Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act
Following the Throne Speech, the first action taken in the legislature by the Smith government was to introduce Bill 1: the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act. The Act passed at first reading.
The Act has drawn much controversy and confusion in the days following its introduction, particularly surrounding the sweeping powers it grants to cabinet – namely, to authorize cabinet to unilaterally give directives to provincial entities or amend legislation through Orders in Council. The day after the bill was introduced, the government posted a news releaseclarifying how it is to be used and over the weekend, stated that her government is drafting amendments to the sections that provide Cabinet with such sweeping powers.
In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized that while he is “not looking for a fight” with Alberta, he is “not taking anything off the table.” Opposition Leader Rachel Notleyechoed criticism and emphasized the potential economic implications with regards to investor certainty.
EverWind Fuels has selected global engineering and construction company Black & Veatch to design its green hydrogen and ammonia production and storage facility in Point Tupper, Nova Scotia, with initial commercial operations planned for 2025. The company is one of 10 that has plans for hydrogen export plants in the province, including Bear Head, Blue Float Energy, Charbone, DP Energy, EastPort Energy, Fortescue, Hexicon, Northland Power, and Simply Blue Group. The federal Department of Finance has launched consultations on an investment tax credit for clean hydrogen based on the lifecycle carbon intensity of hydrogen, as well as labour conditions attached to the investment tax credits for clean hydrogen and clean technologies. Stakeholders are invited to share their feedback until January 6, 2023.
Premier David Eby’s First Official Meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Premier David Eby met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the first time on Friday, where they discussed housing shortages, childcare, climate change, public safety, mental health and addictions, before making an announcement on childcare. Eby and Trudeau spoke with parents at a Richmond childcare facility where they celebrated having daycare fees reduced by hundreds of dollars a month through the childcare fee reduction program. The average childcare fees will now be around $21 a day, but some BC parents pay $10-a-day thanks to provincial government subsidies through a pilot program. “We’re very much on track to delivering our commitment to $10-a-day child care by 2026,” Trudeau said. The province said an additional 2,450 childcare spaces have been subsidized to $10-a-day, for a total of 10,500 spaces at 61 childcare centres.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk published the annual report on Wednesday.
The report reviewed government activities during the pandemic, claiming that that the province’s vaccine rollout wasted resources. It also commented on several ongoing, high-priority projects such as Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass, both of which the Auditor General wrote was not recommended by the experts consulted by the Ministry of Transportation. The Auditor General’s undercover operation into four casinos also found that two sites could have been money laundering.
‘No evidence at the time’ of foreign interference in 2019 federal election says RCMP commissioner
The RCMP has confirmed it is investigating “broader foreign actor interference activities” in Canada. However, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the Mounties did not have any evidence of foreign interference during the 2019 federal election and were not investigating any criminal activities related to that election.
GTA municipalities pushback on Ontario’s housing bill
Ontario’s More Homes Built Faster Act, known as Bill 23, has provoked widespread pushback among GTA politicians and civil servants who claim the bill will freeze and reduce development fees cities charge to developers in order to spur building. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) estimates the bill would cut $5.1 billion in funding to municipalities over the next nine years, including $400 million in lost funding for community housing. Civil servants across the GTA warn that this revenue loss could lead to ‘devastating’ circumstances such as increased property taxes, service cuts, and axed capital projects. Some municipalities, including Toronto and Mississauga, are calling on the province to hit pause on the legislation.