Ontario Premier Doug Ford is ripping up the former Liberal government’s plans for legal recreational cannabis, shifting sales from publicly owned stores to the private sector.
The province’s outgoing Liberal government planned to rely exclusively on the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to sell the drug through a subsidiary called Ontario Cannabis Store. The initial plan was to have 40 outlets this year.
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But Mr. Ford’s government is expected to announce as early as next week that private businesses will now handle storefront sales, with licenses granted by the liquor commission.
The government is expected to maintain control of wholesale and distribution, as well as online sales.
Mr. Ford had already indicated that he was considering private retail sales. In June, he said: “I don’t believe government should stick their nose into everything." Don’t live in Ontario and need to get caught up on what your province or territory is doing to legalize recreational cannabis? We have a guide on what different governments are doing to prepare.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by James Keller and Mayaz Alam. If you're reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
The federal government is taking a serious look at a handgun ban in the wake of the Toronto shooting. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will decide next month whether a ban will be part of the legislative agenda the Liberals plan to pursue ahead of the federal election next year. Sixty per cent of violent gun-related crimes in the country in 2016 involved handguns, according to Statistics Canada. Earlier this week Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that changes to handgun laws would require “significant remodelling” of the Criminal Code. Mr. Trudeau is also considering proroguing Parliament in order to reset priorities leading up to the election in October, 2019. The Liberals haven’t had an agenda-setting Throne Speech since their first in December, 2015.
The federal government is telling Ontario’s provincial government that it must co-operate if it wants $200-million in reimbursement to help mitigate the cost of resettling asylum seekers. The number of asylum seekers coming to Canada in between official ports of entry has fallen in recent months, with the RCMP intercepting 1,263 individuals in June, down from 2,560 in April.
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The federal housing agency is warning that the real estate markets in Toronto and Vancouver remain “highly vulnerable” to a correction. A new report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says those markets are overvalued and overheated, making both regions open to instability.
The newly re-elected chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, says the organization is stepping back from the dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline project and will instead leave it to local leaders to take a stand. Mr. Bellegarde, who won a second term this week, says it’s not up to the AFN to tell individual First Nations whether they should support or oppose the project.
The federal government’s plan to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline may require the oversight of U.S. regulators, including potentially President Donald Trump. U.S. State Department rules require that the government be notified when ownership of a cross-border pipeline changes hands, which could require a new national-interest determination that would need to be approved by the President.
Federal Auditor General Michael Ferguson is probing the Liberal government’s claims, first made in late 2016, that Canada is facing an urgent shortage of fighter jets. At the time, the government said Canada didn’t have the required number of fighter jets to defend North America and meet its NATO obligations. Critics say the government is making up a “capability gap” to avoid having to buy the F-35 planes. The government was prepared to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornets for $6.4-billion in the interim to address the shortage, before ultimately deciding to buy 25 used jets from Australia at a price tag of $500-million.
Hours before the deadline for candidate registration in Toronto’s municipal elections, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has upended the electoral system by cutting the number of positions in city council to 25 from 47. Mr. Ford is also expected to announce the cancellation of four elections currently underway, those for regional board chairs in Peel, York, Niagara and Muskoka. Multiple sources told The Globe and Mail that the premier’s plans come as a surprise to members of his cabinet. Candidates for city council have been filing nomination papers since the start of May and have been campaigning since.
Newfoundland has reached a deal with Equinor and Husky to pursue a deep-water oil project, the first of its kind in the province. It’s estimated that the Bay du Nord project, valued at $6.8-billion, contains more than 300 million barrels of crude that can be recovered.
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Yukon has agreed to make changes to its solitary-confinement policies after receiving complaints from four prisoners over the use of the practice for Indigenous inmates and those who have a mental illness. The agreement comes between the territory’s Human Rights Commission and the territorial government and does not end the use of solitary confinement in Yukon.
Nova Scotia announced a $120-million surplus in its final books for FY 2017-18, despite $479-million in extra spending. The province’s Liberal government says it initially had a surplus of $230-million before deciding to use $110-million of it to pay down the debt on the new Halifax Convention Centre.
Ottawa is turning to artificial intelligence for solutions to benefits service issues.
