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Romy Bowers, CMHC’s president and chief executive officer, left, was questioned by MPs on the House Finance Committee during a Jan. 21 meeting, including Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, centre, and NDP MP Daniel Blaikie. Screengrab courtesy of Parlvu, The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade

National housing strategy investments ‘not enough’ to increase housing supply, says CMHC

Canada’s Superintendent of Financial Institutions Peter Routledge says Canada’s housing sector has systems in place to absorb shocks from rising interest rates.

In defiance of O’Toole, Saskatchewan MPs vote to back Batters in regional caucus: source

News|By Abbas Rana
In a regional caucus meeting Thursday evening, Saskatchewan MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of Senator Denise Batters' staying in the Saskatchewan caucus.

Alexa McDonough and the cost of blazing trails

Feature|By Chelsea Nash
Alexa McDonough, who died on Jan. 15 at the age of 77, was the second woman to lead the federal NDP from 1995 through 2006; a time, her former colleagues recall, in which women in politics faced much sexism.

Ottawa on the hook for $4-billion tied to abandoned mines’ cleanup in the North

NDP MP Lori Idlout says the Liberals need to hold companies accountable. ‘Our communities can’t continue to be disregarded when the profit is gone and we’re left to clean up the mess.'

Agriculture Minister Bibeau has a new acting chief of staff, Jérémy Gauthier

Feature|By Laura Ryckewaert
Other changes to the minister’s staff lineup this Parliament include Emerson Vandenberg’s promotion to policy director, and Allison St-Jean’s hiring as communications director.

‘Against the flow’: critics question move by Canada’s Pension Plan Investment fund to keep supporting big polluters

But the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board remains wary of any attempts to write climate concerns into its mandate.

‘In a perfect storm right now’: labour supply, record immigration complicate daunting housing supply problem, say experts

News|By Mike Lapointe
Canada welcomed more than 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 341,000 permanent residents in 2019, and was able to admit more than 184,500 over the course of 2020 despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘We should respect each other’: South Africa says notification not given before travel ban imposed

News|By Neil Moss
A Global Affairs spokesperson says the South African High Commission was notified on the same day that the travel ban was announced, which the mission disputes.

Three years on, Canada delays naming an ambassador to the Holy See

News|By Neil Moss
Not having an ambassador to the Holy See sends a symbolic message, say former Canadian diplomats, but it may not make a practical difference compared to having the post represented by a chargé d'affaires.

Lobbyists concerned potential rule changes could hinder volunteer opportunities in campaigns

Proposed changes to the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct include a mandatory one-year cooling-off period for lobbyists following political activities such as door-to-door canvassing during an election campaign.
Romy Bowers, CMHC’s president and chief executive officer, left, was questioned by MPs on the House Finance Committee during a Jan. 21 meeting, including Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, centre, and NDP MP Daniel Blaikie. Screengrab courtesy of Parlvu, The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade

National housing strategy investments ‘not enough’ to increase housing supply, says CMHC

Canada’s Superintendent of Financial Institutions Peter Routledge says Canada’s housing sector has systems in place to absorb shocks from rising interest rates.

Our discordant debates damage democracy

Opinion|By Gerry Nicholls
Bottom line is, antagonistic political debates are here to stay. If you disagree with me on this, please feel free to 'destroy' me on YouTube.

Cowardly Canadian leaders point fingers at the unvaccinated

Opinion|By Erica Ifill
The reason we’re still in this pandemic is not solely because there are those who don’t want to get the vaccine, but systemic and succeeding government policies that have cumulated in a fragile health-care system.

Instead of fining the unvaccinated, let’s fine the politicians who fan the flames

Opinion|By Rose LeMay
Fine any politician who fans the flames of disinformation. Make it count, a fine of $25,000 a pop, and it can’t be covered by the salaries paid by taxpayers. The public good relies on non-partisan expertise.

Time to take necessary steps for a more inclusive charitable sector

The Income Tax Act, which was enacted in the 1950s, needs to be amended because it’s a form of systemic racism that limits the participation of BIPOC organizations.

‘Risk aversion’ complicates passage of Senate bill to repurpose frozen assets for victims

News|By Neil Moss
'The objective of many private members' bills, as this one is, is to raise the bar on awareness and persuade the government to do it sooner rather than later,' says Senator Ratna Omidvar.

Automatic pardon bill hailed by experts as ‘most significant’ justice reform in a long time

News|By Alice Chen
But experts also note the proposed legislation doesn’t solve broader societal problems with marginalization and inequity for individuals post-incarceration.

Berlusconi wants to be Italy’s next president, and he might win

Opinion|By Gwynne Dyer
Silvio Berlusconi governed Italy as prime minister three times between 1994 and 2011 at the head of various coalitions, for a total of nine years. Italy’s economy and reputation were in steady decline the whole time.

Bilateral spats need to be addressed, but outgoing South African envoy says Canadian ties still ‘strong’

Feature|By Neil Moss
South African High Commissioner Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo says the pandemic curbed some of the work she was undertaking.

