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Politics This Morning: House Trade Committee regroups on Hill; Finance ministers meet for strategy session; Freeland in Europe for bilateral talks

By Beatrice Paez      

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is staying on her turf, where she is expected to address members of Moncton's business community.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is hosting a daylong meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts and chief financial officers from the private sector in Ottawa to discuss trade and other economic challenges. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
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Good Tuesday morning,

The House Trade Committee is reconvening on the Hill for a three-hour session on the impact the U.S. tariffs will have on the domestic industry. Parliamentarians will hear from a long list of witnesses, including representatives from the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, and the Canadian Steel Producers Association. They’ll be meeting at 9:30 a.m. in room 415 at the Wellington Building (197 Sparks St.).

Canada’s top diplomat, Chrystia Freeland, is meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels for a series of bilateral talks. Ottawa and the EU have a lot to commiserate over with each other these days as targets of Washington’s steel and aluminum tariffs. In response to the U.S. trade action, the EU has slapped targeted tariffs, which went into effect last week, on U.S. whiskey, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and peanut butter, among other items. As a consequence, Harley-Davidson says it plans to shift some of its production overseas to avoid absorbing the hit, according to The New York Times.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is huddling with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa for a strategy session at 7 a.m. on improving Canada’s competitiveness and grappling with economic challenges. Canada-U.S. trade relations will likely top the agenda, especially with Ottawa’s countermeasures expected to go into effect later this week.

They’re also planning to discuss equalization payments. Ottawa last week quietly announced that it has decided to extend the current formula up to 2024, and it has already drawn pushback from Alberta, which complains that it’s getting shafted, according to The Toronto Star. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., have both been invited to address the gathering, which also includes the private-sector representatives. The meeting will be held at 90 Elgin St. The ministers will pose for a photo-op at around 3:30 p.m. and a press conference will follow at 3:45 p.m. on the second floor.

In other related news, the Economic Club of Canada is hosting a roundtable on NAFTA talks in Toronto featuring MaryScott Greenwood of the Canadian American Business Council, David Adams of the Global Automakers of Canada and Avery Shenfeld of CIBC Capital Markets. This event takes place at 11:30 a.m. at the King Edward Hotel.

Over the next few days, International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne will be travelling across Quebec to tout the benefits of signing on to trade agreements such as CETA and CPTPP. He’s also expected to meet with industry representatives from the aluminum, agricultural, mining, and forestry sectors.

Day two of the governor general’s Nova Scotia visit includes early-morning meetings with Patsy LeBlanc, the province’s lieutenant governor, and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil at the Government House. Governor General Julie Payette is also sitting down with Grand Keptin Antle Denny of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council.

Later in the morning, at 11:30 a.m., she’ll share her experiences from her past life as an astronaut with Grade 6 students at the Discovery Centre in Halifax. Her day ends with an evening reception hosted by Mr. McNeil at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, home of the Bluenose II, dubbed as the province’s sailing ambassador.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is in Montreal to announce new details on Ottawa’s creative export fund. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Over on the East Coast, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor will be in her hometown tomorrow morning to meet with the business community. The minister is slated to address the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce at 10:45 a.m. at the Delta Beauséjour in Moncton. On Monday, the minister announced a $75-million pilot project in New Brunswick aimed at developing policy solutions to improve the lives of seniors.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is also staying close to home in Montreal today for an announcement on what’s billed as Canada’s first “creative export strategy.” Ms. Joly, who led a delegation to China earlier this year in an effort to expand relations, also plans to disclose new details on Ottawa’s creative export fund, a program designed to help the cultural sector expand their presence internationally. She’ll be at the Society for Arts and Technology centre at 11 a.m. for the announcement.

Also in Quebec is National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, who is scheduled to make an announcement on tourism in winter on behalf of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains. Ms. Lebouthillier and Liberal MP Rémi Massé will be at Auberge Château Lamontagne in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Que., at 1:30 p.m. for the event. In other related news, Stats Can is releasing new figures on national tourism indicators for the first quarter on Wednesday, June 27.

In other ministerial appearances, Veteran Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan is taking his department’s message to Richmond, B.C., as he works to raise the profile of the government’s programs for veterans. His meeting with stakeholders kicks off at 1 p.m. in the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel.

Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is also in his home province of New Brunswick, where he, along with with Serge Cormier, the parliamentary secretary to the immigration minister, are slated to discuss the government’s effort to “improve the Anse-Bleue small craft harbour” in the province.

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