April 21, 2024
Kelly Clark/The Canadian Press

Hello,

Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders are pressing the federal government to refrain from overreaching into provincial and territorial jurisdictions, particularly in such areas as housing, health care and education.

“Every government should have the right to receive ongoing financial compensation representing their fair share. This includes provinces and territories that reserve the right to require unconditional federal funding,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, chair of the Council of the Federation, wrote in a letter today.

Houston, speaking for the premiers and territorial leaders, warned the federal government against “overreaching into provincial and territorial jurisdiction.”

The premiers’ letter, available here, said this week’s federal budget provided an opportunity to promote affordability, increase productivity and invest in economic growth for Canada.

“However, to fully deliver for Canadians we must return to a cooperative approach, where governments work together so that the unique needs and priorities of Canadians are respected and responded to in the most efficient way possible.”

The letter comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have launched a housing program with billions of dollars available to provinces or municipalities ready to work with Ottawa, but conditions are attached.

In Victoria, Trudeau responded to the letter, defending federal action on issues of concern to Canadians

“I’d always rather work with provinces, but if we have to, I will go around them and be there for Canadians,” Trudeau told a news conference.

“I am unabashed about saying I am ambitious to solve problems for Canadians right across the country.”

Houston said the federal budget was announced after provinces and territories had released their respective budgets, with initiatives that will impact their spending plans.

“There was limited and inconsistent outreach from the federal government in advance to ensure priorities and objectives of [provinces and territories] were considered,” said the letter.

“Premiers are concerned that new federal programs, created without long-term funding commitments, will eventually be downloaded on provinces and territories, increasing the financial burdens borne by their taxpayers.”

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

Quebec follows Ottawa and raises amount of capital gains subject to tax: Ottawa announced increases in its budget Tuesday, and Quebec now says it will tax two-thirds rather than one-half of capital gains, which are profits made on the sale of assets. Story here.

Ottawa to force banks to identify carbon rebate by name in direct deposits: Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says Canadian banks that refuse to identify the carbon rebate by name when doing direct deposits are forcing the government to change the law to make them do it.

New Brunswick man kidnapped in Congo, held for more than four months: Premier Blaine Higgs has sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly urging Ottawa to redouble its efforts on behalf of Fredrick (Freddy) Wangabo Mwenengabo, a Canadian citizen born in Congo, who was kidnapped in the eastern city of Goma in December.

Dominic LeBlanc says he supports PM, but doesn’t deny report on organizing leadership bid: LeBlanc is a lifelong friend of Justin Trudeau. On Wednesday, The Globe and Mail reported that he held a meeting with a former Liberal cabinet minister to lay the groundwork for a leadership campaign should Mr. Trudeau step down. Story here.

‘To us, that border doesn’t exist’: Alaska Indigenous groups want a say in B.C. mining projects they fear could hurt their livelihoods. A border stands in the way – but they hope a Canadian court ruling strengthens the case for ignoring it.

Chinese ambassador ends his posting in Canada: Cong Peiwu, Beijing’s envoy to Ottawa since 2019 – through much of the strained ties between China and Canada – has informed the Department of Global Affairs and other diplomatic missions in the capital that he’s heading home, sources say.

Federal Addictions Minister to meet with B.C. counterpart as backlash continues on decriminalization: A statement from the office of Ya’ara Saks, the federal Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, said she would be meeting with B.C.’s Jennifer Whiteside next week to discuss fallout from the province’s drug policies, including decriminalization and safer supply. Story here.

Poilievre won’t commit to keeping new social programs like pharmacare: CBC reports that Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is depicting the government’s latest budget as a threat to the country’s future, and suggesting a number of new social programs will get a second look if he leads the next government.

TODAY’S POLITICAL QUOTES

“I really believe in capitalist democracy. I have lived in other systems actually and they’re pretty awful.” – Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in Toronto, today at a news conference in a lab.

“Limp, wet and utterly useless, paper straws and Liberal governments are not worth the cost.” – Conservative MP Corey Tochor during Question Period today.

“That’s the price of Pierre” – NDP MP Peter Julian, in a statement today, referring to the implications of federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s policies on pharmacare, dental care and support for corporations.

THIS AND THAT

Today in the Commons: Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, April. 19, accessible here.

Deputy Prime Minister’s Day: Private meetings in Toronto, and Chrystia Freeland toured a research lab and discussed her budget’s impact on research labs.

