Mise à jour de la législation provinciale - 25-29 septembre 2023
An overview of the Provincial and Territories Legislative Updates for the week of September 25-29, 2023.
The leader of the Green Party says he’s prepared to make a deal with the Liberals to keep Blaine Higgs from governing if the New Brunswick premier fails to win a majority of seats in an early provincial election. David Coon says his goal in a fall campaign will be to elect as many Green MLAs as possible.
The arrival of newcomers from inside and outside Canada continued to rocket New Brunswick’s population into uncharted territory during the first half of 2023. In new figures released this week, Statistics Canada estimated 834,691 people lived in New Brunswick on July 1st this year. It’s 25,123 more than a year earlier and 43,889 above the number from July 1, 2021.
Premier Blaine Higgs spoke with a crowd of about 50 people who showed up to a Progressive Conservative fundraising event Wednesday to protest his government’s recent changes to a policy on gender identification in schools. “All I have to say is we need to find a way to respect each other and have a path forward where parents can continue to play a role in raising their kids,” Higgs said. “That’s it. It’s as simple as that.”
New Brunswick’s budget surplus exploded to more than $1 billion last year, even higher than the already massive figure put out by the Higgs government back in March. Final audited financial statements for fiscal 2022-23, released Wednesday, show a surplus of $1.01 billion. And with the province on track for another big surplus this year, Finance Minister Ernie Steeves is suggesting he’ll unveil new “affordability measures” to help New Brunswickers in coming weeks — including possible tax cuts.
Nova Scotia announced Friday it will conduct a comprehensive review of the province’s policing structure, just as the RCMP released an update on its efforts to implement the recommendations of a panel struck to investigate the causes of the April 2020 mass shooting. A news release from the Nova Scotia government said the review, expected to be completed by 2025, could potentially recommend changes for how policing services are delivered.
On Wednesday, the Nova Scotia government announced plans to build new public housing for the first time since 1993. Five locations will be getting a share of 222 new units, but it’s unclear how the locations were chosen — and why some municipalities were left out. “This announcement … is great. I applaud that,” said Mayor David Kogon of the town of Amherst, N.S. “But my initial reaction was like, why isn’t Amherst part of this? We’re a sizeable community just like Bridgewater, Truro and Kentville who were part of that.”
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Brad Johns has launched a review of the province’s information and privacy legislation, a process Premier Tim Houston criticized when the former Liberal government proposed something similar. In a news release Thursday, Johns said an internal working group would look at the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Privacy Review Officer Act, the Personal Information International Disclosure Act and Part 20 of the Municipal Government Act.
A Cape Breton University political scientist says a harassment investigation sparked by the regional municipality’s fire chief was mishandled and the chief’s subsequent resignation exposed clear signs of dysfunction at city hall in Sydney, N.S. Cape Breton Regional Municipality fire chief Michael Seth launched a harassment complaint in 2022 over comments councilors made in an email thread regarding changes to Canada Day promotions.
The P.E.I. government says changes that could make paid sick days a reality for more Island workers won’t happen until spring 2024 at the earliest. Meanwhile, some Island employees say they’re worried about the flu season ahead and what that will mean for their paycheques. Rebecca King, an assistant manager at a retail store in Charlottetown, said the lack of paid sick days affects both her and her child.
Record levels of interprovincial migration and non-permanent residents contributed to P.E.I. having its largest population growth ever in the year leading up to July 2023. The growth came despite a record loss of population from births and deaths. On Wednesday, Statistics Canada released its July 1, 2023, population figures for Canada as a whole and the provinces and territories that make it up, the first release to incorporate the results of the 2021 census. It showed a 3.9 percent growth rate for P.E.I. since July 2022, bringing the population to 173,787.
A seafood distributor based in western P.E.I. is part of a group of companies that have filed for creditor protection in New Brunswick court. South Shore Seafoods Ltd. and related companies received an order from the Court of King’s Bench in Saint John last week. According to court records, the Rosebank-based lobster processor and related companies owe creditors more than $55 million. In a letter to suppliers dated Sept. 25 and signed by co-owner Timothy Williston, South Shore cited the “extreme volatility” of the seafood industry over the past few years.
