New Democrats poised to push for boost to spending on veterans' services

https://ipolitics.ca/2018/11/05/new-democrats-poised-to-push-for-boost-to-spending-on-veterans-services/

After setting the stage for a House showdown over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s refusal to schedule by-elections in three vacant ridings, it appears that the New Democrats will instead devote what will likely be their final designated supply day of the fall sitting to a show of support for Canada’s veterans — and specifically, for new rules that would force Veterans Affairs to “automatically carry forward all annual lapsed spending to the next fiscal year, for the sole purpose of improving services for Canadian veterans, until the Department meets or exceeds its 24 self-identified service standards.”

According to Global NewsNew Democrat MP Gord Johns is set to put forward the motion this morning in lieu of a competing proposal tabled by his caucus colleague, Peter Julian, that would have pushed for a new protocol for filling Commons vacancies that would take the decision out of the hands of the prime minister.

It’s worth noting that, as drafted, even if Johns’ motion is adopted by the House, it wouldn’t be binding on the government, as it would simply constitute the House expressing its collective opinion on the issue with no actual power to impose the proposed new rules on the department.

Before that debate gets underway, however, MPs will spend a final hour going over the pros and cons of Conservative MP Len Webber’s backbench bid to authorize the Canada Revenue Agency to collaborate with provinces and territories on sharing data required for the creation of an organ donor registry, which needs to secure second-reading approval-in-principle to be sent on to committee for further study.

ON & AROUND THE HILL

In the wake of Quebec journalist Denise Bombardier’s recent comments on French-speaking communities outside Quebec — and specifically, her assertion that they have “almost disappeared,” and that it’s only Quebec nationalism that has preserved the language within the province, which she offered during an interview with former prime minister Jean Chretien on Tout le monde en parle — Atlantic Canadian Liberal MPs Darrell Samson and Rene Arsenault, as well as other members of the party’s minority language caucus, share their perspective on “the realities on the ground for minority francophone communities” during an afternoon media availability outside the House of Commons.

Also on the parliamentary media circuit today: A coalition of environmental, health and public interest groups hits the stage at the Centre Block press theatre to update reporters on their ongoing “mobilization” against a new federal roadmap that will, according to the advisory, back the development of a “new fleet of nuclear reactors” across Canada, the details of which are expected to be revealed at an upcoming industry conference.

Among the groups expected to participate in the briefing: Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, Ralliment contre las pollution radioactive and the Atomic Photographers Guild.

OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT

Colleges and Institutes Canada brings together “leaders from Canada’s applied research community” for a two-day symposium on “accelerating innovation” that will feature an on-stage “chat” with House industry committee members Dan Ruimy (Liberal), Dan Albas (Conservative) and Brian Masse (NDP), as well as a presentation on “the future of essential skills” by Sen. Diane Bellemare and a “student innovation showcase” introduced by Ottawa-area Liberal MP Andrew Leslie.

Veterans Affairs launches “The Edge of Peace,” a new outdoor “commemorative exhibit” in Confederation Park that, as per the notice, “consists of several luminous spheres that form a “moonGARDEN,’” with “a 14-minute story reflecting on the price of freedom and fragility of peace  … projected in the spheres.”

In Canada’s energy capital, meanwhile, the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy promises a “deep dive” into the “projected implications” of Team Trudeau’s bid to overhaul the environmental assessment regime during a panel discussion that will explore whether the proposed legislation — which is currently before the Senate —  is “the last of a thousand cuts or a solution to regulatory frustration.”

Finally, former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is booked in for an evening appearance at the Calgary Petroleum Club to offer his thoughts on “discuss international and domestic factors affecting the industrial competitiveness of Western Canada’s natural resources.”