Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says she will ask Canada’s chief actuary to provide an estimate of what Alberta would be owed if it proceeds with its plan to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan.
The actuary provides advisory services to the federal government, operating as an independent unit within the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
Freeland’s announcement today followed a virtual meeting she held with provincial and territorial finance ministers. Questions have been raised about Alberta’s actual share of the plan if the province leaves it to start its own plan. A report commissioned by the Alberta government says the province is entitled to more than half of CPP’s assets.
Nova Scotia Finance Minister Allan MacMaster said in an interview that the review by the actuary will provide helpful information on the pluses and minuses of leaving the plan.
The Alberta government says its workers have contributed an oversized share to the national fund and would be in line for big savings and payouts if it were to leave the CPP.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith had planned to hold a possible referendum on leaving the CPP in 2025, but now says she won’t hold it until governments or the courts deliver a hard number on how much Alberta will get if it leaves the CPP.
The federal government, and other provinces have raised concerns about Alberta’s proposed move, and federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has urged Alberta to stick with the CPP.
Freeland today highlighted the gravity of the situation. “Since the CPP was founded almost 60 years ago, no province has ever left. This action is unprecedented. It would be very complicated, and it would come at a time of great uncertainty and complexity” she told a news conference in Ottawa.
Freeland said this is the beginning of a national conversation, and she looks forward to meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts in-person next month.
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Canada condemns Chinese conduct over fighter jet launching flares in front of Canadian aircraft – Defence Minister Bill Blair said China had no justification for its behaviour in the incidents Sunday, noting the interactions took place in an international airspace well outside of any claimed territorial seas and associated airspace.” Story here.
Ottawa, B.C. and First Nations Leadership Council agree to invest up to $1-billion on conservation – The three levels of government say the new pact, designed to help both Canada and B.C. hit their mutual goal of protecting 30 per cent of their respective lands by 2030, will help protect old-growth forests and endangered species like boreal caribou and spotted owls.
Supreme Court pick Mary Moreau questioned about Omar Khadr ruling during public hearing – The issue of her decision to let Khadr live in the community with no restrictions arose during a public hearing in Parliament with the 67-year-old nominee, who has been a judge on Alberta’s top trial court. Story here.
Canada’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7% in October as economy sees modest job gain – The Statistics Canada October labour force survey that tracked the developments said the gain of 17,500 jobs was not enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising as the pace of job creation trails population growth.
IT executive tells MPs he inflated contractors’ work experiences in records to government – The leader of the two-person IT staffing firm at the centre of misconduct allegations said he made a mistake in submitting inflated work experience records to the government. Story here.
Conservatives turn to communications firm Mash Strategy as party reaches out to voters – The firm with a history of being involved in political campaigns at the provincial level is working with the Conservatives as the party looks to target voters ahead of an election.
New Brunswick Premier says he won’t call an election this year – Blaine Higgs ended weeks of speculation that the governing Progressive Conservatives would go to the polls almost a year early.
B.C. clinicians have expressed a range of concerns with the safer-supply program – They say in a draft report that these include limited medication options, inadequate social supports and fears that the drugs they’re prescribing could fuel new cases of substance-use disorder. Story here.
B’nai Brith pushing provinces to add Holocaust education to their curriculums – The effort comes as Ontario and British Columbia are in the process of making the Holocaust a mandatory subject in their schools.
Senators call for federal hate-crime hotline to address rising Islamophobia – One in four Canadians do not trust Muslims, and Canada leads the Group of Seven in targeted killings of Muslims motivated by Islamophobia, expert briefings submitted to the year-long Senate inquiry found. Story here.
TVA Group lays off more than 500 employees as audiences and ad revenues shrink – The Montreal-based broadcaster says the shift involves overhauling its news division, ending its in-house entertainment content production and optimizing its real estate assets. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
Today in the Commons – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Nov. 3, accessible here.
