Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fending off criticism from Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders, saying he is ready to negotiate on increased health care funding, but that any new dollars must go to health care.
At a news conference in Kingston, Ont., Mr. Trudeau was responding on Wednesday to the outcome of the Council of the Federation meeting of premiers and territorial leaders in Victoria this week.
He was asked by a journalist if he was “ghosting” the leaders on health care, a reference to a suggestion by council chair John Horgan, the premier of British Columbia, that Mr. Trudeau is avoiding their calls for substantive talks on increasing federal health care funding.
“I don’t think there is a prime minister in Canadian history who, over the entire scope of their time in office, has met with the premiers and sat down to talk about health care as much as I have over the past two years,” Mr. Trudeau said, in his first comments on this week’s high-profile exchange between Ottawa and the provinces on the perennial funding issue.
He said the government will invest more in health care, but is intent on ensuring that funding delivers real, tangible results for Canadians in shorter wait times, better services and access to a family doctor.
“There have been huge investments in health care made by provinces and governments in the past that haven’t always delivered the improvements to health care that is necessary,” he said. “We are going to make sure that those investments deliver for Canadians.”
The premiers say that health care funding began as a 50-50 split between the federal government and provinces and territories, but that Ottawa’s share has dwindled to 22 per cent.
Vancouver Reporter Andrea Woo and Queen’s Park Reporter Dustin Cook report here on the meeting of premiers and territorial leaders, which featured jabs between the provinces and Ottawa, but concluded with no resolution on health care.
During the news conference in Kingston, Mr. Trudeau also defended the Canadian government’s recent agreement to import and repair Russian pipeline turbines for up to two years, calling it “a very difficult decision.” Story here from Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase and Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.
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BANK OF CANADA HIKES INTEREST RATE – The Bank of Canada increased its benchmark interest rate by one percentage point on Wednesday, the most aggressive rate hike since 1998 and a larger move than investors and private-sector economists were expecting. Story here.
KING IN COURT – “Freedom Convoy” organizer Pat King is expected to appear in an Ottawa court today for a bail review. Story here.
COVID-19 BENEFITS BOLSTER CANADIANS 2020 AFTER-TAX INCOME: CENSUS – Fewer Canadians received employment income in 2020 as COVID-19 upended the labour market, but pandemic support programs more than offset losses for many households, leading to a drop in income inequality, according to census results published Wednesday. Story here.
SCHEDULES CONFOUND GUILBEAULT TRAIN TOUR – Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s promise to travel by train across Canada to talk to people about emissions was derailed by the lack of rail routes available to cross the country. Story here from the National Post.
FIVE-DAY SERVICE CREDIT FROM ROGERS – Rogers Communications Inc. says it will credit its customers with the equivalent of five days of service as it faces a litany of questions from Canada’s telecom regulator regarding a nationwide service outage that left millions without cellphone, home phone and internet service last Friday. Story here.
NO CHARGE FOR SOME RCMP COSTS: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – The federal government says it won’t bill provinces and municipalities for the retroactive portion of Mountie salaries while it considers whether to help shoulder some of the burden of a steep pay-raise package. Story here.
QUEBEC SETS FRENCH DEADLINE FOR FEDERALLY REGULATED SECTORS – The Quebec government is giving companies in federally regulated sectors one month to begin complying with new requirements to guarantee the use of French in their workplaces. Story here from CBC.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in West Vancouver. Roman Baber has a meet-and-greet event in Lloydminster, Sask. Jean Charest is in Quebec. Leslyn Lewis is in Whitehorse. Pierre Poilievre is in Vancouver and Surrey.
BROWN BACKING CHAREST – Patrick Brown says he is unlikely to overturn a disqualification from running for Conservative leader in time to compete in the race, so he will vote for former Quebec premier Jean Charest. Story here.
BROWN ON THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY – “I’m not going to make any commentary about the Conservative Party, but obviously I didn’t find it democratic and if they want to follow a route that is extreme and not inclusive, I am not sure they will be on the right side of Canadians” – Patrick Brown, as Brampton mayor, in a telephone town hall with city residents on Monday night.
