Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says she isn’t giving up on securing a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on carbon pricing even though the federal government appears to have rejected the proposal.
“We are hopeful that the Prime Minister takes our concerns seriously and agrees to a meeting with Canada’s premiers,” Smith said today in a statement issued by her press secretary Sam Blackett.
Smith and four other premiers pitched the meeting in a letter last week to Trudeau, noting “the vast impacts of carbon pricing.”
The other premiers are Ontario’s Doug Ford, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Nova Scotia’s Tim Houston, and New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs.
They are continuing to protest against the Liberal government’s move to exempt home-heating oil from carbon pricing, but not provide similar relief from other heating options. “It is of vital importance that federal policies and programs are made available to all Canadians in a fair and equitable way,” they wrote.
The office of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, also the Finance Minister, answered on the government’s behalf.
“The Deputy Prime Minister looks forward to meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts in December to discuss issues of importance to Canadians across the country,” said a statement from Freeland, issued by her press secretary Katherine Cuplinskas on Sunday.
In her statement today, Smith noted the premiers’ push is not over. “We will continue to fight against the Liberal carbon tax because Albertans and Canadians deserve to be treated fairly by the federal government.”
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.
Superpower summit set for APEC sidelines as Biden and Xi seek to stabilize relations – They are expected to make fresh efforts to stabilize an eroding relationship that was derailed at the start of 2023 when a Chinese spy balloon drifted across North American airspace before being shot down by U.S. fighter planes off the South Carolina coast. Story here.
Average rent in Canada hits $2,178 in October, the sixth consecutive month of historic highs: report – On a monthly basis, average asking rents increased 1.4 per cent in October, a slight decrease from the monthly gains of 1.5 per cent in September and 1.8 per cent in August, which was attributed to seasonal factors.
Canadian trade deal with beleaguered Taiwan one of a kind – In the coming weeks, Canada and Taiwan will upgrade relations by signing a pact to grant protection to business investors from each other’s country. Story here.
Former RCMP intelligence director was ‘enabling’ subjects of probes, prosecutor says – A prosecutor in the trial of a former RCMP intelligence director, who allegedly leaked secrets to subjects of international police probes, said during cross-examination that Cameron Ortis was “enabling” the targets rather than operating on the information of a foreign agency.
Pierre Poilievre works to ratchet up pressure on Liberals to pass farming carbon tax carve-out – The federal Conservative Leader says Canadians should press the Liberal government to allow the passage of a bill that would remove carbon pricing on fuels used for some farming activities. Story here.
China ambassador seeks ‘rational’ relations, trade boost by ‘reserving differences’ – “China is not using trade as a weapon to fight against Canada or punish Canada. I believe that if the relations, we want to set that back on the right track, of course we have to create conditions,” Cong Peiwu said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
Ontario’s access watchdog limits number of appeals requesters can have open at a time – The agency’s commissioner, Patricia Kosseim, has defended the move as a necessary step to fix an “unsustainable” situation.
Billion-dollar renovation of the Supreme Court of Canada costing more than expected – The renovation project for the classic Supreme Court of Canada complex in downtown Ottawa is running overbudget, with no final cost figure available, says the federal department overseeing the effort.
THIS AND THAT
Commons and Senate on a break – The House of Commons is on a break until Nov. 20. The Senate sits again on Nov. 21.
Deputy Prime Minister’s day – Chrystia Freeland, in San Francisco, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation finance ministers’ meeting, then departed for Canada.
Horgan on his new challenge in Germany – Former B.C. premier John Horgan has opened up about his appointment as Canada’s new ambassador to Germany, talking to a B.C.-based podcast that regularly features his former chief of staff, Geoff Meggs. The NDP premier from 2017 to 2022 told the Hotel Pacifico he was approached about the posting by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “what seems like an eternity ago now.”
Horgan noted his oldest son, who now lives in Britain, studied in Germany, interned at the Bundestag federal parliament in Berlin, and is fluent in German. “I suggested that if [Trudeau] wanted a Horgan to be in Berlin a better one would be my son, Nate, but he seemed to think that despite my complete lack of any language skills at all, that I would be a better pick.”
Horgan also quipped that he wrote the foreign service exam back in 1984, and never heard back on the result. Trudeau called him this year. “[Trudeau] remarked that in Ottawa they don’t throw away anything.”
Horgan said Germany is now led by a social democrat government, and Canada is sending a social democrat, namely him, as a representative in Berlin. “In my time in public life, I have been able to work with anybody and those are the sorts of things the Prime Minister saw in me, and asked me to bring forward to this position.”
Conservative candidates – The Conservatives have announced candidates in Ottawa-area and Prince Edward Island ridings for the next federal election. Both are former members of the military. Matthew Luloff, a city councilor in Ward 1 Orléans East-Cumberland who previously served in Afghanistan, will run in Orléans. Former PEI fisheries minister Jamie Fox, who served in the Royal Canadian Artillery and the military police, has announced his resignation from the provincial legislature in advance of running in Malpeque. Liberals currently hold both ridings.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
In the Greater Toronto Area, Justin Trudeau was scheduled to visit a local grocery store, and mark Bandi Chhor Divas and Diwali with seniors at a local community centre.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre held a press conference in Vancouver, and later a rally in the Vancouver Island community of Duncan.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
On Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Joe Friesen, The Globe’s postsecondary education reporter, explains what’s driving Quebec’s push to nearly double university tuition fees for out-of-province anglophone students in the government’s latest effort to protect the French language, The Decibel is here.
