Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Voters in the Nova Scotia riding of Preston will elect a new MLA today. The byelection, which was called after Liberal MLA Angela Simmonds stepped down earlier this year, heated up last week after Nova Scotia’s chief electoral officer called in the RCMP to assist with a formal investigation under the provincial Elections Act after the Liberals refused to remove signs that contained false statements about a potential dump in the riding. The Houston government is eager to pick up the seat, with cabinet ministers and staff frequently joining their candidate Twila Grosse on the campaign trail. Candidates Carlo Simmons (Lib), Colter Simmonds (NDP), Green Party leader Anthony Edmonds, and Charles “Bobby” Taylor (Nova Scotians United) are also vying for the seat, in a byelection that has been dominated by healthcare, cost of living and housing affordability.
Developing “compassionate intervention” legislation will be among the top priorities for the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, as Premier Smith continues her recovery-oriented approach to the addiction crisis. Smith has called on Williams to work with various partners to develop the legislation, which would provide support and legal processes to “save the lives of those that are a danger to themselves or others.” Smith first floated the idea of compassionate intervention legislation in May’s provincial election. If passed as presented, it would allow a family member, doctor, or police officer to petition the court for a treatment order when someone is deemed a danger to themselves or others. Other priorities in the letter include expanded funding for Counselling Alberta, bolstered care for Indigenous populations, and a review of Alberta Health Services’ role in mental health care that will result in the creation of a dedicated mental health and addictions division.
BC port workers ratify four-year collective agreement, ending job action.
British Columbia’s port workers have voted almost 75 per cent in favour of accepting a contract offer, ending weeks of turbulent job action that stopped billions of dollars’ worth of goods from being shipped.
In a statement on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada website, president Rob Ashton says the results of the latest ratification vote came in 74.66 per cent in favour of the agreement.
Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan confirmed in a tweet that both the ILWU and the BC Maritime Employers Association have ratified the deal, ending the dispute. O’Regan says, however, that he is directing federal officials to review the entire case to avoid a port disruption of this magnitude from happening in the future.
The employers association says in a statement that it ratified the four-year deal, which “includes increases in wages, benefits and training that recognizes the skills and efforts of B.C.’s waterfront workforce,” on Monday.
No further details of the agreement have been announced.
Ontario’s Auditor General to release investigation results for the Greenbelt development decision
On Wednesday, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk will release the results of her investigation into the province’s decision to open 3,000 hectares of protected Greenbelt area for development, a move criticized by opponents as benefiting landowners connected to the Ford government. The report is anticipated to shed light on the decision-making process behind the removal of properties from the Greenbelt, which has faced backlash for breaking commitments not reopen the protected area. The Ontario legislature’s Integrity Commissioner has launched a probe.
B.C. port workers approve new contract, formally ending long-running labour dispute – August 4, 2023
Unionized port workers in B.C. have voted in favour of a new contract negotiated with their employer, putting an end to months of uncertainty at the province’s ports. In a brief statement Friday evening, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada said 74.66 per cent of its members had voted in favour of the tentative agreement, which was reached last weekend with the help of the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
Olivia Chow backs renaming Dundas Street – August 3, 2023
Mayor Olivia Chow is standing by a plan to rename Dundas Street, even as one councillor who voted in favour of the project claims there’s no money for it. Chow’s office confirmed last week that she supports the council’s 2021 decision to find a new designation for the major thoroughfare, named after an 18th-century Scottish politician that some historians blame for delaying the abolition of the slave trade.