NO PIVOT PLANNED: POILIEVRE – Pierre Poilievre tells Rick Bell of the Calgary Sun that he does not plan to pivot. Story here. Also, more than 1,000 people reportedly attended a rally in Grande Prairie, Alta., featuring Mr. Poilievre. Story here from MyGrandPrairieNow.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
NO THANKS TO BEING B.C. PREMIER: CULLEN – Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen , now British Columbia’s Municipal Affairs Minister, is ruling out a bid to succeed British Columbia Premier John Horgan. Details here. In another province, another high-profile New Democrat is also saying he won’t seek his party’s leadership. It’s Joel Harden, the Ottawa Centre NDP MPP, who was seen as a possible contender for the leadership role vacated by Andrea Horwath. Mr. Harden now says he’s not interested for reasons explained in a story here from CityNews..
FREELAND DEPARTS FOR MEETING IN BALI – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland departed Toronto for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
ALGHABRA IN WINNIPEG – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra was scheduled to make a funding announcement at the CN Intermodal Terminal in Winnipeg and take media questions.
BOISSONNAULT IN EDMONTON – Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, appearing for Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, was scheduled to make a health-related funding announcement in Edmonton, and take media questions.
DUCLOS IN ST. JOHN’S – At Memorial University in St. John’s, N. L., Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos makes an announcement on support for patient-oriented research in the province.
IEN IN SCARBOROUGH – Marci Ien, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announces investments in training for young Canadians at an event in Scarborough.
RODRIGUEZ IN ST. JOHN’S – Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Minister Steve Crocker were scheduled to co host a news conference in St. John’s on Wednesday at the conclusion of three days of meetings for federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for culture and heritage.
WILKINSON IN BURNABY – Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in Burnaby, announces support for electrical vehicle charging infrastructure in British Columbia.
On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Duncan Dee , a former chief operating officer for Air Canada, talks about what should be done to help with delays and bottlenecks at airports. On Monday, 70 per cent of flights from Canada’s largest carrier Air Canada were delayed – the highest percentage in the world. Mr. Dee worked on a panel that reviewed the Air Transportation Act in 2016, looking closely at what could be improved at Canada’s airports. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
In Kingston, Ont., the Prime Minister made an announcement, with Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Ontario’s Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli also present.
No schedules released for party leaders.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on a turbine tussle and a warning to allies against complacency in backing Ukraine for the long haul: The international tussle over a turbine that saw Canada stuck in the middle should serve as a warning to Ukraine’s allies about complacency – because Mr. Putin will keep testing them for weaknesses. There was an outpouring of support for Ukraine when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February, and the waving of yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flags was accompanied by stiff sanctions by both Canada and the U.S. and shipments of aid and arms. But that might be easy to forget months later in the Canadian summer.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how, if the premiers want more money, they’ll also have to take more responsibility: “So there’s a case to be made that the provinces will need more money in future, even if they don’t now. But it must be accompanied by clearer provincial accountability for the results. Experience teaches that otherwise any increase in funds is likely to be dissipated in higher pay for provider groups, rather than improving care. How to square that circle? Complete the work begun in 1977: convert the whole of federal (non-equalization) transfers into tax points. Only when health care dollars are spent and raised by the same level of government will we end the finger-pointing and blame-shifting that has blocked reform until now. If the provinces don’t want to answer to Uncle Ottawa for how they run their health care systems, they can’t also depend on it for their allowance.”
Don Braid (Calgary Herald) on whether Danielle Smith already has a lock on the Alberta premier’s office: “Pierre Poilievre is widely considered a cinch to win the federal Conservative Party leadership on Sept. 10. If that’s true, Danielle Smith’s chances for the premier’s office look very good on Oct. 6. Her campaign, equally aggressive, is aimed at a narrower, more reachable band of voters than Poilievre faces in the far-flung federal party. Smith also appeals to many UCP members who are increasingly angry at Ottawa, while adding dramatic Alberta responses inspired by Quebec’s march to autonomy. It’s working for her so far.”
