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Year in Review 2019 – Provincial and Federal Politics – CHAT News Today

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The United Conservative Party dominated the 2019 election, winning 63 out of 87 seats. The NDP won the remaining 24 seats, the majority in Edmonton, along with three seats in Calgary, and two seats in Lethbridge and St. Albert.

Locally, both Medicine Hat area ridings went to the United Conservative Party. Michaela Glasgo won her first term as MLA in the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding, while Drew Barnes won his third term as MLA in Cypress-Medicine Hat.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/04/17/ucp-candidates-barnes-glasgo-sweep-medicine-hat-ridings/

Motz wins second term

At the federal level, Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz won his second term in office during the fall federal election.

Motz was elected with an overwhelming 79.3 per cent of the vote, as the Conservative Party of Canada won all but one seat in Alberta.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/10/21/motz-wins-in-medicine-hat-cardston-warner/

Provincial budget tabled

Three days following the federal election, the United Conservative Party tabled its first budget. The budget sees an increased deficit of $8.7 billion, up from the NDP’s deficit of $6.8 billion, and changes to provincial spending in several areas.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/10/24/budget-2019-debt-still-grows-but-path-to-balance-mapped-out/

Education budget impacts

The tabling of the provincial budget had impacts for education at multiple levels.

Due to the budget being tabled in October, local school boards met later in the year to deal with funding shortfalls following a change in grants from the province.

Links: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/11/29/catholic-board-of-education-using-reserve-funds-to-cover-deficit/

https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/11/26/prairie-rose-reporting-increased-deficit-for-school-year-in-revised-budget/

https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/10/31/public-school-division-dealing-with-shortfall-following-budget/

At the post-secondary level, the province announced the end of the tuition freeze starting in the 2020 school year, meaning colleges can begin raising tuition up to seven per cent starting that year. There is currently no indication if Medicine Hat College plans to raise tuition yet.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/10/25/college-to-deal-with-funding-changes-in-provincial-budget/

Families concerned about programs ending

Several programs that assisted families are either being eliminated completely following the budget, or having their funding changed.

A program which provided a subsidy for stay-at-home parents to help cover day care costs, along with a second subsidy that helped family members who took care of children, is being discontinued in January.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/11/06/two-child-care-subsidies-discontinued-by-province/

The current funding model for parent link centres will also be discontinued as of April 1, with centres having to apply for a new program for funding.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/11/22/parents-concerned-about-end-of-government-funding-for-parent-link-centres/

Public sector workers take on province

The provincial budget announced the Alberta government would reduce the number of public sector positions by 7.7 per cent, or approximately 2,100 positions. Workers rallied across the province, including in Medicine Hat.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/10/28/public-sector-workers-rally-against-bill-9-outside-hospital/

In November, the United Nurses of Alberta announced AHS is planning to lay off nurses beginning next year.

Link: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2019/11/29/united-nurses-of-alberta-says-ahs-planning-to-lay-off-nurses-starting-next-year/

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Crosbie vows to clean up ‘Liberal corruption’ in Newfoundland and Labrador politics – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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While campaigning in Marystown on Thursday, Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie berated the Liberals over their governance of the province, saying he would put an end to “Liberal corruption.”

Though technical issues interrupted the livestream of Crosbie’s speech, a transcript was sent to reporters, and Crosbie took questions by phone.

Crosbie again said the most critical issue in the province is jobs, “but Liberal corruption, scandal and cronyism are barriers to job growth.”

Crosbie says after filing a freedom-of-information request for the draft of a report commissioned by the Liberal government and done by consulting firm Goss Gilroy, a discrepancy between the final report and the draft was discovered.

The $22,000 report asked people who had left the province why they left and what it would take for them to return.

“They tried to bury the finding that … a leading reason for not working in Newfoundland and Labrador is the perception that it was who you know that would get you a job,” Crosbie said.

Crosbie said the PCs would hire people based on merit, and the government has a role in setting an example for everyone, including the private sector.

When asked why Newfoundland and Labrador voters should trust this wouldn’t happen if he is elected, Crosbie said voters can look to his decades-long career as a lawyer.

“My practice has consistently been all about holding corporations and governments to account,” he said.

