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Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser says the federal government will be releasing its plan to address the housing crisis in Canada on Friday.

Fraser told a forum in Toronto today the plan will involve various measures around reducing the cost of homebuilding, including making the construction of new homes more cost-effective for builders.

He also promised support for home-building factories and said there will be measures to help communities dealing with the challenges around homelessness and encampments.

Fraser referred to an announcement today that Ottawa is expanding the first-timer buyers’ maximum mortgage amortizations to 30 years for newly built homes:

“So, there is more to come, significant new measures,” Fraser told former federal Conservative cabinet minister Lisa Raitt, who was interviewing him at the Public Policy Forum’s 2024 Canada Growth Summit.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Budget Officer says, in a newly released report, that Canada would need to build 1.3 million additional homes by 2030 to eliminate the country’s housing gap.

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.


Trudeau casts doubt on CSIS intelligence about Chinese interference in 2019, 2021 elections: Justin Trudeau was the final witness Wednesday in the first phase of the foreign-interference inquiry set up last September after concerted pressure from the main opposition parties as well as media stories outlining a sophisticated China operation to influence the 2019 and 2021 elections. Story here.

Universities ask federal government for additional funding in coming budget: They want a commitment of as much as $6-billion in additional funding for research over the next five years.

Ex-British PM Boris Johnson challenges Conservatives to embrace green tactics: Johnson made the case while appearing with former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott at the annual conference of the Canada Strong and Free Network, the former Manning Centre. Story here.

Supreme Court won’t hear families’ years-long case over access to Bernardo documents: The decision marks the end of a years-long battle to expose confidential information used to decide on prospects for the parole of Paul Bernardo.

Alberta tables bill aimed at blocking funding deals between Ottawa, cities: Premier Danielle Smith said the legislation is designed to stop Ottawa from subverting provincial priorities.

Quebec tables bill that includes fines of up to $1,500 for threatening politicians: Municipal Affairs Minister Andrée Laforest says the measures are designed to stop threatening behaviour, and she isn’t worried it will be used to muzzle political opposition.

Manitoba Premier wants daily legislative prayer to be more inclusive: CBC reports that Wab Kinew told a breakfast gathering of faith leaders he wonders whether the existing prayer is “representative and inclusive of all of us here today.”

Canada in top three countries for music exports on Spotify, but some hit artists may not qualify as Canadian: Canadian artists generated more than $400-million in royalties from listeners outside Canada on Spotify in 2023 and were the top exporters of music on the platform behind the U.S. and Britain, the annual Loud & Clear report found.

Volunteer firefighters’ tax credit to double, as Ottawa prepares for catastrophic wildfire season: Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan unveiled plans in the coming budget to increase the tax credit for these volunteers from $3,000 to $6,000.

Royal BC Museum takes on collection of Terry Fox memorabilia: The Times-Colonist reports the museum will protect and preserve a vast collection associated with the national hero’s Marathon of Hope, which includes the runner’s prosthetic leg; the shoes, T-shirts and shorts he wore; personal journals; and the bottle of ocean water he collected in Newfoundland when he started his historic 1980 run across Canada.


“I have, of course, tremendous confidence in the extraordinary women and men who serve in our national security institutions. It is extremely important work that’s getting more and more difficult every day, but no government, no leader should simply be a passive receiver of information and intelligence.” - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at a news conference today, with French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

“The ivory tower elites who support him and his ideology of concentrating all the power and money in their hands, they always tell us how wonderfully sophisticated and cosmopolitan they are, how brilliant they are and that’s why they’re entitled, they’re experts after all right? That’s why they are entitled to decide for other people. But yet they’re prepared to support a guy who says he doesn’t read. It’s like, ‘He might be a know-nothing, but he’s our know nothing.’ “- Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, during a speech today to the Canada Strong and Free Network conference, on Trudeau’s comments before the foreign interference inquiry this week on his reading habits related to briefing documents from CSIS.

“I think it’s a huge challenge for us right now. We are seeing clear interference coming especially from Russia. We are seeing it on the social media. We are seeing it in many places. And you’re right, I think what we need to do is to alert everyone about the risk of this interference.” - French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, at a news conference with Trudeau today, on the impact of foreign interference.

“My wife will often say, when I come home at night, ‘What fire did you start today?’” - New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs during a fireside chat today at the Canada Strong and Free Network conference.


Today in the Commons: Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, April 11, accessible here.

Deputy Prime Minister’s Day: Chrystia Freeland made a housing announcement in Toronto.