Thomas Mulcair (CTV) on how Stephen Harper clearly has a preferred candidate in the Conservative race: “Conservative skullduggery in booting out Patrick Brown as a candidate reflects very badly on a Party prone to lecturing others about probity, ethics and integrity. Based on the single, untested word of a longtime party operative, Brown was given the heave-ho. Problem is, he landed on Jean Charest, whose chances of winning will go from slim to none if the Conservatives get away with it. The people who made and profited from that decision were very much aware that what they were doing would effectively decide the outcome of the race. Pierre Poilièvre was being handed a victory not by Conservative members but by Party functionaries. When you look at their connections to the Harper era, this whole manoeuvre appears even more troubling.”
Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty (Policy Options) on the need for Indigenous-led housing: “Providing a place one can truly call home, surrounded by family in a safe, healthy environment, should be viewed as a reclamation of sovereignty as part of the land-back movement. There is an immediate need for recognition of Indigenous culture within the housing system to move toward true reconciliation. Canada also needs to follow through on Indigenous legal orders – the pre-colonial Indigenous legal system – under the provisions of UNDRIP to find ways of creating a “braiding” of laws at the national and international law that will recognize Indigenous rights at a government-to-government level.”
Opinion: What started in Kansas upends American politics – CNN
(CNN)In “The Wizard of Oz,” a tornado sends Dorothy and her Kansas home spinning into the “Merry Old Land of Oz.” Last week it was what Politico called a “political earthquake” in Kansas that sent the national debate over abortion into a new phase with many unknowns.
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Tory leadership hopefuls say it’s time for unity. Here’s what some say that means
OTTAWA — When three Conservative leadership hopefuls met this past week for a debate, the same word kept getting repeated.
Unity. Or more precisely, the need for it.
In a contest largely seen as a battle for the party’s soul, which has put decades-old fissures on display between groups that make up its very coalition, what might it take to achieve unity after results are revealed Sept. 10?
As that question lingers, many in the party and beyond are preparing for a scenario in which Pierre Poilievre takes victory.
Much of that thinking is based on the longtime MP’s popularity with the existing grassroots, coupled with his ability to draw big crowds and sell what his campaign claims to have been more than 300,000 memberships.
But after winning comes the challenge of leading.
“Somebody has to give some thought to the morning after,” said Garry Keller, former chief of staff to Rona Ambrose, who served as the party’s interim leader after it lost government in 2015.
Of the 118 other members in caucus, a whopping 62 endorsed Poilievre. That’s compared to the party’s 2020 leadership race when the caucus was more evenly split between Peter MacKay and the eventual winner, Erin O’Toole.
O’Toole’s inability to manage caucus after losing the 2021 election to the Liberals ultimately led to his downfall. He was forced out by a vote from his MPs under provisions in the Reform Act, measures which will remain in place for the next leader.
Poilievre has said his campaign message of “freedom” serves as a great unifier among Conservatives. However, Keller said if some in caucus are taking that to mean they will be able to say whatever they want on social media, they shouldn’t.
“I think people will be solely disabused of that notion.”
Poilievre and his supporters have throughout the race been accused of sowing disunity in the party by instigating personal attacks against rivals, namely ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest.
Most recently, MPs endorsing Poilievre — along with Scott Aitchison, a rural Ontario representative and fellow leadership competitor — have called into question whether Charest, who has spent the past 20 years out of federal politics, plans to stick around the party after the race is over.
Longtime British Columbia MP Ed Fast, a co-chair on Charest’s campaign, tweeted “the purity tests must stop” and cautioned party members that when Conservatives are divided, Liberals win.
Fast himself resigned from his role as finance critic after criticizing Poilievre’s vow to fire the Bank of Canada governor, which ruffled some feathers inside caucus.
“It’s a sad situation that Jean Charest, a patriot and champion of Canadian unity, continues to have his loyalty questioned by party members looking to stoke division,” said Michelle Coates Mather, a spokeswoman for his campaign.
