In a break from what has become standard operating procedure over the last eight weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will skip both his usual mid-morning media briefing outside Rideau Cottage and the newly instituted weekly in-person meeting of MPs in the House of Commons to attend a repatriation ceremony for the six Canadian Armed Forces members killed in last week’s helicopter crash off the coast of Greece.
As per the official advisory, the ramp ceremony will take place at Canadian Forces Base Trenton this afternoon under strict COVID-19 protection protocols, which, as per Canadian Press, will require “all CAF members on parade,” with the exception of pallbearers, to “remain two metres apart,” with mandatory masks for all attendees, as well as gloves for pallbearers “and those unable to physically distance.” (2:30 PM)
Later this afternoon, a motorcade will make its way to Toronto via the Highway of Heroes, although as CP notes, “while such processions have traditionally been accompanied by crowds gathering along the highway to show their support and honour those who have died,” due to the pandemic, “the Ontario government is encouraging people to watch it from home.”
Back in the precinct, the SPECIAL COMMIITEE ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC holds its second extended in-person session in the Commons Chamber, during which party leaders and a representative sampling of MPs will have two hours and 15 minutes to cross-examine key ministers on how the government is handling the current public health crisis, as well as an additional two hours for a more wide-ranging discussion on the pandemic after the ministerial Q&A wraps up. (12 noon)
Likely to be at the top of the opposition agenda, according to a CP preview: The just-released $252 million emergency aid package for the agricultural sector, which has faced “plenty of criticism … from all parties” for falling far short of the $2.6 billion “deemed necessary by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture,” as well as the ongoing concerns over the other emergency benefit programs and other issues that have been come up during previous virtual and in-person committee meetings.
ON AND AROUND THE HILL
Before making her way to the Commons, Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May will hit the stage at the West Block media theatre to share her thoughts on “how Parliament is functioning through this pandemic,” as well as how her party “is holding the government to account.” (9 AM)
ON THE VIRTUAL COMMITTEE CIRCUIT
HEALTH members hear from some of Canada’s most influential health and patient advocacy groups, including the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Association for Rare Disorders and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada as members continue to monitor the government’s ongoing response to the pandemic. (4 – 7 PM)
Due to the ongoing parliamentary shutdown, most House and Senate committee meetings are suspended until regular sittings resume.
FRESH FROM iPOLITICS
HOT OFF THE WIRES
Committee highlights courtesy of our friends at iPoliticsINTEL.
Don’t miss today’s complete legislative brief in GovGuide.ca!