Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says that when he becomes prime minister, provinces will not have to resort to legislation like Alberta’s sovereignty act.
“When I am prime minister, bills like this will be unnecessary because I am going to respect provincial jurisdiction,” Mr. Poilievre said in an interview with Andrew Lawton of True North posted here on Thursday.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith tabled the new legislation, formally titled the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act, on Tuesday, that would, among other measures, give the province’s cabinet the ability to rewrite laws and order government agencies, police, cities and universities to disregard federal legislation that the Alberta government deems unconstitutional or harmful to the province. Story here.
As prime minister, Mr. Poilievre said he would repeal the environmental assessment legislation Bill C-69, the carbon tax, and proposed federal firearms policies affecting hunting firearms that he deemed massive interferences by the federal government in provincial jurisdiction.
“So I suspect that not long after I become prime minister, most premiers will stop talking about this stuff,” he said, apparently referring to disagreements with Ottawa.
“When the federal government protects provincial jurisdictions and lets local provinces make their own decisions in their own realms, you tend to have a more united country because people aren’t antagonized by each other.”
The Conservative leader also restated his aversion to speaking to Parliament Hill journalists that has led him to only hold one news conference, taking two questions, since he won the party leadership in September.
He said the debate in Canada has been dominated for too long by a very small group of “Laurentian elites” largely based in Ottawa who believe they should have a monopoly on political discourse.
He added he disagrees with the notion that the press gallery represents all of Canada so has preferred to speak to multicultural media, do one-on-one interviews, social media postings and use his platform in the House of Commons to “go around the filter of the mostly Liberal” press gallery on Parliament Hill.”
“There are some good reporters who are in the press gallery but for the most part there is a definite bias in favour of just defending the government and regurgitating its talking points, and I don’t need to validate that.”
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NO TIPOFFS: FORD - Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that he and his government did not tip off developers ahead of announcing changes to the Greenbelt. Story here. The Premier also said, story here, that he will not use the notwithstanding clause after a court struck down a law that limits wages for public sector workers.
LAUNCH OF CANADA DENTAL BENEFIT - Starting on Thursday, eligible Canadians can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency to receive funding as part of the first ever federal dental-care program, and as of Dec. 12 applications will open for low-income renters looking to access the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit. Story here from CTV.
PQ MEMBERS BARRED - The three recently elected Parti Quebecois members who have steadfastly refused to swear the oath of office to the King were barred Thursday from taking their seats in the legislature. Story here. Also, this week, Quebec Premier François Legault said his focus for the next four years will be to reverse the decline of French in Montreal and to expand Quebec’s economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Story here.
PSYCHIATRISTS SEEK MAID EXPANSION DELAY - The association representing the lead psychiatrists at Canada’s 17 medical schools is calling on the federal government to delay the expansion of assisted dying to people with mental illness, joining an increasingly vocal group of doctors who say proper safeguards are not yet in place. Story here.
MESSAGE FROM THE PAST - A 101-year-old message has been discovered by workers removing the base of a former statue in front of the Manitoba legislature. Story here.
WALL PORTRAIT UNVEILED - Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall returned to the provincial legislature on Wednesday for the first since his retirement from politics four years ago to attend a ceremony unveiling his official portrait. Story here.
EX-HAITIAN PM DISPUTES CANADIAN SANCTIONS - A former Haitian prime minister sanctioned by the Canadian government for allegedly helping armed criminal gangs says he did nothing of the sort and points out that Ottawa has provided no evidence to support its accusations. Story here.
CHINA’S AMBASSADOR SUMMONED - The Canadian government has summoned China’s ambassador to explain reports of Chinese-run police stations operating illicitly in Canada, and is warning of further steps if Beijing does not adequately address Ottawa’s concerns about foreign interference, MPs have been told. Story here.
`UNCONSCIONABLE’ LRT WOES IN OTTAWA -A newly released inquiry report highlights Ottawa’s “unconscionable” woes with its $2.- billion LRT system, which launched in September, 2019 - 16 months and four blown deadlines due. Story here. The report is here.
UPDATE: Ontario Premier Doug Ford was asked Thursday about the conclusions of the LRT report: “Thank goodness we did the inquiry,” Mr. Ford said at a news conference in Toronto. “It was just absolute shambles and stunk to high heaven and we wanted to dig deeper. And we did, and it has come out now so we’re going to continue moving forward.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also asked, Thursday, about the report. “Obviously, we watch very closely the impact of the federal dollars that we spent across the country on infrastructure,” he said at a news conference in London, Ont. “We are, of course, looking very closely at the reports, but we are going to continue to ensure that we are there as a partner to build stronger communities, better transit and a better future for Canadians.”
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS - Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Dec. 1, accessible here.
DAYS SINCE CONSERVATIVE LEADER PIERRE POILIEVRE TOOK MEDIA QUESTIONS IN OTTAWA: 79
FREELAND IN MONTREAL - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, in Montreal, was scheduled to meet with business leaders to discuss the net-zero transition, supply chains, and attracting investment to Canada, then to meet with representatives of the Union des municipalités du Québec. In Ottawa, Ms. Freeland was scheduled to host a working dinner for the executive vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis. International Trade Minister Mary Ng was also scheduled to attend.