“What’s the endgame here exactly? Lose the next federal election by alienating Conservative members who support Charest? Seems a poor strategy for a party looking to expand their base and win a federal election.”
While Poilievre enjoys the majority support of the party’s caucus, most of the party’s 10 Quebec MPs are backing Charest, opening the question of what happens next if he is not successful.
Asked recently about that possibility, MP Alain Rayes, who is organizing on Charest’s campaign, expressed confidence in the former Quebec premier’s chances, saying the party doesn’t need “American-style divisive politics.”
“I’m deeply convinced that our members will make the right choice,” he said in a statement.
The group Centre Ice Conservatives, a centre-right advocacy group formed during the leadership race, contends the party has room to grow if it leaves the fringes and concentrates on issues that matter in the mainstream.
Director Michael Stuart says both Charest and Poilievre have policies that speak to the centrists, and what they’re hearing from supporters of their group is a desire for more focus on “dinner table issues,” such as economic growth and jobs.
“There’s a lot of distraction with noise around vaccines and the convoy and those sorts of things.”
Not only did Poilievre support the “Freedom Convoy,” he used his message of “freedom” to campaign on the anger and frustration people felt because of government-imposed COVID-19 rules, like vaccine and mask mandates.
How he will handle social conservatives also remains an open question.
Poilievre has pledged no government led by him would introduce or pass legislation restricting abortion access.
Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for the anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, said many of those who strongly oppose vaccine mandates also share values with social conservatives.
“They are largely pro-freedom, pro-family, and yes, even pro-life and pro-faith,” he said.
Social conservatives have traditionally been a well-mobilized part of the party’s base during leadership contests and helped deliver wins for O’Toole and former leader Andrew Scheer, who is now helping Poilievre in the race.
While Fonseca and other anti-abortion groups are encouraging members to pick social conservative candidate Leslyn Lewis as their first choice, he said the “freedom conservatives” Poilievre recruited will expect results.
That includes giving Lewis a critic role, he said.
“He will be forced to face that reality and to deliver policy commitments to the freedom conservatives and social conservatives that are his base.”
“If it doesn’t, the peril is you become a flip-flopper like Erin O’Toole,” he said, referring to walk-backs the former leader made on promises after winning the leadership.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2022.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
Former B.C. solicitor-general Rich Coleman is returning to politics – Terrace Standard
Two years after he retired, former B.C. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman is returning to politics, this time at the municipal level, with the “Elevate Langley Voters Association” civic party in the Township of Langley, according to an Elections B.C. register of elector organizations.
The register lists former Langley East MLA Coleman as the “authorized principal official” for the party.
While he has registered a civic party, whether Coleman will be running in the Oct. 15 election himself remains to be seen.
In a response to a Langley Advance Times query on Saturday, Aug. 6, Coleman confirmed he has been approached about running for mayor, but hasn’t decided yet.
“A lot of people have been on me to run for mayor,” Coleman told the Langley Advance Times.
“I’m seriously considering it.”
Coleman said he registered the Elevate Langley party when he did, because the Election B.C. deadline to register elector organizations for the pending municipal elections was Aug. 2, and he wanted to provide a vehicle for some potential Township candidates he has been mentoring.
“I’ve got some young folks who want to run,” Coleman said.
In the Elections B.C. register entry, Elevate Langley listed a contact phone number that turned out to be the office number for current Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman, who said she has no involvement with the party, calling it “absolutely an error.”
Coleman said he would check into it.
In 2018, Coleman was considering a run for Surrey mayor, but decided against it.
Coleman spent 24 years in provincial politics before he retired in 2020, including four years as provincial Solicitor-General.
Langley Township councillors Eric Woodward and Blair Whitmarsh have also announced mayoralty bids. So has former councillor Michelle Sparrow.
Elections B.C.’s register of civic parties listed Woodward as the principal official for the “Contract with Langley Association” party, which, the filing indicates, will be fielding candidates for council and school board.
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