Canada-wide Update | Highlights

May 6, 2024


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


Alberta Persists in Preventing Release of Pension Plan Survey Data

The Alberta government has consistently denied requests to release data from public surveys on a potential provincial pension plan, despite multiple freedom of information requests by Postmedia. Finance Minister Nate Horner acknowledged the existence of the data but noted that it was withheld because it was considered incomplete. Legal experts and advocates argue that the government’s rationale for not releasing the data is unjustified and goes against the principles of transparency. Additionally, other government departments have released similar survey data, highlighting an inconsistency in the handling of such requests.

Atlantic Canada

N.S. NDP unveil housing plan during biannual policy convention

Framed as a major plank in her party’s next platform, N.S. NDP Leader Claudia Chender announced new housing solutions aimed at combatting the cost-of-living crisis during their biannual policy convention in Halifax.  Titled Homes Within Reach, the plan includes leveraging federal funding by prioritizing the use of prefabricated/modular construction, enabling the expansion of non-profit and co-op housing projects, expanding the Down Payment Assistance Program to 10 percent of the purchase price up to $50,000, and creating a renters’ tax credit for low- and middle-income households.  The plan builds on previously announced commitments including a rental tenancies enforcement branch, vacant land taxes, and investments in public housing.

British Columbia

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets green light to open for May 1

The company says the first tanker with crude pumped through upgraded pipeline will leave Burnaby in mid-May.Canada’s energy regulator has finally given the green light to Trans Mountain corporation for the pipeline to begin shipping oil, and May 1st will be the pipeline’s first day. This announcement is particular momentous because it marks the end of a 12-year journey – the Trans Mountain pipeline was first proposed in 2012 and has been one of the costliest (and controversial) infrastructure projects in recent history. With a commercial start day of May 1st, the first tanker is not expected to load with oil from the new line until the middle-of-May, due to logistics and ship timing. The addition of the Trans Mountain Pipeline will increase the system’s shipping capacity up to 890,000 barrels as well as help improve the price that Canadian oil companies receive.


Ford’s Progressive Conservatives win two by-elections

Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have won both Ontario byelections.PC candidate Zee Hamid won the riding of Milton by 2,400 votes, and Steve Pinsonneault secured 57 per cent of the votes in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. Premier Ford and several caucus members had made frequent stops and announcements in Milton, while Lambton-Kent-Middlesex remains as a party stronghold.


Capital gains tax changes not included in Freeland’s proposed budget legislation

This week, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced plans to present proposed changes to capital gains taxation as a separate bill in Parliament. By strategically omitting strategic the most contentious aspect of the recent federal budget, the Liberals hope to focus attention on this specific issue and prompt the Conservatives to take a clear position on adjustments to the capital gains inclusion rate. The proposed changes aim to raise more revenue for key priorities such as housing. Despite facing criticism and resistance from businesses and entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland argue that these changes are necessary for fairness across generations and to fund new spending initiatives.


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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