Politics This Morning: Garneau to appear before House Transport Committee

Transport Minister Marc Garneau is scheduled to make an appearance before the House Transportation Committee today to discuss Bill C-49. The Hill Times file photograph

PUBLISHED :Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 11:50 PM

Good Thursday morning,

If the fall sitting of the House was structured as novel, today would likely be the prologue, with three committees all sitting for meetings and several ministers fanning out across the country, in a preview of the bustling activity on tap next week.

Headlining the busy slate of activities, Transport Minister Marc Garneau is making an appearance before the House Transportation Committee from 9:30-11:30 a.m. (EST) to discuss Bill C-49, alternatively known as the Transportation Modernization Act.

The sweeping piece of legislation touches upon air, rail, and marine transportation. The committee has been holding daylong meetings all week to hear from dozens of witnesses for its study of the bill.

  

But before today’s meeting begins, NDP MP and committee member Robert Aubin is holding a media availability at 9 a.m. in the House of Commons Foyer to discuss the proposed air passengers bill of rights, a major piece of Bill C-49.

The bill of rights, if passed, would provide codified protections for air passengers, including prohibiting airliners from bumping passengers from flights, and setting out minimum compensation requirements for those who voluntarily give up their seats and for lost or damaged bags.

The sweeping transportation bill also increases the foreign ownership cap for airliners, among other provisions.

The committee on Thursday will also hear from the likes of Flight Claim Canada Inc., the Canadian Automobile Association, the Canadian Federation of Musicians, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Competition Bureau, and the federal departments of industry and transport, amongst many others.

  

It won’t meet on Friday.

The House Health Committee is also spending the week studying the government’s sweeping and controversial legislation: Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act.

The bill sets out the rules for the legal consumption of recreational pot, restricting sales to those 18 years or older, limiting person possession to 30 grams of cannabis, and allowing consumers to grow or buy up to four plants, in addition to a suite of other regulations.

As part of the weeklong meeting blitz on the Hill, the House Committee has separated witnesses into various panel groupings based on key topics in the expansive bill.

  

On Thursday, the committee will hear from panels discussing labelling and packaging, indigenous communities, workplace safety, and prevention, treatment, and low risk use. Groups and institutions presenting today include the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, the Chiefs of Ontario, the Métis National Council, the Canadian Nurses Association, the New Brunswick Medical Society, and officials from the federal Department of Employment and Social Development, amongst others.

At 1 p.m., NDP health critic Don Davies is discussing the party’s concerns with the Cannabis Act and other issues during an appearance at the National Press Theatre.

Keeping with the Hill, the House Defence Committee is hosting its first meeting on its study of Canada’s abilities to defend itself and its allies in the event of a North Korean attack after agreeing to assess the subject last month.

Today, the committee is hearing from several members of the Department of National Defence, including Mark Gwozdecky, assistant deputy minister for international security and political affairs, and Stephen Burt, assistant chief of defence intelligence with the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.

Several academics round out the witness list for the meeting, which runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Wellington Building.

Sticking with Ottawa, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is here today to mark the start of the annual Canadian Council of Forest Ministers meeting, which runs from Sept. 14-15 at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Mr. Carr delivers his keynote address at 8:30 a.m. at the museum.  

Out in Ottawa’s west end, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre is hosting a town hall on the Liberal government’s tax changes at 7:30 p.m. at the Nepean Sportsplex.

Shifting to Iqaluit, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains will announce the first major project for the North under the Government’s Connect To Innovate program, which works to provides high-speed Internet service to Canadians in rural and remote communities.

Meanwhile, Treasury Board President Scott Brison is delivering the keynote address at the 2017 Altitude East Conference, discussing economy, tourism, and aviation in Atlantic Canada. He’s scheduled to speak at 11:30 a.m. Atlantic time at the Halifax Marriott.

And with the third round of NAFTA renegotiations to resume in Canada later this month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is visiting Mexico City today to meet with his Mexican counterpart José Antonio Meade. He’ll be delivering a speech to the Canada-Mexico Chamber of Commerce at 9:15 a.m.

Also on Thursday, Health Canada is set to brief the media on new efforts to address the opioid crisis. The technical briefing, to be done through teleconference, starts at 11 a.m.

Have a great day!