Politics & Policy

Renewed criticism from G7 ministers

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and her G7 counterparts today pledged more intense sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. They also closed their three-day meeting in Japan by formally criticizing China for its recent aggression in the Taiwan Strait and North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese arrests in New York

U.S. prosecutors have unsealed criminal charges against two men accused of helping to operate an unauthorize Chinese “police outpost” in New York. The office is one of more than 100 around the world, including in Canada where they are under investigation by the RCMP, used to intimidate and control Chinese expatriates. [node:read-more:link]

New G7 wind and solar goals

Canada and the other G7 countries have pledged to add a combined 150 gigawatts of offshore windpower generation capacity by 2030 as well as installing a collective one terawatt of solar power capacity. “Initially, people thought that climate action and action on energy security potentially were in conflict,” Canadian Minister of Environment & Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said April 16 after their two-day summit in Japan. “But […] they actually work together.” [node:read-more:link]

Parliament back with busy agenda

With the House of Commons and Senate back today from their winter hiatus, two weeks-long spring sessions before summer have a packed agenda for MPs, including discussion of precedence for 25 government bills. They include a pending budget approval bill as well as Bill C-21, which would amend several statutes to improve firearms controls. [node:read-more:link]

Greenhouse gases rose in 2021

Canada’s latest greenhouse gas emissions report shows that they were up in 2021 from the previous year but remained below pre-pandemic levels, according to its latest annual report to the UN. Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault says the 1.8 per cent rise to 670 million tonnes was expected but that “Canada's economy, in the face of a strong post-pandemic rebound, continues to show signs of becoming more efficient and less polluting as our journey to net-zero emissions continues.” [node:read-more:link]

Coal “net zero” goal elusive

Environment and energy ministers from Canada and the other G7 have been unable to set a timeline for phasing out coal-fired power plants. In a statement after two days of talks in Japan, they restated a commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Canada’s Steven Guilbeault reiterated his call for “strong language”, adding that “phasing out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 has never been so urgent” in Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Nuclear energy divisive in Germany

Germany’s decision to shut down the country’s three remaining nuclear power stations after decades of debate remains divisive. One side says keeping the reactors online would mean huge investment which could be used for renewables. The other argues that it illogical when reduced dependence on imported energy is boosting costs and potentially increasing reliance on fossil fuels. [node:read-more:link]

Playing politics with national security

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, offered few new insights today on the issue of foreign meddling in Canada’s electoral processes even as documents supplied by National Security Advisor Jody Thomas confirmed there had been high-level briefings over more than four years. Pressed for details and expressing “frustration” about how much detail she could go into, Telford said Trudeau had been “briefed regularly” and “absolutely” read briefs on the issue but this didn’t sit well with Opposition MPs who had sought more specific details. [node:read-more:link]

Mixed reaction to border blockade

Nearly 260 pages of emails made public this week showed that individuals who supported the blockade of an Alberta border crossing into Montana early last year didn’t like how the RCMP carried out their duties. While proponents of a crackdown called the blockading truckers “economic terrorists”, critics resorted to “political hit men” while others likened Canada to Communist regimes and called it “Orwellian.” [node:read-more:link]

CSE reports increased cyber threat

There has been a “notable” increase in cyber threat activity by Russia-aligned actors, the Communications Security Establishment reported April 13. “These are attention-grabbing, but do not mean the website has been hacked or that any information has been compromised,” said Sami Khoury, head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security within the CSE. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau in damage control?

Ahead of today’s appearance of his chief of staff, Katie Telford, before a House committee looking into foreign meddling in Canada’s electoral processes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 13 that they had discussed the issue “over many years.” The committee had been trying for weeks to have Telford testify but repeated requests initially were resisted by the PM. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian drug prescription end-run

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says the federal and provincial governments are working to limit the “outrageous” exportation of essential medications to the U.S. He was responding April 13 to reports that a Texas-based physician licensed in Nova Scotia had written 17,000 prescriptions which were filled by two B.C. pharmacies in B.C. then mailed to American residents. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian banks back fossil fuels

Oil Change International, an international coalition of environmental groups coordinated in Washington, reported April 13 says that Royal Bank of Canada was the biggest fossil fuel financier in the world in 2022, providing more than US$42 billion in funding of nearly $140 billion in lending by the five major Canadian banks. Scotiabank and TD ranked ninth and 10th globally at $29.5 billion and some $29 billion, respectively, while Bank of Montreal and CIBC were 15th and 16th at $19.3 billion and $17.9 billion, also respectively. [node:read-more:link]

Higher bank rates possible

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem says the bank is prepared to raise its policy rate if necessary to bring inflation back to its 2 per cent target in 2024. The rate is on hold at 4.5 per cent on Wednesday as inflation continues to decelerate but Macklem said April 12 that “if monetary policy is not restrictive enough to get us all the way back to the […]target, we are prepared to raise the policy rate.” [node:read-more:link]

PM plays down minister’s remarks

Justice Minister David Lametti committed last week to Assembly of First Nations chiefs that he would be “looking” at natural resources jurisdiction and was immediately denounced by the three Prarie premiers as “dangerous and divisive.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 12 that the premiers were “trying to elevate fears that have absolutely no grounding in truth” and that Lametti was talking about Canada’s obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. [node:read-more:link]


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