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According to last week's Angus Reid Institute poll, 64 per cent of Canadians approve of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The Hill Times file photograph by Andrew Meade

Speedy delivery of financial benefits to Canadians key to Trudeau’s handling of COVID-19, says a leading pollster

News|By Abbas Rana
The COVID-19 pandemic is the 'defining moment of Justin Trudeau's prime ministership' and this is a crisis where the government has a central role to play in its management.

Budget 2020, election promises in question amid COVID-19 global pandemic crisis, say McKay, Delacourt

‘It is going to blow a hole in the government’s legislative agenda,’ says Liberal MP John McKay.

COVID-19 can’t end parliamentary scrutiny, say experts

News|By Neil Moss
'There is no incompatibility between an effective and efficient government and legislative scrutiny,' says Carleton University professor Philippe Lagassé.

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Guilbeault announces support for media; Winnipeg Free Press publisher blasts feds, saying ‘no new support’ forthcoming

News|By Mike Lapointe
Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said he has spoken with representatives from media groups and trade unions representing journalists, and the government is doing 'everything we can to help them make it through this cr

Government should be careful in using cellphone data to track COVID-19, advocates say

‘In normal times, most Canadians would respond to the collection and use of sensitive health and location information with a hard no. But these are not normal times,’ says professor Michael Geist.

Senate leaders point fingers as deal to oversee government COVID-19 spending falls apart

The Senate’s inability to supervise the government’s unprecedented crisis spending is an ‘institutional failing,’ says the leader of the Upper Chamber's largest group.

Federal lobbyists registry sees crop of new COVID-19 filings, as groups grapple with pandemic

At least 35 organizations are either lobbying federal officials about their needs or looking to assist the government in its response to the escalating coronavirus crisis.

‘More of a social work role’: MPs on balancing constituency work with emotions of electorate during COVID-19

'The level of correspondence has been hard to describe,' says rookie Green MP Jenica Atwin. 'People are really worried. They're really stressed out.'

Canada’s chief public health officers take centre stage amid COVID-19 crisis

News|By Tessie Sanci
Federal officers such as Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Howard Njoo, and provincial chief doctors, are involved in daily live press conferences to update Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ottawa should trigger Emergencies Act amid COVID-19 crisis, says retired general and former Liberal Andrew Leslie

The Emergencies Act was carefully crafted and revised in the 1980s so that governments wouldn't have to 'reinvent the wheel' when crisis struck, said the former Liberal whip and army commander.
According to last week's Angus Reid Institute poll, 64 per cent of Canadians approve of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The Hill Times file photograph by Andrew Meade

Speedy delivery of financial benefits to Canadians key to Trudeau’s handling of COVID-19, says a leading pollster

News|By Abbas Rana
The COVID-19 pandemic is the 'defining moment of Justin Trudeau's prime ministership' and this is a crisis where the government has a central role to play in its management.

Some isolated thoughts during my isolation

Opinion|By Gerry Nicholls
How the ongoing battle against COVID-19 will impact on Canadian politics.

The president of the United States is no friend of ours

Opinion|By Sheila Copps
As long as Donald Trump is in office, he will continue to promote despots and dictators over democrats. He would rather befriend Russian president Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Unprecedented times require unprecedented responses

Opinion|By David Crane
That was the lesson of the 1930s Great Depression. If we are to avoid a similar calamity as the 1930s we need to be innovative in our responses today—and to be fast in getting things done. We are only partway there.

Senate, Governor General approve COVID-19 bailout bill

Senators took about two hours to consider the bill, half of which was spent questioning Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Auditor general says ‘too early’ to tell if request for audit on COVID-19 special warrants demands funding boost

News|By Beatrice Paez
'Given the scope and scale of this crisis, it’s incumbent on the government to provide them with supplementary budgeting to adequately provide the support they’re looking for,' says NDP MP Matthew Green.

‘Decisive action was required’: how MPs and Senators hammered out deal to close Parliament late into the night

‘We are in unprecedented times,’ says Conservative Whip Mark Strahl.

What role for Canadian intelligence during the COVID-19 crisis?

