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Policy briefing: Parliamentary hearings to probe Canada’s decision to repair Russian pipeline turbines despite sanctions


A top parliamentary committee has voted to hold hearings into the federal government’s decision to import and repair Russian government-owned turbines for up to two years by circumventing its own sanctions against Moscow.

Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development voted unanimously on Friday to call on Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and others to explain the government’s conduct.

A committee motion passed on Friday aims to have Ms. Joly and other ministers, including Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, appear before MPs by July 22.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the decision to repair and return Russian pipeline turbines was “very difficult” but was designed to spare Europeans the pain of sanctions meant to target Moscow.

Story here by Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase and Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.

Also on Friday, a House of Commons committee on industry and technology agreed to undertake a study into the widespread blackout that knocked out cellphone, home phone and Internet services for millions of Canadians end of last week. History here.

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BC COURT OF APPEAL PRIVATE HEALTH CARE RULE – The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a trial judge’s ruling that access to care private health care is not a constitutionally protected right despite long waiting times in the public system. The ruling is the latest in a 13-year legal battle that is now expected to head to the Supreme Court of Canada. History here.

NB PREMIER OF HEALTH FIRE – New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs replaces his Minister of Health and CEO of Horizon Health Network after a patient died this week in a waiting room of an emergency department in Fredericton. History here.

WIFE OF NOVA SCOTIA SHOOTER TESTIFIES – The common-law wife of the man responsible for the Nova Scotia mass shooting told an inquest on Friday that she lied to police about her weapons illegal and had not reported any previous violent behavior because she was deeply afraid of him. History here.

BANK UNDERESTIMATED INFLATION PATH – The Bank of Canada says it has consistently underestimated the path of inflation over the past year due to unexpected increases in global commodity prices and changes in consumer spending trends that it has not fully taken into account. History here.

MAN ACQUITED IN AIR INDIA ATTACK SHOT – Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India terror attacks, was killed in what police described as a targeted shooting in Surrey on Thursday, in British Columbia.

NEW PLANE FOR PM AND GG? – The Royal Canadian Air Force will get two Airbus A330-200s to replace part of its aging CC-150 Polaris fleet, the Department of National Defense announced Thursday – a fleet that includes Can Force One, the aircraft used to transport the Prime Minister, the Governor General and other personalities. Story here from CBC.

CRIMINALIZING FORCED STERILIZATION: SENATE COMMITTEE – A Senate committee is calling for the criminalization of forced and coerced sterilization, after emotional testimony from nine people who described being subjected to sterilization procedures without their consent. History here.

$2.85 BILLION TO PROVINCES: FREELAND – Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says provinces, territories and municipalities have now received more than $2.85 billion promised months ago for health care. health, public transport systems and ventilation of classrooms. Story here from CTV.


COUNTRYSIDE TRAIL – Scott Aitchison campaigned in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Roman Baber is in Winnipeg for a meet and greet event. John Charest is in Saguenay, Quebec. Pierre Poilievre is in Kelowna. Leslyn Lewis is in the Yukon.

THIRD OFFICIAL DEBATE? – Members of the Conservative Party are asked if they want a third official leadership contestant’s debate. The question was posed to members on Friday in a memo from Ian Brodie, chairman of the party leadership election organizing committee, and they have 24 hours to respond. Two previous debates have taken place, one in Edmonton and the other in Laval, Quebec. The party left a slot open for a third debate. “Bots will soon be sent out to our new members and this debate would be for them,” Brodie’s memo reads. The third debate, according to the memo, would be a smaller-scale gathering in a private studio with no audience but broadcast live over the internet.


The House of Commons no longer sits until September 19. The Senate is due to resume on September 20.

FREELAND IN BALI – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, also Minister of Finance, attends a meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Bali, Indonesia.

NEW IMPACT AGENCY PRESIDENT – Terrence Hubbard, interim president of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, is now president for a five-year term beginning in July. 28, according to an opinion of the Office of the Prime Minister. The agency is a federal body, accountable to the Minister of the Environment, which provides assessments for potential projects.


New episodes of The Decibel are not released on Fridays for the months of July and August. You can check out previous episodes here.


In the Ottawa area, the Prime Minister visited a local children’s day camp, met with a family to discuss the government’s Climate Action Incentive payment and visited a local brewery.


No published schedule for party leaders.


Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the pandemic has shattered the orderly world of central bankers:There’s just no fun for some people. Barely has the Bank of Canada executed its most recent and decisive measure against inflation – a full one-percentage-point increase in its benchmark interest rate, after two increases of one half a point earlier this year – that it has come under fire from some of the same people who had previously complained that it was not doing enough to fight inflation. I get it: if the bank had raised rates a little earlier, they wouldn’t have to raise rates so drastically now. It’s a fair criticism. But that’s a very different criticism from the one that has been the dominant theme among bank critics: that the bank engineered today’s high inflation by “printing money” to better finance the Trudeau government’s deficits.

Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how the Rogers outage is a reminder of Canada’s failure to establish a secure wireless network for emergency services: As gratifying as it was to hear Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne berate Rogers Communications Inc. for its network outage, he and his Cabinet colleagues should be reprimanded as well. At least some of the chaos experienced by first responders, hospitals and other public safety workers last week could have been avoided if Ottawa had kept its 11-year-old promise to establish a secure wireless network for services emergency.

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Danielle Smith selling a fantasy to fans she betrayed years ago: “What the province needs, of course, is a leader who will stand up to Albertans: a leader who will recognize the challenges of a booming and recessionary economy where his core product is what the developed world tries (trying) to move away, but who will also fight for more representation in Ottawa. Instead, he is treated to, among other disappointments, a remorseful renegade peddling a poor version of Alberta separatism.

Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) on whether a faltering Justin Trudeau will risk an election in the fall: “As any starter will tell you, the fun of being a starter is controlling the schedule; liberals can either fight now, when things are bad, or later, when things are likely to be worse, possibly much worse. Leaving early would also play on Trudeau’s sense of history. Win a fourth consecutive election? Harper couldn’t do it. Neither did Trudeau 1.0. More importantly, defeating Pierre Poilievre – assuming he wins the Conservative leadership – would represent a victory over the forces of darkness, the purveyors of negativity to which Trudeau sees himself as the antidote. Winning this fight would provide one hell of an exit ramp. There is no alternative, really. Having failed to groom a successor, Trudeau remains the Liberal Party, and the Liberal Party remains Trudeau.

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