It's the final countdown, and the Americans are here



The summer hiatus is upon us, how much will the feds jam in before?      

Sorry to those betting Parliament would have risen for the summer by now.

With four sitting days left, no more vaccine mandates in either the House or Senate, and a long list of bills in the works, how much is going to get fast tracked this week? Keep reading for a lay of the legislative land, and a preview of what other news is on the agenda for this final week, including a visit from one top U.S. official, before MPs go full BBQ circuit mode.  


The week ahead

Good Sunday afternoon, Dispatch subscribers. The end is near, that is: Parliament is almost out for the summer. MPs are set to decamp on June 23, if not a day or so sooner.

Senators are scheduled to stick around another week, but that call will likely depend on how many key bills are left before them when the House almost inevitably passes a unanimous consent motion to send along a series of bills in exchange for elected officials being able to make it to a full weekend of graduation ceremonies and community events. 

So, before getting into the scheduled events of the week, here's a rundown of where legislation stands.

The key legislation to pass, Bill C-19, is at the Senate committee review stage, which is slated to wrap this week. That'll likely mean a quick last few rounds of report and third reading stage debate. Amendments? TBD.
Speaking of money, there are two appropriation (money bills) at the last stage in the Senate, which will pass any day now, allowing the departmental taps to keep flowing over the next few months.

Next to keep an eye on will be Bill C-11, the revived and reworked but still contentious Broadcasting Act changes. After causing some acrimony in speeding through more than 100 amendments and curtailing debate, it's possible—with hours of debate scheduled in the House this week, and a pre-study in the Senate—that this bill passes soon. 

But remember: it was in a similar place at the end of the last Parliament and senators felt no pressure at all to fast track it, saying it needed serious study, resulting in its legislative death with the 2021 election call. 

One other one I'll note: The newest-to-be-tabled bill from Justice Minister David Lametti responding to the Supreme Court's "extreme intoxication" ruling. He's signalled clearly he's confident that after pre-positioning with the opposition and the Senate, Bill C-28 could be fast-tracked. It's only five pages long. 

Government House Leader Mark Holland is holding a morning press conference on Monday to likely outline further how the Liberals plan to pass their key bills in the dying days, but is also expected to "highlight the accomplishments made," this session. So far this Parliament, just nine government bills have received Royal Assent. 



In less nerdy news, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau awaits confirmation of when U.S. President Joe Biden is coming to town, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will be hosting U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday, with a day full of events scheduled in Toronto. 

Trudeau, likely still recovering from COVID-19, has yet to issue his itinerary for Monday. Though, the rest of the week he's set to head to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda; the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau, Germany; and the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain. 

Outside of Ottawa, Defence Minister Anita Anand is slated to make an announcement first thing Monday at CFB Trenton "regarding the modernization of continental defence capabilities." She will be joined by Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre and a deputy commander of NORAD. 

And, Steven Guilbeault and Jean-Yves Duclos will hold a hybrid press conference in Quebec City on their delayed promise regarding single-use plastics. 
Not to be missed
  • Conservative Party leadership contender Patrick Brown says accusations by Pierre Poilievre that his campaign reimbursed membership fees are an attempt to distract from his rival's economic policy pledges. And while Brown wouldn't run as a federal member of Parliament under Poilievre's leadership, he says he'd consider making him a cabinet minister under his own. 
  • On Monday, the federal government's vaccine mandates for domestic and outbound international travel, and for federal workers, will be "suspended." But, what would have to happen with the COVID-19 pandemic to prompt the Liberals to reinstate them? In an interview on CTV's Question Period, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said it's hard to say, citing the risk of new variants emerging, but added that he hopes the Liberals don't have to reinstate the proof-of-vaccination requirement. 
  • And, there's some big tensions within the AFN it seems. In what appears to be a complex and acrimonious situation playing out in a volley of statements between the two parties: The Assembly of First Nations has suspended National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, after she issued a public statement criticizing the organization, and just as she becomes the subject of an investigation involving multiple complaints against her. 

On notice

As for what's on the committee docket this week, on Monday the House Health Committee is holding a meeting to discuss labour shortages in the health sector, and the foreign credential recognition program. They'll be hearing from top officials from the Department of Employment and Social Development. Then, in their ongoing look at the COVID-19 pandemic, a host of PHAC officials will testify. 

There's a big meeting happening at the House Canadian Heritage Committee on Monday as well. The topic on the table is Hockey Canada's involvement in alleged sexual assaults committed in 2018. Hockey Canada's President Scott Smith, Chief Executive Officer Tom Renney, and Dave Andrews of the Hockey Canada Foundation are all slated to testify, followed by Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge.

And, while the House Official Languages Committee continues their study on Bill C-13 "An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official Languages," the Senate's equivalent committee is conducting a pre-study hearing on Monday that will include testimony from Air Canada, executives from the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and the Canadian Airports Council. 

On Tuesday, the Procedure and House Affairs Committee are continuing their study as to whether the parliamentary precinct's federal security jurisdiction should be expanded, and will hear from the Parliamentary Protective Service's Acting Director Larry Brookson, and Sergeant-at-Arms and Corporate Security Officer Patrick McDonell.

Relatedly, the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency will meet Tuesday, to hear from Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique, and former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly. 

The Senate National Finance Committee has a key meeting Tuesday as well when senators will be holding a clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-19, the 2022 federal budget implementation bill that is basically the one outstanding needs-to-pass bill of the season. 

Lastly, on Wednesday as the government continues to push to see its Broadcasting Act changes in Bill C-11 actually pass this spring, the Senate Transport and Communications Committee will be holding a meeting to study "the subject matter" of the bill, aka another way to pre-study the legislation before it passes into the upper chamber. 

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