Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
The federal Liberal cabinet is meeting in Charlottetown this week where housing affordability will top the agenda. Ministers will be briefed by the authors of the National Housing Accord report, as well as the founder of Generation Squeeze, Dr. Paul Kershaw. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was also in the province late last week, promising to axe the Liberal carbon tax and address the cost of living. While he refused to commit to removing the Confederation Bridge toll outside of the platform, he did say he is ‘open’ to the idea, noting he ‘hear[s] the argument] and ‘understand[s] the frustration and concern.’
Alberta’s health minister, Adriana LaGrange, has announced that Alberta Health Services has signed a memorandum of understanding with DynaLife’s ownership to transfer staff, equipment, and property in all regions of the province to the government-owned Alberta Precision Laboratories by the end of this year. This transition will be completed in stages, and lab testing will continue to be available at DynaLife’s existing locations. AHS initially expanded its contract with Dynalife in 2022 after former health Minister Jason Copping announced that it was required for cost-savings, transferring operation of its public community labs to the private company. Over the past several months, there has been concern about long wait times for lab tests, and in LaGrange’s mandate letter, Premier Danielle Smith tasked the new health minister with resolving these issues.
Province wide state of emergency issued as BC faces a surge in out-of-control wildfires across the Interior.
The B.C. government will be temporarily restricting travel to fire-affected areas as wildfires threaten thousands in the Central Interior and southeast.
The new order will restrict non-essential travellers and tourists from booking temporary accommodations in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon. This includes motels, hotels, and campgrounds. Those who are already staying in temporary accommodations in these areas are being asked to voluntarily check out early to free up space for evacuees and front-line workers.
This comes after the B.C. government issued a provincial state of emergency on Friday due to the rapidly escalating crisis. As of Saturday, there are 380 active wildfires burning in B.C. Fifteen of those are wildfires of note. More than 160 are considered “out of control.”
Around 35,000 people are affected by evacuation orders across the province, Premier David Eby said on Saturday, with another 30,000 people affected by evacuation alerts.
Premier Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney to address attendees of the 2023 AMO annual general meeting and conference.
Premier Doug Ford is slated to deliver his remarks at 10:30 a.m., with Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney following in the afternoon at the 2023 AMO annual general meeting and conference.
Trudeau to meet with new cabinet as Liberal support wanes both in and out of the party – August 19, 2023
Prime Minister Trudeau will join his 38 ministers in Charlottetown for a three-day retreat beginning on Monday as they prepare for the return of Parliament in September and refresh their policy agenda to focus on the housing crisis – an issue that a growing chorus of people inside and outside the government say the Liberals have been slow to respond to. Cabinet will review past policies but focus primarily on what the government can do next, said a senior government source.
Lack of local media, Meta’s news block impact Northwest Territories residents’ access to information – August 19, 2023
Residents of the Northwest Territories are feeling the effect of the news vacuum on Facebook as they flee communities that are under threat by wildfires. But industry observers say the regional media landscape was barren long before Meta – Facebook’s parent company – pulled news content from its platforms in Canada, and that the current situation highlights a long-standing dearth of local news coverage.
Toronto exploring new taxes, parking levy to tackle budget deficit – August 17, 2023
A report from Toronto’s city manager Paul Johnson and the interim chief financial officer Stephen Conforti, which focuses on Toronto’s budgetary outlook and the expected $1.5 billion budget shortfall next year, proposes a progressively increased land-transfer tax on high-value homes, raising the vacant homes tax from one to three percent, introducing a new commercial parking levy along with an increased parking meter fee. Despite the proposed new measures, both the report and Mayor Olivia Chow said the new measures wouldn’t be enough to balance the city’s budget.