Lima Group’s Emergency Meeting on Venezuela — February 4, 2019
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Peruvian Foreign Affairs Minister Néstor Popolizio give remarks at the opening of the Lima Group’s emergency meeting on the crisis in Venezuela. Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan leader backed by Canada and other countries, speaks via video conference.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, NDP foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière, and People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier respond to reporters about the Venezuelan crisis.
Conservative public safety critic Pierre Paul-Hus speaks to reporters about his party’s motion calling for a joint study on Canada’s immigration security screening process. Liberal MPs Pam Damoff and Nick Whalen respond to the Conservative Party’s motion.
Canada Hosts Meeting on Venezuela CrisisDiplomats from Latin America, the United States, and Europe have converged on Ottawa today to consider their next steps in addressing Venezuela’s political and economic crisis. WATCH LIVE: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland briefs reporters Peter Van Dusen has full coverage on PrimeTime Politics (8pm ET / 5pm PT), followed by L'Essentiel with Esther Begin at 9pm ET / 6pm PT. Canada, along with other Lima Group members and the United States, has recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president following last year’s controversial election that saw Nicolás Maduro retain power despite outcry from the international community and opposition candidates. Guaidó provided videotaped remarks to this morning's Lima Group emergency meeting, which will include officials from countries outside the group, including the U.S. and France. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his opening speech at the John G. Diefenbaker Building to pledge $53 million in Canadian aid for Venezuela's humanitarian needs:
More than three million refugees and migrants have left Venezuela since 2014, mostly to other Latin American and Caribbean countries. Colombia has accepted one million Venezuelans, followed by Peru with more than 500,000, Ecuador with 220,000, Argentina (130,000), Chile (more than 100,000), Panama (94,000), and Brazil (more than 85,000). They've fled a country where oil once powered Latin America's richest economy, but where massive hyperinflation has now caused the price of a cup of coffee to jump from 0.45 to 1,700 Bolivars over the past year. Venezuelans have resorted to bartering and black-market currency trading; some employers are using eggs to pay out bonuses. And the International Monetary Fund has projected a staggering 10-million-per-cent inflation rate for 2019. Human rights observers accuse the Maduro regime of widespread abuse, including arbitrary detention and excessive force. Holding power with the continuing support of Cuba, China, and Russia, Maduro has accused the U.S. of seeking his country's vast oil reserves -- and warned of the danger of military intervention. Watch more coverage of the Venezuela crisis from Perspective with Alison Smith: Fen Hampson, executive director of the World Refugee Council, talks about the refugee crisis that the instability in Venezuela has caused for neighbouring countries and also what to expect from the Lima Group. Ana Vanessa Herrero, a reporter in Caracas for the New York Times, discusses the mood on the ground among everyday citizens in the country in the wake of recent protests against President Nicolás Maduro. Deborah Hines, the country director in Colombia for the UN World Food Programme, speaks about the Venezuelans who have fled to Colombia and what kind of support can be provided to them. Phil Gunson, senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, describes the complex political manoeuvring between President Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, as well as the international reaction to the situation.
At Lima Group meeting on Venezuela, PM Trudeau announces aid for the country: "We know that the people of Venezuela are facing tremendous hardship & they need our help... Today Canada is stepping up & announcing $53M to address the most pressing needs of Venezuelans..." #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/UUwciI9GfC— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) February 4, 2019
In the House: Conservative Motion on TaxesAnother opposition day is scheduled for the House of Commons, with another Conservative motion that targets government tax policy. Here's the full motion, from finance critic Pierre Poilievre: That, given: (a) 81% of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes since the government came to power; (b) the average income tax increase for middle income families is $840; (c) the government’s higher Canada Pension Plan premiums could eventually cost up to $2,200 per household; (d) the government cancelled the Family Tax Cut of up to $2,000 per household; (e) the government cancelled the Arts and Fitness tax credit of up to $225 per child; (f) the government cancelled the education and textbook tax credits of up to $560 per student; (g) the government’s higher employment insurance premiums are up to $85 per worker; (h) the government’s carbon tax could cost up to $1,000 per household and as high as $5,000 in the future; (i) the government’s intrusive tax measures for small business will raise taxes on thousands of family businesses all across Canada; (j) this government tried to tax employer-paid health and dental benefits which would have cost up to $2,000 per household; and (k) this government tried to tax modest food and discount benefits that retail employees receive from employers; the House call on the Prime Minister to provide written confirmation that it will not further raise any taxes on Canadians. This follows last week's debate on a Conservative opposition day motion calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to "to table a plan in Budget 2019 to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind." Before that debate begins Monday, NDP MP Charlie Angus puts forward a motion in support of a national suicide prevention action plan. Read the motion On the committee front:
- A number of refugee aid organizations brief the Commons immigration committee on settlement services. LIVE ONLINE at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT
- The Commons public safety committee continues to hear expert testimony on cybersecurity and financial crimes. LIVE ONLINE at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT
- Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc appear at the Senate’s special committee on the Arctic. LIVE ONLINE at 6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT