Canada-wide Update | Highlights

July 8, 2024


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


Naheed Nenshi’s Alberta NDP is trailing the governing United Conservative Party by 14 points according to a new survey

A new Abacus Data poll suggests the governing UCP maintains a 14-point lead over the NDP, with 54% of committed voters choosing the UCP compared to 40% for the NDP. The survey, conducted days after Nenshi’s leadership win, found that his victory has not had a noticeable impact on voting intentions in the province. The UCP’s support is down only 1 point and the NDP’s support remaining unchanged since March 2024. However, the poll indicates that Nenshi’s influence varies across the province. While the NDP closed the gap to 4 points in Calgary, their lead in Edmonton has gone down from 11 points to just 2 points over the UCP. Impressions of Premier Danielle Smith’s government have also improved, with 42% approving of the provincial government’s job performance, up 10 points since March. Despite Nenshi’s potential to be a threat to the UCP, the poll suggests that many Albertans still aren’t especially familiar with him, particularly outside of Calgary, presenting a challenge for the new NDP leader to introduce himself and shift perceptions about the party.

Atlantic Canada

N.L. Premier opposes Ottawa’s decision to allocate northern cod quota to foreign fleets

The federal government’s decision to end the 32-year northern cod moratorium and split the total available catch between the inshore and offshore fisheries has been met with widespread opposition from the union and provincial government. In a letter, Premier Furey said, “changes that provide increased access to foreign fleets, coupled with the risk of overfishing, are an affront to the patience and commitment to stewardship demonstrated by the hardworking harvesters and processors of this province.”  Furey took particular issue with the lack of consultation and is calling for joint management and the province to have greater control over its resources. This is the latest in a series of public rebukes Premier Furey has issued in recent months against the federal Liberals, including the carbon tax approach.

British Columbia

Donations pouring into BC Conservatives’ war chest as election looms

The BC Conservatives are experiencing a significant boost in their fundraising efforts as the October provincial election draws closer. From April through June, the party raised a record-breaking $1.1 million, the largest amount ever collected in a three-month period, surpassing their previous quarter’s total of just over $380,000. This marks a dramatic increase from their 2023 donations of $444,000 and their 2022 total of only $85,000. Despite record fundraising, the NDP is leading the polls with 41% of voter support, followed by the Conservatives at 33%, BC United at 12%, and the Greens at 11%. Rustad has been campaigning across the province, recently visiting Ladysmith to discuss his party’s approach to economic reconciliation, which he says should focus on building opportunities for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities at a “people-to-people” level.


Ontario spending $3.6 million to train workers in Hamilton

The Ontario government is spending over $3.6 million through the Skills Development Fund in four training projects and one building expansion project in Hamilton, providing free training for up to 3,800 apprentices, journeypersons, and jobseekers for in-demand jobs like millwright, welding, and electrical trades. The funding includes $2 million to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for two projects benefiting disadvantaged individuals, $800,000 to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America to train individuals on new technology, and $250,000 to Millwright for a building expansion to enhance training capacity.


Liberal government enacts controversial digital services tax, raising trade concerns

The Liberal government announced that the Digital Services Tax (DST)would come into effect this week. The 3% tax applies to companies with a global annual income of at least $1.1 billion or generating more than $20 million in Canadian revenue. This move has sparked trade concerns and criticism from various groups, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and U.S. officials. Critics argue the tax is discriminatory, could raise prices for consumers, and potentially violates trade agreements like the U.S.-Canada-Mexico free trade agreement. However, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland defended the tax as a necessary measure to promote generational fairness, noting that many other nations have similar taxes in place.


Mississauga’s New Mayor’s Early Use of Strong Powers Raises Concerns

Carolyn Parrish, Mississauga’s newly elected mayor, has utilized strong mayor powers multiple times since her inauguration, despite prior promises to limit their use. Actions include firing the city’s CAO, Shari Lichterman, and appointing Geoff Wright as interim CAO. These moves have sparked concerns about potential chilling effects among council members and staff, with experts warning of possible threats to good governance. Some council members have mixed reactions, noting both criticism and support for Parrish’s early decisions.


Hydro-Québec’s First 3000-Megawatt Wind Farm: A $9 Billion Investment

Hydro-Québec is set to build its first mega wind farm in the Chamouchouane region of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, partnering equally with two First Nations communities and the MRC Domaine-du-Roy. This wind farm, with a 3000-megawatt capacity, represents a $9 billion investment and will be the largest in North America. The project, spanning 5000 square kilometers, will proceed in stages, with initial steps including wind measurement and community consultations. This initiative marks Hydro-Québec’s shift towards controlling wind energy development, previously managed by private firms. The partnership exemplifies Hydro-Québec’s strategy to rapidly expand wind energy, aiming to add 10,000 megawatts to meet growing electricity demands. Future partnerships in northern and eastern Quebec are anticipated. This development promises significant economic benefits and supports Quebec’s energy transition, highlighting the strategic importance of the collaboration for both local communities and the province’s energy goals.

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