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Thanks for reading Ottawa Playbook. I’m your host Zi-Ann Lum. TIFF MACKLEM took senators’ questions a week after the central bank raised the key interest rate by 50 basis points to 3.75 percent. PRESTON MANNING is back on Parliament Hill. Plus, Health Canada is looking for an outside firm to help run its Quarantine Case Management System.

INFLATION SQUEEZE — Senators tried their best to make Bank of Canada Governor TIFF MACKLEM a fortune teller capable of revealing where interest rates are headed next.

“I’m not gonna give you a number,” Macklem told a Senate committee Tuesday evening. He did, however, divulge generalities. “We think it needs to go up, but we do think we’re getting closer to the end.”

The end being the beginning of no further increases.

Macklem, the banker, delved into the dangers of inflationary psychology to emphasize a need to control anticipatory inflation. WIthout it, he said, the risk is businesses increasing prices without competition if people accept price hikes as par for the course.

— Another Macklem crowd science meditation: “It’s been a long time since we’ve had high inflation and we’re rediscovering that it corrodes the social fabric. It makes people angry, it makes people feel ripped off.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary JANET YELLEN’s “friend-shoring” concept also came up as a question for Canada’s top banker. Sen. YUEN PAU WOO asked if costs are expected to go up if Canada embraces a more “limited approach to international trade.”

Macklem responded by saying that’s work for government and parliamentarians. “These will have consequences, they will still have costs,” he said, adding there’s only so much Canada can control beyond its borders, so looking inward could generate solutions.

— The low-hanging fruit: “To reduce the cost of trade, we could reduce interprovincial trade barriers,” Macklem said. “We could just deepen and lower the costs of trade even within Canada — that is totally within our domain.”

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BECAUSE IT’S 2022 — The country’s housing crisis is shaping new immigration policy.

“Canada needs more people,” Immigration Minister SEAN FRASER said Tuesday, announcing his department is putting a new focus on regional integration programs to spur newcomers, and economic activity, to settle in shrinking rural areas.

Tight rental and real estate markets in cities have kept some government-sponsored Afghan refugeesstuck in hotels for months. “We’re trying to not increase the social housing system,” Fraser said. “But we’re not going to solve this problem if we don’t build more housing.”

The immigration minister popped up in a Toronto trade school to reveal the government’s plan to scale up its intake of permanent residents from 431,000 this year to 500,000 in 2025.

Related: Bloomberg reports on foreign students accusing Canada of using them as “cheap labor.”

Fraser said the hope is to reverse a “worrying demographic trend” of Canada’s labor market becoming increasingly smaller because of aging and retiring baby boomers.

— How Fraser explained it: “If you rewind the clock 50 years, you see that Canada had seven workers for every retired person. Today, that number is closer to three by 2035.”

The current trajectory, he said, has that number trending closer to two — which is the reality facing Atlantic Canada today where there are two workers for every retiree.

“If we don’t do something to correct this demographic trend, the conversation we’re going to have 10 or 15 years from now won’t be the labor shortages,” he said. “It’s going to be about whether we have the economic capacity to continue to fund schools and hospitals and public services that I think we too often take for granted.”

— Another kind of western alienation: The top 5 municipalities that have seen the highest rates of population decline since 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

They are Athabasca County, Alberta; Peace River, British Columbia, Lac la Biche County, Alberta; Brazeau County, Alberta; and Barrhead County No. 11, Alberta.

— It’s caucus day on the Hill.

— Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU will attend the Liberals’ 10 a.m. national caucus meeting before taking a trip to the floor of the House for question period at 2 p.m. Trudeau is scheduled to deliver remarks at 6:45 p.m. at the Sustainable Finance Forum on the Hill.

— On the eve of the fall economic statement, Deputy Prime Minister CHRYSTIA FREELAND is in “private meetings” and the Liberals’ caucus meeting.

10:45 a.m. PRESTON MANNING finds his way back to this Hill, holding a press conference in West Block calling for an independent national inquiry into Canada’s Covid-19 response.

1 p.m. Health Minister JEAN-YVES DUCLOS and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President NATAN OBED announce a new health initiative to benefit Inuit in Canada.

2 p.m. NDP Leader JAGMEET SINGH holds a press conference to share “his priorities for helping Canadians with costs.”

6:45 p.m. A trio of cabmins (Duclos, Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Minister AHMED HUSSEN and National Revenue Minister DIANE LEBOUTHILLIER) will be at the Senate’s national finance committee to take questions on Bill C-31.

HELP WANTED — Health Canada published a “selective” tender notice this week to scout who among 15 pre-identified firms can deliver a ready-made team to support and improve its Quarantine Case Management System.

— The full title in its 21-word glory: “Support to Canada’s Quarantine Case Management and systems supporting the implementation of border measures and the enforcement of the Quarantine Act.”

The one-year contract doesn’t have a posted value. It reveals the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) delegated responsibility of quarantine case management to Health Canada.

— What they want: PHAC “built an API gateway in the cloud to collect data from various partner data sources,” the tender reads. They want a contractor to build on existing mobile and web applications so data can be collected and used in upcoming reports — and in decisions involving the Canada Border Services Agency.

— Covid Alert app 2.0: While Canada’s Covid Alert app was discontinued in June, the tender states the intended “business functionalities” of the contract includes contact tracing.

For POLITICO Pro subscribers, our latest policy newsletter from NICK TAYLOR-VAISEY, SUE ALLAN and ZI-ANN LUM: Manufacturers looking for ‘the fix’ in fiscal update.

