Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Tony Wakeham, MHA for Stephenville- Port au Port, was elected Leader of the PC Party of NL on Saturday, beating out fellow candidates Lloyd Parrott on the first ballot and Eugene Manning on the second. Both Parrot and Manning threw their support behind Wakeman following the results, with Wakeman also voicing his support for Manning running for the party in the next election. Prior to being elected in 2019, Mr. Wakeman served as the CEO of the Labrador-Grenfell Health Authority and held a number of senior public service roles, in addition to running his own private food service business. Conception Bay East–Bell Island MHA David Brazil has been interim leader since March 2021, following Ches Crosbie’s departure. While Mr. Brazil has said he’ll sit through the fall session, he’s hinted he won’t reoffer in the next election slated for November 2025 given his age and health challenges.
The return of the Alberta Legislature is less than three weeks away. Looking towards the start of the fall session, a number of key issues are likely to be at the forefront of political debate.
Expected to be tabled first is an expansion of the Taxpayer Protection Act, a UCP promise that has been widely supported by organizations like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Already limiting the imposition of a PST in the province, Premier Smith has indicated that future legislative developments will expand protections against raises in personal and business taxes. Introducing the change as Bill 1 will mark the first step of delivering on a major promise made in April.
Premier Smith has also signalled her government will take their first steps towards a reshaping of healthcare services in Alberta this fall. Health minister Adriana Lagrange has already presented a proposal to Cabinet on the ‘decentralization’ of Alberta Health Services. A cornerstone of Danielle Smith’s policy priorities, the government will determine whether non-acute functions should remain under the direction of AHS. While Smith has pointed to success in the expansion of Chartered Surgical Centres to reduce surgery wait times, the exploration of other AHS restructuring is not without controversy; the privatization of Dynalife lab testing was walked back last month, and the NDP opposes decentralization in its entirety.
B.C. becomes first province to sign individual health deal with feds, worth $1.2 billion
British Columbia is the first province to sign a bilateral health-care funding agreement with the federal government, receiving $1.2 billion over three years. The agreement is part of a $196-billion, 10-year national health accord that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered provinces in February.
The agreement with BC comes with an action plan to develop “an innovative model of care” at 83 acute-care sites, mostly hospitals, that would allow nurses to spend more time with patients; expand mental health treatment Foundry centres from 16 to 35; and support the First Nations Health Authority’s efforts to create culturally safer and trauma-informed healing and treatment services.
Federal Health Minister Mark Holland and local Liberal MP Harjit Sajjan were joined by British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Jennifer Whiteside at Vancouver General Hospital to make the announcement. Dix said: “What this signals is our determination to work together for patients, for people working in health care [and] for the community to make a better public health-care system in Canada.”
The Ontario legislature is in session returning today, Monday, October 16th. The Standing Committees on Heritage, Infrastructure, and Cultural Policy and Public Accounts are scheduled to meet.
The Ontario government is set to introduce legislation later today, which will return parcels of land to the Greenbelt and officially define its boundaries. While specific details about the bill remain undisclosed, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra has indicated that it will bring additional layers of protection, requiring future alterations to be made through legislation rather than regulation.
NDP to campaign on pharmacare if it backs out of Liberal deal: national director – October 15, 2023
The federal New Democrats plan to make pharmacare a central issue in the next election if the Liberals do not meet the bar the opposition party has set for legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The confidence-and-supply deal that sees the NDP supporting the minority Liberals on key votes in the House of Commons says the government will introduce a bill to create a framework for national pharmacare this year.
Candidate nominations for Ward 20, Scarborough Southwest by-election close Monday, October 16 – October 12, 2023
The deadline to submit or withdraw a nomination for the Ward 20, Scarborough Southwest by-election for Councillor is 2 p.m. on Monday, October 16. The seat became vacant on July 26 after long-time Councillor Gary Crawford resigned to run provincially as a PC candidate in Scarborough-Guildwood, but he was unsuccessful in securing that seat. The by-election in Scarborough Southwest will be held on November 30. Candidates include Parthi Kandavel and Kevin Rupasinghe, who narrowly finished second and third respectively behind Crawford in the 2022 election.