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The parliamentary session in five stages

Photo: Spencer Colby The Canadian Press The leader of the opposition and the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, in the House of Commons, June 3

Boris Proulx and Sandrine Vieira in Ottawa

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  • Canada

Very few federal elected officials say they had a good time during the 2024 winter session, while Ottawa sailed to the chaotic rhythm of reports on the cost of living, data on immigration, interference scandals, pandemic contracts, and provocations that put no one in a good mood. Assessment in five stages.

1. Finally more information on foreign interference

A year after the first allegations of foreign interference during the last two federal elections, Judge Marie-Josée Hogue, responsible for investigating this thorny issue, issued a highly anticipated preliminary report. Verdict: Acts of foreign interference may have played a role in the choice of candidate in a small number of ridings, but had no impact on the election of the Liberal government.

Then a committee of parliamentarians revealed that some of their colleagues had “knowingly assisted” foreign agents, including by providing confidential information to India. Their identities are recorded in a secret version of the report; only a few elected officials know who it is, including the leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, and the NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh.

Chef Yves-François Blanchet is the next to access the report. Judge Marie-Josée Hogue will look into these allegations, and her final report is expected at the end of the year.

2. A return of visas for Mexicans

Under pressure to curb the large flow of asylum seekers into the country, the federal government finally reimposed, in February, the visa requirement to Mexican nationals.

The measure had been demanded by the two main opposition parties in Parliament for several weeks. The Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, even wrote a letter to his counterpart, Justin Trudeau, at the beginning of the year, to urge him to curb the influx of these new arrivals.

Even though the measure only applies to about 40% of travelers who visit Canada annually, it quickly provoked the displeasure of the Mexican president, who said he would reserve the right to “act in a reciprocal manner “.

The federal Minister of Immigration, Marc Miller, confided that discussions on the “exponential growth” in the number of Mexican asylum seekers were taking place in behind the scenes for several months, but that no other solution had been found to prevent the reimposition of the visa.

3. Conservative leader expelled

If question period is generally lively in Ottawa, some more difficult exchanges sowed chaos in the House of Commons: notably when the leader of the opposition, Pierre Poilievre, called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “crazy” (“wacko“, in English).

The Conservative leader refused to withdraw his remarks four times, at the request of the Speaker of the House, which led to his being temporarily excluded from the debates. All Conservative MPs also left the House in solidarity, after several minutes of hubbub that disrupted parliamentary discussions.

The discussions had taken a very acrimonious turn from the start. Prime Minister Trudeau had accused his rival Poilievre of appeasing white supremacists. Mr. Poilievre returned to the House the following day. Since then, his caucus has continued to use the term “nuts” in statements and on social media to describe certain government policies.

4. The setbacks of an application

Between quarantines and curfews, the list of bad memories of the COVID-19 pandemic wouldn't be complete without the ArriveCan smartphone app. Not only was it riddled with bugs for travelers, but its development entrusted to external firms was marked by shocking irregularities.

Federal officials did not believe good justification for awarding contracts without a call for tenders to consultants paid $1,090 per day, we learned this winter. A manager nevertheless admitted with regret his participation in a virtual whiskey tasting with the entrepreneurs who pocketed millions in profits for having passed on ArriveCan contracts to others.

Result: the bill climbed to $59.5 million, according to the best estimates of the Auditor General, who speaks of the “worst record keeping” she has seen in her life. It is the police who will tell the rest of the story, since a search took place at the home of one of the two partners of the firm GC Strategies.

5. Abortion nt as a lifeline

Conservatives have never digested the legalization of abortion that occurred more than 35 years ago in Canada, and their liberal opponents make it their mission to remind them of this as their party falls in the polls.

One of the two elected officials to appear at the annual anti-abortion demonstration in Ottawa, the Alberta conservative Arnold Viersen , was rebuffed a few weeks later by his boss, Pierre Poilievre, for repeating his beliefs in a podcast. Even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court chimed in to say that Canada “has settled the matter.”

Never mind that the Liberals are increasing the accusation that a Conservative government would roll back women's rights, particularly after Mr. Poilievre mentioned that he would not hesitate to circumvent the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by criminal matter. Montreal Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada went so far as to reveal in Parliament that she had interrupted an unwanted pregnancy in her youth.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116