In news for POLITICO Pro subscribers: 

Better call Seoul: U.S. watches nervously as Europe turns to South Korea for weapons

Goodness Growth sues Verano over scuttled acquisition

Republicans plan surge of attacks on ‘woke’ investing after the midterms

Biden bashes oil sector for ‘war profiteering,’ warns of windfall tax on profits

U.S. scientists praise Cuba’s Covid-19 response

— Attn: FRANÇOIS-PHILIPPE CHAMPAGNE. Progressives have a problem with his Canadian counterpart, GINA RAIMONDO,POLITICO’s BEN WHITE and GAVIN BADE report.

For iPolitics, KADY O’MALLEY explains why there’s no guarantee that Commissioner PAUL ROULEAU will come to a conclusion on whether the government was right or wrong in its use of the Emergencies Act.

— The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is “increasingly concerned” about the Chinese Communist Party’s interference in Canada. Global News’ RACHEL GILMORE has details.

— The Globe and Mail’s BOB FIFE and STEVE CHASE report on a new special House committee that will have access to unredacted classified documents related to the firing of two scientists from Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory.

MEGHAN MARKLE talks to friend SOPHIE GRÉGOIRE TRUDEAU on the latest episode of her podcast “Archetypes” where they reminisce about a pool party with their kids and talked about dealing with mom guilt.

Birthdays: HBD to former MPs WENDY LILL, LUC MALO and retired senator and marathoner PAUL E. MCINTYRE. Once asked for advice to new senators, McIntyre said: “Get involved, get out there and ask questions. And after you’ve asked those questions, do follow-ups.”

Send birthdays to [email protected].

Spotted: SEAN JOUDRY, a senior adviser to Nova Scotia Premier TIM HOUSTON, offering unsolicited political advertising advice: “With so much polished content out there, loud and ugly stands out.”

Sen. YVONNE BOYERin conversation withMARGARET ATWOODAMARJEET SOHI, former Cabinet minister, current Edmonton mayor and aspiring fashion model.

Tory MPs FRANK CAPUTO and BRAD VIS run into PRESTON MANNING in West Block … Conservative Leader PIERRE POILIEVRE was there, too … Conservative MP GARNETT GENUISmeeting with Ukraine’s Ambassado r to Canada, YULIA KOVALIV.

Movers and shakers: Liberal MPs ANNIE KOUTRAKIS and EMMANUELLA LAMBROPOULOS were elected as the new co-chairs of the Canada-Hellenic Republic Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Media mentions:LISA LAFLAMME, a soon-to-be officer of the Order of Canada.

Freelance research and ATIP consultant KIRSTEN SMITH is giving up the indie game and focusing on a gig at the Ottawa Public Library. Commented former journo client JAMES BAXTER: “Thank you for teaching me how to research and for helping me untie many a Gordian knot that I created for myself.”

Cocktail circuit: At 5 p.m., the Quebec Community Groups Network hosts a reception in Wellington Building … At the bottom of the hour, Tory MP TED FALK sponsors a reception hosted by the Canadian Horticultural Peat Industry.

At 5:30 in the nearby Valour Building, the Associated Equipment Distributors — aka heavy equipment dealers and owners — holds a reception … Canada’s consulting engineering sector is at the Met for a 6 p.m. reception. Its theme is the “importance of an integrated vision for the economy and the environment through innovation in infrastructure.”

Farewells: Canadian architect JACK DIAMOND has died a week before his 90th birthday. His Toronto-based firm, Diamond Schmitt Architects, worked with KWC Architects to renovate the Senate of Canada building.

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected].

Find upcoming House committees here

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9:30 a.m. The Public Order Emergency Commission continues hearings in Ottawa.

12 p.m. Labor Minister SEAMUS O’REGAN is in Toronto for a Trees for Life Highway of Heroes event at Historic Fort York.

12 p.m.DAVID FASCINATO, executive director of the Heroic Hearts Project Canada, will be first up at the Senate subcommittee on veteran affairs.

4 p.m.MEREDITH LILLY and ANDREA CHARRON will be at the Senate foreign affairs and international trade committee to discuss provisions and operation of the Sergei Magnitsky Law, and the Special Economic Measures Act.

4 p.m. The Senate social affairs, science and technology committee will meet to discuss future business.

4:15 p.m.The Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee meets to go through clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-210, Sen. JULIE MIVILLE-DECHÊNE’s Senate public bill proposing restrictions on online porn for youth.

4:30 p.m. National Supply Chain Task Force co-chairs JEAN GATTUSO and LOUISE YAKO are witnesses in the first hour of the House transport committee’s study looking into anticipated labor shortages in the transport sector.

4:30 p.m. Global food insecurity is the theme of the day at the House agriculture committee.

Witnesses will include officials from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, Food and Beverage Canada, Market Place Commodities Ltd. and Ray-Mont Logistics.

4:30 p.m. Tory MP CHRIS ESSEX will be at the House finance committee in the first hour to speak to Bill C-241, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (deduction of travel expenses for tradespersons). Finance officials will be up in the second hour of the committee. The CBC wrote on this private member’s bill in June. 

4:30 p.m. Officials from the Haiti Embassy will brief the House foreign affairs committee in the first hour. In the second, MPs will hear from experts on flooding in Pakistan.

4:30 p.m. The House Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will hear from experts on Bill C-22. 

6:45 p.m.The Senate Indigenous peoples committee continues its examination of Ottawa’s constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities.

6:45 p.m. The Senate transport and communications committee will hear from nine witnesses as it studies Bill C-11.

Behind closed doors: The Senate ethics and conflict of interest for senators committee meets to discuss freely, and secretly, about “matters.”

Tuesday’s answer: Speaker ANTHONY ROTA has recalled the House seven times.


Wednesday’s question: Who is the former Clerk of the Privy Council who ran under the Liberal banner in the 1993 federal election?

Send your answers to [email protected]

Playbook wouldn’t happen: Without Luiza Ch. Savage, Sue Allan and Mike Zapler.


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