The power-sharing agreement between British Columbia's New Democrats and Greens that allowed the NDP to take power last year was held up as an example of how things could work with minority legislatures. And more important, an example of how things could work if the province switches to proportional representation following a referendum later this year. But just six months in, a significant crack has emerged that could threaten that alliance — and the future of the new government.
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says if the New Democrats pursue the liquefied natural gas industry, continuing a push started by the previous BC Liberals, his party will bring the government down on a confidence vote. The threat comes as B.C. Premier John Horgan prepares to leave on a trade mission to Asia, in part to generate interest in B.C.'s fledgling LNG sector. Mr. Weaver says the province won't be able to reduce its greenhouse-gas targets if it allows LNG development. The New Democrats want a chance to talk things over with the Greens.
The collapse of B.C.'s first minority government since the 1950s could make it more difficult to convince voters to adopt proportional representation — which would likely produce frequent minority governments held together by formal coalitions or power-sharing agreements. A referendum is scheduled for the fall.
Critics of proportional representation often point to the uncertainty that follows elections in some European countries that already use such a system. That's happening right now in Germany, where coalition talks continue four months after an inconclusive federal election. Supporters of electoral reform note that proportional representation is actually used in more democratic countries than first-past-the-post.
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U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to bring his signature pledge to build a Mexican border wall into NAFTA negotiations (for subscribers). Mr. Trump continues to insist Mexico will pay for the wall, which is projected to cost billions, and the issue could emerge as a flashpoint in NAFTA talks. Mexico has made it clear it has no intention of paying for the wall. The U.S. will also be pushing for a substantial increase in duty-free limits for online shoppers as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations, The Globe's Bill Curry has learned (for subscribers). U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wants the limit to be increased to $800 from $20. A study from PwC says if the proposal were included as part of a new trilateral trade deal it could end up cutting more than 300,000 jobs by 2020. Federal and provincial governments would also lose nearly $11-billion in annual revenue. Talks are set to head into their sixth round next week in Montreal.
A U.S. House intelligence committee has heard testimony alleging the Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering through Trump properties, including Toronto's Trump International Hotel and Tower. The allegations, which emerged in testimony from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, follow former Trump strategist Steve Bannon's comments that the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election could narrow in on money laundering.
President Trump's Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, but the administration is nevertheless facing the prospect of a government shutdown by midnight tonight. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on a short-term funding bill after the House passed its own bill yesterday. But Senate Democrats appear poised to block it as the process becomes overshadowed by disputes over immigration.
Two former commanders in the Royal Canadian Navy are urging authorities to either charge or exonerate Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who has been the subject of a criminal investigation for allegedly leaking cabinet documents.
Canada will provide humanitarian groups in Yemen with $12-million in aid. The situation in the Middle Eastern country is the world's largest humanitarian crisis, following a war that has left the economy stagnant and millions hungry and without safe drinking water.
The National Energy Board has set up a process to quickly resolve disputes between Kinder Morgan and local governments as the company builds the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The company asked for such a process to avoid the prospect of permitting delays disrupting the project.
This weekend will see the one year anniversary of the Women's March, and protesters are set to take to the streets once again. Millions marched last year, protesting the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. Organizers say turnout is unlikely to match last year's massive showing but demonstrations are planned across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Japan and Nigeria. U.S. marches in swing states will see voter registration campaigns ahead of this year's midterm elections.
B.C. Premer John Horgan says he's committed to restoring the province's relationship with the forestry producers, arguing that policies of the former BC Liberal government hurt communities by cutting them out of the benefits of the industry.
Salvadorans in the U.S. are looking for a Plan B after the White House ended their Temporary Protected Status. Nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador are affected by the program and are scrambling to plan for their futures. Liberal MPs have been dispatched by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to various communities in the U.S. to clear the record on what immigrating and seeking refuge in Canada is like. The Globe's U.S. Correspondent Tamsin McMahon takes a look at how Salvadorans are being affected, and how the Liberals are preparing for migrants.
Toronto is the only Canadian city to make the shortlist for Amazon HQ2, the tech giant's plans for a second headquarters. Unlike many U.S. jurisdictions that have turned to generous tax breaks, Toronto declined to offer corporate subsidies. If you want to read more about how the U.S. cities are planning on winning the bid, which comes with an investment of $5-billion in infrastructure and 50,000 new Amazon jobs, The Globe's U.S. Correspondent Joanna Slater breaks down the situation (for subscribers).
