Trudeau quietly appointed Donald Booth a long-time federal civil servant.
The secretary serves as the primary link between the federal cabinet and the Crown, providing information and advice, and is central to the organization of royal tours.

6 December
Andrew Coyne: The Liberals care about national unity, but they care more about winning a majority
(Globe & Mail) …the oddest part of the speech, in the wake of an election that revealed profound fears across much of the oil-producing West that the rest of Canada wants to put it out of business, notably by blocking the construction of pipelines to markets east and west, is that the government could not bring itself, in the whole of the vice-regal address, to mention the West, or pipelines, or oil. Not even once.
… it talked about all of these things, only without naming them. Instead of Alberta or Saskatchewan or the West, it referred to certain “regions”; the grievances feeding the worst outburst of western rage in decades it called “local needs.” For oil, there was “Canada’s natural resources,” and for pipelines, “getting Canadian resources to new markets.”

5 December

Throne speech promises tax cut, climate action and ban on military-style firearms
In 28-minute address, Liberal government calls on MPs to work across party lines in minority Parliament
(CBC) In a throne speech promising new efforts to tackle climate change, make life more affordable and impose a ban on “military-style” firearms, the Liberal government today called on members of Parliament to work across party lines to solve some of the country’s most pressing issues.
The first throne speech since the election — which saw voters return Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to power in a minority government — struck a conciliatory tone.
The government signalled it will take up issues championed by the opposition parties — like tax-free parental benefits and a crackdown on money laundering — alongside its own ambitious agenda for progressive reform.
“While your approaches may differ, you share the common belief that government should try, whenever possible, to make life better for Canadians,” said Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, reading the prepared text of the throne speech.
“Some believe that minority governments are incapable of getting things done. But Canada’s history tells us otherwise.”
On the national unity front, the speech acknowledged the growing restlessness in Alberta and Saskatchewan at a time of depressed oil and gas prices and constrained pipeline capacity.
Thursday’s 28-minute address, titled “Moving Forward Together,” included a promise to “find solutions” to help those two western provinces, and oil-rich Newfoundland and Labrador, weather the oil price slump.
While the Governor General delivers the remarks, the text itself is written by the Prime Minister’s Office. However, Payette added some personal remarks to the speech. The PMO confirmed the first 11 paragraphs of the speech were the Governor General’s “preamble.” Payette, a former astronaut, said Canadians must work together in collaboration because “we are inextricably bound to the same space-time continuum and on board the same planetary spaceship.”
Tories, NDP won’t support throne speech but Bloc will back Liberals’ agenda if it comes to vote
The Throne Speech: More will be done
Paul Wells: If the Liberals’ goal was to be deliberately vague, well, the Trudeau team’s speechwriters absolutely nailed it
(Global) Climate change, healing regional divides key planks for Trudeau Liberals in Throne Speech

Liberal MP Anthony Rota elected Speaker of the House of Commons
(CBC) Liberal MP Anthony Rota will preside over the new minority Parliament as the new Speaker of the House of Commons.
Rota beat four other candidates in a vote this morning, including caucus colleague Geoff Regan, who was Speaker during the last session of Parliament and had wished to stay on.
Rota, who represents Nipissing-Timiskaming, choked up while talking about the honour of being the first Canadian of Italian descent to sit in the Speaker’s chair and gave a shout-out to his daughter, who was finishing her university exams today.

19 November
Aaron Wherry: For better or worse, Trudeau’s next 4 years are going to be about climate change
It was the sleeper issue of the election campaign – and it’s driving a wedge between East and West
He is unlikely to emerge from the result of the October 21 election as a wholly different person. He’s surely still the same complicated figure he was before this fall’s campaign. He is also still the prime minister.
But things have changed. His government’s situation, his public standing and the demands upon him are different now. And the aftermath of an election offers a natural pivot point, a chance to take stock of what’s been and adjust for what’s to come.
When last we heard from the prime minister at any length (nearly a month ago), he was talking about taking some time to “reflect.”
He has not yet reported back with the fruits of that reflection. In fact, his public appearances have been relatively limited since election night.
There was no rah-rah speech to supporters the day after the election, as there was in 2015. There was no Halloween photo-op appearance in costume with his kids. In 2015, he gave himself just 16 days to set up a new government. This time, he has taken nearly a month.

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