Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Danielle Smith and the UCP receive a majority mandate from Albertans
Albertans have re-elected the United Conservative Party (UCP) with a majority government. While some individual races remain too close to call, Elections Alberta is expected to release official results on June 8th. However, unofficial results can be found here and it is projected that the UCP will officially win 49 of 87 seats in the Alberta Legislature and capture approximately 53 percent of the popular vote. Of note, while the trend of low voter turnout appears to be norm around much of the country, this election saw over 62% of registered voters casting their ballots. That said, this is still down from the over 76% of eligible voters who showed up to the polls in the 2019 provincial election.
Rain over the weekend has helped Nova Scotia’s firefighting efforts. The federal government has also approved the province’s request for assistance, sending in members of the Canadian Armed Forces. There are still five wildfires burning across the province, four under control including those in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The Barrington Lake fire in Shelburne County is still out of control, covering 250 square kilometres, the largest in the province’s history. The province has lifted the restrictions it had imposed on travel and activities in the woods in all areas except for Shelburne County and anywhere evacuation orders are in place. The government has announced it will provide a one-time grant of $2,500 to small businesses located in the mandatory evacuation zones, as well as $500 for every household required to evacuate. The fine for breaking the provincewide burn ban has been increased to $25,000.
Housing “Naughty List” Revealed
Last week, Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon unveiled the first 10 municipalities required to hit housing development targets set by the province under the BC NDP’s new Housing Supply Act legislation. The legislation is meant to spur new housing developing by pushing municipalities to speed up new housing projects to meet growing demand; if targets are not met, the province can step in and force project approvals.
The housing “naughty list” – as many commentators have called it – is mostly composed of Lower Mainland communities (Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Port Moody, Abbotsford and Delta) and the Capital Regional District (Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay). Kamloops is the only Interior municipality to be included.
However, over the weekend, the Vancouver Sun revealed that 47 municipalities are actually on the “naughty list” as outlined in a cabinet order in council. The Housing Ministry said in a statement the order-in-council includes 47 municipalities in “areas of the province with the greatest housing need and highest projected growth where targets may be set…these municipalities were simply included in the order-in-council for expediency to not have to amend the regulation every time a new cohort is selected.”
The province has not yet established the housing development targets the selected communities must meet. And with the growing list, this process is beginning to look more like a communications exercise for the BC NDP as opposed to rigorous process to solve the province’s housing crisis. Expect Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon to be on the hot seat this week.
This is the final week the legislature will be in session until it returns in September.
This week, the Standing Committees on Social Policy, the Interior, Public Accounts, Finance and Economic Affairs, Procedure and House Affairs, Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy, Justice Policy, and Government Agencies will meet.
Two government bills are schedules for debate today, Bill 102, the Strengthening Safety and Modernizing Justice Act, and Bill 112, the Hazel McCallion Act (Peel Dissolution), submitted by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark. Bill 98, the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act is scheduled for debate on Tuesday.
Singh says NDP won’t trigger election over Johnston, interference. Why? – June 4, 2023
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is defending his party’s decision not to make its motion calling for David Johnston to step down as special rapporteur binding and says an election does not “make sense” if the goal is protecting Canada’s democracy. Earlier this week, the NDP’s non-binding motion calling for an inquiry and for Johnston to step down was adopted in the House of Commons by the opposition parties. But following the vote both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Johnston said he would continue in the role of special rapporteur investigating foreign interference.
Olivia Chow widened her lead in mayoral race poll – June 5, 2023
According to Forum Research, Chow has the support of 38% of decided voters, up 4% since last week. The former NDP MP has more than double the lead over her nearest rival, Mark Saunders, who sits at 13%. Josh Matlow is at 12%, Anthony Furey is at 10%, Ana Bailão is at 8%, Mitzie Hunter is at 7%, and Brad Bradford is at 5%. See what the polls have been showing since April 17 here.