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Good evening to you.
We begin on the floor of the House of Commons, which MP Jenica Atwin announced today she will be crossing, leaving the Green Party ranks for the Liberals. The decision to cross the floor and join the Liberals comes following months of turmoil and chaos within the Green party. Green party Leader Annamie Paul told reporters on Thursday afternoon that she takes MP Jenica Atwin “at her word” as the reason why she crossed the floor earlier in the day to join the Liberal party. Atwin told reporters today the events of the past month and the division within the party over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “certainly played a role” in her decision to switch parties. “(This) past month has been a distraction…. This is a day I did not anticipate,” Atwin said. Janet Silver has that story.
It was wheels up for Britain today, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headed to the G7 summit. As CBC’s Murray Brewster, who’s traveling with the press pool notes, the trip is a sign that things are starting to return to normal more than a year after everything was changed by COVID-19. However, he says “on the other, it was a stark reminder of how far Canada and the rest of the world have to go to regain what has been lost to the pandemic.”
The Liberal government has introduced a bill to make it easier for people found guilty of most crimes to receive a pardon — but, much like another government attempt to reform the criminal justice system, Bill C-31 faces long odds of passing. Tabled in the House of Commons today by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the bill would amend the Criminal Records Act to return Canada’s pardons system to the way it used to be, before former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government made pardons more difficult to get. With the clock ticking on this session, Charlie Pinkerton reports on what the bill is up against.
A motion introduced by NDP MP Leah Gazan calling on the federal government to recognize Canada’s residential school policy and experience as genocide against Indigenous Peoples failed to gain unanimous consent this afternoon, and was not adopted by the House of Commons.
Still on the Hill: Even though the government’s pandemic-election legislation is supposed to ensure Canadians can vote safely during the pandemic, its passage before a speculated fall election isn’t among the government’s priorities. Instead, the government is prioritizing passage of Bills C-6, C-10, and C-12 this spring, Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez said today. The last sitting day for the House of Commons is currently scheduled for June 23, with the Senate planning to rise shortly after, giving Parliament about two weeks to adopt the bill. Rachel Emmanuel has the latest.
Since the Liberal government’s climate-accountability law passed through clause-by-clause review at the House of Commons’ Environment committee yesterday, it could soon be on its way to the Senate after the government hinted it might move to cut short the remaining debate. The Senate has already begun a pre-study of the bill and the leader of the largest senators’ group indicated it would be open to extend the Senate’s sitting into the summer to ensure the bill is able to proceed through the proper processes before senators also takes their summer break. There’s also currently a motion before the House that would extend its daily sitting hours until midnight, beginning this Friday and going until June 23, when the House is projected to take its summer recess.
While Bill C-10, the Liberal government’s attempt to modernize the Broadcasting Act, remains bogged down at the House of Commons’ Heritage committee for clause-by-clause consideration, Conservative MP Rachael Harder says part of legislation’s problem is that there’s too much packed in it. Harder was a member of a panel for a virtual event hosted by iPolitics yesterday, where the purpose was discussing curtailing big tech, C-10, and other regulations for the internet. “We are trying to (do) too much in the Broadcasting Act… (Yes, we need to make sure) big tech is paying their fair share, but don’t do that through the Broadcasting Act,” Harder said. When pressed about whether she thinks Google and Facebook should compensate the media for using their content, Harder suggested instead that Canada examine Australia’s model. Janet Silver has more.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced today that it’s gotten the approval it needs from provincial health authorities to start its upcoming season later this month, leading the way for the return of Canada’s pro-sports leagues. The CEBL’s regular season, which will include intercity and interprovincial travel, will begin on June 24 and represents an important milestone for the return of domestic pro sports. In order to return to interprovincial play, the CEBL needed approvals from the chief medical officers of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan, which are the four provinces where the league’s seven teams are based. The crafting of the deals it reached dates back at least six months, Mike Morreale, the CEBL’s commissioner and CEO, told iPolitics. That story from Charlie Pinkerton.
Seeing red: Ontario is staring down more than a decade of red ink, despite a strong economic rebound expected over the next two years, the independent fiscal watchdog said today. The projection comes in a new report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) that examined the province’s economic outlook and the government’s finances. The latest budget released in March projected the province’s deficit will fall steadily over the next decade, reaching a $2.4-billion surplus by 2029-30. Today’s report says that while smaller deficits can be expected in the medium-term than the budget projected, there won’t be a surplus by the end of the decade. Instead, Ontario should expect to be nearly $7 billion in the hole in 2029-30, $9.3 billion below the government’s projected surplus. Pre-pandemic deficit levels won’t come until at least 2028-29.
The latest episode of No Talking Points is live. This week we’re talking about the U.S.-Canada border and the government’s plan to ease some restrictions, as well as what’s on the list of the government’s priorities in the final days of this session. Also, what to expect at the committee level before the House rises. You can have a listen here.
Hill Movers: New staff joining Ng’s, Freeland’s offices
In Other Headlines:
Border security workers to hold strike votes next week, jeopardizing border reopening (CP)
PM to receive governor general shortlist within ‘next few days’: LeBlanc (CTV)
Navy disciplining ex-head of training school over claims of inappropriate, sexual comments: sources (CBC)
Commons committee calls for reforms in lobbying measures after WE Charity scandal (CP)
Father of suspect calls London attack ‘unspeakable crime’ (Global)
Lobbying commissioner clears Rob Silver, who is husband of PM’s chief of staff (CP)
Privacy watchdog says RCMP’s use of facial-recognition tool broke law (CP)
Why this London, Ont., MP voted against a 2017 motion to condemn Islamophobia (CBC)
‘Wake-up call for Canada’: Security experts say case of 2 fired scientists could point to espionage (CBC)
‘False and defamatory’: Kenney sends cease-and-desist letter to Alberta news outlet (CBC)
Ahead of the G7 summit getting underway in the U.K., and on the heels of his administration’s plans to donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world, President Joe Biden urged other countries to follow suit to help struggling nations. He said it was in both America’s interests and the world’s to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere with an eye to supercharging the battle against coronavirus. “We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” he said.
He also met face-to-face with Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the first time since taking office, who said there is “complete harmony” on the need to solve trade problems in Northern Ireland. As the BBC reports, Johnson said the U.S., U.K. and EU all wanted to protect the Good Friday Agreement. That comes after Biden warned that the U.K.-EU dispute over border controls should not risk the peace process. The pair have also created a deal, known as the Atlantic Charter, committing their countries to work together on global challenges.
Although he didn’t mention former president Donald Trump by name, Johnson noted after meeting with Biden that the current president was “a big breath of fresh air.” That’s the opposite of hot air, yes?
Meanwhile, First Lady Jill Biden was sporting a jacket to show, “We’re bringing love from America.”
In Other International Headlines:
Israel’s Netanyahu lashes out as end of his era draws near (AP)
‘Crimes against humanity’ detailed in China’s Xinjiang: Amnesty (Al Jazeera)
Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: UN aid chief says there is famine (BBC)
France to scale down West Africa military operations (BBC)
Man who slapped French President Macron jailed for four months (Al Jazeera)
In Featured Opinion:
Alan Freeman: How the Canadian tortoise won the vaccination race
And then there were five. Thanks to National Geographic, the Earth has gained another ocean. The society’s cartographers say the swift current circling Antarctica keeps the waters there distinct and worthy of their own name: the Southern Ocean.
Technically there is only one ocean, but we won’t split hairs on that point.
Have a great night.