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Good evening to you.
The latest in the ongoing SNC-Lavalin saga is Jane Philpott’s claim that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke the law when he booted her and Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus last week.
The former cabinet minister is asking the Speaker of the House of Commons to rule on whether Trudeau denied their rights and breached their privilege as MPs when he unilaterally removed them from the party fold.
Meanwhile, CBC News reports that most board members of the federal Liberal riding association for Markham-Stouffville — represented by Philpott — have stepped down in solidarity with the well-liked former cabinet minister, with the board’s secretary saying she no longer has “the heart” to back a new candidate.
Cartoon by Bruce MacKinnon
Still with lawsuits, Trudeau defended the one he’s threatened to file against Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Speaking about it for the first time today, the PM said it’s important that all politicians be straight with Canadians in how they characterize their actions and beliefs.
“I think we are going to have an election in the coming months, and you can’t be inventing things,” he said on his way into a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill. “You can’t be lying to Canadians, and I think highlighting that there are consequences, short-term and long-term, when politicians choose to twist the truth and distort reality for Canadians, it’s not something we’re going to put up with.” More from CBC News.
The top-secret committee created to review Canada’s security operations is urging the government to create laws that explicitly outline how the military carries out its intelligence operations, as part of the parliamentary body’s first ever annual report.
The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) tabled its first annual report in the House of Commons today. The committee was created in 2017 to review how national security and intelligence operations are undertaken in Canada. According to its mandate, it exists to review any issue related to security and intelligence, including legislation, regulations, policy and financial matters.
In the review of its first year, NSICOP set out to report on National Defence’s intelligence activities and the government’s process for establishing intelligence priorities. Responding to observations it made over 54 meetings, NSICOP recommended that the government create “explicit legislative authority” for how DND conducts defence intelligence operations, that the government amend Bill C-59 — which is midway through its legislative journey in the Senate — to create an agency that requires DND to report its intelligence operations each year, and for DND to strengthen the framework that guides its intelligence operations to ensure it properly tracks and meets its obligations. Charlie Pinkerton reports.
At the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the government’s proposed supertanker moratorium along British Columbia’s north coast amounts to a “stampede of stupid,” as it would still allow LNG tankers to travel the same waters, which essentially makes it a ban on energy resources produced in Alberta. That story from Holly Lake.
The Conservatives are also worked up over federal money for Loblaws. Environment critic Ed Fast is slamming the decision to give $12 million to help the grocery giant make its refrigerators and freezers more energy-efficient. He said he is curious how many ordinary Canadians could just walk into the Prime Minister’s Office and ask him to buy them a new fridge. We’re also wondering, as at some point, ours will be on the blink. That story from the Canadian Press.
The federal government needs to act quickly to resolve an ongoing trade dispute with China over canola exports, fearful Prairie farmers told MPs today, who warned the clock is ticking to find a resolution.
“The timing of this issue and the timing of me being here could not be worse. I should be at home seeding… the season is short and this issue is weighing heavy on every grain farmer,” Stephen Vandervalk, vice-president with the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, told the House agriculture committee.
Prairie farmers, he added, will “be out of time” if the situation is not resolved in the next three weeks. The latest from Kelsey Johnson.
Tucked into the Liberal government’s 367-page budget implementation bill are provisions to create a new oversight body for licensing immigration and citizenship consultants that will have more power to crack down on those preying on newcomers. However, the new regime will continue to be self-regulating and stops short of moving immigration and citizenship consultants into full federal oversight, something called for by the NDP and advocates.
The budget bill tabled yesterday proposes to create the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants that will govern the practices of such consultants “in the public interest and protect the public.” It will replace the existing Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), the current industry self-regulator that has been criticized as ineffective in tackling unethical consultants exploiting new immigrants. Jolson Lim reports.
The Trudeau government has introduced legislation that it says will eliminate the last federal barrier to direct-to-consumer liquor sales in Canada. This year’s budget implementation bill includes amendments to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act eliminating the requirement that alcohol crossing provincial borders must pass through a provincial liquor authority.
Once the legislation passes, it will be up to the provinces and territories to make whatever changes necessary for “direct-to-consumer shipping to be allowed across Canada,” according to a statement from the office of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc. More from Marco Vigliotti.
Much like the provinces and municipalities, Canada’s three northern territories are curbing capital spending in the wake of the federal government’s 12-year $188 billion infrastructure program, according to parliament’s fiscal watchdog. The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report today on infrastructure investments in the territories, complementing its study last month focusing on the provinces and municipalities.
Generally, the report echoed the findings of its predecessor, determining that the territories have also lowered capital spending in light of new investments promised by Ottawa under the Investing in Canada Plan. Vigliotti has that story as well.
In The Sprout: Canola crisis dominates committee
In The Drilldown: Aramco takes $100-billion in orders for debut bond
In Other Headlines:
Canada to announce retaliatory tariffs on more U.S. products (The Star)
Nova Scotia’s presumed-consent bill for organ donation poised to become law (CP)
‘A Place To Grow’ will be Ontario’s new licence plate slogan (The Star)
Attorney General William Barr said today he expects to release the redacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller within a week. He faced questions from Congress about his handling of the investigation’s findings and how he will handle the issue of redacted information. More from CNN.
In Israel, exit polls suggest there will be no clear winner in the closely fought general election. The centrist Blue and White alliance of former military chief Benny Gantz was projected to win 36 or 37 seats, with the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking 33 to 36. Both men have claimed victory. As the BBC reports, two exit polls predicted that right-wing parties allied to Netanyahu were more likely to be able to form a governing coalition. But a third exit poll predicted that the bloc would be tied with centre-left parties allied to Gantz.
Russian President Vladimir Putin put forward an ambitious program to secure Russia’s foothold in the Arctic today, including efforts to build new ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker fleet. Speaking at the Arctic forum in St. Petersburg attended by leaders of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, Putin said that Russia plans to dramatically increase cargo shipments across the Arctic sea route. The Associated Press reports.
Theresa May held last-minute Brexit talks with the French President Emmanuel Macron today, with the UK due to leave the EU in three days’ time. She is urging Macron to back her request to delay Brexit again until 30 June, having earlier met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. After those talks, Merkel said a delay that runs to the end of the year or the start of 2020 was a possibility. There is a summit on Wednesday when all EU states will vote on an extension. The BBC reports.
In Featured Opinion:
Alec Baldwin has played a president on television and now he says he could be one. The actor, who is well-known for portraying Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” tweeted today: “If I ran for President, would you vote for me?”
As CNN reports, he then followed that up with a pretty lofty campaign promise.
Can we just say we’re on board with this idea. Muchly. In a timely coincidence, Trump himself seems to have rolled out his first video of the 2020 campaign.
Have a good night.