For a second night in a row, the House of Commons is set to stay open long after after the close of regular parliamentary business as MPs gather for a special after-hours session to discuss the grim legacy of Canada’s residential school system after the remains of 215 children — some as young as three years old — were discovered on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last week.
Under the terms of the motion adopted by unanimous consent yesterday afternoon, the debate will get underway at approximately 6:30 PM, and will continue for up to four hours.
As it stands, the only party leader who has publicly announced his intention to join the conversation is the New Democrats’ Jagmeet Singh — who, it’s worth noting, rose in the House yesterday afternoon to formally request an emergency debate on the subject, which was denied by House Speaker Anthony Rota — although there’s no requirement to do so in advance.
-Before that gets underway, however, the Conservatives are set to force a full day of debate on their call for the House of Commons to issue a formal order that would give the Public Health Agency of Canada 48 hours to hand over unredacted documents on “the transfer of Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in March 2019,” as well as “the subsequent revocation of security clearances for, and termination of the employment of, Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and Dr. Keding Cheng,” which, the motion notes, have already been requested by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, but the agency has thus far refused to produce.
If adopted, the motion would also order Health Minister Patty Hajdu to appear before the committee “for at least three hours” to discuss the contents of the documents, which would undergo a “confidential review” by the law clerk before being formally tabled in the House.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will outline the details of the motion — which would be binding if passed — during a pre-debate press briefing in the West Block media theatre. (9:30 AM)
He’s also booked in for a “political keynote” at the week-long annual meet-up of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities — which, due to the pandemic, is being held entirely online — before firing up his webcam for a $1,650-per-person “virtual meet and greet” with party supporters. (4:30/6:30 PM)
Also set to hit the digital stage at the FCM conference: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who will address the virtual crowd this morning. (11:30 AM)
According to his daily itinerary, he’s also planning to face his cross-aisle adversaries during question period this afternoon, although as yet, there’s no word on whether he will return to his front-and-centre seat this afternoon to take part in the take-note debate.
Meanwhile, Bloc Québécois chef Yves-François Blanchet teams up with House leader Alain Therrien and communications critic Martin Champoux to go over the latest developments on the government’s proposed overhaul of the federal broadcasting regime, which he has previously pledged to support. (10:30 AM)
Finally, Green Party Leader Anamie Paul holds a mid-morning media availability to highlight “concerns” over the extension of emergency pandemic benefits. (11 AM)
IN THE CHAMBER
In addition to the Conservative motion and the take-note debate, MPs are also scheduled to wrap up the final round of debate on Conservative MP Scot Davidson’s proposal to limit the export of plastic waste, which will go to a third-reading vote tomorrow.
ON AND AROUND THE HILL
A trio of Conservative MPs — Michelle Rempel Garner, Eric Duncan and Bernard Généreux — kick off Pride Week with a “call to action,” including, but not limited to, challenging the Liberals to keep their campaign pledge to end the ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men. (10 AM)
New Democrat MP Brian Masse briefs reporters on the CRTC’s decision to reverse its ruling on wholesale internet rates, which, as per the advisory, “will have a direct and negative impact on Canadians” by “causing already high internet prices to skyrocket.” (9 AM)
OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT
Native Women’s Association of Canada president Lorraine Whitman and CEO Lynne Groulx hold a Zoom briefing to launch a new National Action Plan on the recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as explain why the organization has decided to “walk away from [the] toxic, dysfunctional process” so it can “put families, not politics, first.” (11 AM)
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HOT OFF THE WIRES
Don’t miss today’s complete legislative brief in GovGuide.ca!