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Politics This Morning: Trudeau in Montreal for First Ministers’ Meeting

By Beatrice Paez       

Human rights activists are gathering in Ottawa today for a presser on a recent report released by the UN Committee Against Torture, which found that Indigenous women continue to be coerced into sterilization.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured, and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc are Montreal for the first ministers' conference, where discussions are expected to focus on the energy sector and trade. The Hill Times file photograph by Andrew Meade
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Good Friday morning,

Here’s what’s happening today:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc are Montreal for the first ministers’ conference, where, at the urging of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, they plan to discuss the plunging oil prices and challenges facing the energy sector. The meeting will be the first one for Ontario Premier Doug Ford and CAQ Leader François Legault, since they came into office. Mr. Ford has threatened to boycott the meeting, or to duck out early, if his concerns about the carbon tax aren’t addressed.

The PM’s agenda includes a 7:30 a.m. meeting with national Indigenous leaders. At around 10 a.m., Mr. Trudeau, Mr. LeBlanc, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, and David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., are all scheduled to meet with premiers. Talks are likely to focus on the trade. B.C. Premier John Horgan also has a one-on-one meeting with the prime minister at around 5 p.m.

  • Mr. Morneau is also slated to participate in an armchair talk on the economy, hosted by Conseil du patronat du Québec at 8 a.m. This will be at the Sheraton Hotel downtown.
  • Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay is in Belle River, P.E.I., for an announcement related to funding oilseed development (9 a.m. at the Atlantic Soy Corp.).
  • Human rights activists are gathering in Ottawa today for a presser on a recent report released by the UN Committee Against Torture, which found that Indigenous women continue to be coerced into sterilization. The presser is at 10 a.m. in the Charles Lynch room. Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde, among other advocates, have called for investigations.

Committee meetings of note:

  • Senators on the National Finance Committee meet at 9 a.m. for a clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-86, the feds’ wide-ranging budget bill. They’ll be in room nine of the Victoria Building.
  • The House Committee on the Status of Women meets for a briefing on the government’s efforts “to immediately end the practice of forced and coerced sterilization of Indigenous women.” That’s at 3:30 p.m. in room 415, Wellington Building.
  • The House National Defence Committee will meet in camera for a briefing on the geopolitical and military interests at play in the “context of Russian hostility and aggression.” It meets at 3:30 p.m. in room 112-N, Centre Block.

What the newsroom’s reading:

  • Trudeau says he knew in advance of pending arrest of Huawei executive: The PM said there was no political motivation behind the executive’s possible extradition to the U.S. (via Globe and Mail)
  • Canada spent months on Saudi diplomacy before embassy suggested tweet behind firestorm: Ottawa was part of a multilateral effort that sought to apply pressure on the Saudi regime to release human rights activists before the tweet that ostensibly disrupted relations was sent. (via Global News)
  • Liberals revamp contentious anti-abortion test for summer jobs funding: Instead, the 2019 version of the program asks applicants to declare they won’t infringe on the legal rights of Canadians. (via the Canadian Press)
  • Powerful Senate committee wants to meet in secret more often: Independent Sen. Sabi Marwah, who chairs the Senate’s Internal Economy Board Committee, is pushing for new rules that would give the body more discretion to meet away from public view. (via CBC News)

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