National Newswatch

Ontario municipalities call for sales-tax hike to fund local projects

Aug 15 2017 — Bill Curry — Ontario municipal leaders are calling for a 1-per-cent hike in the HST that would raise $2.5-billion a year for local infrastructure. After several months of internal debate, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario officially launched a campaign Monday in favour of the idea at a convention in Ottawa. The proposal would see Ontario raise its […]

Most Canadians oppose Tory MPs criticizing Khadr payout in U.S. media: survey

Aug 3 2017 — Bill Curry — Most Canadians oppose the decision of some Conservative MPs to appear in the U.S. media criticizing the federal Liberals’ $10.5-million payout to Omar Khadr, according to a new Nanos survey. Conservative MPs have been expressing outrage over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to approve the multimillion-dollar payment, which settled Mr. Khadr’s $20-million civil lawsuit against […]

Weak support for supply management in NAFTA talks: poll

Aug 2 2017 — Bill Curry — A new survey shows most Canadians would accept a weakening of protections for domestic dairy, egg and poultry producers as part of a renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. U.S. President Donald Trump has called Canada’s restrictions on dairy imports a “disgrace,” raising expectations that Canada’s policy of supply management will be under pressure […]

Ottawa insists infrastructure bank will avoid Australia’s pitfalls

Jul 6 2017 — Bill Curry — After spending four days in Sydney, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi says he’s convinced Canada can attract private infrastructure investors while avoiding some of the fallout that similar efforts have faced in Australia. But as Canada follows its Commonwealth ally’s lead, Australia is showing signs of softening its full-throated embrace of privatized infrastructure.

Transport Canada reviewing studies on multibillion-dollar Via Rail expansion

Jul 3 2017 — Bill Curry — Transport Canada is reviewing the results of five private studies as the federal government weighs whether to support Via Rail Canada Inc.’s multibillion-dollar expansion plans. The federal Crown corporation presented a business case for what it calls high-frequency rail to Transport Minister Marc Garneau in December that outlines a $4-billion plan to secure exclusive right-of-way […]

PBO Fréchette faces ‘huge challenge’ of estimating cost of election promises

Jun 28 2017 — Bill Curry — Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette will reach out to political parties and deputy ministers this fall as he prepares for a major new assignment that he didn’t want: costing political promises during the 2019 election campaign. The federal government is moving ahead with the controversial plan to involve the PBO in reviewing campaign promises of […]

Cannabis ‘backup plan’ in the works if provinces unable to regulate by deadline, Morneau says

Jun 19 2017 — Bill Curry — The federal government is preparing a backup plan that would see it regulate the distribution and taxation of legal marijuana in provinces that are not ready in time for Ottawa’s July, 2018, deadline. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau outlined the plan Monday following a two-day meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts. Some provinces are […]

No plans to amend Canada Infrastructure Bank legislation: Liberals

May 30 2017 — Bill Curry — Liberal MPs will not be proposing amendments to the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act even as they move to rewrite other parts of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget bill. After two weeks of hearings, members of the House of Commons finance committee began their line-by-line review of Bill C-44 on Monday, including debates over amendments. The […]

Senators discuss removal of infrastructure bank from omnibus budget bill

May 16 2017 — Bill Curry — Senators are privately discussing whether they should split the Liberal government’s omnibus budget bill to spend more time studying the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank. Independent Senator André Pratte has circulated an e-mail to all senators asking them to consider removing the section creating the bank from the budget bill so that it “can be studied […]

Cabinet to have final word on infrastructure bank projects: Morneau

May 16 2017 — Bill Curry — Finance Minister Bill Morneau says cabinet will have the final say on any projects approved by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, a proposed $35-billion entity that the Liberal government describes as an arm’s length Crown corporation. The minister’s comments touch on one of the key points of tension surrounding the bank: Private investors – including Canadian […]