National Newswatch

Trudeau faces contradictory calls to punish China, give in to ‘hostage diplomacy’

Jun 24 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is facing contradictory calls to either stand up to China or give in to so-called "hostage diplomacy" — with particular pressure coming from stalwarts of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien's administration. Allan Rock is the latest former Chretien-era minister to advocate that the government end extradition proceedings against Meng Wanzhou, in hopes that China will release two Canadians […]

Two-thirds favour keeping two-metres physical distance: Leger poll

Jun 23 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Two-thirds of Canadians don't want to relax physical distancing rules imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests. And even if they were relaxed, a strong majority wouldn't be comfortable taking part in activities that would bring them closer to other people, like going to a movie theatre. Sixty-six per cent of respondents […]

Tories want in-person Parliament but no electronic voting by MPs during pandemic

Jun 20 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Federal Conservatives have crusaded for a return to parliamentary business as usual but they're opposed to the one thing Liberals and New Democrats insist is necessary to do that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: electronic voting. Conservative House leader Candice Bergen says her party is suspicious of anything promoted by the Liberals that would keep most […]

Tories want in-person Parliament but no electronic voting by MPs during pandemic

Jun 20 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Federal Conservatives have crusaded for a return to parliamentary business as usual but they're opposed to the one thing Liberals and New Democrats insist is necessary to do that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: electronic voting. Conservative House leader Candice Bergen says her party is suspicious of anything promoted by the Liberals that would keep most […]

Tories want in-person Parliament but no electronic voting by MPs during pandemic

Jun 20 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Federal Conservatives have crusaded for a return to parliamentary business as usual but they're opposed to the one thing Liberals and New Democrats insist is necessary to do that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: electronic voting. Conservative House leader Candice Bergen says her party is suspicious of anything promoted by the Liberals that would keep most […]

Lobbying watchdog seeks budget hike amid pandemic-induced surge in lobbying

Jun 11 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The federal lobbying watchdog is asking for a budget increase to enable her office to modernize the way it registers lobbyists and keeps track of their activities — just as it's seeing a surge in lobbying sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lobbying commissioner Nancy Belanger says 441 lobbyists have registered with her office to make their case […]

Cautious Canadians increasingly wearing masks, fear second wave of COVID: Poll

Jun 9 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canadians are increasingly wearing protective face masks as they emerge from months of isolating at home to curb the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests. And it suggests that fear of a second wave of infections as bad as or worse than the first wave may behind their increased caution. Fifty-one per cent of respondents […]

Liberal MPs call for national standards for long-term care homes

May 28 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is being pressured by some of his own Liberal backbenchers to implement enforceable national standards for the operation of long-term care homes in Canada. The pressure came Thursday from five Toronto-area Liberal MPs, whose ridings are home to some of the elder-care facilities that have been devastated by COVID-19. And it came […]

Trudeau co-hosts UN summit to develop global pandemic recovery plan

May 28 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will co-host today a major United Nations conference aimed at developing a co-ordinated global response to mitigate the devastating social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless countries come together now to co-ordinate a recovery plan, the UN estimates the pandemic could slash nearly US$ 8.5 trillion from the […]

Federal parties tap wage subsidy program to avoid layoffs as donations dry up

May 22 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Federal political parties are tapping into the emergency wage subsidy program to avoid laying off their staff as donations dry up during the COVID-19 crisis. The Liberal and Conservative parties are already receiving the 75 per cent wage subsidy. The NDP and Greens have both applied but have not yet been approved. The Bloc Quebecois, which operates only […]

Virtual parliamentary proceedings cause spike in injuries for interpreters

May 8 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Virtual sittings of the House of Commons and parliamentary committees are causing headaches for interpreters — literally. Coping with iffy audio quality, occasional feedback loops, new technology and MPs who speak too quickly has resulted in a steep increase in interpreters reporting workplace injuries, according to the union that represents some 70 accredited interpreters who […]

Opposition parties take different tacks to make their marks during COVID-19 crisis

May 2 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Pablo Rodriguez looks back wistfully to the time when his biggest worry was whether he'd be able to corral the support of at least one opposition party for the minority Liberal government's initiatives and help it survive confidence votes. The trials of being the government's House leader in a minority Parliament now pale in comparison to the […]

COVID-19 wreaking havoc on Canada’s hospitality industry, MPs told

Apr 23 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused carnage for restaurants and hotels in Canada, MPs on the House of Commons finance committee heard Thursday. According to a survey conducted by Restaurants Canada, 10 per cent of restaurants across the country had already permanently closed as of the end of March, restaurant operator Andrew Oliver told the committee. And another […]

Wood chips to make pulp for toilet paper in short supply, Commons committee told

Apr 17 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The demand for toilet paper in Canada has skyrocketed — increasing by 241 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Derek Nighbor, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada, revealed the eye-popping increase Friday in testimony to the House of Commons finance committee. He told the committee that the forest products industry has rarely enjoyed such a […]

Government, opposition parties strike deal to pass massive wage subsidy bill

Apr 11 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Parliament has approved a massive $73-billion wage subsidy program aimed at helping businesses and workers survive the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. A bill to implement what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the most significant economic program since the Second World War was passed Saturday by the House of Commons "on division" after some six […]