Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act Passes with Amendments
On December 8, the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act passed in the Alberta Legislature, but not without several key amendments. The Act no longer grants Cabinet unilateral powers to determine which statutes can be changed and instead, Cabinet must return these proposals to the Legislative Assembly to pass through the standard stages of debate. The amendments also narrow the definition of ‘harmful’ and therefore what meets the threshold to invoke the Act. The amendments were introduced following a vote within caucus, indicating that the United Conservatives are less united about the legislation than has been expressed by Premier Smith. Lack of caucus consultation and unity was among many factors leading to the downfall of Smith’s predecessor Jason Kenney.
Ahead of his participation in the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal, Environment Minister Timothy Halman announced $20 million to help the province reach its goal of protecting 20 percent of Nova Scotia’s land and water by 2030.
The additional 9,300 hectares of Crown land, which will be used to create six new nature reserves and expand 7 existing wilderness areas, bring the province’s total protected areas to 13 percent.
New Mandate Letters Released
After announcing his new cabinet, Premier David Eby provided each of his ministers with their new mandate letters, charting a course for his government until the next election. Every mandate letter includes Eby’s overall priorities before tasking Ministers with portfolio-specific deliverables.
Eby says: “British Columbians continue to recover from and respond to the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate related natural disasters, while global inflation is driving up costs for more households and the world’s economic outlook is concerning. Now more than ever, we need to focus on building a secure, low emission, sustainable economy, and a province where everyone can find a good home.” The mandate letters go on to further highlight housing, public safety, improved health care, and creating a “sustainable, clean, secure, and fair economy” as Eby’s top overall government priorities as Premier.
The 2023 Ontario Budget will be released by March 31, 2023.
The government has officially launched consultations on the prebudget process. Stakeholders can submit their ideas through a written submission, or through a survey that will go live on January 11.
Liberal-NDP deal very likely to remain intact heading into the new year: Jagmeet Singh
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he’s confident in the state of his party’s confidence-and-supply agreement with Trudeau’s Liberals provided they continue to deliver on the NDP’s priorities. Singh also said that the NDP has the ability to pull its support of the Liberals if there are signs of “any element of the agreement being breached by the government,” but that he has no plans to do so anytime soon
Toronto Mayor John Tory unveils his new housing plan to increase density across Toronto neighbourhoods
Last week, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the 2023 Housing Action Plan, his proposed strategy to tackle the city’s acute affordability and housing crises. Unveiled a day after the Ontario government passed its “strong mayor” law, Mayor Tory’s plan aims to increase density by updating several of the City’s rules and regulations to meet or exceed a target of building 285,000 homes over the next ten years. The Mayor’s plan proposes bold and aggressive actions called upon by many housing advocates, including ending exclusionary zoning, legalizing rooming houses, and encouraging housing construction on school lands.