Trudeau should proceed with caution on Indo-Pacific policy project

Opinion|By Bhagwant Sandhu
The Liberals appear to have learned from the Conservative's mistakes, which is why China isn't mentioned in the prime minister’s mandate letter for his new foreign affairs minister.

Charging into 2022 on the COVID carousel

Opinion|By Jason Kerr, Alex Greco
The pandemic has exposed how industry and government, working together and listening to each others’ interests, can effectively work together to create the right support solutions for all Canadians.

Lobbying needs transparency in the face of foreign threats and disinformation

Foreign influencers and the challenges posed by disinformation must be high on the agenda as we update our regulatory systems.

Arts sector struggling under Omicron, lobbyists press for return of full CERB

The spread of Omicron has put the arts and culture sector back in 'crisis mode,' with some organizations arguing they need a return to full CERB benefits in order to pull through.

Politicos pay tribute to Alexa McDonough

Plus, the new U.S. ambassador enters a bagel imbroglio, and the Korean Cultural Centre has a new online exhibition on a tradition of sharing.

Paul Martin to talk about global turmoil; Marc Roy has a new gig; Indiescreens announced; and Philipupillai joins HT’s newsroom

Feature|By Alice Chen
Former prime minister Paul Martin, who led the country from 2003-2006, will join a conversation with former New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant to talk about 'Navigating a Difficult World.'

Sports Minister St-Onge’s office led by chief of staff Kelly Wilhelm

Feature|By Laura Ryckewaert
Gabriel Cyr is director of policy and parliamentary affairs to Minister St-Onge, while Viki Ozell-Landry is director of operations.

Canada’s first Vietnamese-Canadian senator says goodbye to the Red Chamber

Plus, hand-sculpted Trudeau bobbleheads are up for sale, new faces join the National Post, and colleagues remember the late former Liberal cabinet minister Bob Speller.

After ‘ups and downs,’ departing Taiwanese diplomat says relationship is on the ascent

Feature|By Neil Moss
Outgoing Taiwanese diplomat Simon Sung praises the work of Parliamentarians in advancing Canada-Taiwan ties.

Families Minister Gould hangs on to chief of staff Tsaï-Klassen

Feature|By Laura Ryckewaert
Russell Milon has followed Gould to her new office, continuing as director of parliamentary affairs, and James Cudmore has joined the minister’s team as communications director.

Spend time on ethics prep to save time handling pitfalls

Opinion|By Mario Dion
For 2022, my attention remains focused on educating to prevent conflicts of interest, especially in light of recent ethical issues that have impacted public confidence.

Lost in the haze: has the need for ethics law reform been overshadowed by Trump and COVID?

Opinion|By Ian Stedman
Our laws tell the world something about who we are as a nation and who we believe we can be. If we want to remain a global leader, then our laws must be modernized.

Time for true climate leadership at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

Opinion|By John Bennett
Why is the Canada Pension Plan, with more than $540-billion in assets, not leading the world in investing in solutions for recovery and resilience and instead shoring up long-standing polluters?

Expect continuity in Canada’s foreign policy and national security corridors after DM shuffle: analysts

News|By Neil Moss
Trade consultant Eric Miller says David Morrison will bring a new approach as deputy minister of international trade.

It’s time for a serious rethink on Canada’s border strategy

A new strategic vision for the border must be part of a broader policy discussion around an updated, modernized national security plan and it must not be monopolized by the experience of COVID-19.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured on March 16, 2016, announcing Canada's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the seat had all the hallmarks of a partisan campaign, something that Adam Chapnick says is detrimental to Canada's success on the UNSC. Prime Minister's Office photo courtesy of Adam Scotti

The definitive history of Canada’s role on the United Nations Security Council

The first definitive history of Canada's time on the UN Security Council is a must read for anyone interested in Canadian foreign policy.
Harold Johnson’s book Peace and Good Order is among five shortlisted books for this year's Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
Feature|Beatrice Paez
'I kind of just go ahead and do what I feel I should do, and get myself into situations where I’m thinking, "Oh, everybody here knows more than I do. But anyway, here goes." It served me very well,' says former Supreme Court chief justice Beverley McLachlin.
Feature|Mike Lapointe
Patterns of interference, intimidation, and harassment of individual Canadians by the Chinese Communist Party ‘demand a response’ from the Canadian government, says veteran journalist Jonathan Manthorpe in his 2019 book.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, pictured Sept. 14, 2020, arriving for last week's cabinet retreat in Ottawa before Parliament resumes on Sept. 23. Economic and fiscal plans must be tied to economic scenarios with unmeasurable probabilities. Finance ministers around the world will be under pressure to change the way they prepare budgets, writes Kevin Page. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

