National Newswatch

Higher rate of government bills starting in Senate down to ‘ambitious agenda,’ says Holland

Nov 30 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — A higher proportion of government bills—almost 23 per cent—have been introduced through the Senate so far this Parliament, a trend Government House Leader Mark Holland says comes down to efficiency and the Liberal government’s “very ambitious agenda.” “Both Chambers are going to be involved either way. This allows us to maximize our efficiency of moving […]

‘Second-class Senators’: McCallum pushing to empower non-affiliated Senators

Nov 2 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Non-affiliated Manitoba Senator Mary Jane McCallum is pushing for the Red Chamber to reconsider its rules and processes to enable unaffiliated Senators to participate more fully and equally in Senate business, without relying on the goodwill of recognized groups for speaking time or a seat on committees. “Despite being a modern Senate that supposedly values […]

Poilievre has potential to turn Tory tides in seat-rich Quebec, say strategists

Oct 20 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Recent public opinion polls point to Quebec as an electoral weak spot for the Tories, but while new Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre may have gotten off to a rocky start among Quebecers with the handling of former Quebec lieutenant Alain Rayes’ caucus exit, strategists argue Poilievre’s bilingualism, universal pitch, and decisions since—including naming two Quebecers […]

Survey suggests Translation Bureau’s existing interpretation resources could be better used, says AIIC

Aug 18 2022 — Laura Ryckewaert — Almost half of responding Translation Bureau-accredited freelance interpreters have taken zero or very few assignments with the bureau in the last six months, according to a new survey by the International Association of Conference Interpreters—findings rep Nicole Gagnon says show the House of Commons’ pilot project to test the use of external providers is “needlessly […]

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 […]