iPolitics AM: Trudeau heads back out on COVID-19 briefing circuit as NDP calls out ' Liberals …

With the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations now officially rolling out across the countryPrime Minister heads back to the precinct to deliver an on-camera update on what may be the most ambitious mass immunization plan in Canadian history. (11:30 AM)

According to the advisory, he’ll be joined by Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam and her second-in-command, Howard Njoo, as well as Public Services Minister Anita Anand and Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who has been temporarily seconded from his military duties to “oversee logistical planning” at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

As per the notice, Trudeau is expected to announce his government’s ongoing attempt to stem the second wave of outbreaks before taking questions from reporters, at which point he should be ready to defend what the New Democrats are framing as “unjust clawbacks” of payments made under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program.

An hour before the prime minister hits the stage in the capital, New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh will hold a “virtual press conference” alongside former New Democrat MP Andrew Cash to “talk about the Liberals going after people’s CERB payments,” and “unfairly penalizing workers for applying for the CERB in good faith while letting large corporations off the hook.” (10:30 AM)

Later this afternoon, Canada Revenue Agency officials will host a tele-briefing to “answer questions on background” related to the “millions of Canadians currently working from home due to the pandemic” who may be eligible to claim “home office expenses on their 2020 tax return,” although they, too, should be ready for a flurry of follow-ups on the  CERB repayment demands, as well as the 441,000 “education letters” that, according to CBC News, have been sent to CERB recipients to warn them that they may have to pay back some or all of the money. (1:30 PM)

Finally, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet drops by the West Block theatre for a mid-morning media availability with his House leader, Alain Therrien. (10 AM)

IN THE CHAMBER

As senators head into a second day of debate on Justice Minister David Lametti’s bid to change to the laws on access to medical assistance in dying, the odds against the bill making it to the legislative finish line in time to meet Friday’s court-imposed deadline continue to rise.

As Canadian Press reports, before a final vote on the proposed rewrite can take place, “the government can expect a flurry of amendments from both sides of the equation: senators who think the bill is unconstitutional because it goes too far and those who think it’s unconstitutional because it doesn’t go far enough.”

If any of those amendments succeeds, the bill would have to be sent back to the House of Commons for re-approval before it can be signed, sealed and delivered to the governor general for Royal Assent, which would effectively end any chance that it will be in place by December 18.

Even if ultimately rejected, the time required to consider any changes put forward on the floor of the Senate would likely run out the clock as far as the upcoming deadline, which is likely what prompted Lametti to file an emergency request last week to have it extended until February, although there’s no guarantee that the court will grant it, as it would be the third such extension since the ruling came down in 2018.

OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna teams up with Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Garth Frizzell for a Zoom reveal of what the advisory describes as an “important infrastructure event.” (10 AM), while Health Minister Patty Hajdu joins First Nations leaders and local provincial officials to deliver, on McKenna’s behalf, an “important infrastructure announcement” in her home riding of Thunder Bay. (11:30 AM)

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklin fires up his webcam to share his thoughts on “trading for a sustainable economy” during a video conference with members of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. (2:30 PM)

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Committee highlights courtesy of our friends at iPoliticsINTEL

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