COVID-19: economic impacts and prospects

Opinion|Kevin Page
There are some potential game changers for outcomes—a vaccine; and a resurgence in international leadership and cooperation. Closer to home, we need a Canadian economic recovery plan that will boost confidence in the future with strategic and measured investments in long-term challenges and adjustment support for Canadians and businesses left behind by the coronavirus.
Feature|Beatrice Paez, Neil Moss, Mike Lapointe, Samantha Wright Allen, and Abbas Rana
In what was supposed to be a period in which backbenchers and the opposition could wield more influence over the political debate, power and influence is arguably even more concentrated among a narrow cast of mostly familiar figures.
If we want to really honour Shannen Koostachin and the many children like her—we need to speak up, keep talking until government takes immediate action to end the inequality. If they don’t—vote them out because kids like Shannen are worth the money. The time for patience is over.
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Politics This Morning: Money talks

Canada's finance ministers are gathering today, plus, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly is chairing an international meeting on what to do about Haiti.
Experts say that because of an inability to progress on correctional plans, inmates are being kept for longer than they ought to be, and vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID in the congregate settings.
Opinion|Will Falk
Two deficits in our health-care system became evident when social distancing necessitated virtual care nearly overnight for infection control: information system availability and our backup remote systems robustness.
Opinion|Eva Schacherl
Any strategy based on rich countries’ interests—commercial, medical or scientific—is just another form of the colonialism that has caused so much harm.
Opinion|Sheila Copps
In the end, we each need to do our part to end the pandemic. But we also need embrace life. Life is the whole point of this fight.
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PBO Yves Giroux on debt, stimulus, and the fall update

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For Canada, the key takeaway is that better preparedness today for tomorrow’s risks creates better resilience, which leads to better outcomes.
Make no mistake, our governments are choosing oil companies over Indigenous peoples—and that’s not a promising path to reconciliation.
Climate change, the deeper crisis of our time, requires us all to heed the urgent call to action.
Opinion|Neil Fraser
Ontario recently launched a new agency—Intellectual Property Ontario—to encourage the development, protection, and commercialization of IP. Canada needs a similar focus on the value of innovation on a national scale.
Some anti-vaxxers complain there has been no logic in the decisions of governments. It is not logic that is in short supply, but knowledge and perspective.
Overall, 84 per cent of Canadians are worried about inflation and the cost-of-living. And there’s good reason.
Feature|Alex Marland

Some interesting reads about Canadian politics in 2021

Here’s a sample published by three of Canada’s largest academic publishers: University of British Columbia Press, University of Toronto Press, and McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Michael Wernick on governing, political journalism, and his Machiavellian inspiration

'I was pissed off, and I thought it needed to be called out:' the former top civil servant talks to Peter Mazereeuw about his explosive committee testimony following the Yellow Vest protest on Parliament Hill, and a whole lot more.

PMO policy head Marci Surkes soon to exit, John Brodhead named new director

After 15 years as a staffer on Parliament Hill, Marci Surkes is set to make her exit later this month. John Brodhead will take over as director of policy in the PMO.

Dan Arnold exits the PMO, new role of Indigenous outreach adviser added

After roughly six years as director of research and advertising in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dan Arnold has exited, prompting Alex Kohut’s promotion to senior manager.
Feature|Alice Chen

Five political books to watch for in the new year, nerds

Plus, local paper The Low Down to Hull and Back breaks national story and PSG Senator Patricia Bovey celebrates new artwork featured in the Senate.

Federal cybersecurity workers heading for strike votes following bargaining impasse

With the two sides having been at the bargaining table for almost two years following the expiry of the most recent collective agreement, strike votes are scheduled to run from Feb. 11 to 24.

No more Hill parties, after coronavirus pandemic forces Parliament Hill to shut down

'Politics and the Pen is probably the exact opposite of social distancing. We cram so many people into the ballroom that you can barely keep one to two inches away,' says Jim Armour.  

Sorbara makes ’em howl at the Métropolitain

Pat Sorbara's new book, Let 'em Howl, offers lessons learned over a more than four-decade career in federal and provincial politics as a high-ranking Liberal backroomer.
Feature|Neil Moss

Forthcoming Indo-Pacific strategy will be a ‘great vehicle’ for Canada-South Korea co-operation, says envoy

In a wide-ranging interview, South Korean Ambassador Chang Keung Ryong talks Canada's upcoming Indo-Pacific strategy, his country's bid to accede to the CPTPP, and the recent UN peacekeeping ministerial in Seoul.
Feature|Neil Moss

New Italian envoy trumpets Italian-Canadian links on Parliament Hill

Italian Ambassador Andrea Ferrari comes to Canada after a posting in Cuba. He has also been Italy's ambassador to Qatar.

Treasury Board President Fortier headlines Ottawa mayor’s breakfast on Jan. 21

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022
Treasury Board President Mona Fortier will be the special guest at the Mayor's Breakfast, hosted by the Ottawa Board of Trade, on Friday, Jan. 21. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller announces on Jan. 20, 2022, the federal government has reached a memorandum of agreement with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation that outlines how and when Canada will share thousands of historical documents on former residential schools.

The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
Former NDP leader Alexa McDonough, pictured in 2018, died on Jan. 15 in Halifax at the age of 77 after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. McDonough led the federal NDP from 1995 to 2003, and served as an MP for Halifax from 1997 to 2008.

The Hill Times file photograph
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