iPolitics AM: Morneau holds pre-budget huddle as Trudeau makes the rounds in Dakar

ALSO TODAY: Freeland in Halifax to meet with NS premier, local mayor and area Liberals — Singh talks pharmacare in Vancouver

As the rolling cross-country protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline continue to shut down key segments of the passenger and freight rail network — which, as the Star reports, is leading to an uptick in pressure on the federal government to intervene in the standoff, with ministerial offices also being targeted for occupation — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Senegal to kick off the final leg of an African tour that aims to boost support for Canada’s bid to secure a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council.

On his official itinerary today: A morning visit to Gorée Island, a UN-recognized historic site dedicated to recognizing the grim legacy of the African slave trade before heading to the Presidential Palace for an extended visit with his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall, that will include a one-on-one meeting, joint media availability and official lunch.

Later this afternoon, he’ll attend the “official opening” of the International Development Research Centre’s Dakar office, as well as drop by a local basketball court to take in the 2022 Dakar Youth Olympic Games before wrapping up his day with a reception at the official residence of Canada’s ambassador to Senegal, Sébastien Beaulieu.

He may also face a fresh flurry of questions on how he intends to further his pledge to put gender equity at the centre of Canadian foreign policy against the backdrop of what Canadian Press describes as a “significant human rights challenges” in Senegal, where “homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison,” and rape was made a criminal offence just last month.

During his three-day tour of Ethiopia over the weekend, the wire service notes, “Trudeau appeared reluctant to publicly raise the issue of human rights and democratic violations with African leaders he met,” although he did tout the importance of “women’s empowerment” in a keynote speech at the African Union’s annual get-together.

Back in Toronto, Finance Minister Bill Morneau should be ready to field questions on the short- and long-term impact that the Coastal GasLink blockades could have on the Canadian economy when he holds a media availability after his scheduled closed-door pre-budget huddle with private sector economists, which he’ll follow up by chatting with local families at a vegetarian bistro.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland heads to Halifax for back-to-back meetings with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and local mayor — and former Liberal MP — Mike Savage before joining area Liberals for a “meet-and-greet” with Laurier Club members at the Shuck Seafood and Raw Bar.

Also on the maritime ministerial circuit: Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, who is booked in for a mid-afternoon visit to the Dartmouth-based Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship to unveil new federal cash earmarked to support “Canada’s growing blue economy” with targeted investments in three ventures that, as per the advisory, will “contribute to the sustainability and viability of our oceans.”

On the opposition front, New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh convenes an open-to-media “pharmacare roundtable”in Vancouver, where, alongside local MPs Jenny Kwan and Don Davies, he’ll hear from people who, as his office puts it, “have experienced challenges with access to medication to hear their stories on the need for medication coverage for all.”

Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet joins a contingent of Bloc MPs in Becancour, where they’ll meet with local aluminum workers.


Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan spends a second day making the rounds at the GLOBE Forum, where he’s scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at a session focused on “unpacking energy scenarios and what they mean for Canada.”

Elsewhere in Vancouver, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna joins New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote and local Liberal MP Terry Beech for a chat with the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, which she’ll follow up with a live demonstration of electric bus technology, courtesy of TransLink.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau stops by the CropConnect Conference in Winnipeg to share the details of new federal funding toi boost “Canada’s grain exports and public trust,” while Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly heads to southwestern Ontario, where, as per her office, she’ll “tour a local advanced manufacturing company, and announce support for local automotive manufacturers to scale up and create jobs in the region.”

Finally, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan jets to Brussels for two days of closed-door discussions with his NATO counterparts before joining Trudeau at the Munich Security Forum on Friday.



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House and Senate committees will resume next week.




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