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iPolitics AM: O’Toole back on the Hill media circuit as finance committee focuses on inflation

As the capital braces for what one city official predicted could be a “once every 10 years” snowstorm, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is currently scheduled to hold an in-person media availability on Parliament Hill this afternoon, although the flurry of increasingly stark weather warnings, he may end up appearing via video instead. (2:40 PM)

As for the topic, the advisory issued by his office provides no details on what, exactly, he intends to talk about before opening the floor to questions from the press.

A quick check of his Twitter feed, however, suggests that he and his party will likely continue to highlight the “cost of living crisis” caused by rising inflation and delays in the supply chain — which, they contend, have been exacerbated by the stringent new vaccine requirements for cross-border truckers that came into force over the weekend.

The real-time risks and long-term consequences of the uptick in inflation are also on the agenda for the House FINANCE committee, which will kick off a wide-ranging study into its impact on the “current Canadian economy” with an afternoon panel discussion featuring a trio of Statistics Canada experts: chief statistician Anil Arora, assistant chief Greg Peterson, and director of the consumer-prices division, Heidi Ertl. (2:30 – 5:30 PM)

The NATIONAL DEFENCE and OFFICIAL LANGUAGES planning subcommittees are also set to gather behind virtually closed doors to prep for the return to regular parliamentary business on Jan. 31.

Finally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will spend the day in “private meetings” before firing up his webcam to attend what his office describes as a  “virtual celebration of Thai Pongal featuring front-line workers to highlight the contributions of Tamil Canadians during the pandemic,” with Toronto Mayor John Tory also expected to join the online festivities. (6:15 PM)

OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT

Sport Minister Pascale St. Onge, whose portfolio also includes the Quebec regional development agency, unveils, via Zoom, a fresh instalment of “financial assistance” for Baie-Comeau’s Microbrasserie Saint-Pancrace, which, as per the notice, “(specializes) in the development of craft beers representing the Côte-Nord region.” (11:30 AM)

Elsewhere on the virtual hustings, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser teams up with Liberal MPs Sukh Dhaliwal, who represents the B.C. riding of Surrey—Newton, and Serge Cormier, whose riding is Acadie—Bathurst in New Brunswick, to announce funding for “organizations that deliver resettlement and settlement service to refugees and other vulnerable newcomers to Canada” alongside representatives from the Immigration Services Society of British Columbia and New Brunswick’s Multicultural Association of the Chaleur Region. (12:30 PM)

Finally, the Bank of Canada will release the winter edition of its quarterly Business Outlook Survey, as well as the “latest results” from the rolling Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations, which will be published online with no accompanying lockup or media briefing. (10:30 AM)

IN THE CHAMBER

Regular parliamentary proceedings are scheduled to resume on Jan. 31, 2022.

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Committee highlights courtesy of our friends at iPoliticsINTEL.

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