Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
The UCP have officially shifted into election mode with a campaign-style announcement last week. As concerns about public safety on transit and in Alberta’s urban centers continue to grow, the UCP (rather than the government) held a press conference calling on the NDP to retract past critical comments of police officers made by their candidates. At the event in Calgary, Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz said NDP leader Rachel Notley “owes Albertans an explanation” regarding the comments from her candidates and that those in question should not be permitted to run in the spring election.
This represents the latest pre-election battle between the UCP and NDP, and it certainly will not be the last. Public safety and rising crime have been top of mind for Albertans and all Canadians in the last several months, and the UCP’s focus on hardline public safety tactics is a smart strategy as voters head to the polls in just seven weeks. This is particularly important as both parties work to capture the support of Calgary and other urban centres in their path to a majority government.
The federal and provincial governments have renewed the Canada-New Brunswick Immigration Agreement, increasing the province’s immigration allocation by 67%. In 2023, New Brunswick will receive 5,500 certificates, including an additional 1,084 spaces for the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program and an additional 1,116 Atlantic Immigration Program allocations over 2022. According to Immigration Minister Arlene Dunn, 32% of the province’s nominations in 2023, will be awarded to French-speaking immigration candidates.
BC Liberals No More
As the legislature rose last Thursday for the Easter break, Kevin Falcon surprised reporters when he said that this would be his last scrum as leader of the BC Liberal Party. Falcon said that this coming Wednesday, the party will officially change its name to BC United. The party announced the name change in November, when a majority of its members voted for the rebranding, but it was unclear when the name change would become official. With the possibility of a snap election fading, the BC United rebrand is official. Expect a press conference and logo reveal this week, along with a chance for Kevin Falcon to reset the narrative and vision for his party leading up to the next provincial election scheduled for October 2024.
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark introduced the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act. The plan includes a $6.5 million investment to appoint adjudicators and hire staff at the Landlord and Tenant Board, strengthen protections against evictions, expand deposit insurance, freeze provincial fees, and speed up the government’s approval process. The legislation comes as part of the government’s plan to build 1.5 billion homes by 2031.
The Government of Ontario introduced the Less Red Tape, Stronger Economy Act, 2023. The Spring 2023 Red Tape Reduction package includes 42 new initiatives to save the broader public sector $119 million in net annual regulatory compliance costs, including additionally amending the Building Broadband Faster Act to improve the delivery of high-speed internet access.
Once-popular rural Quebec road for asylum seekers quiets down after U.S.-Canada deal
Since the closure of Roxham Road, an unofficial crossing between the US and Canada, the numbers of asylum seekers trying to cross the border have fallen, with activists reporting that volunteers have seen a decline in the number of people arriving to cross through Roxham Road. There has also been a drop in the number of migrants trying to cross the border between official ports of entry, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. However, despite the drop in numbers, activists have warned that the RCMP’s arrest of a family of four on a property two kilometres from Roxham Road could be replicated across Canada, as people try to enter Canada through other spots along the 9,000km border that separates the two countries.
Toronto mayoral by-election nomination registration opened on Monday, April 3 and will be open until May 12. Several candidates filed their nomination to run for Mayor on Monday morning, including Brad Bradford, Josh Matlow, Mitzie Hunter, Mark Saunders, Ana Bailão, Giorgio Mammoliti, and Anthony Furey. The candidates for mayor made broad appeals on several issues driving their campaigns, such as making public transit safer and tackling pandemic-related budget shortfalls. More than 30 people have been listed as registered candidates for mayor so far.
The Ontario government’s Ontario Place redevelopment plan is shaping to become a focus of Toronto’s upcoming byelection. Several candidates have vowed to make significant changes to the province’s plan if elected, with some offering alternative visions for the waterfront site. The city is still reviewing the detailed redevelopment plans, with planners set to provide further feedback to the province and its partners. A report released by city staff on March 23 identified several potential problems with the proposed plan, which would see the site partially privatized with a luxury spa.