Ministers on the Road: There were housing announcements today from Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault and Privy Council President Harjit Sajjan in Edmonton, and Tourism Minister Soraya Martínez Ferrada in Montreal and Small Business Minister Rechie Valdez, in Niagara, Ont. In Burnaby, B.C., Sport Minister Carla Qualtrough made an affordability announcement. Meanwhile, Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez is in Milan for a G7 ministerial meeting on transportation.

In Ottawa: Governor-General Mary Simon hosted a one-day event entitled Building a Safe and Respectful Digital World at Rideau Hall. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, and journalist Rachel Gilmore were among the participants in a panel on lived experience of online abuse. A second session on emerging solutions for a safer digital world was also planned.


Justin Trudeau participated in a welcome ceremony for visiting French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and met with Attal. Trudeau also attended a ceremony with Attal to commemorate Canadian and French veterans. Later in the afternoon, Trudeau was scheduled to meet with Cassidy Caron, the president of the Métis National Council.


Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre delivered a keynote speech at the annual conference of the Canada Strong and Free Network and was scheduled to attend a fundraising event in Thornhill, north of Toronto.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, in Ottawa, participated in the sitting of the House of Commons.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh delivered a speech at the Broadbent Institute Progress Summit in Ottawa, then held a scrum on Parliament Hill ahead of attending a meeting of the heritage committee, set to question Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. CEO Mirko Bibic on job cuts.

No schedule released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.


On The Globe and Mail podcast, former federal health minister Dr. Jane Philpott, now the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the School of Medicine at Queen’s University, talks about a ‘hopeful’ vision for primary care in Canada, evoked in her new book Health for All: A Doctor’s Prescription for a Healthier Canada. The Decibel is here. (Dr. Philpott previously did a Q&A with the politics newsletter available here.)


Largest Conservative lead yet: The federal Conservatives now have a 20-point lead over the governing Liberals in new research disclosed by Abacus Data.

Federal spending: According to newly disclosed polling by the Angus Reid Institute three in five Canadians say federal finances have grown too large and cuts are in order.


The first goal of drug overdoses policy: Keep people alive

“In late March, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer published his annual report to the province’s legislature. Its focus was drugs, from tobacco to opioids. One line in the report stood out: “When thousands of people are dying from preventable opioid overdoses each year, the system must first take urgent steps to keep people alive,” Dr. Kieran Moore wrote. That stark sentence lays out what no one should forget in the debate over policies to reduce drug overdose deaths, from supervised drug consumption sites and prescribed opioids to the need to rapidly expand treatment services.” - The Globe and Mail Editorial Board.

Is the paperless Prime Minister getting the message?

“So, how does the Prime Minister hear about intelligence again? It’s not from reading. There are a lot of documents, Justin Trudeau told the Foreign Interference Commission on Wednesday, but if you want to get a national security message to a busy prime minister, you brief him in person.” -Campbell Clark.

Justin Trudeau owes the premiers a meeting

“One of the best things Justin Trudeau could do to show how wrong the premiers are on carbon pricing is call a meeting and put it all out in the open. Yes, he should absolutely make them explain what they would enact as climate policies, and ask for detailed plans. Like Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, provincial leaders have been playing fast and loose with what could be the alternatives.” -Kelly Cryderman.

Conservative MPs display statesmanlike behaviour – not!

“You could almost sense Brian Mulroney eye-rolling in his grave. Mr. Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative politics may not have appealed to everyone, but the former prime minister, who died in February, conducted himself in a way that today’s Conservative Leader would do well to study and try to emulate. If Mr. Poilievre is going to borrow ‘common sense’ political sloganeering from former Ontario Conservative premier Mike Harris, perhaps he could learn some gravitas from another Conservative politician from the past.” - Marsha Lederman.

The curious case of the incurious Prime Minister

“This time, the message conveyed by the Prime Minister through his testimony was that he was a passive observer – a relatively incurious one, at that – when presented with allegations that China was meddling in Canada’s elections. He simply didn’t have enough information, or the proper advice, or the national security leeway to take action. Nor did he endeavour to seek it.” - Robyn Urback

Black Canadians’ economic disadvantage is worsening – here’s how to fix it

“Canadian multiculturalism promises equality of opportunity for all who call this diverse nation home. However, for Black Canadians, this promise is shattering, as their success in the labour market continues to falter. Our research, alongside numerous other studies, paints a stark picture of the challenges facing Black Canadians, including Canadian-born children of immigrants – the second generation.” -Rupa Banerjee, Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, Jeffrey G. Reitz and R.F. Harney.

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