Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Alberta releases Emissions Reduction and Energy Development plan
Last week and in lead-up to the upcoming provincial election, the Government of Alberta released its emissions reduction strategy: known as the Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan. Announced on Wednesday by Environment Minister Sonya Savage, the plan outlines Alberta’s path to net-zero emissions by the year 2050. The government has emphasized the need to maintain the province’s responsible production of oil and gas, while also considering factors such as affordability and the incorporation of other forms of green energy. While the plan includes no new policy to be implemented for the time being, it provides a snapshot of how the UCP will likely address environmental and energy concerns in their election campaign and should they win government.
Three by-elections are being held in New Brunswick today, including Bathurst East-Nepisiguit-Saint-Isidore, Dieppe, and Restigouche–Chaleur. All three are longtime Liberal strongholds, however, Liberal Leader Susan Holt is facing a formidable opponent in Green candidate Serge Brideau, a well-known musician and activist with the Acadian Society of New Brunswick. The PCs are not running a candidate against Holt in Bathurst East-Nepisiguit-Saint-Isidore, where the NDP’s interim leader Alex White of Saint John is also running. Ms. Holt has been without a seat in the legislature since becoming leader of the party last August.
Following years of review, the Government of Canada has approved the contentious proposal from Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to build Roberts Bank Terminal 2 near BC Ferries’ Tsawwassen terminal south of Vancouver — in the Strait of Georgia. In a statement signed by the federal ministers of Environment, Transport, and Natural Resources, the government said: “In the coming years…Canada’s major west coast ports will reach maximum capacity, meaning congestion will become a chronic issue. This project would increase the port’s capacity by 50 per cent. Without this port expansion, $3 billion in added GDP would be jeopardized by capacity shortages. The project is also expected to create hundreds of jobs during construction, and several hundred more both onsite and off-site during operations.”
The approval of the expansion comes with 370 legally-binding conditions to protect the environment and prevent harm to local species. For years, environmentalists have been opposed to the expansion project saying it is likely to have significant adverse effects on at-risk species such as killer whales and chinook salmon. Charlotte Dawe, a conservation and policy campaigner with the Wilderness Committee, said the decision left her “shaking with sadness and real rage and frustration.” “There seems to be no limit of harm that’s acceptable under the federal government’s eyes. They keep approving projects that are literally dooming species to extinction in the name of corporate profits.”
With tensions running high, the BC Government’s Environmental Assessment Office said it is developing a final provincial assessment report on the project and will seek input next month from First Nations and the public.
The Government of Ontario is set to launch its new Ultra-Low Overnight price plan. As of May 1, 2023, hydro electricity customers in seven municipalities can opt-in to the new low-price plan, in addition to existing Time-of-Use and Tiered plans.
The Ontario Liberal Party will name its new leader to replace Steven Del Duca on December 2, 2023. A deadline of September 5, 2023 has been set for candidate registration, with party members casting votes in late-November. The Ontario Liberal Party is expected to host at least five debates around the province. Candidates who have stated their interest in leadership bids include MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP Yasir Naqvi, and MP Ted Hsu.
Private, public sector unions fall in line behind PSAC in solidarity in early days of one of the biggest strikes in Canadian history
Unions across Canada have joined forces with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) as they go on strike over the failure to come to a collective bargaining agreement with the federal government. Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the federal government’s second largest union behind PSAC, are among the organisations supporting the action. The strike started on April 19 and was the result of PSAC exhausting every other avenue to reach a fair contract for Canada’s federal public service workers. The Canadian government is negotiating with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) to reach a fair agreement at the bargaining table. They have been negotiating every day since mediation started and have made numerous proposals to the PSAC, but have seen little movement from them on their demands. The PSAC was unreachable when the government tried to contact them to discuss their proposal, and they later took three hours to respond to a meeting request. The government is not interested in stalling and misinformation, and they need the PSAC to bargain in good faith to reach a deal and put an end to the strike.
Former city councillor and three-time NDP MP Olivia Chow announced she is running for mayor. Seen as a strong contender, Chow has received significant backing from NDP organizers. Chow shared that her platform focuses on affordability, safety and a city that works for everyone. Chow promised to pursue a better fiscal plan with the federal government to address the city’s budget gap and that she will not use the strong mayor’s power. Following her announcement, Gil Penalosa announced that he is no longer running for mayor and is supporting Chow. He shared that she is the right person to bring positive, progressive change to the city. Former Toronto city councillor and current NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam has also endorsed Chow’s candidacy.