Politics This Morning: Trudeau tours St. John’s as cabinet retreat concludes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured at the Toronto Pride Parade earlier this summer, is spending the day in St. John's, meeting with his cabinet and youth council, and visiting a local artisan studio and shop. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 11:50 PM

Good Wednesday morning,

The federal cabinet retreat in St. John’s, N.L. wraps up today, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scheduled to make a couple of pit stops around town, in addition to meeting with his youth council.

Mr. Trudeau begins the day by meeting with his cabinet at 8:30 a.m. Newfoundland time at the city’s Sheraton Hotel, in what is likely the final gathering of the government front bench until the House resumes sitting on Monday, Sept. 18.

Afterwards, the prime minister and his family are heading out to the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation, an artisan craft studio and store located in St. John’s scenic Quidi Vidi neighbourhood. Mr. Trudeau will pose for a family photo and address assembled media at 1 p.m.

  

Mr. Trudeau will then disembark for the Signal Hill Visitor Centre to meet with his youth council at 2 p.m.

While visiting St. John’s for the retreat, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be using the opportunity to continue his consultations on the Liberal government’s proposed tax reforms, hosting a media roundtable at 2:45 p.m. at a downtown office building. A media availability with the minister will follow.

In Montreal, Bloc Québécois Leader Martine Ouellet and MP Gabriel Ste-Marie, the Bloc’s parliamentary leader, will hold a press conference to discuss renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which are set to resume later this month in Ottawa.

The presser starts at 10:15 a.m. at the Centre St-Pierre.

  

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland sketched out Canada’s priorities in NAFTA renegotiations last month, calling for updated labour standards, strengthened environmental protections, better access to government procurement contracts, reforms to the investor/state dispute resolution system, and new chapters on gender and indigenous rights, among other changes.

Turning to Ottawa, the House Health Committee and the House Transport Committee are continuing their week-long meeting blitzes on the Hill, with another day full of witness testimony.

As part of its study of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, which will legalize recreational marijuana use, the Health Committee is spending the day hearing from witnesses on the topics of household cultivation of marijuana plants; age for legal possession and impact on young Canadians; and prevention, treatment, and low risk use.

It will hear from individuals and groups like the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, Canadian Public Health Association, lawyer John Conroy, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Drug Free Kids Canada, and Toronto Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa, among others.

  

The Transport Committee, studying Bill C-49, a sweeping piece of government legislation touching on rail, marine, and air transportation, is hearing from representatives from Air Canada, WestJet, the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada, the St. Lawrence Shipoperators, the Shipping Federation of Canada, the Canadian Canola Growers Association, and Cereals Canada, as well as many more. 

Major elements of the bill, known alternatively as the Transportation Modernization Act, include increasing the foreign ownership cap for airliners, creating a passengers bill of rights, banning oil tankers from B.C.’s North Coast, and allowing producers to ask railways to carry their freight shipments greater distances to transport to a different rail line.

Wednesday also marks the latest release of data collected from the 2016 Census. Statistics Canada will put up new census data on income on its website at 8:30 a.m.

Have a great day!