Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly newsletters:
Election speculation in New Brunswick continues to increase, with Premier Blaine Higgs suggesting last week that a snap election could be called as he’s worried ‘political drama could overshadow elected officials’ job of helping New Brunswickers’ when the new session of the legislature opens on Oct. 17. The government continues to deal with fallout from changes to Policy 713, including a protest outside a recent party fundraising dinner and the resignation of several riding officials. The Premier has not ruled out using the notwithstanding clause, saying ‘I believe it’s necessary to look at whatever it takes to have parents involved.’ Education Minister Bill Horgan has also said his department will be reviewing the province’s sexual education curriculum. The Liberal Party has already launched a new ad campaign, profiling Leader Susan Holt, encouraging residents to join the ‘wave of change,’ and Green Party Leader David Coon has signalled his willingness to work with the Liberals to oust the government, if the PC’s don’t form a majority. Meanwhile, PC MLA Ross Wetmore, who was part of the group of the ‘rebel’ group of MLAs, says there is no need for a snap election as he and the five others are prepared to support the government’s legislative agenda this fall. However, with a recently announced $1 billion surplus, much criticized by opposition parties, Finance Minister Ernie Steeves is signalling the government has lots of room for new ‘affordability measures’ including possible tax cuts.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has escalated ongoing disputes with the federal government over its electricity regulations by threatening to use the Sovereignty Act. The move comes after the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) warned that Ottawa’s clean electricity regulations and its 2030 net-zero emissions caps could lead to blackouts across the province. Smith claims that by invoking the Act, she seeks to protect Alberta’s constitutional jurisdiction and the development of its oil, gas, and electricity sectors. Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault countered these claims, stating that the regulations allow for a 12-year transition period and do not pose a blackout threat.
Housing, climate, and public safety to be the focus of the fall legislature session.
With the start of the fall legislature session on Tuesday, the BC NDP have signalled their priorities continue to be tackling the major challenges facing the province, with housing, climate preparedness and public safety top of the list.
“Everybody in B.C. wants to be able to build a good life here with an affordable home in a safe community they love, surrounded by quality public services and good job opportunities,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing and Government House Leader. He stressed the government’s commitment to being “laser-focused on the things that matter most to people” this fall legislative session.
Several pieces of legislation are set to be introduced. These include new housing laws designed to resolve enduring permitting and zoning challenges and to accelerate the provision of middle-income housing. Other proposed laws aim to enhance emergency management, support victims of crime, streamline international credentialing and further regulation of gig workers.
The Ontario legislature is in session this week. This week, the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy and the Standing Committee on Government Agencies will meet.
The Ontario government has introduced the Affordable Homes and Good Jobs Act, streamlining processes to build affordable homes while aligning with local household incomes and housing market variations. The legislation supports the government’s goal of constructing 1.5 million homes in Ontario by 2031. Additionally, it seeks to expedite housing-related decisions at the Ontario Land Tribunal through consultations on new regulations. The proposed changes also include provisions to support a significant investment in an electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in St. Thomas and enhance procurement efficiency in collaboration with municipalities.
The Transportation for the Future Act aims to facilitate expansion of GO Transit, promote housing near transit, and improve travel convenience for Greater Toronto Area residents. If passed, municipalities will have access to a new funding tool called the Station Contribution Fee, which aims to raise revenue to build new GO stations and recover costs as transit-oriented communities grow around them.
House Speaker Rota resigns after MPs call for his exit for honouring man who fought with Nazi unit – September 26, 2023
Anthony Rota bowed to increasing pressure on Tuesday with the unprecedented announcement that he would resign as Speaker of the House of Commons over his decision to invite a member of a Nazi unit to the House during an official visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Federal government looking to cut $1 billion from National Defence budget – September 29, 2023
The Liberal government is looking to cut almost $1 billion from the annual budget of the Department of National Defence (DND) — a demand the country’s top military commander says is prompting some “difficult” conversations within the military.
Olivia Chow, Chrystia Freeland meet at city hall for 1st time as Toronto grapples with fiscal crisis – September 29, 2023
Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow met with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for the first time to discuss solutions for the city’s $1.5 billion budget deficit. Chow described the meeting as constructive and creative, while Freeland stated it was a good first meeting focused on understanding Toronto’s needs, though no specific funding commitments were made. Chow is seeking federal support to address Toronto’s financial crisis, growing refugee population, need for more affordable housing, and public transit projects.