Touting a trade truce with Europe, the U.S. is turning its attention back to NAFTA and China. A deal was struck earlier this week between the U.S. and the European Union, suspending new tariffs on the EU in exchange for guarantees that the bloc will import more soybeans and energy from the U.S. The two sides also said they would hold talks on U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and agreed to address China’s market abuses and alleged theft of intellectual property by Chinese companies. The agreements came as the U.S. Senate quietly and unanimously passed a bill that cuts tariffs on around 1,660 items made outside the U.S., nearly half of which are produced in China. On the NAFTA front, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he “was hopeful that we’ll have an agreement in principal in the near future.” Meanwhile, his administration colleague, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, called Canada a national security threat “in the case of steel,” defending his country’s decision to impose tariffs on the product.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the so-called BRICS countries – say that the global trading system is facing “unprecedented challenges” amid U.S. tariffs. Leaders from all five countries met in Johannesburg, discussing everything from climate change to peacekeeping. The powerful five-country bloc sees itself as ascendant amid uncertain U.S. leadership on the world stage.
The party of former cricket star Imran Khan has been declared the winner of Pakistan’s elections, winning 114 of 269 seats in the National Assembly. The party falls short of a majority and needs to form a coalition to govern the world’s fifth-most populous country.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Ontario and the carbon tax: “There are no easy answers. And anything the Ontario government does to lower GHG emissions will be further complicated by the fact that there is a high likelihood Ontarians will be hit with a carbon tax imposed by Ottawa.”
Doug Saunders (The Globe and Mail) on banning guns: “Some weapons will always creep in from the United States. But a ban would take care of half the supply and raise the price of black-market guns.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s new prostitution laws: “Researchers from both Canada and France found that prosecuting men who buy sex instead of sex workers – known as the the Nordic model, or ‘end demand’ approach – actually made life worse for sex workers by pushing the trade further into the shadows, making it more difficult to negotiate prices and condom use, and making it less likely that workers would access health services.”
Vanessa Watts and Hayden King (The Globe and Mail) on the Assembly of First Nations: “Like the Indian Act or the Band Council model, the AFN is ultimately a product of our colonial relationship with the state. While it was originally conceived to challenge that relationship, times have changed. “
Glenn McGillivray (The Globe and Mail) on the cost of fighting wildfires: “Think of it: Would you rather pay a reasonable insurance premium every year to protect your home or be faced with a $500,000 bill every couple of years to replace your dwelling and contents? The latter is basically what we are doing by using public coffers to pay for wildfire suppression.”
Denise Balkissoon (The Globe and Mail) on our burning world: “Here are some places that have experienced unprecedented wildfires in the last half-decade or so: Western Canada including, currently, the Okanagan. Ontario, Quebec and, almost continuously, the Western United States. Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, China and Russia.”
Rashid Husain Syed (The Globe and Mail) on Pakistan: “While it may take days for the electoral dust to settle, democratic roots are continuing to spread across Pakistan. For the third consecutive election, a changing of the guard in Islamabad is taking place with ballots rather than bullets.”
Parisa Mahboubi (The Globe and Mail) on labour disparities: “Many Canadian employers are facing a tightening labour market due to labour shortages. Imbalances between labour supply and demand exist across population groups and regions. Addressing these disparities through improvements in labour mobility and employment of underrepresented groups would have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.”
Alex Neve (The Globe and Mail) on B.C.’s Site C dam: “There is a fundamental injustice in forcing marginalized and impoverished Indigenous nations to go to court time and again to prove and defend rights that Canada has already committed to uphold. This injustice is further compounded when government lawyers use every argument at their disposal, however ludicrous or harmful, to defend government actions.”
Alex Bozikovic (The Globe and Mail) on letting Toronto grow: “The truth is that Toronto has too little housing and too many rules about where to build it. City planning policies are cramming new residents into a few pockets while locking down much of the city from new housing – all for no particularly good reason. This must change. Toronto, as with other prosperous North American cities, is becoming increasingly unequal and expensive, and regulation is making the problem worse.”
Godly Hyder (The Globe and Mail) on extremism: “It is the obligation of both Liberals and Conservatives to avoid the polarizing rhetoric that pushes the political pendulum sharply to the left or right. Our leaders must seek to temper their actions and agendas, and focus on pocketbook issues. We can’t allow the legitimate fear that many Canadians are feeling to degenerate into anger and hatred, or we will all suffer. Angry Americans voted for Donald Trump. Angry Britons voted for Brexit. Let’s not see what angry Canadians would do.”
Mark Lautens (The Globe and Mail) on new Canadians: “If you want to gain a deep appreciation of what it means to become a Canadian, attend a ceremony and meet our newest citizens and listen to their stories. Some met a Canadian while travelling, fell in love and now plan to make their life here. For others, they are joining extended family members who have already established roots. Others have been working here, employing their unique skills and love our country so much they decide to stay. Many have graduated from our great educational institutions and want to stay and contribute to high-tech companies or build businesses. Each story is unique and compelling.”