Alberta Premier Jason Kenney may have taken inspiration from Quebec when it comes to pushing for provincial autonomy (on issues such as a separate provincial plan or revenue agency), but he’s not finding a lot of reciprocal admiration.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet emerged from a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning to say he’s not feeling much sympathy for the western provinces’ plight.
Alberta and Saskatchewan in particular have said that the federal government hasn’t done enough to get their energy products to market as the provinces struggle with low oil prices.
Mr. Blanchet said the priority for him and the Quebeckers his party represents is dealing with climate change, not supporting the fossil-fuels industry.
“I see the current situation as an attempt by Alberta and Saskatchewan to gain a position of strength to force the federal government’s hand in terms of helping them to export their oil," Mr. Blanchet told reporters.
"In that context, my enthusiasm is quite limited.”
The federal Liberals won a minority government in last month’s election and will require the support of an opposition party to survive confidence motions. The first test will be the Throne Speech on Dec. 5. Any of the Conservative, Bloc or New Democratic parties have enough MPs to help the Liberals continue to govern.
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Canada’s intelligence agencies are split on whether to allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei access to the next-generation 5G mobile network in Canada, an official tells The Globe and Mail. The source said Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the spy agency, is against allowing access, while Communications Security Establishment, the electronic surveillance agency, says the national security risks could be mitigated.
The House of Commons’ first duty when it sits again on Dec. 5 is to elect a new Speaker. That referee, who only votes in the case of a tie, could have an even more important role in a volatile minority-government environment. Halifax West MP Geoff Regan, a Liberal, says he is up for another turn as Speaker. Running against him, so far, are Conservative MP Bruce Stanton, Liberal MP Anthony Rota and NDP MP Carol Hughes. Aside from the role’s procedural importance, it also comes with a country estate, a (very) small apartment on Parliament Hill and a salary boost of about 50 per cent.
Senator Yvonne Boyer, a Métis lawyer and researcher, says the Liberal government must urgently address the issue of vulnerable women who have had coerced or forced sterilizations. Just before the election, the Commons health committee raised the alarm about the issue.
David Johnston, the former governor-general who oversaw the election debates commission, says it might be good to change some things for the next election. He suggested five moderators at a time was perhaps too many and it might be worthwhile for voters to see an extra debate with just the leaders who have a chance of becoming prime minister.
McKinsey & Co., a global consulting firm, is being investigated by U.S. prosecutors for activity that occurred while Dominic Barton was global managing partner of the company. There is no indication that Mr. Barton, who was recently appointed as Canada’s ambassador to China, is himself under investigation.
The federal government is still deciding how it will support a genocide lawsuit against Myanmar’s government for its treatment of the Rohingya people.
Two companies that paid $20,000 at a charity auction to have dinner with Ontario Premier Doug Ford are also lobbying his administration.
How a network of women at CSIS are trying to improve gender equality issues among spies.
A potentially landmark case about Canada’s universal health care system will finally begin closing arguments a decade after it first began weaving its way through the courts.
And the first day of impeachment hearings into U.S. President Donald Trump’s activities in Ukraine began this morning. You can follow along here.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on premiers Jason Kenney, Scott Moe and fighting with Ottawa: “To vent at a frustration with the way the federation is working now, Mr. Kenney and Mr. Moe are vowing withdrawal from Canadian institutions and arrangements. But none of that will make it easier to get oil to markets.”
Wendy Dobson (The Globe and Mail) on Canada and Chinese President Xi Jinping: “His goal is for China to be a global power by 2050 – not by territorial conquest, but by influence and activities that shape the future global order. Consolidating his power and inserting the Communist Party’s control deeply into China’s economic life is intended to maintain political and social stability regardless of the economic costs of less innovation, risk taking and investment, and slower growth than market forces might deliver.”
Sheema Khan (The Globe and Mail) on gender equality and immigration: “The culture shock can be great. I still remember my cousin’s surprise when he could not access his mother’s bank account as a matter of right, as he used to do in Saudi Arabia. Or one Middle Eastern relative who was dismayed that his wife was automatically a co-owner of the marital home. Or one husband’s disbelief that he would have to split marital assets 50-50 in the case of divorce. These are hard-won rights for women that should never be compromised. Immigrant men have complied and adapted to the new reality. And that’s a good thing.”
Catherine Ford (Calgary Herald) on religion and politics: “But what does infuriate me is the public way some members of our legislative assembly seemingly want to divide our secular and civil society into us versus them: Christians versus non-Christians. The last time I looked, a goodly portion of our emerging society is not Christian. (To our pan-Canadian credit, the religion of our prime ministers and MPs has rarely figured in any election campaign.)”
Justin Ling (Vice) on the Conservative Party and LGBTQ Canadians: “We are a point in society, now, where being accepting of the queer community—not necessarily supportive, or celebratory—but being accepting is the bare minimum. Scheer’s public position is begrudging acknowledgement. That’s not good enough.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on income inequality and the U.S. presidential race: “Leading the anti-billionaire crusade are the two tenacious leftist senators, the shrill Elizabeth Warren and the shriller Bernie Sanders. They occupy two of the leading three spots in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination. Their prospects may just have been given a nice boost by the signal from billionaire Michael Bloomberg that he is about to enter the race.”