A senior parliamentary committee has voted to hold hearings on the federal government’s decision to import and repair Russian government-owned turbines for up to two years in circumvention of its own sanctions against Moscow.
Members of the House of Commons standing committee on foreign affairs and international development voted unanimously Friday to call Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and others to explain the government’s conduct.
A committee motion passed Friday seeks to have Ms. Joly and other ministers including Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson appear before MPs by July 22.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week said the decision to repair and return Russian pipeline turbines was “very difficult,” but was designed to spare Europeans the pain from sanctions meant to target Moscow.
Also Friday, a Commons committee on industry and technology has agreed to undertake a study of the widespread outage that knocked out cellphone, home-phone and internet services for millions of Canadians late last week. Story here.
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B.C. APPEAL COURT RULES ON PRIVATE HEALTH CARE – The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of a trial judge who ruled that access to private health care is not a constitutionally protected right despite long waiting times in the public system. The decision is the latest in a 13-year legal battle that is now expected to be headed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Story here.
N.B., PREMIER FIRES HEALTH MINISTER – New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is replacing his Health Minister and the CEO of the Horizon Health Network after a patient died this week in an emergency department waiting room in Fredericton. Story here.
SPOUSE OF NOVA SCOTIA GUNMAN TESTIFIES – The common-law wife of the man responsible for the Nova Scotia mass shooting told an inquiry Friday that she lied to police about his illegal weapons and failed to report earlier violent behaviour because she was deeply afraid of him. Story here.
BANK UNDERESTIMATED INFLATION TRAJECTORY – The Bank of Canada says it consistently underestimated the trajectory of inflation over the past year as a result of unexpected increases in global commodity prices and shifting patterns of consumer spending that it failed to account for fully. Story here.
MAN ACQUITTED IN AIR INDIA BOMBING SHOT DEAD – Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India terrorist bombings, was killed on Thursday in what police described as a targeted shooting in Surrey, B.C. Story here.
NEW AIRCRAFT FOR PM AND GG? – The Royal Canadian Air Force will be getting two Airbus A330-200 aircraft to replace part of its aging CC-150 Polaris fleet, the Department of National Defence announced Thursday – a fleet that includes Can Force One, the aircraft used to transport the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and other VIPs. Story here from CBC.
CRIMINALIZE FORCED STERILIZATION: SENATE COMMITTEE – A Senate committee is calling for the criminalization of forced and coerced sterilization, after emotional testimony of nine people who described being subjected to sterilization procedures without their consent. Story here.
$2.85-BILLION TO THE PROVINCES: FREELAND – Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the provinces, territories and municipalities have now received more than $2.85-billion promised months ago for health care, transit systems and classroom ventilation. Story here from CTV.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is campaigning in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Roman Baber is in Winnipeg for a meet-and-greet event. Jean Charest is in Saguenay, Que. Pierre Poilievre is in Kelowna. Leslyn Lewis is in Yukon.
THIRD OFFICIAL DEBATE? – Individual Conservative Party members are being asked if they want a third official leadership candidates’ debate. The question was put to members Friday in a note from Ian Brodie, chair of the party’s leadership election organizing committee, and they have 24 hours to answer. Two previous debates have been held, one in Edmonton and the other in Laval, Que. The party has left open a slot for a third debate. “Ballots will be going out to our newer members soon and this debate would be aimed at them,” said the note from Mr. Brodie. The third debate, said the note, would be a smaller-scale gathering in a private studio without an audience but streamed live on the internet.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
FREELAND IN BALI – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, also the Finance Minister, is attending a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Bali, Indonesia.
NEW IMPACT-AGENCY PRESIDENT – Terrence Hubbard, the acting president of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, is now president for a five-year term that begins in July. 28, according to an advisory from the Prime Minister’s Office. The agency is a federal body, accountable to the environment minister, that delivers assessments for potential projects.
New episodes of The Decibel are not being published on Fridays for the months of July and August. You can check previous episodes here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
In the Ottawa region, the Prime Minister visited a local children’s day camp, met with a family to discuss the government’s Climate Action Incentive payment, and visited a local brewery.
