Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
National Defence Minister Bill Blair announced a new $188 million training facility at CFB Halifax. EllisDon has been awarded a $7.85 million contract to design the new Combatant Training and Integration Center – Atlantic (CTIC-A), which will house cutting-edge training systems to train Canadian sailors for the incoming fleet of Canadian Surface Combatant warships. The project is expected to support almost 650 jobs in the Halifax region during construction. In addition, the federal government is also contributing an initial investment of $26.6 million over six years in support of establishing the North American Regional office for NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) in Halifax by summer 2024.
Alberta Covid-19 Report
The recommendations from the recently released Preston Manning-led COVID-19 review panel advocate for a more balanced approach between health measures and individual rights during future public health emergencies. The report proposes improvements to administrative and regulatory frameworks, suggesting that politicians should justify health measures in court before implementation to ensure they don’t infringe on constitutional rights. The report emphasizes the need to increase healthcare system capacity and challenges the traditional reliance solely on scientific evidence, suggesting the consideration of non-scientific evidence in decision-making. However, these suggestions have faced criticism, particularly regarding potential limitations on the role of scientists and medical professionals in public health decision-making. The findings have also raised concerns about potential implications for public safety and healthcare quality. Premier Danielle Smith has not yet committed to implementing specific recommendations, stating that the government will review and analyze the report before making decisions.
David Eby Promises to Tackle Big Issues in First BC NDP Convention as Premier.
The mood was positive as more than 700 BC NDP delegates gathered in Victoria this weekend to debate policy at the party’s first in person convention since 2019. But as he heads into his second year as Premier sitting high in the polls, David Eby didn’t shy away from outlining the challenges the province is facing and his party’s continued attempt at addressing them.
In a speech many felt was a messaging trial run for the upcoming election, flanked by his 56 MLA’s, Premier Eby doubled down on his party’s commitment to fighting climate change, making housing more affordable and addressing the dual substance use and mental health crisis affecting the province. And despite facing an opposition party still trying to find their feet, a near 20-point lead in recent polls and reportedly, a full war chest, he re-iterated to the crowd it is not the time to get complacent.
On the carbon tax, Eby signalled his government will continue to apply BC’s carbon tax, even if the federal Conservatives form the next government, while also having a message for voters looking for relief in the form of exemptions. “We don’t want to do what the federal government did, which is protect certain kinds of heating,” said Eby. “We think there should be a price on carbon pollution.”
In a media scrum later in the day Eby had even stronger words for his federal counterparts. “I think the federal government was incredibly ham-handed in their carbon tax decisions,” said Eby, “I think they’ve done a profoundly poor job of it.”
Still, it was BC United leader Kevin Falcon that drew some of the harshest attacks, with Eby testing out some of the same lines his predecessor used against Christy Clark in 2017, pegging the BCU as out of touch and only in it for the their rich friends, even going as far as calling out Falcon for his “in between politics” gig with a housing developer, lining up wealthy investors with income properties as the housing crisis got worse.
In the party’s leadership review held on Saturday, support among delegates was strong with Eby receiving a 93.1 percent vote of confidence that he’s the person to carry the party forward to next year, as the BC NDP look to win a record third term.
As the clock continues to tick down towards the next general election, all eyes will be on Eby as he looks to make good on his promises to tackle the biggest issues facing the province, even if they were years or decades in the making.
The final Ontario Liberal Party leadership debate in Brampton focused on health care and strategies to defeat Premier Doug Ford in the next election. Candidates, including perceived front-runner Bonnie Crombie, emphasized addressing health-care staffing shortages, reversing privatization moves, and creating a mental health-care system. Other priorities discussed included housing and addressing the challenges that are prompting young people to leave the province.
The candidates largely avoided attacking each other and instead directed their attention towards defeating Premier Doug Ford, with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie expressing confidence in taking down Ford in 2026.
Party members are scheduled to vote on November 25 and November 26 with the results announced on December 2 in downtown Toronto.
Creating opportunities for Canadians and advancing collaboration with APEC partners – November 17, 2023
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, concluded his participation at the APEC Leaders’ Meeting, in San Francisco, United States of America. Under the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for all”, leaders from 21 partner economies came together to advance economic co-operation. Nearly one year since the launch of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the meeting was an important forum to deepen Canada’s collaboration with regional economies on supply chain resilience, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, digital trade, and economic security.
Toronto kicks off budget process as talks to tackle $1.5B deficit near end – November 18, 2023
To address Toronto’s $1.5 billion budget deficit this year, Mayor Olivia Chow will initiate a series of consultations over the next week and a half—well before the usual budget kick-off in January. While the city has already implemented tax and fee hikes to mitigate the shortfall, Chow is optimistic that these early consultations will provide valuable insights and arm her with a list of priority services people across the city deem essential.