WILSON-RAYBOULD AMONG ORDER OF B.C. RECIPIENTS - Former federal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould - “Role model, trailblazer and fearless truth teller, Jody Wilson-Raybould exemplifies the values of justice and integrity,” says the announcement - Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir and Christine Sinclair, the captain of the Canadian women’s national soccer team, are among 13 recipients of the Order of B.C. They are to be honoured on Thursday by British Columbia Lieutenant-Governor Janet Austin and Premier David Eby at a ceremony in Victoria. The 5 p.m. PT ceremony is to be streamed here and biographies of the inductees are here.
ORDER OF CANADA APPOINTEES INVESTED - Governor-General Mary Simon, on Thursday, will be investing 48 appointees into the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall. There details here on the appointees.
MINISTERS IN OTTAWA - Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, in Ottawa, were scheduled to visit a dental office for children and teens in Ottawa to announce the opening of the portal for the Canada Dental Benefit.Crown. Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller and Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, co-hosted a meeting of the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee. Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan and Bea Bruske, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, held a media availability on the coming-into-force of 10 days of paid sick leave in all federally regulated private sector workplaces.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, in Charlottetown, is attending various events. Minister Sean Fraser is in Banff and Calgary for events that include a citizenship ceremony sponsored by the Calgary Flames. Marci Ien, minister for women and gender equality and youth, in Toronto, made an announcement about preventing gender-based violence among youth and gender equality. International Trade Minister Mary Ng, in Montreal, made an announcement about the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.
NEW ONTARIO SECURITIES COMMISSION CHAIR - Kevan Cowan, who has been a member of the board of directors for the Ontario Securities Commision, has been appointed chair of the commission, pending review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies. Mr. Cowan has more than 30 years of experience in capital markets operational, regulatory and policy matters.
GUILBEAULT IN THE NEW YORK TIMES - Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, speaks here to the New York Times “First Person” podcast.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in London, Ont., accompanied by federal Families Minister Karina Gould, was scheduled to make an announcement on delivering dental care for children under 12 and take media questions.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is scheduled to participate in Question Period where, according to a party advisory, the Bloc was scheduled to have seven questions and two statements.
No schedules released for party leaders.
On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, the Globe’s real estate reporter, Rachelle Younglai, explains what is driving that trend and which companies are feeling the strain of managing physical offices in a world of hybrid work. The Decibel is here.
JEAN LAPOINTE - Jean Lapointe was a multidisciplinary figure in music, cinema, television who captivated, delighted and provoked hearts and minds in Quebec for more than half a century. He also went on to serve in the Senate for nearly a decade. Obituary here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on troubling questions about Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s move into the Greenbelt: “The Ontario government’s sudden and poorly explained decision this month to open protected land in the province’s Greenbelt to housing development is extremely troubling. It is impossible for a reasonable person not to feel unease about it. It is also possible for the Ford government to provide transparency on the issue, and to demonstrate that its decision was justified, putting the matter to rest. The real problem is that this has not been done and doesn’t appear to be forthcoming.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta isn’t defying Canada’s constitution, just rewriting it: “By arrogating to itself the unilateral right to decide which federal laws should apply in Alberta, the government is not only subordinating federal authority to its own but also that of the courts as constitutional interpreters. Likewise, when it says the bill “will not allow Alberta to separate from Canada,” it means the bill would not detach Alberta from the Canadian constitutional order de jure, but only de facto. But never mind what the government says about it. What does the bill itself say?”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is partly to blame for the Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s sovereignty act: “Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had gone through three elections, eight years of governing and endless futile efforts to reform Canada’s constitution when, for his sins, Quebec voters brought René Léveque’s sovereigntist Parti Québécois to power in 1976. His son Justin – after seven years, three elections and endless fights over how best to combat global warming – faces a similar (though lesser) challenge with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s quasi-separatist Bill 1. Yesterday’s Trudeau ultimately frustrated Mr. Lévesque’s dream of sovereignty and brought the constitution home. Today’s Trudeau will cross his fingers and hope that Rachel Notley’s NDP return to power in Alberta after the May 29 provincial election, making Bill 1 go away.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how Albertans are being played for fools by their own government: “Now it is clear. The Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act was a Trojan horse, one carrying a frightening plan to give the provincial government unbridled powers that strike at the heart of our democratic ideals. It seems like something conjured up by those running the worst kind of banana republic. It shouldn’t take long for those living in Alberta to fully understand what is happening to their province. It is now being led by someone who did not seek a mandate from all of its citizens, but rather landed in her position thanks to a minuscule sub-segment of the population who elected her leader of the United Conservative Party.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how assisted death shouldn’t be the fastest ‘treatment’ option for people with mental illness: “As of March of next year, however, there will be a faster, easier option for those looking for relief from their suffering. When the sunset clause expires on the exclusion of mental illness as the sole underlying condition for medical assistance in dying (MAID), the state will essentially be offering those desperate for help a rather perverted, disturbing choice: You can wait a year or more for access to treatment, or the state will help you die in as little as 90 days.”
Rob Shaw (Business in Vancouver) on the “compelling and growing political case” for British Columbia’s new premier, David Eby, to call a snap election: “Eby has one of the biggest blank cheques in front of him of any premier in at least two decades. But it has to be spent in the next four months, or by law it will automatically go to debt repayment – a situation that caused the NDP to get lambasted by critics last fiscal year when $1.3-billion went unspent at a time of various crises. A four-month spending spree is the perfect catapult into a mid-2023 snap election. The Eby government would by then be riding high in the polls, having thrown money at every imaginable problem. The new premier would also have a much larger public profile, stemming from the blitz of cheque ceremonies and ribbon-cuttings across key swing ridings.”
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