Crosbie said, “(Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Andrew) Parsons is still in cabinet … despite being investigated by police. This is banana republic stuff. You can quote me on that.”

RNC officer Joe Smyth alleges political interference by Parsons, who was formally the justice minister, regarding a previous charge of obstruction of justice against Smyth that was dropped. The allegations are currently being investigated by the Nova Scotia RCMP.


Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Andrew Parsons. - Telegram File Photo
Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Andrew Parsons. – Telegram File Photo

Parsons responded to Crosbie’s corruption comments on behalf of the Liberals Thursday.

“Well, It’s the same old song and dance from Ches and the same Conservative line. Normally, I don’t care too much about what he says, but I do get frustrated when he impugns my character wrongly and he knows this,” Parsons said in a phone interview from his district on the west coast.

“If he wants to talk about ethics, I don’t need a lecture from him. Let’s me and him have a little contest and go back and talk about personal ethics. … If he wants to talk about the PCs, the biggest corruption job on the people of this province ever committed was the billion-dollar

Muskrat debacle that was committed on the backs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that he supports.”

Parsons said the PCs have former cabinet minister Nick McGrath running in Labrador, despite the Humber Valley Paving controversy.

And he slammed Crosbie for slinging mud when politicians should be moving away from personal attacks to policy discussions.

“Ches talks a big game and it’s too bad — he’s not putting forward any semblance of a plan why people should trust him,” Parsons said.

“His goal is to smear everybody and hope it makes him looks good in comparison.”

Meanwhile, Crosbie said people have the right to know who’s donating money to political parties and how much.

“Right now, we have a system where there’s no limit on donations and there’s nothing to prevent corporations, or unions for that matter, making donations,” he said. “There’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.”

He says they will look into the code of conduct for MHAs and introduce recall legislation so, “voters have recourse when their elected representatives are not doing their jobs.”

On Wednesday, Crosbie called for the immediate release of the interim report of the Dame Moya Greene-led Economic Recovery Team.

Premier Andrew Furey said there is no report, but a group of individuals tasked with coming up with ideas.

Crosbie said he laughed when he heard Furey’s comments.

“Either it’s not a report yet, because it hasn’t been written yet, or he’s appointed a bunch of people to sit around and shoot the breeze and have good ideas and none of us are ever going to know what those ideas are because they’re not going to be written down,” Crosbie said. “That last explanation would be absurd.”

At a media event Thursday morning, Furey said he doesn’t want to rush Greene and her team, as that’s how the government has made mistakes and economic flops in the past. An interim report is due later in February, and a final report at the end of April.

“I’m trying to shift decision-making more to a more rational, logical approach, and this is one I think will work,” Furey said.

“I think this is a solid decision-making process. We’re going to gather evidence, and broadly consult with all stakeholders. Every person in Newfoundland and Labrador will have an opportunity to have a say should they choose. Then we are going to table that to the House of Assembly as a very open and transparent process.”

Fixing the province’s financial troubles will require short-, medium- and long-term solutions and lots of collaboration, Furey said.

“There is no simple solution to this. There’s not going to be like an incredibly blunt and frightful budget that shocks everybody into their basements,” he said.

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Should Politics Play A Role In Our Investments? – Forbes

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With yesterday’s inauguration of Joe Biden, it seems the perfect time to consider the role that politics may play in our investments. Over the past weeks and months, politics has been a hot topic. Undoubtedly, we can expect the economy to change and the markets to react as policies and priorities shift. Many are worried about the outcome of the election—and many others are excited. So, with all of the different emotions at play, how do we think about politics as we make our investment decisions?

The Choice Facing Financial Advisors

As Commonwealth’s chief investment officer, I serve a wide range of advisors and clients. They all have political opinions, and I may fundamentally disagree with many of them (half?) on very important issues. How can I handle this disconnect?

As I see it, I have a choice. I can take public positions that might feel good but will both alienate and ill serve a substantial portion of my community, while convincing no one. Or, I can focus on communicating what I both know about and have been tasked to do, in order to help people, as investors, navigate the current turmoil.