Opinion|By Phil Gurski
Yes, there is a role for our spies in these times. COVID-19 is not the only threat we are faced with. Let’s hope they can continue to do their work and keep us safe.

Nobody mention universal basic income

Opinion

Embassies in Ottawa offer ‘around the clock’ support in the new work-from-home reality

Envoys comment on the ‘uncharted territory’ brought forward by the ‘dreadful ordeal’ COVID-19 brings, and urge co-operation in the global response.

Lobby with health, economic proposals in mind amid COVID-19 outbreak, say consultants

Governments of all levels will be finding ways to mitigate the economic shock resulting from the pandemic, and will be looking for proposals for 'shovels in the ground' spending related to job creation.

‘Pent-up interest’ leads to post-election lobbying push 54 per cent higher than first Liberal win

The uncertainty of the minority Parliament and the slow start-up naming ministers and their mandates and staff all helped make January an especially busy month, say lobbyists.

Black Canadian groups call on feds to address economic inequities facing community

News|By Beatrice Paez
'The work they’re doing is going to need to speak for itself,' says Liberal strategist Tiffany Gooch, about the party's recovery from the prime minister's blackface scandal.

Catherine McKenna offers virtual civics lesson for furloughed students

Feature|By Neil Moss
Plus, Kirsten Hillman is appointed Canada's next ambassador to the U.S., and one of the last remaining cats from the former Hill feline sanctuary dies.

Who’s who in Economic Development Minister Joly’s 20-member office

Feature|By Laura Ryckewaert
New additions to the minister’s team include senior policy advisers Kelsey MacDonald and Richard Léger.

‘Bold decisions’ are needed if the CBC is to survive

Opinion|By Alex Marland
Reading a book is a good way to pass the time during the conronavirus pandemic. It’s excellent escapism from the anxieties of life as we know it fall apart.

Trudeau calls on some celebrity friends to urge Canadians to stay inside

Feature|By Neil Moss
Plus, the Green Party has adjusted its leadership contest barriers amid COVID-19, and the Peace Tower bells will be silenced.

‘It’s a different world we’re all living in’: vast majority of staff working remotely, focused on COVID-19 response

‘Constituents have a lot of questions. So I know all of our offices are busy, wherever the staff are actually located at this point,’ says NDP Whip Rachel Blaney.

Construction work continues on Parliament Hill, with new precautions

Work inside the Centre Block building continues, but modifications have been made to workers’ daily schedules in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here’s how AI can help, and is already helping, Canada fight COVID-19

The government has already announced funding for artificial intelligence researchers and developers to help fight COVID-19. Experts say the technology could do more, if done right.

Start date for new North American trade pact could be pushed back amid coronavirus pandemic, says NAFTA Council member

News|By Neil Moss
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress on March 17 that the new NAFTA will go into effect on June 1.

Release low-risk prisoners to prevent COVID-19 outbreak, say advocates calling for ‘immediate action’ 

It’s not a matter of ‘if, but when' COVID-19 will reach Canada's prisons, says Sen. Kim Pate, who, like NDP MP Jack Harris, sees it as a matter of ‘life and death,’ and is demanding ‘immediate’ action.

Border closures may not be legal and won’t stop spread of COVID-19

This division between Canadians and foreign nationals, us and them, risks stoking racism and xenophobia, which has been frequently reported in the wake of the outbreak.

Coronavirus, newest challenge facing Bibeau, adds impetus to risk management reform

The virus-induced economic slowdown comes at a tough time for the agri-food industry, which was already struggling with international trade restrictions, the affects of poor harvests, and fallout from recent rail disrupt
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured Jan. 17, 2020, with David Morrison, his defence policy adviser, shortly before holding a press conference and an update at the National Press Theatre on the downing of Flight PS752 tragedy. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Minority rules: 2020’s most influential figures to watch in federal politics