The Harris Legacy: Reflections on a Transformational Premier, edited by Alister Campbell. (Sutherland House)
In 1995, Mike Harris and his Progressive Conservatives came to power in Ontario with a splash, vaulting from third place in public-opinion polls to government. The new premier and his team arrived with a “Common Sense Revolution” platform that promised dramatic reductions in government spending and levels of taxation as well as major changes to the Ontario public sector. Harris stepped down in 2002, after winning another term.
The Harris Legacy: Reflections on a Transformational Premier, looks at the Harris era and its legacy through 16 essays on topics including labour relations, municipal reform, and the environment. Authors include David Frum, a staff writer for the Atlantic, Ontario’s former environmental commissioner Gordon Miller, Hugh Segal, a former senator who was a chief of staff to Ontario premier Bill Davis and prime minister Brian Mulroney. The book is set to be published in December.
Project editor Alister Campbell, who worked on Harris’ successful 1990 bid to become PC leader and had a central role in his campaign teams in 1995 and 1999, answered a series of Politics Newsletter questions by e-mail:
Has Harris read the book?
Former premier Harris was aware of the book project as we began. But neither he (nor the editor) had control of the conclusions drawn by any of the chapter authors (each author was recruited with the promise of complete editorial independence). Harris saw the final result in typeset form just before it went to print. As I think we ended up revealing in this book, the former premier was a close student of Ontario public policy and he naturally took issue with some of the author’s conclusions on certain points. But overall, I believe he justly takes some comfort in (finally) having such a comprehensive review of his highly consequential legacy/record in print.
Why was it time for a book on the legacy of Harris?
The initial impetus for the project came from the public debate surrounding former premier Harris’ appointment to the Order of Ontario. As you illustrate yourself in your narrow selection of questions for me, the current media default regarding the Harris legacy is focused on two narrow (although undeniably important) topics – Walkerton and Ipperwash.
But, as the book illustrates compellingly – chapter after chapter – any objective observer of the policy agenda implemented during the Harris era would in fact see a far more complex, nuanced and consequential record of achievement. In fact, those inclined to oppose Harris use these “memes” to distract from a proper evaluation of the results achieved by a premier that many of our chapter authors ended up concluding was “transformational.” In health care, education, welfare, energy, municipal affairs and so many other policy areas, not only were the Harris era changes profound but they remain unaltered decades later. The book’s core finding is that “we live in Mike Harris’ Ontario today”.
What do you think politicians today can learn from Harris’ success in the 1995 election, surging from third place in public-opinion polls to first and a majority government?
Super question. And if you don’t mind, I will extend my response to include the 1999 election in which Harris one a second big majority. There are many lessons to be drawn for campaigners of all stripes from both of Harris’ big wins. And arch-Liberal David Herle discusses these superbly in his chapter of The Harris Legacy. For my own part, I will simply say that I think the Harris victories proved that you do not have to talk down to the electorate. His Common Sense Revolution platform offered a clear and forthright policy agenda and pulled no punches regarding the scope and scale of the changes he proposed to address the serious issues facing a financially distressed province deep in debt and with record levels of welfare caseloads and unemployment. The second election, which effectively served as a referendum on that platform and the Harris policy agenda, proved that Ontarians are absolutely ready to actually reward politicians who “do what they say they will do”
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Gordon Gibson, Jr. – The former leader of the BC Liberals in the 1970s has died. Vaughn Palmer, the Vancouver Sun’s provincial affairs political columnist, announced Gibson’s death in a posting on X, the former Twitter.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how carbon capture has moved from science fiction to reality, but the next step is a tough one: “The idea of carbon capture has always been alluring. Corral plumes of carbon dioxide from industrial facilities, such as an oil sands operation or cement and steel plants, compress the gas and move it by pipeline to inject underground. Yet the problems of the past, cost and feasibility, remain the problems of the present. Carbon capture has never lived up to the many years of hype.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on a caution for the premiers, namely that accountability creep is pushing politics farther away: “When Doug Ford stepped up at last week’s premiers’ meeting to denounce the federal government’s direct housing deals with municipalities as “jurisdictional creep,” you had to wonder why he seemed surprised. Isn’t jurisdictional creep what Mr. Ford and his fellow premiers keep promoting?”
Kim Shore (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the crisis of abuse in Canadian sport affects us all: “Every elected official, both federal and provincial, needs to understand that this is not simply a sports issue: This is a child abuse and human-rights issue that affects their constituents at large. The day of reckoning for Canadian sport cannot be put off much longer, and those who choose to prolong it, do so at the peril of innocent children and athletes trapped in an archaic system.”