All financial advisors face the same decision. For all of us, no matter what our opinions, stating them can make us less effective for a substantial portion of our clients. And we can’t sidestep the issue by saying we have no opinions, because of course we do. What to do?

The way I have tried to deal with it is by explicitly separating the two roles I have: as a citizen (where I have very strong opinions) and as an economist and investment advisor (where all that matters is the data). By decoupling the two, I acknowledge I have my own opinions, but I try to make them less relevant to the discussions we are having.

I might say something like this. “As a citizen, I certainly have my own opinions, which may (or may not) be the same as yours. As your advisor, however, they don’t matter. My job here is to help you navigate the uncertainty around these events in your investments, not in the rest of your life. Because of that, we can look at the economic and market facts, which is what I am here to do, and make a decision that is best for you. My only concern, sitting in this chair, is your financial future.” I have used something like this with multiple client groups, on both sides, and it has been effective.

A Focus on Long-Term Outcomes

Another way to approach this is to demonstrate how it works in practice. In the last two elections, for example, I had people—on different sides—who wanted to sell out when Obama was elected and when Trump was elected. In both cases, it would have been a mistake. This example is a good follow-up, as you can directly look at emotional decisions, tie them back to the factual results, and make the point that as an investor, data is what is needed most. And that is the job of an advisor. However good or bad things are now, investors need to be focused on the long-term outcomes, not the short-term headlines. Taking the politics out can and does yield better long-term results.

Bumps in the Middle of the Road

This approach doesn’t always work, of course. I typically get feedback, some of it ferocious, whenever I write a piece that touches on politics, with my recent blog post on Washington turning a light shade of blue a good example. Several people felt very strongly, based on that post, that I must be a hard-core Republican. Others thought that the piece showed a clear Democratic basis and needed to be rewritten.

What I tried to do, though, was write something straight down the middle, presenting the facts and reasonable conclusions in a nonpartisan way. With this one, more than some of the others, I clearly failed in the eyes of some readers. That is inevitable, and the feedback helps me get better, so I appreciate it. I will try to do better. But I also draw comfort from the fact that I got fire from both sides. The middle of the road can be an uncomfortable place as well.

Recognize the Disconnect

What if you are not an advisor but just concerned about your own investments? The advice is the same. Look at the data. Don’t make emotional decisions. Realize the U.S. economy and markets are largely disconnected from politics. And keep an eye on the long term. No matter how you feel about either administration, investing is a game of decades during which we will have a wide range of politics.

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Nova Scotia finance minister says she will leave politics when next election called – Toronto Star

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HALIFAX – A key member of outgoing Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil’s cabinet says she too will leave politics once the next provincial election is called.

Finance Minister Karen Casey, who is also deputy premier, made the announcement following a cabinet meeting Thursday, saying that after 15 years representing the riding of Colchester North, she is ready to retire and wants to spend more time with her four grandchildren.

Casey said while she had been pondering her future for some time, she only made a final decision over the last week.

“Fifteen years, I think, is a good amount of public service to give to my constituents,” Casey told reporters. “I’m happy with the work that we (government) have achieved, and it’s time to let somebody else represent Colchester North.”

Casey, a former teacher, also served in the education and health portfolios and was named deputy premier in 2017.

Over her time in the education portfolio, she was instrumental in the Liberal government’s move to rein in contract demands by the province’s teachers — a battle that ultimately saw the imposition of a contract that ended a two-month work-to-rule campaign by public school teachers in February 2017.

As finance minister, Casey also played a part in helping the government table five consecutive balanced budgets.

“I learned a lot personally in the finance portfolio, but there were challenges there, and I quite like a challenge,” she said.

McNeil, who is leaving politics next month, said he counts Casey as a personal friend and believes she played an “integral role” in helping return the province to fiscal health.

“We have really run a duo operation here in lots of ways,” McNeil said. “She is one person that I have always sought counsel of in my most difficult days.”

Casey was a former interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives and defected to the Liberals in January, 2011 at McNeil’s invitation.

“That allowed me to join a caucus and a leader … whose values I thought I shared,” said Casey. “What motivated me? It would be knowing that my ideas and those of my constituents and me as a person would be respected.”

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Casey confirmed she would stay on until the next election, which must be called by the spring of 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

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