National Newswatch

Deficits in big-spending pre-election budget tee up ballot-box choice

Mar 19 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The final budget of the Trudeau government's mandate will scatter billions in fresh spending — on everything from pharmacare to retraining workers to first-time home buyers — as the Liberals commit to an electoral fight that pits their deficit-spending vision versus the Conservatives' balanced-books approach. Finance Minister Bill Morneau's budget Tuesday resembled Liberal […]

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Mar 18 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government's final budget of its mandate Tuesday, just seven months before the next federal election. Here are some things to watch for: A boost to skills training The government says it wants to help workers adapt to the rapidly changing needs of the modern workforce. The budget is expected to announce […]

Liberal budget to applaud Canada’s economy, but who deserves credit?

Mar 18 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — When the Liberals release the last budget of their mandate Tuesday, Canadians can expect to hear arguments that years of deficit spending have put the economy on stronger footing. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has promised the budget will contain help for workers in need of skills training, young people looking to buy their first homes, seniors worried about their own finances, and patients with […]

Budget’s housing affordability changes to focus on supply, demand, regulation

Mar 17 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government will take steps in Tuesday's federal budget to make home-buying more affordable with changes affecting supply, demand and regulation, The Canadian Press has learned. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has promised the budget will focus on ways to help improve housing affordability for Canadians, and particularly for millennials, who are now in their mid-20s to late-30s. The changes, along with expected measures on adult skills training, pharmacare […]

Media industry anxious for news in budget on federal plan to support journalism

Mar 15 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is due to deliver an update to its plan to support journalism in next week's budget but Ottawa's recent silence on the file has stoked concerns in the media industry that a lifeline is taking too long to arrive. Last fall, the federal Liberals announced new tax credits and incentives, worth $595 million over the next five years, […]

Federal budget expected to have more wiggle room, even with weaker outlook

Mar 14 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The improved economy is expected to give the Trudeau government more fiscal room than anticipated in next week's pre-election budget — but a wobbly economic finish to 2018 means conditions could look much different as the October vote approaches. An abrupt deceleration in economic growth over the final three months of 2018 has dimmed the outlook for this year. Last […]

Chinese evidence behind canola impasse? ‘So far we’ve heard nothing,’ Carr says

Mar 13 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — Canada still hasn't seen the evidence China used to block canola shipments from one of Canada's largest grain producers, International Trade Minister Jim Carr said Wednesday in an interview. A Chinese government spokesman has said Beijing's move this month to suspend canola imports from Richardson International Ltd. came after "hazardous organisms" were detected in the company's product. Carr said Canada is […]

Drive to ratify new North American trade deal gets lift from U.S. TV exposure

Mar 11 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The push for the speedy passage of the new NAFTA is getting a boost from a big advertising campaign in the United States. An alliance of U.S. companies, trade associations and lobbyists launched a series of TV commercials and digital ads Monday that it hopes will inspire more Americans to push their congressional representatives to ratify the continental […]

Federal program for women entrepreneurs urged to do more to help firms scale up

Mar 8 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government marked International Women's Day on Friday by touting its collection of measures designed to support — and boost the number of — female entrepreneurs. But a year after the Liberals unveiled about $2 billion worth of commitments under its women's entrepreneurship strategy, some business leaders say the effort needs work if it's going to benefit female-led companies on the rise. On Friday, […]

SNC-Lavalin CEO urged cabinet to change policies ‘expeditiously’ in 2017 letter

Mar 5 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The head of SNC-Lavalin told the Canadian government it had to change its anti-corruption rules "as expeditiously as possible" in a 2017 letter to the minister in charge of procurement, just as her department was helping oversee public consultations on lighter punishments for corporate misconduct. SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce wrote to Public Services Minister Carla […]

Canadian government green-lights formal extradition process for Meng Wanzhou

Mar 1 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The federal Justice Department gave the go-ahead Friday for an extradition case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, marking the formal start of the high-profile process that has put Canada in a deeply uncomfortable position between two superpowers. Canada's relationship with China — its second-biggest trading partner — has deteriorated since Meng's December arrest in Vancouver.  The arrest of the Chinese […]

Feds have ‘significant concern’ about impact of economic shocks on indebted

Feb 22 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — In the lead up to his pre-election budget, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been alerted by his department that Canadians' heavy debts have made abrupt shocks to incomes, house prices or interest rates a "significant concern," according to internal documents. On March 19, Morneau will release the Liberal government's final budget before the October federal election. He's underlined several […]

SNC-Lavalin lawyers rushed to prosecutors before MPs knew of proposed law change

Feb 20 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — Representatives for SNC-Lavalin hustled to connect with federal prosecutors after the Liberal government quietly introduced a proposal last year to allow corporations to strike settlement deals and avoid criminal prosecution, court documents show. The company's lawyers acted so quickly to position their client for a so-called remediation agreement that they contacted prosecutors weeks before lawmakers, even Liberals, were even aware the Trudeau government had tucked the […]

Federal Liberal government to introduce pre-election budget on March 19

Feb 20 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau will introduce the Liberal government's pre-election budget on March 19 in a document expected to touch the issues of prescription drug costs, skills training for workers and helping more millennials get into the housing market. The budget will be the Trudeau government's fourth since the Liberals won the 2015 election — and its final one before […]

DPAs: Meet the legal tool central to the Prime Minister’s Office controversy

Feb 19 2019 — Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — Engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin sought to be the first firm to avoid criminal proceedings by negotiating a "remediation agreement" — using a new legal tool that either spares innocents from being punished for the corporate misdeeds of others or lets the biggest companies off the hook when they've acted illegally, depending whom you […]