Ministers on the Road: Members of the federal cabinet are out across Canada, holding events to emphasize aspects of the federal budget, including research funding. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree, International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen and Filomena Tassi, Minister for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, are in Hamilton. Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault, is in Saskatoon, with Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan. Health Minister Mark Holland is in the Ontario city of Waterloo, hosting an event at the University of Waterloo. Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay highlighted student-research investments at the University of Prince Edward Island’s Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation in St. Peter’s Bay. Mental Health Minister Ya’ara Saks hosted an event at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Justice Minister Minister Arif Virani made a research funding announcement at the University of Calgary.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, on the Italian island of Capri, attended the final day of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

In Ottawa: Governor-General Mary Simon participated in the unveiling of a heraldic badge granted to the Rainbow Veterans of Canada by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Commons Committee Highlights: Heather Jeffrey, president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Stephen Lucas, deputy health minister, were scheduled to appear before the afternoon special committee on the Canada-China relationship.

New member of intelligence committee: Darren Fisher, a Liberal MP from Nova Scotia, has been appointed to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, says the Office of the Prime Minister. The committee, created in 2017, includes MPs and Senators from various parties who review national-security and intelligence activities carried out by the government.

Unanimous consent: MPs have given unanimous consent to a motion on antisemitism advanced by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, and, says a spokesperson for May, inspired by a May. 22 Globe and Mail editorial. The motion, given consent Thursday, read: “That the House unequivocally condemns antisemitism, and in particular rejects the idea that Jewish Canadians are responsible for the actions of the State of Israel.”

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Justin Trudeau, in Victoria, met with students to highlight federal budget measures, and made an announcement on budget measures related to Canadian research and education.

On Saturday, Trudeau was scheduled to meet at CFB Esquimalt Naval Base Headquarters with visiting Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is making stops in Vancouver, the Victoria area, and Edmonton through Monday.

LEADERS

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre participated in a fundraising event in the Southern Ontario town of Milton.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May travelled to her B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, and attended the Beacon Community Services Volunteer Long Service ceremony and luncheon.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Richmond, B.C., joined food-service workers outside Vancouver International Airport who have recently voted for strike action.

No schedule released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.

THE DECIBEL

On today’s Decibel podcast, Bill Curry, The Globe’s deputy Ottawa bureau chief, discusses the ArriveCan app and what was learned from Kristian Firth’s appearance at the House of Commons. Firth was the first person in over a century held in contempt of Parliament and ordered to answer MPs’ questions. His company, GC Strategies, was awarded millions of dollars to help develop the app. The Decibel is here.

OPINION

Reconciliation: How to build up an Indigenous economy

“Investigations from both media and government into the ArriveCan app have laid bare much rot at the heart of the federal government’s procurement. There have been concerns about how costs can balloon out of control, or how middlemen can pocket millions of dollars for doing little work. Another troubling thread has been the apparent exploitation of a program meant to support Indigenous businesses.” – The Globe and Mail Editorial Board

The foreign interference inquiry features a parade of senior Liberals protesting too much

“We are partway through the mandate of the Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions, a.k.a. the Foreign Interference Commission, which is to say we are all the way through the only part that matters. – Andrew Coyne.

Jewish students are being forced to weigh a new factor when choosing universities

“This time of year, Grade 12 students are making big decisions about what comes next. Parents’ Facebook feeds feature proud announcements about where their child will attend university in the fall. It’s lovely. But for Jewish parents, a new factor has entered into the mix: Where can we send our kids that will be safe?” –Marsha Lederman.

Danielle Smith’s Bill 18 is as cynical and nefarious as it gets

“Alberta Premier Danielle Smith must awaken each morning and think: what fresh havoc can I wreak today? What’s remarkable is that she continues to get away with just about ev–deologue on the loose, free to indulge her libertarian, Justin Trudeau-despising whims as she wishes. She gets away with it largely because conservative politicians in Alberta have trained the populace to despise Ottawa, too, or at least “liberal” Ottawa.” - Gary Mason.

Here’s what a ‘fairness for every generation’ budget would have actually included

“Canada’s “Fairness For Every Generation” budget was quite clearly designed to promote the perception of fairness, rather than its realization. It’s a marketing document, as federal budgets are, through which a government with a certain degree of gall can claim that “it would be irresponsible and unfair to pass on more debt to the next generations,” while also introducing $52.9-billion in new spending, with the cost to service the national debt ($54.1-billion) now surpassing health transfers to the provinces ($52.1-billion).” – Robyn Urback

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