The Bank of Canada suspended interest rate hikes on Wednesday, but said the economy was now operating at full capacity, anticipating a rate hike for the bank’s next meeting in March.
Policymakers voted to keep the central bank’s key interest rate at 0.25%, where it has been since the early days of the pandemic. At the same time, they withdrew their expectations for rate hikes and made it clear that emergency economic support was no longer needed, indicating that the cost of borrowing would rise in the coming months.
Business journalist Mark Rendell reports here.
And there’s an explainer on the matter here by business journalist Matt Lundy.
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NEWS OF THE DAY
TRUDEAU SHOULD CALL PUTIN: AMBASSADOR – Moscow’s envoy to Canada urges Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to phone Vladimir Putin so he can hear Russian president explain there’s ‘no chance’ Russia will invade Ukraine. History here.
UKRANIAN GOVERNMENT DOUBTS LARGE-SCALE RUSSIAN INVASION – The Ukrainian government does not see a large-scale Russian invasion as likely, despite escalating international concerns, believing it is more plausible that Moscow is trying to destabilize the country instead. country internally. History here.
RUSSIA WARNS OF ‘RETALIATIONAL ACTION’: Russia warned on Wednesday that it would quickly take ‘retaliatory action’ if the United States and its allies reject its security demands on NATO and Ukraine, increasing pressure on the West as Moscow considered invading its neighbour. History here.
NDP MPs CRITICISM FOR COMMENTS ON UKRAINE – Three sitting New Democrat MPs are being criticized for posting “terrible” comments about escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia on social media, some of which questioned Canada’s support for Ukraine in the face of Moscow’s aggression. Story here from Global News.
DURING THIS TIME
POTENTIAL GRAVES FOUND – Williams Lake First Nation announced the discovery of 93 potential graves at the sprawling site of a former residential school in central British Columbia, 50 of which appear to lie outside the cemetery of the establishment. History here.
CONSERVATIVE CIRCUIT ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR O’TOOLE REVIEW – A conservative riding association is calling on the federal party to move forward quickly with a leadership review of Erin O’Toole as a new poll shows nearly half of respondents believe he has done a poor job as a leader. History here.
CALLS FOR SAUDI BLOGGER’S RELEASE – Lawyers for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi are urging Riyadh to release him next month when his 10-year prison term expires according to the Islamic calendar.
CONSERVATIVE MPS APPLAUD CONVOY OF TRUCKS – Conservative MPs are publicly cheering on the convoy of truckers crossing the country with the intention of converging on Parliament Hill this weekend, expressing their opposition to the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policies. Story here from CTV. Meanwhile, there’s a Globe and Mail here explaining why the anti-vaccine trucking convoy called the Freedom Rally is crossing Canada.
INDUSTRY MINISTER DEFENDS GOVERNMENT DECISION ON SALE OF LITHIUM CORP. , saying the process was rigorous. History here.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons adjourned until January 31 at 11 a.m. ET.
HARPER CALLS FOR FUNDRAISING HELP FOR MACKAY – Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is calling on party members to help Peter MacKay pay off debts from the August 2020 leadership race that the current leader Erin O’Toole won. In a fundraising letter, Mr Harper says Mr MacKay led a ‘strong and thoughtful campaign but was unsuccessful’ in the race to appoint a successor to Andrew Scheer. Mr. Harper, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2015, added that the extension of the duration of the campaign, as well as the cancellation of planned in-person fundraising events, caused Mr. MacKay have exceeded his earnings. Mr. Harper touts Mr. MacKay’s service as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense and Minister of Justice. “I understand that times are tight, but I don’t want to see the future of Peter and his family weighed down by the debts incurred in the service of our country and our Conservative Party,” wrote Mr. Harper.
THE DECIBEL – In Wednesday’s edition of The Decibel, Parliamentary Reporter Kristy Kirkup talks about the reasons for merchandise shortages in stores and the “freedom convoy” of truckers heading to Ottawa to protest politicians who say they must be vaccinated. History here.