No schedules released for party leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the pandemic broke central bankers’ orderly world: “There’s just no pleasing some people. No sooner had the Bank of Canada executed its latest and most decisive move against inflation – a full percentage point increase in its benchmark interest rate, after two half-point increases earlier this year – than it came under hot fire, from some of the same people who had previously complained it wasn’t doing enough to fight inflation. I get it: If the bank had raised rates a little sooner, it would not have to raise rates as drastically now. That’s a fair criticism. But it’s a very different criticism than the one that has been the dominant theme among the bank-bashers: that the bank engineered the present high inflation by “printing money,” the better to finance the Trudeau government’s deficits.”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on how the Rogers outage is a reminder of Canada’s failure to set up a secure wireless network for emergency services: “As gratifying as it was to hear Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne scold Rogers Communications Inc. for its network outage, he and his cabinet colleagues should also be taken to task. At least some of the chaos experienced by first responders, hospitals and other public safety workers last week could have been avoided if Ottawa had delivered on an 11-year-old promise to establish a secure wireless network for emergency services.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Danielle Smith selling a fantasy to supporters she betrayed years ago: “What the province needs, of course, is a leader who will level with Albertans: one who will acknowledge the challenges of a boom-and-bust economy where its central commodity is one that the developed world is trying (trying) to move away from, but who will also fight for more representation in Ottawa. Instead, it’s being treated to, among other disappointments, a remorseful turncoat peddling a poor man’s version of Alberta separatism.”
Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) on whether a failing Justin Trudeau will risk a fall election: “As any incumbent will tell you, the joy of incumbency is in controlling the timetable; the Liberals can either fight now, when things are grim, or later, when things are likely to be worse, possibly much worse. Going early would also play to Trudeau’s sense of history. Winning a fourth election in a row? Harper couldn’t do it. Nor could Trudeau 1.0. More importantly, defeating Pierre Poilievre – presuming he wins the Conservative leadership – would represent a victory over the forces of darkness, the purveyors of negativity to which Trudeau views himself as the antidote. Winning that fight would provide one hell of an off-ramp. There’s no alternative, really. Having failed to groom a successor, Trudeau remains the Liberal Party, and the Liberal Party remains Trudeau.”
Pakistan politics based on element of vindictiveness; Imran latest victim – Business Standard
Politics in Pakistan is based on an element of vindictiveness which often tends to make the creator or supporter of a particular law, victim of his own doing. This vicious political cycle has affected the lives and careers of several prominent politicians in the country and would now come to haunt former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The accusations against Khan in the Toshakhana case is far more complex than it appears and is a matter of serious concern for the former premier. While on the face of it, the case might not appear as part of a major corruption scandal involving embezzlement of crores of state funds, it nevertheless hinges on a principle stand adopted by the Supreme Court on need for earnings to be declared by politicians, including Prime Ministers.
In the case of Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court had disqualified him from participating in national politics for life, which also became the basis for his removal from the post of Prime Minister. In the Sharif case, the accusation against him was for having not declared a certain amount which he was to have received (but had not yet received) from certain sources. The initial part of the Supreme Court declaration in the case had mentioned: “It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his unwithdrawn receivables constituting assets from XYZ sources in his nomination papers filed for general elections held in 2013, Sharif remains disqualified from being member of Parliament as per Article 62(1)F of the Constitution.”
It is worth noting that in the Nawaz Sharif case, even though he had not received the said amount, the fact that he was due to receive the amount, and had consciously avoided declaring the same in the statement of returns before the Election Commission, led the Supreme Court to come up with, what many members of the Pakistani legal fraternity considered as, a ‘controversial’ and ‘harsh’ decision. However, the fact remains that the decision was implemented and Nawaz Sharif was removed from position. Members of the PTI and PML-Q celebrated the occasion appreciating the decision of the Supreme Court.
According to reports, Khan had earned around 36 million PKR by illegally selling three watches gifted to him by foreign dignitaries to a local watch dealer. Apparently, Khan during his tenure as prime minister earned millions of rupees from these jewel-class watches collectively worth over 154 million PKR. The watches were gifted to him by foreign leaders. The most expensive watch, of more than 101 million PKR value, was apparently retained by Khan at 20 per cent of its value after his government amended the Toshakhana rules and settled the gift retention price at 50 per cent (not 20 per cent) of its original value. Moreover, he did so without ever declaring the gifts to the Election Commission and getting them evaluated.
