Canada-wide Update | Highlights

June 3, 2024


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


Alberta NDP Hold Final Leadership Debate

The Alberta NDP held their third and final leadership debate on the afternoon of June 2. Held in Edmonton, the event drew hundreds of supporters who were there to watch the four candidates’ debate. Candidates Calahoo Stonehouse, Ganley, Hoffman, and Nenshi all shared a stage for a final time to convince prospective voters to support them in leading the Alberta New Democrats. While the Alberta NDP’s leadership race has been characterized as not having much variation in stances between many of the candidates, interesting moments included conversations on whether provincial NDP membership should be linked with federal NDP membership and an analysis of the NDP’s track record in government. Eligible voters for the NDP leadership race can cast their ranked ballot as of June 3, with the new NDP leader announced in Calgary on the evening of June 22.

Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador Launching Constitutional Challenge Against Federal Equalization Program

N.L. has announced plans to file a constitutional challenge against the federal equalization program, claiming it is flawed and fails to take into account the costs of delivering services to N.L.’s highly dispersed population and the price of investing in natural resource development. The federal equalization program is the mechanism through which the federal government ensures that provincial governments have sufficient revenue to provide comparable levels of public service. Payments are distributed based on their “fiscal capacity,” as determined based on the total amount of revenue a province could bring in if its taxes were at the national average rate. Only provinces with a lower-than-average fiscal capacity receive a payment. N.L., having just qualified for equalization for the first time since 2008, argues it should have received between $450 million and $1.2 billion in each of the last five years. N.S. and Saskatchewan have both pledged to join N.L. as intervenors.

British Columbia

MLA Lorne Doerksen Crosses the Floor

Lorne Doerkson, caucus chair for the B.C. United party and representative for Cariboo-Chilcotin, is defecting to the B.C. Conservatives, increasing their numbers in the legislature to three. This move follows unsuccessful negotiations between the two right-of-centre parties to avoid vote splitting in the upcoming fall provincial election. Doerkson cites the importance of the election and his constituents’ desire for a Conservative government as reasons for his switch. Previously elected in 2020, Doerkson served as United’s shadow minister for various portfolios. Both Conservative Leader John Rustad and fellow Conservative Bruce Banman were formerly members of B.C. United.


Ontario Strengthening Protections for Homeowners and Homebuyers

The Ontario government has introduced the Homeowner Protection Act, 2024, which bans the registration of Notices of Security Interest (NOSIs) for consumer goods on the Land Registry. The legislation would also establish a 10-day cooling-off period for new freehold home buyers and deem currently registered NOSIs expired. The government expects that this legislation will give Ontario homeowners and buyers information and time to make these major financial decisions. The bill also proposes amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act to ease administrative pressures associated with conserving legacy-listed heritage properties.


Canada Finance Minister Says Budget Created Conditions for Cut in Interest Rates

Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stated that the federal budget for fiscal year 2024-25, presented last month, has created conditions conducive to lowering interest rates. She emphasized the government’s efforts to support the decline in inflation, which could allow the Bank of Canada (BoC) to reduce rates. However, Freeland noted that the BoC is independent and will make its own decision on interest rates, with a decision expected on June 5. Despite concerns that the budget’s C$50 billion in new spending over five years could stoke inflation, analysts have mixed views on the timing of rate cuts. The BoC has maintained interest rates at 5% since July 2023, and while a rate cut in June is seen as likely, some economists suggest waiting until July for more economic data.


Potential TTC Strike Next Week

Nearly 12,000 of Toronto’s 16,000 TTC workers, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, may strike on June 7 if no deal is reached. The key issues in the negotiations include wages, job security, benefits, and workplace safety, with increased violence against workers being a significant concern. While TTC management remains hopeful for a resolution, the potential strike could result in a complete shutdown of transit services in Toronto. Advocacy group TTC Riders supports the union’s demands, calling for a fair deal for the workers.


Air Pollution: Montreal Regulations Once Again Challenged

American Iron & Metal (AIM) is challenging a new regulation by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) regarding atmospheric pollutant emissions. AIM argues the regulation is discriminatory, unreasonable, and impractical, particularly the requirement for recycling companies to capture and scrub pollutants, which would impose significant financial and operational burdens. AIM claims the costs for compliance range between $11 million and $23 million and could lead to partial shutdowns of their facilities. The company also states that its current emissions are already below the regulatory limits and that the regulation unfairly targets their Montreal-Est location, disadvantaging them against competitors outside Montreal. The Quebec Superior Court is set to hear AIM’s request to annul the contested regulation.

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