The final countdown

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May 23, 2021
Here's how the week in Canadian politics is shaping up                  
Parliament is back in session as the final push to the end of the spring sitting is on. You thought silly season had already started? Buckle up for four more weeks of it. 


The week ahead
On Tuesday—yes MPs are taking the long weekend—the first item of business will be the budget implementation bill, C-30. It's still at second reading and of all the bills it's safe to say this one will be a must-pass before the end of June so time is ticking.
Then, MPs will vote on the Bloc Quebecois' opposition day motion calling for there not to be an election during the pandemic. It will be curious to watch how the votes fall on this one as all parties have indicated it’s not something they want to see, we'll see whether their votes back that up. 

And, Bill C-15 will have one final day of debate on Tuesday before it's expected to come to a vote and be off to the Senate, where it's already being pre-studied.

If you're wondering where things stand on this piece of legislation I'd recommend giving this explainer a read. 

In terms of other events, on Tuesday, Information Commissioner of Canada Caroline Maynard will be tabling a special report on her office's investigation into "systemic issues affecting the processing of access to information requests by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada."

And, Auditor General Karen Hogan will be releasing two audit reports related to COVID-19 on Wednesday. One looks at the government's securing of personal protective equipment and medical devices, while the other examines how the Liberals handled offering pandemic support to Indigenous communities.

Wednesday has been designated a "committee of the whole" day where the entire House will contemplate the main estimates for the Finance Department, and it remains to be seen what'll come up for debate on Thursday and Friday.

And, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deviated slightly last week from his twice-weekly press conferences amid the heat over Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin's departure, expect to see him out at some point over the next few days.
Not to be missed
  • The House of Commons Health Committee, in part prompted by questions from curious and on-the-ball opposition health critics, continues to be a source of news. On Friday we got new insight on when half of this country is expected to be fully vaccinated, and when the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada first learned of an "issue" surrounding the former military general leading the vaccine rollout. 
  • While Moderna has millions of promised COVID-19 vaccine doses outstanding and no future shipments confirmed, the federal government says it is confident that the company will meet its end of quarter commitments. For more on where things stand with these shots, that's here.
  • And, keeping it short and sweet with the newsletter on this long weekend Sunday so I'd suggest if you're looking for a longer read, Evan Solomon had an extensive and exclusive conversation with retiring Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella where she speaks about the dangers of populism, the role of the courts in 2021 and more. 
On notice
As for what's on the agenda at committee, on Tuesday the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities Committee will be hearing from Seniors Minister Deb Schulte and Department of Employment and Social Development officials on the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors.

Also Tuesday, the House of Commons Finance Committee will be hearing from a range of witnesses on Bill C-10.

On Wednesday, the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee will meet to conduct the clause-by-clause review of Bill C-12, an Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

Thursday, the Status of Women Committee will be meeting in-camera to discuss the draft reports of two studies: one on women’s unpaid work, and the other on its exploration of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces.

Then on Friday the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee will be hearing from Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion about the government's spending plans related to his office, though it’s probable that questions will arise about his latest reports into Trudeau and former finance minister Bill Morneau’s dealings with WE Charity.

And, while not on the schedule yet, expect more meetings of the House of Commons Heritage Committee on Bill C-10, as the Bloc Quebecois has offered to help fast-track it through the Commons before the end of the sitting. It remains to be seen whether that’ll happen and what the Senate will then do with the proposed Broadcasting Act changes.

Speaking of the Senate, the National Finance Committee and other committees will keep up the pre-study on various sections of Bill C-30 throughout the week.

And, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will meet Wednesday to study Bill S-203, an Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material.

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