Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is “unacceptable” that asylum seekers in Canada be forced to sleep on the streets, but that municipalities and provinces are largely responsible for dealing with the situation.
On Monday, Mr. Trudeau told a news conference in Hamilton he has discussed the issue with Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, and his government will work with Toronto on the file.
“It is unacceptable in a country like Canada that vulnerable refugees be having to sleep in the streets,” he said. “The solution on that requires all of us to step up together.”
Mr. Trudeau said Marc Miller, the new Immigration Minister, is interested in building on the work of his predecessor, Sean Fraser, on the subject.
Earlier this month, Mr. Fraser announced the federal government would give Toronto $97-million as part of a national $212-million commitment to provide shelter spaces for asylum seekers who have been sleeping on the streets.
But as Dustin Cook reports here, Ms. Chow has said the federal funding is not enough and will cover only 1,500 beds this year. More than 3,100 refugee claimants are in the shelter system and the demand is growing. The city previously asked for $157-million this year to cover the costs of those in the shelter system.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
Conservatives maintain $5-million fundraising lead over Liberals - The Conservatives continue to hold a big fundraising edge over the Liberals, bringing in millions more than the governing party in this year’s second quarter. Story here.
Tentative deal reached in B.C. port workers dispute - The union representing B.C. port workers has reached a tentative agreement with employers, averting another strike after a month of wild swings in industrial relations. Story here.
Push to remove New Brunswick PC leader faces setback - An effort to remove Premier Blaine Higgs as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party has suffered a major setback, with the party president telling members Monday there weren’t enough valid letters from party members to meet the threshold to trigger the next step. Story here from CBC.
Minister’s maternity plans are different the second time around - Karina Gould made history five years ago when she became the first federal cabinet minister to give birth while holding office. Now, the newly named House Leader in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is preparing for her second child, due in January, as she takes on the critical role of co-ordinating the government’s legislative agenda this fall. But this time, her maternity plans are quite different. Story here.
Meanwhile, the new Fisheries Minister is being urged by conservationists to maintain a federal commitment to phase out British Columbia’s remaining ocean-based salmon farms, in the face of pressure from the fish-farm industry and some First Nations. Story here.
Ottawa’s LRT is not the only one with technical challenges - Montreal’s new light-rail transit system shut down unexpectedly Monday morning on its first full day of operation. Story here. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, OC Transpo was scheduled to provide more information about the timeline for the return of light-rail transit service in the city on Monday, as commuters kick off a third week riding a replacement bus service instead of the O-Train LRT. Story here from CTV.
Liberal MP seeking probe into Poilievre campaign’s support to whistle-blower - A Liberal MP is asking Canada’s elections commissioner to investigate Pierre Poilievre’s leadership campaign for paying the legal expenses of a whistle-blower who was working for the campaign of rival leadership candidate Patrick Brown. Story here.
Manitoba Environment Minister says he is Métis, on a personal journey about his family - A Manitoba cabinet minister who is facing questions about his claim of being Métis says he is on a personal journey about his heritage. Environment Minister Kevin Klein’s remarks follow a CBC investigation that said there is no sign of Métis or Indigenous ancestors on his mother’s side, going back five generations. Story here.
Ottawa to focus on tech-related immigration despite industry headwinds - The federal government is upending its points-based system for immigrant selection this year and prioritizing candidates with experience in the technology sector, despite recent layoffs and weakening labour demand in the industry. Story here.
Ujjal Dosanjh novel focuses on Punjabi family looking for a better life in 1960s England - Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh, also a former federal health minister, has added published novelist to his list of credentials. The Past is Never Dead takes aim at the caste system that immigrants from the Punjab brought with them to Bedford, England, in the 1960s. Story here from The Vancouver Sun.
THIS AND THAT
Summer Break - Both House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks. The House sits again on Sept. 18. The Senate sits again on Sept. 19.
Ministers on the Road - Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree, in Whitecap, Sask., joined members of the Whitecap Dakota Nation to celebrate a self-government treaty.
