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More Travel and Ethics Woes for the Government

MPs returned to Ottawa with the survival of the Liberal-NDP Supply and Confidence Agreement – and the Liberal government – at stake.
On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.

In the House 

  • This week MPs returned to the House of Commons, where considerable focus of the opposition parties has remained on the various scandals facing the government, including two new ones of their own making, one related to the Prime Minister’s last family vacation in Jamaica and the second related to a government appointment.  
  • Outside of the Commons, the strike of federal public servants threatens the Liberal-NDP Supply and Confidence Agreement and the survival of the Trudeau government, as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has made it clear the NDP will not support back-to-work legislation whether it is considered a confidence measure or not. The Conservatives, despite an ideological likelihood to support such a measure, have been mum on whether they would do so. 

At Committee 

  • The Standing Committee on Health has provided drafting instructions to committee analysts for a report on its study on children’s health. The report can reasonably be expected to be tabled by the end of session. Health committee members also heard from Liberal MP (and soon-to-be Ontario Liberal leadership candidate) Nathaniel Erskine-Smith on Private Members Bill C-293: An Act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness. Consideration of the Bill will likely be dispensed of quickly to send it back to the House at report stage so the committee can undertake other business.  

Around Cabinet   

  • Prime Minister Trudeau faces yet another ethics scandal relating to a foreign trip, this time for a family vacation he took last Christmas in a Jamaican property belonging to a wealthy long-time family friend. Said friend made a donation two years before to the Trudeau Foundation, which finds itself at the heart of the Chinese interference scandal.  
  • Alongside that, Interim Ethics Commissioner Martine Richard was forced to step down after opposition MPs agreed to study how the sister-in-law of influential cabinet minister Dominic Leblanc got the job. 
  • Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos launched the second day of the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit by announcing $214,883 in funding for the Autism Alliance of Canada (AAC) to address gaps in knowledge about the needs and experiences of autistic adults over the age of 30. 

Around the Dominion 

  • In Newfoundland, the government is expanding the Come Home Incentive to help attract healthcare professionals home to work in Newfoundland and Labrador. The program includes incentives starting at $50,000 for those with applicable ties to Newfoundland and Labrador, and starting at $25,000 for those with no ties to Newfoundland and Labrador, all subject to a three-year return-in-service agreement. 
  • In Manitoba, the provincial task force with the goal of reducing diagnostic and surgical procedures and reducing and eliminating the health-system backlogs caused by the pandemic is setting its sights on increasing health-system capacity even further. The task force will now operate with a mandate of emphasizing increased capacity in a stronger, more resilient public health system. 
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