Canada Wide Update – Highlights

December 11, 2023


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


Alberta legislature wraps up fall sitting, passes pension-exit legislation

The fall sitting of the Alberta legislature concluded on Friday, with contentious debate around the government’s bill mandating a referendum before the province could leave the Canada Pension Plan. The session also saw the passage of nine bills, including Bill 1, which requires majority support in a referendum before hiking personal and business tax rates. The NDP criticized the government for using time allocation on the pension bill, stating it is a threat to Albertans’ retirement security. The Opposition argues that the democratic process was stifled, while the UCP contends that there was ample time for debate and that time limits were necessary to prevent extending the session into Christmas. The NDP made multiple amendments to tighten the rules around the bill, but all were defeated by the UCP majority.

Atlantic Canada

Landings down up to 50 to 75% in opening days of lobster fishery in southwestern N.S.

The lobster fishing season in Nova Scotia is off to a poor start, with fishermen reporting catches down as much as 75% from last year. The lobster season has opened at a relatively high shore price of $10.50 per pound, which fishermen hope will help to shield them from the economic ramifications of another season of low catches. During an appearance at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans December 5th meeting on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing, members of the United Conservation Alliance discussed depleting lobster yields in Nova Scotia, suggesting that unregulated, out-of-season fishing is the likely the cause of the poor yields, and that government needs to take more action to enforce existing fisheries policies.

British Columbia

B.C. port strike hurt Canada’s reputation, industry tells MPs

The B.C. port strike, lasting nearly a month, had detrimental effects on Canada’s reputation and industry, according to testimonies presented to MPs. Industry insiders highlighted the significant damage to Canada’s image as a reliable trading partner due to supply chain disruptions caused by the strike. Despite initial settlements, the strike’s uncertainty and prolonged duration heightened concerns about the nation’s economic reliability. Retailers warned of potential continent-wide impacts, emphasizing the urgency of resolving labor disputes at B.C. ports. The testimonies underscore the need for preventive measures and improved negotiation strategies to safeguard Canada’s economic standing in the global market.


Key Findings from Ontario Auditor General’s Annual Report
The Ontario auditor general’s report sheds light on several challenges facing government, including one-in-five non-urgent emergency visits arising from challenges accessing family doctors. Northern hospitals face a 25-fold increase in nurse agency usage, leading to higher costs, and over 200 unplanned emergency department closures are occurring in rural areas. The report also highlights issues in government decision-making, financial vulnerabilities at York University, challenges in the transportation sector, and shortcomings in inspections and economic opportunities in various industries.


Canada introduces framework to cap greenhouse gas pollution from oil and gas sector

The Liberal government introduced a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector. It aims to cut emissions by 35 to 38 percent by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Facilities can reduce emissions or buy allowances. Critics worry about economic impacts and see the targets as less ambitious due to recent legal decisions. Environmentalists support the move, but some feel it’s not strong enough to meet emission reduction goals.


Doug Ford poised to reverse decision to dissolve Peel Region: sources

Premier Doug Ford appears set to backtrack on his proposal to dissolve Peel Region, going against his previous commitment to former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, according to sources that informed the Star. Faced with growing concerns about potential tax increases and service disruptions in Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon should they become independent municipalities, Ford is contemplating reassessing the dissolution plan. Currently under scrutiny by a five-member transition board appointed by the premier, the dissolution proposal has prompted internal discussions. Confidential sources reveal that Mayor Patrick Brown’s recent data release, indicating a potential $1.3 billion property tax hike in Brampton over a decade, has raised alarm within the premier’s office.

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