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey says he is interested in taking over the job of Speaker for the House of Commons following the resignation of Anthony Rota earlier this week. Casey made the announcement on the Charlottetown-based Radio-Canada show Le Réveil Thursday morning. “Anyone who commits themselves to public life wants to make a difference, and this is one of these things where the stars have kind of aligned,” he told CBC’s Sheehan Desjardins later in the day.
Terre-Neuve et Labrador
In a ceremony, six years in the making, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey apologized Friday in Cartwright, on Labrador’s southern coast, to residential school survivors and the NunatuKavut people on behalf of the provincial government. The treatment of NunatuKavut Inuit in residential schools represents a “tragic and sad chapter” in the province’s history, said Furey.
Turkish soldiers who died fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula more than a century ago were honoured Thursday evening with the unveiling of a monument in Newfoundland. It was almost a year to the day when a delegation from Newfoundland and Labrador was in Turkey to witness the unveiling of a massive bronze caribou statue — the sixth and final instalment of the Trail of the Caribou, a series of statues that mark where the Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought in the First World War.
Saskatchewan’s plan to recruit healthcare workers from other provinces has drawn the ire of one province that is now promising to return the favour. This week, Saskatchewan’s newly created healthcare recruitment agency started a trip with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to five Canadian provinces. The recruiters plan to meet with healthcare workers, students and post-secondary institutions in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour says the increase in minimum wage is too little, too late. The minimum wage is set to increase to $15 per hour on Sunday, October 1. The federation says the move is nearly five years after labour organizations first launched a campaign calling for the increase, and given the cost of living, it is no longer enough. Federation of Labour President Jessica McCormick says many working families making minimum wage will still be below the poverty line as the cost of housing, groceries and transportation skyrockets.
Premier François Legault is warning municipalities: the Quebec government has no room to maneuver at the moment. Legault was delivering a speech on Friday morning at the annual convention of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) in Quebec City. He appeared before the 2,000 or so participants empty-handed, saying that municipalities should not expect an increase in their funding.
Putting an end to the mystery, Premier ministre François Legault said Thursday he intends to run in the October 2026 general election. “Honestly, if you ask me the question, I am running in 2026,” Legault said in an interview with Radio-Canada’s Patrice Roy. “It’s the truth. I’m in shape. I like this, and I find we are going in the right direction. “So I will run.” Legault, who this year is marking his 25th in politics, has always kept an escape hatch when asked whether he will attempt to win a third term in office with his Coalition Avenir Québec party.
Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec has dropped seven points in popularity since last October’s general election and is staring at a possible defeat in a highly scrutinized byelection next Monday, a Léger poll conducted for Québecor suggests.
A Quebec man who was shot by police Wednesday as they investigated threats against Premier François Legault and Prime Minster Justin Trudeau is facing a weapons charge. The provincial prosecution service said Thursday that Germain Lemay made a court appearance to face a charge of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating the shooting, which left the suspect in hospital in stable condition.
Leaders from four First Nations in northern Ontario returned to Queen’s Park on Tuesday to push back against mining activity on their lands, and are calling out Premier Doug Ford for offering up Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford to meet with them in his place. Members of the First Nations Land Defence Alliance, formed earlier this year in response to a rise in mining claims staked on their traditional territories, held a news conference Tuesday morning.
The Ontario government has extended its employment contract with Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, Premier Doug Ford’s office confirmed on Thursday. The confirmation comes one day after Verster refused to provide an opening date for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, telling reporters that technical problems in the testing and commissioning phase have led to further delays.
Demand for electricity across Canada is forecast to double in the next 25 years, and all the signs from Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government indicate that nuclear energy will supply the biggest portion of the province’s additional power needs. Key factors driving that demand include the auto sector’s looming transition to electric vehicles and the push for industries to reduce their carbon emissions.
