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Ottawa will provide financial support to ease the challenges the troubled Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project is imposing on the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I can announce that we have landed agreements with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador that will ensure financial sustainability of the project while protecting people from major electricity [rate] increases,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference in St. John’s.
“We’re confident this agreement is a big step in the right direction.”
Mr. Trudeau’s visit to Newfoundland and Labrador comes ahead of an expected federal election, and following visits this week to New Brunswick and to Prince Edward Island where the Prime Minister announced a child-care agreement with the island province. Earlier this week, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole was in Newfoundland outlining plans to fix the federal Fiscal Stabilization program in a manner that would help the province.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau appeared with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, who noted that the project has been the No. 1, “pervasive” issue facing the province for years.
There have been concerns about the Muskrat Falls project, whose projected budget was $7.4-billion and is now $13.1-billion, leading to a spike in electricity rates in the province. Premier Furey has said that when the project comes on line in November, the province will need an additional $600-million annually to cover costs associated with the project.
But Mr. Furey expressed relief Wednesday. “Remember where you were today when we landed on a deal to get Muskrat off our backs,” he said.
Neither leader immediately provided details pending a media briefing and scheduled afternoon news conference at which Mr. Trudeau was also expected to announce that Newfoundland and Labrador will be the fourth province to agree to a deal with Ottawa for a $10 per-day child-care program.
However, a subsequent statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said there will be $2-billion in federal financing for the Lower Churchill Projects - a set of hydroelectric generation and transmission projects that include the Muskrat Falls Generating Station on the Churchill River in Labrador.
Also the Government of Canada is making annual transfers to the province equivalent to Canada’s yearly net revenue from the Hibernia offshore oil project Net Profit Interest and Incidental Profit Interest, believed to total $3.2-billion between now and the end of the project’s life.
Earlier this week, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was in Newfoundland and Labrador where he promised to fix the federal Fiscal Stabilization program intended to help provinces with economic challenges like those now faced by the province.
He said changes proposed by the Conservatives would see Newfoundland and Labrador receive up to $70million dollars as part of the proposed changes.
LITHUANIA WARNING ON CHINA - A senior foreign ministry official in Lithuania, which has drawn China’s ire in recent months for strengthening ties with Taiwan and helping Hong Kong dissidents, says Beijing’s arrest of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor was a “wakeup call” for democratic countries in their dealings with the Chinese Communist Party.
11-YEAR RCMP INVESIGATION INTO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL - Three decades after stories of sexual abuse at Fort Alexander residential school first made national news, the RCMP in Manitoba say they have been investigating the institution for the past 11 years.
GREEN CONVENTION PLANNED DESPITE ELECTION -Green Leader Annamie Paul says party brass still plan to hold a national convention next month even if a federal election campaign is in full swing, as the list of items distracting attention from an impending fight at the polls continues to mount.
CANADA COVID SPENDING `OVERKILL’ : HARPER - The Canadian government has spent irresponsibly in its attempt to fend off the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to former prime minister Stephen Harper. “It’s not a good reaction, it’s been overkill,” Harper said on an episode of the podcast American Optimist. Story here . From CBC.
NDP LEADER TO GOVERNOR-GENERAL: SAY NO TO A SNAP ELECTION
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is urging Governor-General Mary Simon not to sign off on an election requested by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In a letter to Ms. Simon obtained by The Globe and Mail, Mr. Singh says dissolution ahead of a fixed date is generally intended to apply when a government has lost the confidence of the House. But he notes that the federal Liberal minority government “has won every confidence vote they have put to the House - including the Speech from the Throne and on the Budget.” He also writes that an election would post a risk to public health, and terminate such important legislation as banning conversion therapy, modernizing the Official Languages Act and protecting Canadians from hate speech and online harms. “Should [the Prime Minister] attempt to request dissolution of Parliament, we think it is important to reiterate, as you are aware, one does not need to be granted in the absence of a loss of confidence in the House.”
GOVERNING ADVICE FROM THE FORMER CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL:
Michael Wernick, who was Canada’s 23rd clerk of the privy council and, as a result the federal government’s top public servant, has written a guide to successful governing. According to a news release from Mr Wernick’s publisher, Governing Canada: A Guide to the Tradecraft of Politics will offer guidance on choosing and getting the most out of a cabinet, and delivering on the prime minister’s mandate letter. The book from On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press, will be out on Oct. 25. That means it will be available to whoever is governing Canada after the looming federal election.
SENDING LETTERS TO THE TWO MICHAELS:
This Sept. 4 marks 1,000 days that former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor have been jailed in China in apparent retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada. To mark this grim milestone, The Globe and Mail is inviting readers to send us hard copy or digital letters that we will forward to the Chinese embassy in Ottawa. Details here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Prime Minister holds private meetings, meets with Premier Andrew Furey, and then joins the Premier to make brief statements” at the Confederation Building. Later, they hold a childcare news conference.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet - No schedule provided by Mr. Blanchet’s office.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole - No schedule provided by Mr. O’Toole’s office.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul - No schedule provided by Ms. Paul’s office.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Merritt, B.C., participates in the National Association of Friendship Centres town hall meeting and meets with local Indigenous leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why there is more of a case for requiring the governor-general be bilingual than a Supreme Court justice: “Of course, when the office in question is the governor-general, arguably, symbolism is a requirement of the job. But so is an ability to communicate. English and French may have been the languages of the colonists, but they are also the languages spoken by the vast majority – more than 90 per cent – of the population. No other language is even close. Governors-general spend a lot of their time talking to the public. It makes sense that they should be able to do so in the languages that most of the public understand. So you could make a case that it should be an occupational requirement, even at the cost of narrowing the talent pool. At the least, it should be a consideration.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on an Alberta report on anti-energy campaigns that looks like a multimillion-dollar dud: “While I’m sure the final report will find a way to smear environmental organizations (in the nicest way), the preliminary version of it does concede there is “nothing inherently wrong,” in protesting the oil sector in Alberta. [Forensic and restructuring accountant, Steve Allan] goes out of his way to say that any “anti-Alberta energy campaign,” is not “improper” and does not “constitute conduct that should be in any way impugned.” Boy, that’s a long way from the “premeditated, internationally planned and financed operation to put Alberta energy out of business,” Mr. Kenney promised his supporters an inquiry would reveal.”
Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock (Contributors to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can ease the refugee crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border: “Canada can take the lead – and help U.S. President Joe Biden manage one of his thorniest political problems – by convening an urgent meeting between its leaders and those from the U.S. and Mexico, with migration issues heading the agenda and Central American leaders also in attendance. The meeting should explore regional responses to address the pressure at the southern U.S. border, protect the displaced and open new pathways toward their orderly resettlement.”
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