National Newswatch

From robocalls to a robust regime, elections commissioner Côté reflects on a decade of decisions

Jun 29 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — After 10 years as commissioner of Canada elections, Yves Côté is leaving behind a bigger office with more teeth—one he says will have to grapple with the growing and nebulous threats of foreign interference and disinformation in Canadian elections. “The biggest things that we have now that we didn’t have before would be things linked […]

‘It’s only right’: Senate weighs options to support mental health of committee witnesses

Jun 1 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — The Senate is weighing options to formalize a system to provide committee witnesses with mental health and counselling support, a move Senate Human Rights Committee chair Salma Ataullahjan says is “only right” for witnesses being asked to bare their personal stories. “It’s only right that we cover that cost [of any needed mental health or […]

Stretched thin: Resources to support committees strained amid virtual format, late-night sittings

May 25 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Support resources on the Hill, particularly interpretation services, have been stretched thin amid continued hybrid virtual proceedings and the addition of late-night sittings, leading to a wave of committee meeting cancellations last week. Conservative House Leader John Brassard says he sees “one simple solution” to the problem: putting an end to hybrid proceedings. “The pressure […]

Indigenous languages on federal ballots could help boost turnout, PROC hears

Apr 20 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Directly or indirectly, including Indigenous languages on federal ballots could help to boost Indigenous voter turnout, argue witnesses appearing as part of the House Affairs Committee’s ongoing study into the prospect. But some suggest resources would be better allocated elsewhere. “Having the Inuit language on ballots would help in increasing the voter turnout,” Nunavut Languages […]

Mixed reviews for Liberal solution to protect Quebec seats

Mar 29 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — The Trudeau government recently tabled its solution to stop Quebec from losing a seat in this year’s riding redistribution process, but the proposal, which would set a new minimum seat count for provinces, is getting mixed reviews from opposition MPs. “This is a good step in the right direction,” said NDP MP Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona, […]

‘Freedom Convoy’-prompted pause to Centre Block work cost estimated $3-million: PSPC

Mar 8 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Work to renovate Centre Block and build a new underground visitor’s welcome centre is running apace to where where it was before a 16-day suspension caused by the “Freedom Convoy” that occupied downtown Ottawa last month, an interruption that Public Services and Procurement Canada estimates cost roughly $3-million. “PSPC is currently assessing the cost and […]

Alarms still ringing: interpreters continue to face challenges in hybrid Parliament, putting limited workforce at risk

Mar 1 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — With a workforce in short supply, interpreters supporting Parliament continue to face challenges amid virtual proceedings, and unless more is done to address identified issues and prevent a further dwindling of available interpreters, it could lead to a “critical problem” for Canada’s bilingual Parliament, says Canadian Association of Parliamentary Employees national president Greg Phillips. “They’re […]

‘We’re stronger together’: African Senate Group responds to protest, seeks ‘meaningful’ change in Red Chamber

Feb 16 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Since Feb. 2, Ontario ISG Senator Bernadette Clement has gone to work on foot, walking from her downtown Ottawa apartment through the protest encampment along Wellington Street to her East Block office, and on to the Senate of Canada Building. Worried about the anti-lockdown occupation that took root in Ottawa on Jan. 28, friends and […]

‘We’re still here’: MP Idlout on bringing Inuktitut to the House

Dec 1 2021 — Laura Ryckewaert — This year’s Throne Speech marked the first time a Governor General has substantially addressed Parliament in a language other than French or English, and for Nunavut NDP MP Lori Idlout, hearing Governor General Mary Simon speak Inuktitut from the floor of the Senate Chamber was an “important” and “special” moment. “I sincerely felt included as […]

House committees set to be whipped up as MPs settle in

Nov 23 2021 — Laura Ryckewaert — Government House Leader Mark Holland kicked off the new Parliament by setting out a list of bills the Liberals want to see passed in the next four weeks, before the House of Commons rises for a six-week break on Dec. 17, but to do that, the government will need to move fast to strike committees. […]

Indigenous public servants pursue class-action lawsuit against feds for harassment, discrimination in workplace

Sep 29 2021 — Laura Ryckewaert — Systemic racism in federal Indigenous departments and agencies has led to human rights and Charter violations, allege two First Nations public servants—one current, one former—pursuing a multi-million-dollar class-action lawsuit against the federal government. A statement of claim—the opening salvo for a possible class-action suit—outlining the experiences of lead plaintiffs Yvette Zentner and Letitia Wells was […]