MPs back in Ottawa as final House blitz begins — McKenna, Mulroney, May to mark 30th anniversary of Montreal protocol — Senate finance heads to NL — Citizenship and Immigration committee investigates medical inadmissibility rules
After a week-long repose from parliamentary duties, MPs are heading back to the House today to kick off the final four sitting weeks before the Hill shuts down for the holidays — and, according to his public itinerary, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not only be back on the clock as well, but he even plans on being in the House for question period, which will doubtless delight his adversaries on the other side of the aisle, who likely already have a long list of issues that they’d like him to address.
Then again, that’s pretty much true on any given day in Ottawa. In any case, at the moment, that’s the only item on the prime ministerial agenda for Monday.
In Montreal, meanwhile, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is slated to hit the stage to kick off the 30th anniversary celebration of the Montreal Protocol — an event that will also feature opening remarks from former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who will join McKenna in marking the occasion.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will also be in attendance at the planned festivities, and has scheduled a joint press conference with deputy Green leader Daniel Green to emphasize the “enormous success” of the protocol, which, the duo will argue, has resulted in the “strong recovery” of the ozone layer from the “ongoing depletion” that the protective measures were designed to address.
Finally, the Senate finance committee is back on the road after a one-week break, and headed for St. John’s to hear what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians think about Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s now seemingly on-hold plan to ensure “tax fairness” by tightening the rules on private corporations.
First, though, the committee will have to elect a chair as part of the revised power-sharing agreement reached between the Conservatives, the Senate Liberals and the Independent Senators Group, which now holds 39 seats, making it the largest affiliated group in the Upper House.
The chair of the Senate finance committee is, however, expected to remain under Conservative control, which could make this a pro forma re-election of Percy Mockler.
ON THE PARLIAMENTARY AGENDA
When MPs return to the legislative grindstone later this morning, the first item of government business on the agenda will be Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s proposal to adjust Canada’s security and anti-terror laws in order to address the “problematic elements” of the previous Conservative government’s final rewrite of the laws through the controversial Bill C-51, which the Liberals supported at the time, albeit with concerns over certain provisions.
Goodale has already served notice that he intends to recommend that the current bill be sent to committee before second reading, which will, at least in theory, give MPs significantly more power to amend the draft text before it is put to a vote.
Before that gets underway, however, New Democrat MP Cheryl Hardcastle will get her first opportunity to present her backbench proposal to put the onus on the government — and specifically, the minister responsible for employment and social development” — to “provide information and guidance on applications for programs and services for which persons with disabilities may be eligible and to implement a streamlined application process that, among other things, reduces the administrative burden on applicants.”
ON & AROUND THE HILL
Independent Sen. Marilou McPhedran teams up with University of Ottawa professor Errol Mendes to launch a new book that, according to the title, will serve as a 150th anniversary “celebration” of Canada’s constitutional democracy, which is set to be officially unveiled during a late afternoon reception on the Hill.
A few blocks from the precinct, the 4th annual Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Sympmosium, which is co-hosted by Canada and the European Union, is slated to bring together politicians and policy experts for a one-day session to discuss their efforts to “share the burden for managing international security,” which will include a keynote address by Latvian foreign affairs parliamentary secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica, as well as panel discussions on “predictable unpredictability” and the “new challenges to old paradigms” presented by “hybrid warfare.”
Also on the watchlist today: Statistics Canada releases new data on the overall activities of “Canadian majority-owned affiliates abroad,” as well as those of “foreign majority-owned affiliates in Canada.”
Representatives from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, as well as the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, are set to share their collective and respective concerns with Canada’s current policies on medically-inadmissible immigrants with CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION members, who are holding a special evening session that will also include presentations from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman, among other experts.
Earlier in the day, a coalition of disability rights activists and caregivers will hold a press conference in Toronto to urge the government to repeal the current rule blocking “entire families” from permanent residency if even one member thereof has a medical or health condition that could impose an “excessive demand” on the health care system — a provision that will almost certainly be central to the committee’s ongoing review of the program.