Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly Canada-wide newsletter:
‘Completely overwhelmed’: Family doctors in Alberta take concerns to social media
In Calgary, Edmonton, and Leduc, Alberta, family doctors are facing significant stress due to patient overload and financial pressures with the province’s strained health-care system.These issues were highlighted by 24 physicians who shared their experiences over a 24-hour period on social media platforms, as part of an awareness campaign by the Alberta Medical Association. Dr. Fauzia Khaliq Kareemi in Calgary expressed concerns about financial stress and increasing rent, while Dr. Michelle Morros in Edmonton mentioned being overwhelmed as a result of taking on too many patients. Additionally, Dr. David Smyth in Leduc described difficulties in recruiting physicians and called the situation a “real mess.” Alberta’s Health Minister, Adriana LaGrange, acknowledged the challenges and expressed a commitment to addressing the concerns in primary care.
New Brunswick on the cusp of becoming hydrogen powerhouse: energy minister
The government of New Brunswick has released a five-year road map for hydrogen development, aiming to position the province as a clean-energy powerhouse. The document outlines seven steps to prepare the province for hydrogen harvesting, with a focus on its potential use as a replacement for natural gas in heavy industry. The government predicts that domestic sales of New Brunswick hydrogen could reach up to $349 million in 2050, with an additional $1.9 billion in the export market.
B.C. prepares legislation to share decision-making power with Indigenous groups over public lands
The British Columbia government is preparing to amend the Land Act, which will allow joint decision-making authority with Indigenous groups over public lands, covering 94% of the province.This change is aimed at achieving reconciliation and reducing litigation over Indigenous rights, building on the 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The proposed amendments, which do not appear to affect existing tenures, have been developed with minimal public disclosure and are scheduled to be implemented by late spring, despite limited details and stakeholder engagement. The amendments are seen as a significant shift towards Indigenous governance over non-Indigenous parties, with potential implications for various stakeholders, including the largest privately held cattle ranch in Canada, which relies on Crown land for grazing.
Supreme Court Rules Ontario Government Can Keep Premier’s Mandate Letters Confidential
The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled in favour of the Ontario government’s decision not to disclose Premier Doug Ford’s mandate letters, citing Cabinet confidentiality and the exemption under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
Foreign interference networks ‘deeply embedded’ in Canadian politics, CSIS report says
A declassified intelligence report obtained by Global News reveals deep-rooted foreign interference networks in Canadian politics, operating at all government levels and gradually weakening the country’s democracy. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) report, emphasizes that foreign interference is gradually weakening Canada’s democracy. The CSIS report warns that foreign interference poses a significant threat, targeting various entities, including diaspora groups, media outlets, and governmental levels. Elections are identified as crucial periods for foreign interference activities, influencing political outcomes clandestinely. A commission of inquiry, initiated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will continue to investigate foreign interference in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
Chow’s first budget proposes 9.5% tax hike, full funding for Scarborough busway
Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow presented her inaugural $17 billion draft budget for 2024, featuring a notable 9.5% property tax increase, the highest since 1998. The proposal includes full funding for the Scarborough busway, a smaller-than-requested increase in the Toronto police budget, and substantial investments in affordable housing and transit—critics, like Coun. Brad Bradford, argue the tax hike is insensitive during an affordability crisis. The budget allocates $67 million for the Scarborough busway and establishes funds for housing, state-of-good-repair work, and homeless services. Despite Police Chief Myron Demkiw’s disappointment over a reduced budget increase, Chow asserts funding for hiring 200 more police officers and access to reserve funds for special events and contract agreements. The budget, to be finalized on Feb. 14, also addresses federal funding disputes for refugee claimants and potential cuts to services like snow clearing.