Protests around the country are planned for today against Tim Hortons in response to some franchisees' decision to cut employee benefits after Ontario raised its minimum wage. Demonstrations are expected to take place in Ontario as well as B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. The Globe also spoke to workers who received a pay raise when the minimum wage increased to $14 per hour in the province. Many say the extra money is likely to go towards making ends meet.
Ontario has reached an agreement with its human rights commission to end solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates.
Nova Scotia has hired two Crown prosecutors who will focus entirely on sexual-violence cases. They'll also train other prosecutors and develop a system to monitor the province's performance.
Pat Sorbara, a former Ontario Liberal aide who was acquitted of bribery charges in October related to a 2015 by-election, will not be running the party's election campaign this year, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she is pregnant with her first child. She plans on taking a six-week break after giving birth, during which Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be in charge, before returning to office. The first head of government to give birth while in office was Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto.
Former lawmakers from Catalonia that were forced out of power by Spain's central government are angling for a comeback bid by trying to vote by proxy.
India tested a long-range missile that is believed to be capable of hitting China. The two countries have been engaging in an arms race in recent years as they vie for strategic control in Asia. India and China are among the nine countries that are believed to possess nuclear weapons.
And an elephant on a reserve in Kenya has been named after Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.
Farida Deif (The Globe and Mail) on the Rohingya: "The Canadian government shouldn't be cautious as evidence of continuing attacks on the Rohingya community comes to light. Instead, it should lead an international consensus on justice and accountability for one of the world's most persecuted peoples."
Lisa Kerr (The Globe and Mail) on solitary confinement: "The decision breaks sharply from the deference that courts have almost invariably shown to prison administrators in the not-so-distant past. The idea that prisoners retain any legal rights at all while incarcerated is relatively new. For much of the 20th century, the "hands-off" doctrine meant that judges would not intervene in matters of prison administration. The idea was that courts were responsible for setting the length of a sentence, but prisons could carry out the sentence as they saw fit. Judges had no business second-guessing the decisions and policies of prison officials."
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Liberal values: "Thousands of student summer-job grants, along with a brand-new community-service program, have been rendered unavailable to organizations and people of faith, thanks to an obnoxious new Liberal values oath. This oath is not only offensive; on its face, it's a clear violation of the very Charter rights that it claims to defend. The Liberals say they will work with churches and other charities to ensure they can still apply for grants. There is a much better way. The government should scrap the odious clause from the application forms where it has popped up, apologize to Canadians for violating their right to freedom of religion and come up with something that doesn't place people in an intolerable moral conflict. Most of all, Liberals should remind themselves that their values are not the only values that count."
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on why Montreal didn't get a chance at HQ2: "Montréal International, the organization that piloted the city's bid to attract Amazon's HQ2, touted the region's emergence as an artificial-intelligence hub, its affordable housing prices and lower wages than in other major urban centres. What Montréal International could not put lipstick on, however, were the highest personal income taxes in North America and the third-highest among countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development." (for subscribers)
Globe and Mail Editorial Board on commuting in the Lower Mainland: "The stakes go beyond commuting times. There are climate-change issues, and health ones, too – the World Health Organization has established a link between atmospheric pollution and heart disease. We need to have fewer cars on our roads for lots of good reasons, including for the benefit of exasperated drivers, and the best way to achieve that is through tolls. In 2008, British Columbia introduced the country's first carbon tax and demonstrated that cost can be the most efficient tool for managing consumer habits. Here's hoping it repeats the lesson with mobility pricing."
Warren Thomas (The Globe and Mail) on public services: "The dramatic collapse this week of the British outsourcing giant Carillion is a wake-up call: we can't trust privatization, and it's time for us to close the book on this failed policy. It's not like we haven't had warning signs. Here in Ontario, we've had to endure years of financial pain wrought by privatization: the sell-off of Highway 407; the gas-plants scandal; Hydro One. It's the same story across the country. In Newfoundland and Labrador, privatized adult education has led to higher tuition and lower enrolment. In Alberta, privatized liquor sales have led to higher prices. In Ottawa, the new privatized payment system means tens of thousands of government workers aren't getting paid properly."