Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Following Danielle Smith’s visit to the Lieutenant Governor today where the writs of election will be issued, Alberta’s campaign period will be officially underway – and parties will move full steam ahead with a Leader’s tour, election signs, and platform announcements. The UCP’s Smith and NDP’s Notley remain neck-and-neck in the polls as Alberta enters its election period, which will run until May 29.
Both major parties will be allocating significant time and attention to Calgary throughout the campaign, as many of its swing ridings will largely decide the outcome of the election.
New Brunswick Liberal Leader Susan Holt won last week’s byelection in Bathurst East-Nepisiguit-Saint-Isidore, securing her seat in the legislature. She will join new Liberal MLAs Richard Losier from Dieppe and Marco LeBlanc from Restigouche-Chaleur. Premier Higgs attributed his party’s poor performance in all three seats to deepening political divides along linguistic lines in the province. With the new additions, the Liberal Party will have 16 MLAs, while the governing PCs have 29, the Greens have 3, and there is one Independent.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is considering legal action against the federal government after Marine Atlantic announced an increase to its fuel surcharge from 13% to 17% beginning June 1st. Tourism Minister Steve Crocker raised concerns with the impact on the tourism industry and the cost of goods shipped to the province. As a Crown corporation, Marine Atlantic is required to recover 65% of costs, something the province has been raising concerns with for years. Newfoundland would like prices to be frozen, similar to the federal government’s decision to freeze tolls on the Confederation Bridge in PEI in December.
BC NDP acclaims Indigenous leader Joan Phillip in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Following the resignation of Melanie Mark last month – who was the first Indigenous woman to be elected and appointed as a cabinet minister in British Columbia’s history – the BC NDP have acclaimed Indigenous rights leader and long-time climate activist Joan Phillip to replace Mark in the riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. Philip was the only person to apply for the nomination by the cut-off date of April 26. She will be formally acclaimed on May 24.
Joan Philip, 70, is a left-wing heavyweight candidate for Eby and the BC NDP. Philip and her husband, Grand Chief Stewart Philip (the Grand Chief of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs) are two of the most well-known, vocal, and lifelong climate activists and Indigenous rights activists in the province. She has protested the Trans Mountain pipeline, Site C dam, Ajax open-pit copper mine, salmon farming, and more. If political watchers were curious about Eby’s activist roots and the direction he would take the party, Philip certainly shows Eby isn’t afraid of moving further to the left.
Ontario’s Minister of Transportation has announced that the government has issued a Request for Qualifications for the Advance Tunnel Contract for the North York Subway Extension. The development is intended to provide an eight-kilometre extension to bring faster transit across York Region and Toronto.
The province is investing $112 million to strengthen its bail system and ensure that high-risk and repeat offenders comply with bail conditions. The investment includes a new Bail Compliance and Warrant Apprehension Grant, the expansion of the OPP Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Squad, the creation of Intensive Serious Violent Crime bail teams, as well as the advancement of a Bail Compliance Dashboard monitoring system.
PSAC and Treasury Board reach deal ending job action for 120,000 workers
The union representing more than 120,000 striking public servants said they have achieved a tentative agreement with the federal government Sunday night. The Public Service Alliance of Canada report its bargaining teams negotiated late into Sunday evening and continued Monday morning, the 13th day of the strike. The federal government tabled a new contract offer to the union on Friday, describing it in a Saturday statement as its final proposal. Details of the collective agreement include a 12.6 per cent wage increase, a one-time lump-sum payment for members approaching retirement and specific language about remote work. The majority of the bargaining groups, except for Canada Revenue Agency members, are required to return to work at 9 a.m. Monday or next scheduled shift. As of May 1, strike action continues for 35,000 members at CRA as contract negotiations resume. Details on a ratification vote and next steps will be made public as soon as possible, according to the PSAC statement released Sunday night.
Ahead of the June 26 vote, candidates are taking sides on the “strong-mayor” issue. Mayoral hopefuls such as Mitzie Hunter, Josh Matlow, Oliva Chow, and Ana Bailão have promised not to use the new powers if elected. Instead, they advocate consensus building and persuasion to move their agendas forward. On the other hand, current city Councillor Brad Bradford and former police Chief Mark Saunders have said they would use the new powers to bypass procedural delays and deferral tactics plaguing City Hall.