If Nawaz Sharif was considered ‘dishonest’ by the Supreme Court for not declaring an amount he had not received, in the case of Khan his having received a certain amount from the sale of gifts received by him during his foreign tours and not declaring the same, poses an ever more serious threat to Khan. The precedence thus set by the Supreme Court would be a challenge to Khan to deal with. The more sinister aspect of the Khan case is that on receiving the costly gifts, he failed to declare them to the Toshakhana and retained them with him before disposing them.
Khan had received most of the gifts in 2018 during his foreign travels and should have ideally declared these in the 2019 statement of returns. Likewise, he did not declare the gifts received in 2019 in the 2020 statement of returns, thus committing a serious act of “dishonesty” towards the nation and the people of Pakistan.
Even though the Supreme Court decision against Nawaz Sharif was considered ‘drastic’ and ‘unusual’ and was criticised by the legal fraternity and political analysts, the fact remains that the Supreme Court decision has become a precedence and remains in place. Moreover, considering Nawaz Sharif had to give up the post of Prime Minister and has been banned for life from participating in elections, based on this decision of the Supreme Court, there is no reason why the same norms would not apply in the case of Khan.
The Sharif brothers would ensure that Khan is not spared on this count even though Khan would try to exploit his support base in the public domain to create strong opposition against the decision. The situation undoubtedly looks bleak for Khan as his fate now remains in the hands of the judiciary and the establishment.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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Politics Trump Policy – AAF – American Action Forum
It is done. The Senate has passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) using reconciliation procedures. Outside of the political imperative to “get something done,” there is little in the IRA to commend. It won’t reduce inflation. As a stand-alone, the health provisions are incoherent. And “historic” investment in combatting climate change is part of a larger strategy that never made sense, is chump change compared to the cost of the problem, and has been badly warped by the administration’s fealty to unionization efforts. It’s all bad enough.
That includes the tax policy – especially the book minimum tax. The basic idea was that a large firm ($1 billion in financial income) would pay the greater of 21 percent of its taxable income or 15 percent of the income reported in financial statements (book income). This was never a good idea.
It was tried in 1986 and eliminated in 1989. It was too complex to administer and comply with – nothing has improved on either front with the passage of time. It provided an incentive to distort the financial reporting for tax purposes; why would the United States want to do a U-turn on the progress made on this front in the aftermath of the Enron and Worldcom scandals? It also punished the wrong firms. The only legal way to get the effective rate down is to take advantage of things that Congress itself wrote into the tax code – accelerated depreciation and expensing, research and development tax credits, and so forth. Even advocates of the IRA acknowledged this was not good policy. It was softened to acknowledge depreciation deductions to reduce the hit on manufacturers and defended on the grounds that it would affect only 100 to 200 firms.
The Senate even tried to make it worse. On Saturday when the legislative text for the tax provisions was finally, and for the first time, made public, it contained a huge “gotcha.” Suppose that there were four firms, each with $300 million in book income, each of which had as a common majority investor an investment fund like a private equity. Under the IRA, these four firms would be deemed a $1.2 billion single firm, and subject to the 15 percent book tax.
This would have increased the number of affected firms dramatically, perhaps by as many as 15,000 to 20,000. But more important, it would have distorted much more economic activity and raised the headwinds to growth considerably. Fortunately, the provision was dropped during the debate, limiting the impact of the book tax.
In sum, the IRA won’t reduce inflation, is anti-growth, assaults innovation in the biopharma sector of the economy, and its climate provisions are poorly designed and puny relative to problem. As years pass, the IRA will appear less and less appealing. There may be political celebrating, but it is not a policy win.
Senate passes Democrats' sweeping health care and climate bill – CNN
(CNN)The Senate on Sunday afternoon passed Democrats’ $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill, in a significant victory for President Joe Biden and his party.
How Senate Democrats passed the bill on a party-line vote
How the bill addresses the climate crisis
Key health care and tax policy in the bill
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Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
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