As previewed by iPolitics’ in-house Process Nerd yesterday, the Conservatives are poised to use their last opposition day of the sitting to call on the House of Commons to “formally censure” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to “express (its) disappointment in his conduct,” which, it contends, includes “misleading Canadians on the withdrawal of fighter jets in the fight against ISIS, misleading Canadians about his service record, presiding over the wrongful accusation and dismissal of Vice-Admiral Norman (and) engaging in a cover-up of sexual misconduct allegations.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has scheduled a mid-morning media briefing to outline what his party hopes to accomplish by introducing — and, depending on how the debate plays out, potentially passing — the motion, which stands in his name. (10 AM)
As Process Nerd noted yesterday: “While technically binding, it’s not entirely clear what, if any, consequences would result from its passage — beyond, that is, being put on the parliamentary record as a clear expression of the views of the House.”
Past precedent suggests that it could involve Sajjan being called to the Bar — that is, the literal brass bar at the south end of the chamber, which, as per House of Commons Procedure and Practice, “is a barrier past which uninvited representatives of the Crown (as well as other non-Members) are not welcome” — to have the resolution read to him by the speaker.
(It’s worth noting that, as of this morning, it’s not even clear that Sajjan will be in the Chamber while his conduct is under debate. He will, however, take part in a virtual panel discussion on the future of NATO with his Slovakian and Northern Macedonian counterparts later this morning, as well as a virtual announcement on new federal funding in Victoria this afternoon.)
As this will be the last allotted day of the current supply cycle, the motion will go to a vote later this evening, as will the latest batch of supplementary estimates — a process that typically marks the end of the supply period, which, in turn, would allow — although not necessarily ensure — MPs to unanimously agree to end the spring sitting ahead of schedule.
Given that at least one mission-critical government bill — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s omnibus budget bill — is still inching its way through the final stages of debate, however, there’s not much chance that will happen before Monday at the earliest.
Before all that gets underway, another potentially precedent-setting vote will take place as MPs decide whether to take the rare step of deciding whether to summon another person to the bar: specifically, Public Health Agency of Canada president Iain Stewart, who is currently facing potential parliamentary sanctions after the agency refused to produce unredacted documents related to the firing of two scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory, as instructed by an earlier House order, which, as per the ruling handed down by House Speaker Anthony Rota last night, constitutes a prima facie breach of privilege.
Under the terms of the motion put forward in response to his ruling by the Conservatives, in addition to handing over the material, Stewart would “receive, on behalf of [PHAC], an admonishment delivered by the speaker” over its failure to comply with the initial House order.
Meanwhile, after receiving the negative COVID-19 test required to be released from the Ottawa-area hotel where he and his travelling entourage began the first leg of their two-week post-summit quarantine earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue to self-isolate at home, where, in addition to the standard unspecified “private meetings,” he’ll host a (presumably virtual) huddle with his front bench team and hold his weekly tele-conference with provincial and territorial premiers, as well as a separate one-on-one call with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey.
He will not, however, be logging into the parliamentary Zoom feed to field questions from his cross-aisle adversaries this afternoon, leaving that task to Freeland, who will face the House via webcam for the second day in a row. (2 PM)
Finally, Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner holds his traditional mid-June press conference, during which he’ll “update Canadians on the work of the Supreme Court” as well as field questions from journalists. (10 AM)
ON AND AROUND THE HILL
The Parliamentary Budget Office releases its preliminary estimates on the cost of temporarily waiving the one-week waiting period for employment insurance claims, as well as “maintaining flexible and uniform access to regular, fishing and special EI benefits across all regions.” (9 AM)
Liberal MPs on the House PUBLIC SAFETY committee will hit the West Block press theatre to provide an update on their Commons-ordered examination of “systemic racism” in policing (10:30 AM).
Later this morning, ACCESS TO INFORMATION, PRIVACY AND ETHICS members will discuss their report on “protection of privacy and reputation” on Pornhub and similar video-sharing platforms, which will be tabled in the House of Commons later this morning. (11:15 AM)
Also making the rounds on the parliamentary media circuit this morning: Conservative MP Michael Cooper, who will brief reporters on his private members’ pitch to “strengthen Canada-Taiwan relations” (11 AM).
Last but not least, former Conservative turned Independent MP Derek Sloan hits the West Block press theatre to highlight “the censorship of doctors, scientists and medical information,” which, according to the advisory, seems to be focused on concerns related to vaccines and criticism of pandemic-triggered lockdowns. (12 PM)
OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT
Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna teams up with Niagara-area Liberal MPs Chris Bittle and Vance Badawey, as well as a contingent of local officials from the Niagara Historical Society, St. Catharines Public Library and the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, for a virtual event to unveil a fresh tranche of federal funding under the Canada Healthy Community Initiative. (9 AM)
Meanwhile, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne drops by the Pointe-Claire headquarters of Medicom, which bills itself as a “leading manufacturer and distributor” of “reliable personal protective equipment,” to share the details of new financial support to boost “domestic manufacturing” of PPE. (9 AM)
Elsewhere in the province, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet embarks on a two-day mini-tour that, as per the itinerary released by his office, will include a visit to the Davie shipyard in Lévis, a tour of vaccine manufacturer Medicago’s Quebec City operations and a meeting with Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.
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HOT OFF THE WIRES
Don’t miss today’s complete legislative brief in GovGuide.ca!