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China Overshadows Health Announcements During Brief Parliamentary Sitting
The House of Commons returned for a short, one-week stint before taking its scheduled March break to a raucous debate on foreign interference in Canada’s elections. Most notably, allegations have surfaced that China interfered to sway a Liberal nomination in Don Valley North to install current-MP Han Dong as the candidate, while other allegations have emerged regarding an infusion of significant sums of money. Meanwhile, a snap-election call in PEI will send Islanders to the polls on April 3 in what all parties and observers agree will be a healthcare-focused election.
On that, and more, here’s your weekly roundup.
IN THE HOUSE
The House of Commons returned to a raucous environment with the Opposition parties united in their calls for Prime Minister Trudeau to launch a public inquiry into allegations that the Chinese government interfered in the last federal election. So far, the Prime Minister has resisted their urges, pushing back with his own proposal to appoint a special rapporteur on foreign interference in Canadian elections, and to mandate the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) to complete a review to assess the state of foreign interference in federal electoral processes.
- The House of Commons will now break until March 20.
- The Standing Committee on Health presented its tenth report, on Addressing Canada’s Health Workforce Crisis, to the House of Commons. The report proposes 20 recommendations, including increasing intergovernmental collaboration on recruitment of internationally trained health workers and increasing residency positions for international medical graduates, expediting pathways to pan-Canadian licensing for internationally trained health workers, developing a Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy, improving and implementing preventative health strategies, and developing a Pan-Canadian Mental Health Strategy for health care workersю
- The Standing Committee on Health held two meetings this week where it continued its study on children’s health. Witnesses included department chiefs for pediatrics, First Nations representatives, pediatric chairs, and other pediatric specialists who provided testimony on the compounding crises facing children’s health.
- Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos announced a $20-million investment from the CIHR to support a pan-Canadian Post COVID-19 Condition Research Network called Long COVID Web, and a $9-million investment from PHAC to develop clinical practice guidelines on Post-COVID-19 Condition (PCC). The investments were made pursuant to recommendations from the full report of the Task Force on PCC.
- Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett announced $2.7 million in funding to Jack.orgfor its project to scale and adapt the Jack Talks and Be There programs, and to create a digital hub of mental health resources for educators. The project will provide young people with peer-to-peer mental health education that is evidence-based, culturally safe, age-appropriate, and reflective of their experiences and needs.
AROUND THE DOMINION
- In PEI, Premier Dennis King triggered an early election, meaning Islanders will head to the polls on April 3. Through the first four days of the campaign, the overwhelmingly predominant theme of each party’s announcements has been healthcare. For the Premier, who came into the election riding a high approval rating following the province’s management of COVID-19, the focus on healthcare has not proven to be in his party’s favour as coverage of the government’s management of the file has been predominantly negative. Still, the Premier is firmly in the driver’s seat in what many would have called a coronation. It’ll be up to the other parties to create differentiation on the healthcare file — and make their message stick — to influence a different result.
- In Nova Scotia, the provincial government announced an investment of $37.4 million for a new research institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, which will help improve the health of rural Nova Scotians by focusing on the root causes of poor health and related issues. The government also announced an investment of $58.9 million to build a second medical school campus at Cape Breton University. The medical school is expected to open in 2025 and will train 30 new doctors every year.
- In Ontario, the Chief Medical Officer of Health released the 2022 annual report Being Ready: Ensuring Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Outbreaks and Pandemics. The report is a call to take key lessons from the pandemic, as well as H1N1 and SARS, to ensure Ontario is ready for any future outbreak or pandemic, whenever it might occur.
- In Manitoba, the Minister of Health introduced the Regulated Health Professions Amendment Act, which will reduce limits on the actions the Minister of Health can take to address concerns regarding the administration or operation of a health profession regulatory body with colleges that are both under and not yet under the act.
March 06 | 2023