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iPolitics AM: All eyes on Bank of Canada rate reveal in wake of cut by Federal Reserve


ALSO TODAY: Trudeau tours QC — Wet’suwet’en solidarity rally to target EDC — Defence conference gets underway in Ottawa

Officially, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to start his day with a visit to a Saint-Jerome-based electric bus company, but In the wake of yesterday’s surprise move by the US Federal Reserve to slash interest rates by half a percent, it’s a good bet that he and his team will be keeping a close eye on Canada’s central bank.

Canadian Press reports that, amid rising fears that the spread of the coronavirus is “disrupting global supply chains and shaving forecasts for economic growth” in Canada and around the world, the Bank of Canada is now widely expected to follow the trend by dropping its rate by one-quarter of a point — and, as per the wire service, may also “leave open the possibility of mirroring the American cut.”

According to CBC News business columnist Don Pittis, that likely means “more co-ordinated planning ….following a meeting of G7 finance ministers,” which, “in keeping with recommendations to avoid spreading the virus … is expected to be by conference call.”

And as the Financial Post’s Naomi Powell points out, it could also put the federal government under increased pressure to “stabilize jittery markets and restore confidence” just as Finance Minister Bill Morneau is presumably working out any last-minute kinks in his yearly budget plan, which is due to be presented to the House within the next few weeks.

As per the notice, the bank will announce its decision via press release at 10 AM EDT, with a “brief explanation” included in the accompanying documents.

Elsewhere in the capital: A full day of student-led protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline organized by “Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and allies,” who will “continue expressing their solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people” by rallying outside the downtown Ottawa headquarters of the arms-length Export Development Corporation to urge Trudeau, Small Business Minister Mary Ng and “other decision makers” to “reject public financing” for the controversial project.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence gets underway at the Chateau Laurier, courtesy of the Canadian Defence Association Institute, under an unabashedly Canadian theme: “Stickhandling Through Roughing and Interference: How to Position Canada in the Great Power Plays.”

On the speakers list for today: Latvian defence secretary Janis Garisons, former US under secretary of state Andrea Thompson and Canada’s own Jody Thomas, who currently serves as deputy minister for national defence and is, as per the programme, appearing “in lieu” of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

For his part, Sajjan is booked in for an entirely non-defence related appearance on his political home turf in Vancouver, where he’ll make a mid-morning visit to a Punjabi restaurant in the heart of the city’s Little India to “highlight results” from the latest income survey, and tout his government’s ongoing efforts to “reduce poverty and strengthen the economy.”

Also out and about on the West Coast circuit:

  • Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly hits the stage at the BC Tourism Industry Conference in Victoria, where she’s also slated to drop by a local elementary school for a joint reveal with her provincial counterpart Rob Fleming related to a new initiative to “address the shortage of teachers in Francophone minority schools and French immersion and French second-language programs.”
  • Middle Class Prosperity Minister Mona Fortier continues her week-long BC tour by holding a roundtable chat on “quality of life and wellbeing” with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, while Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay visits an Esquimalt veterans cemetery.
  •  Green MP Paul Manly holds a “community meeting” in Nanaimo.

After spending the last few days promoting his government’s climate change plan to British Columbians, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson heads to Whitehorse, where he’s set to speak at the Assembly of First Nations National Climate Gathering, as well as join Yukon MP Larry Bagnell for a funding reveal.

Other ministers on the hustings today: Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau spends a second day making the rounds in Halifax, where she’ll unveil new federal cash for provincial agri-business and “local food infrastructure” — Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier delivers“financial support” to a Sainte-Anne-de-Monts hydraulic component manufacturer — Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen promotes his government’s plan to support families in Barrie — Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Minister Bardish Chagger takes questions on a call for proposals under the LGBTQ2 community funding program.




House and Senate committees will resume on March 9.

Committee highlights courtesy of our friends at iPoliticsINTEL.

Don’t miss today’s complete legislative brief in!

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