Provincial Legislative Update – July 14, 2023

An overview of the Provincial and Territories Legislative Updates for the week of July 10 - 14, 2023.

New Brunswick

  • A Christian conservative group rallying support for New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs now have enough signatures to be a decisive factor in any leadership review vote. It and another organization rallying support for the embattled Progressive Conservative leader have flexed their muscles in the last month, gathering enough names to swing the vote in his favour.
  • Two of the 13 recommendations made in a report to ensure better protection of seniors in long-term care homes have been fully implemented since that report was released in January 2022.  The report, “He Deserved Better: One man’s final days in long-term care,” was released by former Seniors’ Advocate Norm Bossé following the death of 91-year-old Peter DeMerchant. 
  • Payday mayday for some N.B. credit union clients as paycheques not appearing in accounts. UNI Financial Cooperation customers face issues with the credit union for the fourth straight day.
  • Premier Blaine Higgs has threatened to take the federal government to court if it doesn’t agree to cover 100% of the cost of the Chignecto Isthmus protection project. The premier made the statement in a letter to federal infrastructure minister Dominic LeBlanc on July 4. However, in the same letter, the premier also reserves the right to agree to a hypothetical two-thirds federal funding formula.

Nova Scotia

  • As the application deadline nears for federal disaster mitigation funding to protect the land that connects Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, Premier Tim Houston says he and Premier Blaine Higgs will meet with federal Infrastructure Minister Dominic LeBlanc to have an “adult discussion” about it. The meeting is set to take place on Monday, two days before the July 19 application is due.
  • The Nova Scotia government should not have dismissed the judge leading the Lionel Desmond inquiry, a close relative of the former soldier at the centre of the high-profile probe said Thursday. Desmond’s sister Chantel said she and other family members wanted provincial court Judge Warren Zimmer to finish his work, which started more than five years ago. Zimmer was appointed in July 2018 to lead a fatality inquiry that investigated why Lionel Desmond, an Afghanistan war veteran, killed three family members and himself in their rural Nova Scotia home in 2017.
  • Council of the Federation Meeting Concludes, Premier Houston Becomes Chair. “I am looking forward to advancing the issues that matter most to Nova Scotians over the next year,” said Premier Houston. “I also look forward to welcoming my fellow premiers to the province for a health summit and next year as we work together to create opportunities for all Canadians.”
  • Lake Pisiquid near Windsor, N.S., which was refilled with water following a provincial emergency order last month, won’t be drained again anytime soon, according to Premier Tim Houston. “The lake will remain full because that’s in the interest of public safety and that’s just the way it is,” Houston told reporters following a cabinet meeting in Halifax on Thursday. The man-made Lake Pisiquid drained following an order by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2021 requiring the gates of an aboiteau  — a type of water channel — at the end of the lake to remain open for 10 minutes each day at the changing of the tides to allow fish to pass through.

Prince Edward Island

  • Some of the doctors who resigned or retired from the Health P.E.I. system over the past year and a half said the workloads they faced were unreasonable. Others pointed to what they saw as an overly bureaucratic health-care system with too much government involvement. Those feelings are captured in documents made available to CBC News through an access to information request that asked for government reports and emails related to doctor resignations going back to the start of 2022.
  • Four months after the Progressive Conservative government’s election promise to make virtual health care free for all Prince Edward Islanders, it’s still not clear when it will actually happen, or how it will work. A government spokesperson directed CBC News to Health P.E.I. for details on the plan, calling it “the entity that will lead implementation.” The agency’s CEO, Dr. Michael Gardam, says it will likely take a couple of years of planning and doctor recruitment to make it feasible.
  • P.E.I. Housing Minister Rob Lantz gave a bit of a preview of the province’s coming housing policy, expected some time this summer, during a housing announcement in Charlottetown Wednesday. “The province is in the process of developing a long-term housing strategy with focus on expanding each component of the housing continuum, from emergency shelters right to market housing,” said Lantz.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • After 17 years of planning, Corner Brook’s new hospital is set to open next spring — but some people are concerned about what will actually be offered inside the new acute-care building. Construction started in August 2019 on the $723-million build. The seven-storey structure is in its final stages of construction, with crews painting lines on the parking lot as of this week. The hospital, with the attached 145-bed long-term care building, can be seen from vantage points all over the hilly city on Newfoundland’s west coast.
  • The provincial government released its final report Tuesday on Newfoundland and Labrador’s five-year mental health action plan, Towards Recovery, outlining both what the province considers its successes and areas that still need improvement.  While Health Minister Tom Osborne acknowledges that work remains, specifically with regard to long-term mental health care, he suggested the province has made strides.
  • At least one of the generating units at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam must be fully dismantled to undergo repairs — a “significant undertaking” for which the cost and timeline are unknown, according to a report submitted to the Public Utilities Board in June. The latest independent monitoring report from Liberty Consulting says repeated “vibration issues” affecting Unit 2 have been reported since 2021, and that annual maintenance earlier this year showed parts of the unit were damaged “due to suspected hydrogen embrittlement,” which can lead to cracks in metal under stress.
  • Newfoundlander Judy White says she had a surreal experience answering the phone to find out she’d been appointed to the Canadian Senate. “When you are sitting home on a Friday — dreary, rainy — evening in Newfoundland and you pick up the phone and the prime minister is on the other end, it’s pretty overwhelming,” she said. White, a Mi’kmaw woman born and raised in Flat Bay in western Newfoundland, is a King’s counsel lawyer with a background in human rights issues and Indigenous governance. White said the expectation of her role in the Senate is to contribute in an independent and non-partisan fashion. 