Ministers on the Road – Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault, in Edmonton, made an announcement on dealing with chronic Indigenous homelessness across Canada. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and B.C. Premier David Eby, in Vancouver, made an announcement on protecting and conserving biodiversity, habitats and species at risk in British Columbia. Minister Patty Hajdu, in Toronto, attended the official opening of the Northern Ontario Agri-Food Pavilion at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen, in the Manitoba community of St. Adolphe, announced $35.5-million in funding to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to support its project to improve low-carbon, climate-resilient economies in rural areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Immigration Minister Marc Miller, in Vancouver, attended a round table discussion with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, focusing on the 2023 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration Levels. Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, in Montreal, with Swiss President Alain Berset presided over the signing ceremony of a modernized Canada–Switzerland audiovisual co-production treaty. Filomena Tassi, minister for the Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario, in Scarborough, announced a $5-million investment toward the growth of Breadsource Corporation, a manufacturer of high-quality baked goods.
Premiers meet – Canada’s premiers are meeting Sunday and Monday in Halifax, hosted by Premier Tim Houston, chair of the Council of the Federation, who said in a statement that he is looking forward to discussions on innovations in health care as well as housing and infrastructure. Monday will focus on a health summit before the gathering ends with a news conference in the afternoon.
Shugart Funeral – The visitation for Senator Ian Shugart, the former clerk of the Privy Council, will be held on Nov. 10 in Ottawa, with a funeral service on Nov. 11. Details here. Shugart died on Oct. 25.
New PMO press secretary – Jenna Ghassabeh, a special communications assistant in the Office of the Prime Minister, is taking on a role as a press secretary in the PMO. In a post on X, Ghassabeh writes that she will start her new role next week. Meanwhile, Alison Murphy, a PMO press secretary since January, will be moving to work for the Prime Minister’s parliamentary affairs unit. Nov. 12 is her final day as press secretary.
Federal Liberals gather in Trois-Rivières, Que. – Federal Liberals in Quebec are meeting in Trois-Rivières over the weekend for their 2023 convention, with Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Sophie Chatel, MP for the riding of Pontiac, serving as convention co-chairs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to address the gathering.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ summit at the White House. He held a news conference in the afternoon and was scheduled to return to Ottawa afterward.
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre attended a party fundraising event in Regina.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May participated virtually in Parliament from her Saanich-Gulf Islands riding and attended private meetings.
No schedules released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Thomas Juneau – an associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs – talks about the next phase of the Israel-Hamas war and what it could mean geopolitically. The Decibel is here.
Elizabeth Gray – The former CBC broadcaster who was a host of CBC Radio’s As it Happens as well as Cross Country Checkup, died Oct. 25 at the age of 86. Obituary here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the immigration numbers Ottawa should be fretting about: “Canadians are paying close attention to Liberal immigration policy, and are rightly concerned over the apparent lack of control over student visas, the unprecedented rise in the number of temporary foreign workers, and most recently, news that the government created a surge of asylum applications by waiving requirements for visitor visas. The Liberal shift on immigration is not as blatant, and not nearly as inept, as last week’s backflip on carbon pricing. But they have this much in common: The government has belatedly realized in both cases that a policy that has heretofore functioned as an effective wedge issue is now wedging in the wrong direction.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why the federal government is so hesitant to act with the country falling apart: “A friend wrote to me in some despair a few weeks ago. “More than any time in my lifetime,” he wrote, “I feel like Canada doesn’t really exist.” Obviously he did not mean this literally. He meant the idea of Canada: the sense of ourselves as being part of a national community, committed to shared ideals, obedient to common laws, concerned for each other’s welfare and willing, where needed, to make sacrifices for one another – the basic understandings without which democratic government is impossible.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa’s latest immigration plans fail to move the needle, on housing and in Quebec: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government this week took a baby step toward recognizing its immigration policy needs some fixing by halting future increases in the number of permanent newcomers the country intends to accept. Still, Immigration Minister Marc Miller seemed to suggest that “stabilizing” the number of new permanent residents at 500,000 constitutes a concession on his government’s part.”
Rosanna Tamburri and Shaimaa Yassin (Policy Options) on how making life truly affordable requires more than lowering inflation: “But tackling inflation alone won’t be enough to make life affordable for many Canadians. Almost seven million people – including 1.8 million children – faced food insecurity in 2022, up from about six million in 2019. The health consequences extend beyond poor nutrition. Studies show food-insecure households spend less on other essential needs such as housing, transportation and medicine. What should be done? For starters, the federal government should move ahead with its long-promised reform of employment insurance. Ottawa has pledged to modernize the program to reflect changes in the labour market and to cover a greater proportion of workers but Canadians are still waiting.”