A former top adviser to Premier Doug Ford, who joined a trip to Las Vegas that is now under scrutiny, left his government post in 2022 but has since kept working for the Progressive Conservative caucus on a $237,000 contract that only ended this month. Amin Massoudi, a long-time aide to the Premier, served as Mr. Ford’s principal secretary from June 2019, to late August 2022. He has been named in an Integrity Commissioner report for his role in a 2020 vacation in Las Vegas that has since prompted the resignations of cabinet minister Kaleed Rasheed and another senior aide to the Premier, Jae Truesdell.
Manitoba (a general election will occur on Tuesday, October 3rd. CHG will have a special bulletin outlining the results)
The Manitoba New Democrats say they can afford the new spending they’ve promised during the election campaign thanks to existing contingencies in the provincial budget. The NDP released a costed platform Thursday that outlines between $520 million to $608 million in new spending for each of the next four years if the party is elected on Oct. 3. That new spending will mainly be paid for by redirecting funding the Progressive Conservative government had budgeted but never spent, according to the NDP.
Manitoba Progressive Conservatives are promising to call together other provincial justice ministers to push Ottawa for reforms in the criminal justice system if the party wins a third consecutive term next week. PC candidates Kelvin Goertzen (Steinbach) and Rejeanne Caron (Fort Rouge) made the announcement Friday in Winnipeg. Goertzen says the meeting with other ministers would include recommending sentencing changes to the federal Criminal Code for violent and repeat offenders, including youth.
More than 150,000 Manitobans have already cast their ballots in the 2023 provincial election at the end of the sixth day of advance voting — topping the total number of advance votes in the province’s 2019 election, according to Elections Manitoba. “Advanced voting is going strong and steady,” chief electoral officer Shipra Verma said Thursday. “Overall, advanced voting in Manitoba has significantly increased in comparison to the previous two general elections in 2016 and 2019.” As of Thursday night, 151,700 people had voted in advance polls, which opened last Saturday.
A Regina judge has ruled that the Saskatchewan government’s naming and pronoun policy should be paused for the time being, but Premier Scott Moe says he’ll use the notwithstanding clause to override it. Moe, responding to today’s injunction issued by a Regina Court of King’s Bench Justice Michael Megaw, said he intends to recall the legislature Oct. 10 to “pass legislation to protect parents’ rights.”
The City of Regina has removed the fencing and “no trespassing” signs that blocked off the green space in front of city hall for the past two months, but says it will actively make sure no more encampments are established in the space. City manager Niki Anderson confirmed the decision during a news conference on Thursday. “The operational plan really is that we will enforce the bylaws. So what we’re saying is we expect voluntary compliance, and then really the operational plan would be to make sure that people are aware of the bylaw and that they’re complying,” she said.
Saskatchewan’s most prominent First Nations leader should have been disqualified from running in the last election, say fellow chiefs, a rival candidate and others. CBC News has obtained documents outlining Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron’s criminal record, which includes a 1993 conviction for break and enter and theft. The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. FSIN election rules prohibit candidates with a conviction of fraud or theft from running for office. In a series of interviews, these critics say it’s now clear Cameron should not have been on the ballot in the 2021 election, which he won.
In response to the Canadian government’s proposed electricity regulations, Alberta has launched a national advertising campaign to inform Canadians that they will impact them negatively. The province said the proposed regulations would increase power bills for Albertans and Canadians overall, drive investment out of the province, and put grid reliability at risk.
Premier ministre de l'Alberta Danielle Smith is defending one of her cabinet ministers over possible conflict of interest concerns. Provincial records show that the husband of Environment and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz may be lobbying the government in areas that could overlap with her ministry’s work. Cole Schulz is a partner in the firm Garrison Strategies, which has been hired by the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. Alberta’s lobbyist registry records show the firm is trying to influence the government on how reclamation certificates for oil and gas sites are issued.
Delegates at the Alberta Municipalities annual convention in Edmonton on Thursday pledged to persuade the provincial government to set aside money for the province’s fastest-growing communities. A resolution moved by the City of Airdrie and seconded by the City of Leduc said according to provincial statistics, 61 Alberta municipalities grew by more than 10 percent between 2016 and 2022. More than 300,000 people settled in Alberta during that time, largely in cities. “We’re bursting at the seams and it puts pressure on everything from policing to recreation to infrastructure,” said Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown.
