Canada-wide Update | Highlights

March 4, 2024


Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly Canada-wide newsletter:


Alberta government reports $367M surplus as it takes on debt to fund capital projects 

The Alberta government’s 2024 budget outlines its fiscal plan, called A Responsible Plan for a Growing Province, with allocations for key investments and projects across the province. The surplus is estimated at $367 million and plans for surpluses over the next three years. The province’s total revenue is expected to be $73.5 billion and Alberta’s GDP growth is expected to rise by 2.9%, differing from Canada’s slow GDP growth trends. To meet the needs of the province, the government has projected additional borrowing of almost $2.4 billion for 2024-2025. 

The 2024 budget reflects the Alberta government’s spending priorities, with a focus on investing in the future through the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to ensure the province is prepared for the slowing of its natural resource sector, select infrastructure projects, health-care funding, new schools, and wildfires and droughts. The Alberta government framed the budget around being prepared for the province’s continued population growth, which will require increased support and funding for the services people expect and require.  

Atlantic Canada

P.E.I. government considering making Maritime Electric a Crown Corporation 

The P.E.I. government is considering making Maritime Electric a crown corporation, given the utility’s frequent requests for customer rate increases which have resulted in Islanders paying 9% more on their energy bills in the last year. Energy Minister Steven Myers says he doesn’t know how much taking over the utility from Fortis might cost the province, but the province is looking into it. Turning it into a public utility has been raised several times in the past, including by the Lee and Ghiz governments. The most recent study in 2012 recommended a hybrid model involving private ownership of distribution and public ownership of power generation.

British Columbia

Drought withered B.C. Hydro’s revenues by $1 billion by end of its third quarter 

Despite B.C. Hydro’s strained financial results in the 2023/24 fiscal year, Energy Minister Josie Osborne is not pausing the $370-million affordability credit for households. The utility faced a revenue shortfall of $1 billion due to drought conditions, making it a net importer of electricity. The affordability credit, costing taxpayers $34 million a year for two years, is seen as an important step for British Columbians facing financial pressures. B.C. Hydro’s financial challenges are expected to continue into 2024, with water storage in reservoirs tracking below average, but the utility is exploring diversification and integration of renewable energy sources to enhance resilience against climate change impacts. 


Ontario Government Invests $1.3 billion in the Province’s Colleges and Universities. 

On February 26th, the Honorable Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, announced that the Ontario government is investing $1.3 billion to stabilize the province’s colleges and universities. Additionally, the province will extend its tuition freeze for publicly assisted colleges and universities for at least three more years. 

Through this investment, the province is introducing new legislation – the Strengthening Accountability and Supports Act, 2024. This legislation would authorize the Minister to issue directives requiring colleges and universities to provide information about ancillary fees and other student costs, including costs for textbooks or other learning materials. 


Brian Mulroney, one of Canada’s most consequential prime ministers, is dead at 84 

Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, has passed away at the age of 84. Mulroney was remembered by both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre as a courageous statesman and one of Canada’s greatest-ever statesmen. Despite controversies and challenges, Mulroney’s legacy includes significant contributions to Canadian politics and international relations. He was known for his leadership during a tumultuous period in Canadian and world affairs, including brokering a free trade deal with the U.S., pursuing constitutional reforms, introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and standing against apartheid in South Africa. 


After two decades in local politics, Mississauga councillor will run in federal election 

Mississauga Ward 10 councillor, Sue McFadden, who has served since 2006, will run as the Conservative candidate in the Mississauga-Streetsville riding in the upcoming federal election, slated for October 2025. She aims to unseat Liberal MP Rechie Valdez, citing concerns over affordability and crime under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership. Conservative Party representatives emphasize McFadden’s extensive record of almost 25 years in public service and her proactive initiatives in addressing crime while serving as a city councillor in Mississauga. 


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