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Politics This Morning: Trudeau to deliver speech in House on Indigenous rights; Freeland heads to Washington to promote cross-border trade; Hussen updates spousal sponsorship process

By Marco Vigliotti      
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, where she will meet with key U.S. officials and members of the American Senate.
The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Good Wednesday morning and happy Valentine’s Day!

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will deliver a speech in the House after Question Period this afternoon on the “recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights,” according to his office, only days after the controversial acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of Colten Boushie sparked anger across Canada, especially among First Nations peoples.

Mr. Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot and killed in August 2016 after the SUV he was travelling in entered Mr. Stanley’s property, leading to an altercation with Mr. Stanley, and his son and wife.

Mr. Stanley was charged with second-degree murder in the slaying but pled not guilty, claiming the fatal shot was fired accidentally after he attempted to pull the keys out of the ignition of the vehicle.

Shortly after the ruling was rendered by the all-white jury, Mr. Trudeau said at a press conference in Los Angeles that Canada as a country had to “do better.”

“I’m not going to comment on the process that led us to this point today, but I am going to say we have come to this point as a country far too many times,” he said.

“Indigenous people across this country are angry, they’re heartbroken, and I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.”

Before his speech, Mr. Trudeau will attend the Liberal caucus meeting in Centre Block at 9:30 a.m., and then take in Question Period in the House at 2 p.m.

The family of Mr. Boushie will also be in Ottawa on Wednesday, and will make a statement at 10 a.m. at the Charles Lynch Room in Centre Block, alongside Senator Kim Pate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington, D.C., today to meet with key U.S. officials and members of the American Senate, as negotiations on reforming the North American Free Trade Agreement continue to drag on.

In her meetings, Ms. Freeland will “emphasize the importance” of NAFTA and Canada-United States trade to the economies of both countries, according to her office.

Back in Ottawa, Government House Leader and Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger is appearing at a breakfast reception at the National Arts Centre this morning celebrating the release of a new report exploring the implications for business and the Canadian economy resulting from gender differences in approaches to innovation.

Ms. Chagger will be joined by the authors of the report Clare Beckton and Janice McDonald at the event, which runs from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the NAC’s Laurier Room. The report is a joint effort from BMO Financial Group, Carleton University, the Canadian government, and the Beacon Agency.

BMO’s senior vice-president for Alberta and the Northwest Territories Susan Brown will serve as host.

Also this morning, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen is appearing at a Mississauga cafe to provide an update on the spousal sponsorship process. He will appear at the D Spot Dessert Café in the Toronto suburb at 9:30 a.m.

In case you missed it, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Tuesday that the 2018 federal budget would be tabled in the House on Feb. 27. Also, Sen. Peter Harder, the government representative in the Senate, said he wants his colleagues in the Upper Chamber to spend the rest of February debating legislation legalizing and regulating cannabis for recreational purposes to ensure it goes through a vote on second reading before March 1.

And finally, happy birthday to Conservative MPs Michelle Rempel and John Nater.

Have a great day!

The Hill Times 

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