Latest NewsLocalPolitics

Politics Briefing: Federal government to provide $2-billion to help reduce backlog of surgeries caused by COVID-19 pandemic – The Globe and Mail

Hello,

The federal government says it will provide the provinces and territories $2-billion to help reduce the backlog of surgeries created by the pandemic.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced the commitment on Friday at a news conference in Ottawa.

“These delays are a burden that can be very hard to bear for the affected patients, their families and their loved ones as well as for the health-care workers caring for them,” he said.

“Today’s announcement will help repair the damage caused to our health-care system by the pandemic.”

He said the investment could help provinces and territories clear hundreds of thousands of backlogged surgeries such as cancer and heart surgeries, as well as hip replacements.

In a statement, the federal finance department said the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed an estimated 700,000 surgeries and other medical procedures.

The statement said the federal government had introduced Bill C-17 to provide the $2 billion top-up, which will be distributed equally per capita. In addition, said the statement, the federal government has provided a previous $4.5 billion top up to the Canada Health Transfer to deal with health-system pressures created during the pandemic.

As the announcement was being made, the NDP issued a statement saying they “are already using their power to deliver for Canadians who need help now” after a deal announced this week that will see the government act on certain NDP priorities in return for the NDP supporting the Liberals in confidence votes.

In the statement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the $2-billion announcement will be helpful, “but we’ll keep using our power to get more help for Canadians.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

CANADA TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON 160 MORE RUSSIAN OFFICIALS – World leaders have agreed to send more military equipment to Ukraine, swell NATO ranks along Europe’s eastern flank and support the gathering of evidence of war crimes, as Western allies continue ramping up sanctions to increase the pressure on Moscow. Story here.

CONCERNS ABOUT TWO-TIER IMPACT OF CANADA’S IMMIGRATION EFFORT FOR UKRAINIANS – Opposition parties say the Liberal government’s streamlined immigration program for Ukrainians creates a two-tiered, racialized system that prioritizes Ukrainian immigrants over refugees from other conflict zones, including Afghanistan. Story here.

BOOST EXPORTS OF OIL AND NATURAL GAS, CANADA TELLS PRODUCERS – Canada says its producers can boost exports of oil and natural gas to the United States this year, as part of an international effort to help the world move away from Russian energy after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Story here.

NDP WON’T EASE UP ON LIBERALS IN HOUSE COMMITTEES: SINGH – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party’s commitment to prop up the Liberals in House of Commons confidence votes in exchange for action on NDP priorities won’t prevent his caucus from holding the government accountable in parliamentary committees. Story here.

WHISTLEBLOWER IN DIAS CASE IDENTIFIED – A long-time assistant to former Unifor president Jerry Dias – Chris MacDonald – was the whistleblower who lodged a complaint against his boss to the union about an alleged $50,000 payment that Mr. Dias accepted. Story here.

TORY SEEKING THIRD TERM AS TORONTO MAYOR – Toronto Mayor John Tory will seek a third term, bucking the trend of municipal renewal that has seen a wave of turnover in the top political job at cities across the country. If he is re-elected and serves a full term, Mr. Tory would become the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. Story here.

ONE-TIME REBATE IN B.C. TO HELP DRIVERS WITH GAS PRICES – Amid concerns about rising gasoline prices, British Columbia Premier John Horgan says drivers in British Columbia will get a one-time relief rebate to help deal with the cost at the pumps. Story here.

`I DON’T NEED THIS JOB’: JASON KENNEY IN RECORDING OBTAINED BY CBC – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was speaking to his party’s caucus staff this week when he told them how close he came to stepping back from his job ahead of the upcoming leadership review. “What’s the easiest path for me? Just to take a walk. I don’t need this job. I could go to the private sector, have my evenings, weekends off,” the Premier told the gathering in remarks contained in an audio file obtained by CBC News. Story here.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE:

STOP `NOT CONSERVATIVE’ ATTACKS: BERGEN – Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen says leadership contenders should avoid calling those they disagree with on policy “not Conservative.” Story here.

POILIEVRE PROMISES END TO IMPORTS OF OVERSEAS OIL – Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre says he will end imports of overseas oil to Canada within five years of becoming prime minister. In a statement, the Ottawa-area MP said he would enact the policy by banning imports from “polluting dictatorships,” doubling Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore production and supporting west-to-east energy projects like pipelines or rail construction.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, March 25, accessible here.

WANTED, SENATORS – Looking to be a Senator? The door is open for applications. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments has, this week, launched a call for new applicants to fill current and upcoming Senate vacancies through 2022. Canadians residing in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan are invited to apply for a seat before April 20, 2022. Recommendations for appointments are made based on established assessment criteria. Canadians are encouraged to apply or nominate qualified individuals

BRUNEAU RETIRING – TVA news anchor Pierre Bruneau, who hosted federal and provincial election debates for the Quebec TV network, has announced his plans to retire June 16, after 46 years at the network. Story here from The Montreal Gazette.

THE DECIBEL

Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast touches on hate crimes. A new task force co-chaired by Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the RCMP wants to create national standards to help front-line officers better identify and solve hate crimes. Mohammed Hashim is the executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and he’s on the show to tell us why hate crimes are a growing issue in Canada and how the task force will work to combat it. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister held private meetings in Brussels and then departed for Ottawa.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

OPINION

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal-NDP alliance: The agreement obliges the NDP not to support an explicit vote of no confidence in the government. But it is unclear on what would happen should the Liberals declare a particular vote – say, on whether the government should be required to produce certain documents or witnesses – to be a question of confidence. Only then will we find out what the NDP bought in this deal, and what it sold.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Michelle Rempel Garner and the stinking albatross around Patrick Brown’s neck: “Ms. Rempel Garner’s decision to co-chair Mr. Brown’s leadership campaign is particularly curious because she is likely the best known and most outspoken advocate for women’s rights in the Conservative caucus. Ms. Rempel Garner has written scathing op-eds about the “everyday sexism” experienced by female staffers on the Hill. She accused her own colleagues of sexism for leaving her out of an important policy discussion, and routinely takes the Prime Minister to task for speaking the language of feminism, yet acting differently.”

Michael Ignatieff (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the West must preserve Volodymyr Zelensky’s government to save Ukraine: The fall of the Zelensky government would give Mr. Putin the victory he so desperately needs; it would allow him to wipe out Ukraine as a sovereign state, and to begin the Russification of a newly conquered people. This plausible scenario should give Western leaders strategic and moral clarity. The West’s strategic objective in this war ought to be to preserve the Zelensky government. By saving the government, the West can save Ukraine. Any Russian effort to finish off the Zelensky government should be the West’s red line: the moment at which it sends a message to Mr. Putin that if he does not stop, it will respond with force.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.