iPolitics AM: Trudeau, Freeland team up for joint year-end interview as NDP circles back to WE …

A day after hitting the pre-holiday COVID-19 briefing circuit to announce an earlier-than-expected boost to Canada’s vaccine supply, with US-based biotech giant Moderna now on track to deliver up to 168.000 doses before the end of the year, Prime Minister  is booked in for an end-of-year interview with Canadian Press — one that, in a rare move, will also include his deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland. (2 PM)

While it’s a safe bet that the ongoing pandemic will be the main topic of conversation, Trudeau should also be ready to circle back to a still unfinished political saga that he would very much prefer to forget: namely, the WE Charity controversy, which dominated the news cycle for most of the summer, but had all but disappeared from the headlines by the close of the fall sitting.

That, however, may be about to change, at least for a few hours, courtesy of New Democrat ethics critic Charlie Angus, who has scheduled a mid-morning media availability to present what the advisory describes as “evidence” that former Finance Minister Bill Morneau “broke conflict of interest laws in his dealings with the two proposals” from the embattled charity. (9:15 AM)

Exactly what Angus intends to brandish as proof of that claim remains to be seen, but given the slow pace of the pre-holiday media circuit, it should at least provide CP with a fresh line of questioning for this afternoon’s sit-down with the prime minister.

Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole heads back out on the virtual hustings with back-to-back meet-and-greets hosted by Jason Bradley and Céline Lalancette and Peter White, respectively. (6/7 PM)

Finally, the Parliamentary Budget Office releases new estimates on the cost of extending the emergency wage and rent subsidies and new targeted lockdown support until June 21, 2010, as well as “supporting jobs and safe operations of junior mining companies.”  (9 AM)

IN THE CHAMBER

Senators are set to pick up where they left off last night in their ongoing deliberations over Justice Minister David Lametti’s proposed changes to the laws on access to medical assistance in dying.

While the bill officially hit the Upper House docket on Monday, it still hasn’t made it past second reading, despite a looming court-imposed deadline to have the new law in place by December 18, which is also the last scheduled sitting day before the Red Chamber shuts down for the holidays.

Also on the Senate to-do list: The government’s bid to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been undergoing an accelerated review at FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE, and will begin clause-by-clause this afternoon.

OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains teams up with Canadian Space Agency president Lisa Campbell and a contingent of astronauts to deliver, via Zoom, what his office is billing as a “major announcement on the future of Canadian space exploration.” (10 AM)

Also hitting the digital stage today:

  • Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who will make an “important virtual announcement regarding hydrogen and Canada’s energy future.” (11:30 AM)
  • Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier unveils “renewed support” for “cross-country skiiing, snowmobiling and quad trails” throughout Quebec (1 PM), while Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau outlines the details of new federal funding for Sherbrooke-based ATTITUDE, “which, as per the notice, “stands out through its offering of green alterantives to conventional household and personal care products.” (10:30 AM)
  • Labour Minister Filomena Tassi fires up her webcam for another “important virtual announcement,” this time, on “support for women in advanced manufacturing and technology,” which she’ll explain during a joint appearance with fellow Hamilton-area MP Bob Bratina. (9:15 AM)

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