British Columbia Premier David Eby says while he had hoped to get more support from Ottawa in his push to solve the province’s housing crisis, two days of meetings with federal policymakers on a wide range of issues was an overall success. Eby was in Ottawa on Monday and Tuesday along with Housing Minister Ravi Khalon, Economic Development Minister Brenda Bailey, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, Attorney General Niki Sharma, Tourism Minister Lana Popham and Nathan Cullen, the minister of water, land and resource stewardship.
Premier David Eby says federal ministers have assured him British Columbia will get the information it needs to ensure the safety of its residents after a Sikh leader was killed in June. His statement came on the same day that gurdwara councils in B.C. and Ontario called for the immediate suspension of all security and intelligence agreements with India and repeated their calls for a public inquiry into the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C.
Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon outlined on Friday legislation planned by the B.C. government to try to address the housing crisis in the province. Kahlon spoke at a media briefing in conjunction with the opening of a 58-unit affordable housing development for families and seniors in Victoria, first announced in June 2021. He was joined by the MLA for the area, Rob Fleming, who is also B.C.’s transportation minister. Key pieces of legislation set to become law sometime this fall include additional tools for municipalities to enforce compliance with short-term rental rules, financial support for property owners who want to build secondary suites, more multi-unit housing for middle-income earners, and new laws that will allow secondary suites on properties across the province currently zoned for single-family homes.
Some B.C. business owners who sell their products to India say they are worried about the future of their livelihoods as diplomatic relations break down between Canada and the Indian government. Sunny Brar, a farmer in Langley, B.C., said he is trying to determine a way forward with his 40-acre blueberry farm. “It’s very scary,” said Brar. Local sales were slumping so for the first time earlier this year, Brar says he successfully sold about 10 percent of his fresh blueberry yield to India. It’s an avenue he’d like to continue pursuing.
Territoires du Nord-Ouest
N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane has announced she will not be running for re-election this fall. “It’s been a privilege to work in this building over the last eight years — an honour that I do not take lightly,” she said while making the announcement in the Legislative Assembly Thursday, describing her two terms as one of the greatest honours of her life. “I want to thank all my colleagues for being steadfast through some of the most challenging days any of us will ever experience.” Cochrane was first elected as MLA of Range Lake in 2015, and previously served as minister of education, housing, public works, addressing homelessness and status of women
Ron Barlas, the embattled suspended CEO of Denesoline Corporation, is denying new accusations that he fabricated board meeting minutes, arguing he instead “recreated” them nearly a year and a half later because the hard copy of the minutes had gone missing. In an amendment to its lawsuit against him, Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation alleges that Barlas fabricated minutes for a board meeting held on Oct. 5, 2018. It’s the latest in a series of allegations, including him diverting between $10 million and $14 million from the First Nation’s companies.
Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai says he wasn’t alerted to any potential diplomatic tensions between Canada and India before he arrived in New Delhi on a territorial trade mission earlier this week. Pillai was in India on Monday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out in the House of Commons accusing the Indian government of involvement in the murder of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. As news of the allegations broke, Yukon Opposition Leader Currie Dixon drew attention to the apparent breakdown in communication between the territory and the federal government.
The Victoria Gold Corp. has been fined $95,000 after pleading guilty to violating some of its license conditions at the Eagle gold mine near Mayo, Yukon. The company was charged by the territorial government in June. The company was accused of failing to maintain minimum water storage requirements at the mine site. The government alleged Victoria Gold stored more water in its heap leach facility than its license allows. It also said Victoria Gold failed to report the amount of water it transferred every month.
Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok has announced portfolios for new cabinet ministers Daniel Qavvik and Joelie Kaernerk. Kaernerk becomes the minister of Culture Heritage, and Languages, and is responsible for the Qulliq Energy Corporation, while Qavvik is now the minister of Environment, and responsible for both energy and the Nunavut Arctic College. The two were elected to the territory’s executive council by their fellow MLAs on Saturday during the latest Nunavut Leadership Forum. It was called after Joanna Quassa and Craig Simailak resigned from the executive council, both due to personal reasons.