  • The federal government has authorized the deployment of Rangers from the Canadian Armed Forces to help with forest fire evacuations in Northern Quebec. Federal Minister for Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair made the announcement on Friday morning. He said was responding to a request for federal assistance. On Friday morning, Quebec’s forest fire protection agency (SOPFEU) counted 93 active fires in the northern zone, five more than 24 hours earlier.
  • After a severe thunderstorm, Quebecers are still recovering from floods, power outages and fallen trees. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said the storm front that hit the Montreal area on Thursday afternoon caused two tornadoes to touch down — one in Ottawa and one in Mirabel, Que. — as torrential rains fell and strong winds blew. Though the tornado in Ottawa damaged 125 homes, Mirabel was left without damage. The heavy winds as fast as 98 kilometres broke trees and damaged Hydro-Québec equipment. 
  • Three Cree communities in northern Quebec have begun moving some residents out because of smoke and wildfires in the area. Evacuation notices were issued for vulnerable people in the Cree nations of Nemaska, Eastmain and Wemindji, as smoke from nearby wildfires engulfed the Eeyou Istchee traditional lands and fires blocked some of the only roads in and out of town. Manon Cyr, the president of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government, said evacuees are being flown to L’Ancienne-Lorette, a suburb of Quebec City, where they are being put up in a hotel with the help of the Red Cross.
  • Montreal police raided a store selling illegal hallucinogenic mushrooms on the same day that it opened Tuesday. Montreal police spokesperson Const. Jeanne Drouin said four people were arrested. They will be questioned by investigators and could face criminal charges, she said. “The investigation is ongoing and accusations might follow,” she said. The shop, FunGuyz, advertises itself as a “medical dispensary” that sells magic mushrooms, a type of fungus that is considered a hallucinogen.


  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province’s Auditor-General is overstepping her authority by demanding interviews and documents from two prominent developers who are benefitting from the government’s decision to carve land out of the protected Greenbelt. Developers Silvio De Gasperis and Michael Rice have recently filed court applications to quash separate summonses issued by Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk, who is undertaking a “value-for-money” audit of the “financial and environmental impact” of the government’s Greenbelt decision.
  • Premier Doug Ford said he will consult with the Ministry of Environment after cancer-causing chemicals were detected in Hamilton, Ont. air. “I’m gonna have to look more into that,” Ford said when asked by reporters about the detection Tuesday. “I’ll speak to the Minister of Environment [David Piccini].” For about two years, the City of Hamilton – with the help of Health Canada’s funding – has been monitoring the air quality through more than 60 air monitors attached to street poles across the city. The research found concentrations of benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogenic chemical that exceeded the province’s air quality guidelines.
  • Premier Doug Ford says a controversial push to mine a mineral-rich area of northern Ontario is being carefully watched around the world. The Ford government is facing a legal challenge from some local First Nations communities who say they have not been properly consulted on plans to develop the Ring of Fire.
  • Premier Doug Ford is not impressed with comments made by new Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow — but says he expects she’ll work “collaboratively” with the province. “The comments are disappointing — you know, already her first comments are about going to court,” he said Wednesday. Chow has said the city will sue the province if it expropriates land for its Ontario Place plans, while also calling the province and federal governments “reluctant partners” when it comes to funding for Toronto.


  • Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller criticized Manitoba Wednesday over what he called the provincial government’s “heartless” decision not to search a landfill north of Winnipeg for the remains of two First Nations women believed to be the victims of a serial killer. Premier Heather Stefanson said last week Manitoba won’t provide support to search the Prairie Green landfill in the rural municipality of Rosser for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran. Police believe their remains are located below the surface of the privately run landfill just north of Winnipeg.
  • It’s turning into a war of words between Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller. After Miller called the provincial government’s decision to not search a Manitoba landfill for human remains “heartless” on Wednesday, Stefanson fired back in a statement Thursday. “When judgment and sensitivity are required, he has chosen to inflame and distort,” Stefanson said. “What should not happen – must not happen – is the continuing politicization of this awful tragedy.” In the statement, she once again explains the reasoning for the province’s decision, including the impact on safety and workplace risks.
  • A Manitoba judge urged the two sides in a landfill blockade to try to reach a compromise Thursday, as the federal government renewed its criticism of Premier Heather Stefanson for not supporting a search for the remains of Indigenous women. Winnipeg City Hall is asking for a court injunction to remove a blockade that was set up at the city-run Brady Road landfill last week after Stefanson said the province would not support a search of the privately owned Prairie Green Landfill, which is north of the city.