Charest out fundraising - The events section of the Conservative Party of Canada website here has Jean Charest in Toronto on Aug. 15, holding events at the Albany Club and the Rogers Centre. Mr. Charest’s spokesperson Laurence Tôth says the former Quebec premier, who sought the federal Conservative leadership last year but lost to Pierre Poilievre, is raising funds to repay debts from his campaign.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Greater Toronto and the Hamilton area, held private meetings, visited a housing construction site, made a housing announcement and took media questions. He also met with seniors at a local community centre.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is travelling in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean in Quebec, meeting with municipal councillors of the borough of La Baie regarding PFAS (that is, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in St. John’s, met with representatives of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, and then held a news conference. Later, Mr. Singh was scheduled, with former federation president Mary Shortall, to visit UA Local 740 and attend the St. John’s East NDP nomination meeting.
No schedules were released for other party leaders.
Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features reporter Josh O’Kane, who covers the intersection of arts and business, on the implications of an agreement film unions in B.C. have signed. Some worry it could lead to ripple effects in the industry, because there aren’t any new stipulations around the use of generative artificial intelligence. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on cities promising housing – and then making new rules that prevent it: ”Victoria early this year approved a citywide overhaul of its restrictive zoning to get more housing built. And, then, nothing happened. Vancouver is poised this fall to approve a citywide overhaul of its restrictive zoning to get more housing built – and city planners predict very little will happen. How is it that splashy plans to enact major changes lead directly to an entrenchment of the status quo? It’s the difference between the headline goal – loosening rules to permit multiple homes on lots long reserved for a detached home – and the detailed regulations that end up undermining that goal and effectively ensure nothing much changes.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on the nonsensical ban on compostable plastic bags: ”If Ottawa can’t get the small stuff right, why should Canadians trust the federal government with the big things? This is what comes to mind as Ottawa’s ban on single-use plastic checkout bags settles in on Calgary. In December, plastic checkout bags – along with plastic cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks and (most) straws – will be banned for sale. Caught up in the impending prohibition are Calgary Co-op stores, a grocery chain focused on local and western Canadian products that sells compostable bags at the till for 15 cents each. The bags will be included in the ban. The federal government says in essence they’re the same as conventional plastics because they need special municipal facilities to be broken down and won’t rot away on a forest floor.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how the Liberals must fix the housing crisis, before it undermines support for immigration: ”In last week’s cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promoted Sean Fraser, one of his government’s rising stars, from immigration to housing. His job in this new portfolio is to fix the problem he contributed to in his old one. Mr. Fraser must find a way to ease this country’s critical housing shortage, a problem the Liberal government is stoking by bringing in more than a million newcomers a year to Canada. High levels of immigration bring growth, energy and confidence to our country. But they also bring problems. Mr. Fraser must fix the worst problem of all, or risk undermining the Canadian experiment.”
Roy MacGregor (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the time he helped Stephen Harper with his hockey book: “In early March, 2012, I received a call from Michael Levine, a lawyer and entertainment agent who was associated with the Westwood Creative Artists agency. Bruce Westwood, his business partner, had long been my agent for books. I had met Michael but did not know him well. I did know of his successes representing writers such as Peter C. Newman, my old boss at Maclean’s. Michael wanted to know if we could speak with complete confidentiality. ‘Of course,’ I told him, wondering why a secret call was coming in to me. ‘I have a client who needs help with his hockey book,’ Michael said. ‘Interesting. … Who is it?’ ‘The prime minister.’ ”
Douglas Sanderson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the changes at Crown-Indigenous Relations send a cynical message: ”One cabinet member who was shuffled was Marc Miller, who was moved from Crown-Indigenous Relations to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. In recent years, I have heard good things about Mr. Miller from Indigenous leadership, and I saw him out there, day after day, meeting with Indigenous leaders, spending time in communities, dancing in powwows, fishing with kids and generally doing his job: building Crown-Indigenous relations. It felt good to see that relationship developing. The Crown-Indigenous file is multifaceted and involves the fostering of hundreds of relationships; Mr. Miller was doing that work on behalf of the Crown. But this week, Justin Trudeau showed Indigenous people that politics matters more than relationships. The personal, one-on-one connections that Mr. Miller had made with Indigenous leaders were cast aside to raise the profile of a backbencher before his constituents next go to the polls. Time will tell how Gary Anandasangaree will do in building these relationships again from near-scratch, but the shuffle was a visceral demonstration of an old saying: to Indigenous people, a treaty is a marriage; to the Crown, it’s a divorce.”