The House

Weekend Briefing: the 10 stories you need to know

Reaction to the attack in Nice, an apology from the Commissioner of the RCMP and your Canada Child Benefit cheques are coming... your House Watch Weekend Briefing is in!

1. Justin Trudeau reacts to tragedies.

Justin Trudeau speaks at a press conference in Calgary on Friday, July 15, 2016. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau says all of Canada shares in Calgary's grief as the city mourns the loss of five-year-old Taliyah Marsman, whose body was discovered Thursday night, three days after her mother Sara Baillie was found dead.

"She was a beautiful child, as are all children, with a full and promising life ahead of her," Trudeau said Friday while in Calgary where he was attending the Stampede. "I want Calgarians to know that the entire country is with you in grieving her loss and that of her mother, Sara."

The Prime Minister also addressed the attack in Nice, France. "Our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. Canada stands with France as a steadfast ally and we will work with the international community to fight terror and to ensure that we live in a peaceful world," he said.


2. RCMP Commissioner apologizes

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson waits to appear before the Commons public safety and national security committee in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is apologizing to victims and witnesses of "egregious behaviour" at one of the Mounties' top training facilities.

The apology comes in a long-awaited internal report into allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct at the explosives training unit at the RCMP's Canadian Police College in Ottawa. The RCMP accepts all of the findings and has already drafted a plan on how it intends to implement all 28 recommendations. 


3. The next Ottawa-provinces dispute?

Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, speaks in Ottawa on Monday, June 6, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Quebec's health minister says the federal government has indicated it plans to let the annual increase in provincial health transfers fall to half its current level by the end of the year.

As efforts to forge a new federal-provincial health accord continue, Gaetan Barrette says his officials have been told that Ottawa has no appetite to keep the escalator at its current level of six per cent. The issue will likely come up when the country's premiers gather in Whitehorse next week. 

At the meeting, the premiers could also announce a trade mission to Europe, including a specific stop in the U.K., in order to address some of the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote.


4. Pension changes

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is flanked by his provincial and territorial counterparts as he speaks during a news conference after reaching a deal to expand the Canada Pension Plan, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday June 20, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The expanded Canada Pension Plan is still on track for ratification even though British Columbia didn't meet Friday's deadline to formally sign on to the agreement. "While all other signatories will meet this target, the province of British Columbia has indicated it needs more time to do so," federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in a statement. "The process remains on track for the government to table federal legislation in the fall as planned."

B.C. plans to go through a public education and engagement process — particularly with small businesses — before moving ahead with ratification of the CPP enhancements.

Meanwhile, according to a new federal study, the rapid rise of "virtual workers" — Canadians who do contract work online — threatens to lower wages and undermine social benefits such as employment insurance, minimum wage and maternity leave.


5. The new Canada Child Benefit cheques are coming.

The new Canada Child Benefit introduced by Justin Trudeau's Liberal government rolls out next Wednesday, July 20. Nine in ten families will be better off under the new program, the federal government says. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

On July 20, Canadian families will find out exactly how much their new monthly payments will be.

The Liberals promised during last fall's federal election that nine in 10 Canadian families would be better off once their new child benefit package rolls out.

Significantly better — to the tune of $2,300 annually, on average, according to the finance department's calculations for the 2016-17 benefit year.

Is that really true? Find out here.


6. Busy week for the Assembly of First Nations.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, left, signs an accord with RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, during the AFN general assembly on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

First Nations chiefs expressed growing frustration with a delay in the federal government's launch of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, calling on both the provinces and Ottawa to stop dragging their feet, during their annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont.

The delay comes as two provinces, including Manitoba, continue to negotiate with the federal government over the terms of reference that would help determine the focus and scope of a national inquiry. It's unclear which other province is still negotiating.

The AFN also signed an agreement with the RCMP this week to address racism and discrimination within the force as the two sides look for new ways to improve relations ahead of the inquiry.


7. Patrick Brazeau is back at work.

(CBC)

Charges of fraud and breach of trust against Patrick Brazeau were withdrawn by the Crown this week. The next day he was back in his Senate office. In his first news conference since the Crown dropped fraud and breach of trust charges against him, Brazeau said his suspension from the Senate over his expense claims was politically motivated.


8. With Jason Kenney out, the Conservative leadership race is taking shape.

Conservative MP Tony Clement is applauded by supporters as he holds a rally in Mississauga, Ontario to announce his candidacy for the leadership of the Federal Conservative Party on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Conservative MP Tony Clement is in... again. He launched his campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada on Tuesday. Clement has already run once for the party's leadership. Before that he had also run to become the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party.

Longtime Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai also announced he's joining the race to replace Stephen Harper. Also Lisa Raitt is leaning towards it.


9. More Canadian soldiers could soon be heading to Africa.

Canadian peacekeepers prepare for a parade at Maple Leaf Camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1997. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to get Canada back into peacekeeping, and sources say the West African country of Mali could be one such mission. (Daniel Morel/Associated Press/Canadian Press)

Containing the spread of terrorism across Africa is a consideration for Canada as it mulls where best to contribute to a UN peacekeeping mission, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said this week. Something the Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, seemed to reference when he told dignitaries at the rain-soaked change of command ceremony on Parliament Hill that coming "very soon" there will be a capacity-building mission in Africa.

Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk, who officially took over as commander of the Canadian Army this week, said the army has enough troops to carry out missions in Iraq, Ukraine, Latvia and whatever peacekeeping assignments the new Liberal government deems necessary.


10. Duffy won't pay.

Senator Mike Duffy returns to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, May 2, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Mike Duffy's lawyer says the P.E.I. senator will not repay nearly $17,000 in expenses that a Senate administrative committee insists he owes because a Canadian court has already ruled them appropriate.

In a letter sent Thursday to the steering committee of the Senate's committee on internal economy, Donald Bayne said the demand for repayment, and a second option to submit to arbitration, amount to an "improper collateral attack on the final judgment and factual findings" of the Ontario Superior Court.

Justice Charles Vaillancourt cleared Duffy of all 31 charges related to allegations of improper spending in April.

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