  • Regina Coronation Park, Regina Walsh Acres and Lumsden-Morse will have byelections to fill their vacant seats on Aug. 10. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called the byelections for all three constituencies Thursday morning, noting voting week will run from Aug. 3 to 10. Polls will be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 10. “Voters in these three constituencies will have a chance to decide which candidate will ensure Saskatchewan’s strong growth continues and that it’s growth that works for everyone,” Moe said.
  • Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe discussed Canada’s need, in his view, to develop infrastructure across all provinces on Wednesday during the Canada’s Premiers meeting in Winnipeg. Moe said he’s calling for a first minister’s meeting to address the importance of transportation networks to continue delivering exports to the global market.
  • Thursday, Sask. NDP Leader Carla Beck criticized Premier Scott Moe and his government for settling a lawsuit for $11.6 million with one of their largest cooperate donors, and then proceeding to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Beck said taxpayers are being kept in the dark about the ‘sweetheart deal’ and are forced to pay almost $12 million to make up for a Sask. Party mistake.


  • Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said her province has begun talks with British Columbia as part of a push to greatly expand the reach of Canadian natural gas to more foreign markets. Speaking on the final day of the international LNG 2023 conference in Vancouver, Smith said delegates told her that many countries in Asia cannot meet emission reduction goals without natural gas, and the goal should be for Canada to fill — and benefit from — that gap.
  • The Alberta government has awarded a $1.5-million contract to a marketing agency where Premier Danielle Smith’s former leadership campaign manager is part-owner and executive producer, government records show. The contract was awarded to the Edmonton-based Nordic Media. The company beat out five other public relations firms, according to a government spokesperson. Nordic Media’s executive producer is Matthew Altheim, campaign manager for Smith when she sought the leadership of the United Conservative Party. He is also described as part-owner of Nordic Media on its website.
  • Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says improving health care is not just a matter of money and transfers from Ottawa to the provinces. At the annual premiers’ conference in Winnipeg, Smith says the federal government could help by streamlining the recruitment of workers from abroad. She also says Ottawa could help ensure that healthcare workers can move seamlessly between provinces.

British Columbia

  • Premier David Eby welcomes a tentative deal between longshore workers in British Columbia and their employers. About 7,400 longshore workers had been striking since July 1, impacting operations at B.C. ports, including the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert, Canada’s largest and third-largest. The B.C. Maritime Employers Association Thursday morning announced that it had reached a deal with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada.
  • During the premiers’ annual conference in Winnipeg Tuesday, B.C. Premier David Eby says the province and Canada are facing the worst wildfire season in 100 years. Eby says B.C. is already seeing drought levels that usually don’t creep in until the end of the summer, a claim supported by Minister of Emergency Management Bowinn Ma’s Monday statement — in which she explained that 17 of the province’s water basins were already at a level four out of five or higher on the drought level classification.
  • British Columbia’s Premier is firing back at the Bank of Canada after its tenth-rate hike since March 2022. During a joint press conference with fellow premiers, David Eby voiced his concerns with Wednesday’s interest rate hike to five percent, a move intended to slow inflation. The premier questioned whether the Bank of Canada is considering the impacts of rate hikes before making them. “We have not seen the full impact yet. People have not renewed their mortgages yet, and the businesses that are struggling under debt have not started going under yet – but they will,” said Eby.
  • The B.C. government has reversed direction and will now stop most advertising on Facebook and Instagram. The move follows actions last week by the federal and Quebec governments to suspend advertising with Meta — the Silicon Valley technology conglomerate that also owns Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp — after the company followed through on a threat to block Canadian news from its services.

Northwest Territories

  • Federal program cuts coverage of nutritional drink for Tuktoyaktuk cancer survivor. Patrick Kuptana losing weight after coverage for his nutritional beverages was denied. CBC asked Indigenous Services Canada for an explanation of why the coverage has been cancelled again. In an email attributed to spokesperson Carolane Gratton, the department said it couldn’t comment on specific cases due to privacy reasons.


  • Yukon’s Supreme Court says lawyers in the territory have to inform the court when they use artificial intelligence to produce court documents or conduct legal research. The court issued those instructions last month, citing “legitimate concerns about the reliability and accuracy of information generated from the use of artificial intelligence” and specifically referring to Chatbot, or ChatGPT. 


  • Canada’s premiers say they are “strongly united” on the need for strategic infrastructure planning with the federal government and say housing should be included in those discussions. “Housing is our number-one priority,” said Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok in an interview with Nunatsiaq News. “It has been discussed for many decades. There are 3,000 individuals [in Nunavut] without housing.” For Canada to be a strong Arctic nation, he said, “you need strong communities” and that starts with good quality, sufficient housing.

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