Feature
This year’s Top 100 Most Influential List reflects the power brokers who will help shape the terms of how this minority Parliament will shake out.
The return of Parliament is more than an event in the news cycle. It’s a time to look ahead, and to thoughtfully consider the important role each branch of government will play in that future, and in the life of each individual Canadian.
Opinion|David Coletto
Our worldview, our desire for control, and the way we get information are just three things that new MPs should consider as they orient themselves to life in Ottawa and as elected representatives. But the implications of these three forces matter to everyone who seeks to engage and connect with Canadians.
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Politics This Morning: Trudeau to continue self-isolation as precautionary measure

Plus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife, Sophie, has been given the all clear by the doctor after testing positive.
A senior spokesman for the Conservative Party flatly denied that the national council has any plans to disband the committee and take over the leadership election process.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says funds earmarked for Indigenous communities will flow directly to them to allow for 'maximum flexibility to help adapt responses to address local needs.'
Urgent action remains needed to ensure an adequate supply of protective equipment that our front-line workers need to protect them from infection.

Politics This Morning

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The thoughtful progress of Canadian society depends upon our ability to provide scientific, evidence-informed support for our policy development.
The trajectory and scale of what this human tragedy will deliver is unknown. What is known is the response of governments in Canada: a commitment to leave no stone unturned.
Opinion|Alex Marland
Canada unequivocally needs a media outlet dedicated to celebrating Canadian cultures in the face of Americanization, globalization, and now digitalization.
Opinion|Phil Gurski
It is up to decision makers, policy wonks, and, yes, in the case of the U.S., the president, to take action.
Opinion|Scott Taylor
One has to hope that our international leaders will quickly realize that you cannot close the borders to a virus that is already expanded to all corners of the world.
Opinion|Alex Marland

‘Bold decisions’ are needed if the CBC is to survive

David Taras and Christopher Waddell recently authored The End of the CBC?, published by the University of Toronto Press. They have exceptional credentials to examine the English arm of the public broadcaster.

Feds asking travellers from abroad to self-identify coronavirus symptoms amid concerns over screening efforts

'Implementation of the new measures has begun and will be finalized' in the 'coming days,' says a CBSA spokesperson.

A few fresh faces on National Revenue Minister Lebouthillier’s busy team

Plus, there are a couple of staff additions to Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier’s team to note, including Émilie Gagnon as director of communications.

A dive into federal Heritage Minister Guilbeault’s 24-person team

Senior staff to the minister include Rebecca Caldwell as director of policy, Michael Brewster as director of parliamentary affairs, and Linda Campbell as director of operations.
Feature|Neil Moss

Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner postponed until October

Plus, MPs urge CBC to reinstate local TV news, and Jack Harris is diagnosed with cancer.
Feature|Neil Moss

Coronavirus hits home for the Hill

Plus, Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau has been named Canada's next vice-chief of the defence staff and NDP MP Charlie Angus hosts an online St. Patrick's Day concert.

Chief HR officer works to quell confusion, asks departments to identify, update ‘critical’ services lists

‘People are unsure, people are scared, this is a whole new time, so we have to have some clear messaging from our government letting our people know of what they need to do,’ said CUPW national president Jan Simpson.

Situation ‘changing hourly’ as feds, unions, public service contend with COVID-19 work-from-home confusion

'The government of Canada will be as flexible as possible and will not only allow, but encourage teleworking whenever and wherever possible,' says Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos.

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.

‘Busy and worried’: Italian envoy says country is at ‘forefront’ of COVID-19 battle, urges solidarity in global response

The most important thing is that people understand ‘they are the solution,’ and the only way to stop the spread is to keep separate from a virus that ‘walks with our legs,’ Claudio Taffuri says.

Envoys select top 12 ambassadors of the year at third annual bash

They were recognized for their work promoting public diplomacy and helping ‘bring the world to Canada,’ as the dean of the diplomatic corps put it.

House suspended until Monday, April 20, for now

Monday, March 30th, 2020
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, pictured on March 24, 2020, arriving at the West Block on Parliament Hill for her daily press briefing on the COVID-19 world pandemic crisis. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

June Winger, national president of the Union of National Defence Employees, joins a rally held by Public Service Alliance of Canada demonstration outside the Prime Minster's Office in Ottawa on Feb. 28, 2020, to mark four years of Phoenix Pay System issues.

The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

The Hill Times file photograph
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