Menaka Raman-Wilms, Host: I was watching Erin O’Toole’s press conference yesterday where he was talking about the supply chain, but a lot of the questions the reporters were asking him were actually about that convoy of trucks. Some Tory MPs expressed support for the convoy online. Can you give us an idea of, I guess, Erin O’Toole’s response to this situation here?
Kristy Kirkup: So Erin O’Toole, for one, seems to be trying to, you know, he basically suggested at this press conference that he’s not going to weigh in on a specific protest, that he doesn’t see that being his role as leader. So if people are wondering, you know, if he was going to show up for the rally every time people arrive and converge in the nation’s capital, I think we can take from his comments that he probably won’t. That being said, we saw quite a bit of activity again from some Tory backbenchers who somehow posted videos of themselves, recording messages of support. And, in true Erin O’Toole fashion, he’s kind of trying to step back. And then other caucus members, I think, are clearly allowed to say and do whatever they choose to do.
The rest of the decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Private meetings. The Prime Minister attended the virtual Cabinet retreat and was due to hold a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon. In the evening, an interview with the Prime Minister on mental health and well-being was to be broadcast on TSN, and later another interview on mental health and well-being was to be broadcast on RDS.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole attends a caucus retreat in Ottawa.
No scheduled schedule for other party leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the many illusions of the Russian-Ukrainian “realists”: “As Russia masses troops on the borders of Ukraine, about to invade, a chorus of voices urges the democracies to do nothing to deter it. Among them, of course, the Trumpist right, whose indifference towards Ukraine goes hand in hand with its worship of Vladimir Putin, but also the pacifist left, who insist that there can be no “military solution” to a conflict for which Mr. Putin is currently preparing a military solution. But the largest contingent are the so-called foreign policy “realists,” who profess no ideology, only an unwavering view of nations as self-serving actors pursuing their strategic goals. The realist abstains from passing moral judgments on the players or on their goals: he only describes the game. less to confine it to its sphere of influence? But of course. This is what the great powers do.
John Doyle (Globe and Mail) on the senseless naivety surrounding efforts to kill or defund the CBC: “The standing army of anti-CBC experts in Canada never numbers less than 10,000. Or so it seems. It’s a vociferous group and any excuse to attack the CBC spawns piles of prose about the CBC’s alleged irrelevance, bias or incompetence. Recently, the news that the British government will cut funding for the BBC by freezing for two years the fees the public pays to watch the broadcaster prompted a series of columns reforming the CBC in Canada. It was preceded by an outcry based on an article by a disgruntled former CBC temp worker, who announced that her outrage at young employees who were “woke” had led her to quit. The chatter that followed was pitifully mean-spirited, grudging and naive.
Gary Mason (Globe and Mail) why Erin O’Toole’s days as Conservative leader seem to be numbered: “Apart from the salary and the nice house you live in as Leader of the Opposition, you have to wonder why Erin O’Toole doesn’t even want the job anymore. He must clearly present policies he does not believe in (see his objection to vaccination mandates) and yet he risks losing critical support in caucus if he does not. He probably also knows that some of these policies put the CCP out with a majority of Canadians. The problem is that these are policies backed by party donors, many of whom reside in rural parts of the country where support for things like vaccination mandates is low and support for trucker protests is high. .
Heather Barr (Globe and Mail contributor) why LGBTQ Afghans living under the Taliban are in grave and immediate danger: “Countries hosting Afghan asylum seekers should recognize that LGBTQ Afghans are at particular risk of persecution in Afghanistan and neighboring countries and expedite their requests for evacuation and resettlement. But it will never be possible for all LGBTQ people in Afghanistan to flee and be resettled in a country where their rights are respected. All countries, including those that have sent troops to Afghanistan over the past 20 years, have a responsibility to pressure the Taliban to end their abuses against LGBTQ people and respect their rights.
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