Canada-wide Update | Highlights

April 29, 2024


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


Province Introduces Municipal Affairs Legislation

The Alberta government has introduced sweeping changes to its municipal election laws with the tabling of Bill 20, which aims to establish local political parties in Calgary and Edmonton as a pilot project. The bill proposes amendments to the Municipal Government Act and Local Authorities Election Act, aiming to enhance transparency, fairness, and trust in local elections, according to Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver. It proposes 29 measures in total, including but not limited to measures to manage election financing, such as requiring third-party advertisers to disclose contributions and capping campaign spending. Additional provisions grant the provincial cabinet increased oversight over municipal governance, including the power to intervene in municipal affairs and to instate public referendums to remove Councillors from office or do so without a vote if deemed in the public interest. It will also allow the provincial government reverse local bylaws when deemed necessary.

Atlantic Canada

‘Acrimonious’ spring legislative sitting wraps up on P.E.I. after only 28 days

After only 28 days, the spring sitting of the P.E.I. legislature concluded with 11 government bills and one private members bill receiving royal asset.  Legislation passed will permit hunting on Sundays, proclaim April 25 as Cyberbullying Awareness Day, and amend numerous pieces of healthcare legislation including the Drug Cost Assistance Act, the Health and Dental Services Cost Assistance Act, the Pharmacy Act and enact the Stretcher Transportation Act. The end of the sitting coincided with the fifth anniversary of the election of the King government, with political analysts arguing that the collaboration that was central to the Premier’s governing style in the early days has been replaced by a return to partisan politics.  The legislature will resume on November 5.

British Columbia

B.C. government asks Health Canada to ‘urgently’ make drug use in public illegal again

British Columbia is moving to ban most public drug use as part of its decriminalization pilot project, which the Premier David Eby stated was an oversight in the original implementation. The province has requested amendments from Health Canada to empower police to address drug use in public areas such as hospitals, parks, and transit, aiming to address safety concerns. This adjustment follows criticism of the initial decriminalization policy, which aimed at reducing stigma and encouraging drug users to seek help, but has been challenged by incidents of open drug use in public spaces. Despite previous legal challenges to similar measures, Eby is confident in the support from the federal government and the necessity of these changes to ensure public safety, while maintaining that the decriminalization of possession in private settings and certain public health sites will continue.


Ontario matches federal investments to secure Honda’s $15-billion electric vehicle battery plant in Alliston

Honda Canada has invested $15 billion to create Canada’s first fully integrated electric vehicle supply chain, based in Ontario. The province will provide up to $2.5 billion in direct capital cost assistance and indirect land servicing costs for future facilities. The project will see four new manufacturing plants in Ontario: an electric vehicle assembly plant, a cathode active material plant, a precursor processing plant, and a separator plant. Once fully operational in 2028, the new assembly plant will be able to produce up to 240,000 vehicles each year. The joint federal and provincial investments are in direct competition with U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.


Honda to get up to $5B in government help to build EV battery, assembly plants as part of $15B project in Ontario

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new government funding for to help build an electric vehicle battery plant in Ontario. Honda will receive $5 billion in federal funding $15 billion project in Ontario, Canada, to build an electric vehicle battery plant alongside its Alliston assembly plant. The project, supported by up to $5 billion in public funds, is expected to create 1,000 new jobs and retain 4,200 existing positions. The initiative aims to transition the assembly plant to produce fully electric vehicles and establish a local supply chain. Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized the importance of investing in workers and communities, while Ontario Premier Ford hailed it as a generational commitment. The deal involves tax credits and direct financial support from the federal and provincial governments. Opposition voices raised concerns about job creation and foreign companies benefiting from Canadian subsidies. Honda’s CEO hinted at further expansion into the EV battery sector, emphasizing sustainability. This project aligns with Canada’s efforts to attract green investments and foster a robust electric vehicle industry.


Poll Reveals Toronto Residents Disapprove of Metrolinx’s Performance, while Mayor Olivia Chow’s Approval Stabilizes

A recent Liaison Strategies poll reveals that nearly two-thirds of Toronto residents expressed dissatisfaction with Metrolinx the provincial agency tasked with transit development in the Greater Toronto Area. The poll highlights that 60 percent of respondents are unhappy, primarily blaming project delays such as the much-anticipated Eglinton Crosstown light rail line, now expected to miss its 2026 completion date. Despite Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster’s assurances of progress, public concern remains, fueled by his recent contract extension and salary.   Meanwhile, Mayor Olivia Chow’s approval rating has stabilized at 52 percent, slightly declining by one point since March. This follows her initial high approval rating of over 70 percent during the first few months of her tenure after replacing John Tory last summer. Chow’s popularity took a hit after the council approved a significant 9.5 percent property tax increase in February, and was further strained by the launch of the vacant home tax program and ongoing issues with the TTC.


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