National Newswatch

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

Mar 19 2019 — Andy Blatchford — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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, […]

Rising global debt holding back growth, opening up vulnerabilities: central bank

Mar 14 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada's senior deputy governor says an explosion of global debt over the last decade is a top concern that she argues is holding back economic growth and creating vulnerabilities in the world's financial system. The global financial system is in better shape than it was in 2007 before the financial crisis, but unknowns such as ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions […]

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

Mar 14 2019 — Andy Blatchford — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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, […]

Job market’s strength provides ‘relief’ in disappointing data stretch

Mar 8 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — The labour market generated a second straight month of strong job gains in February with the creation of 55,900 net new positions, all of which were full time, Statistics Canada said Friday. The surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January. The back-to-back results gave Canada its strongest two-month stretch of job creation since the spring of 2012 — and its […]

Central bank ‘surprised’ by weak data before longer slump call, rate-hike doubts

Mar 7 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — A weak data report "surprised" the Bank of Canada ahead of its decision to cast doubts about future interest-rate hikes and to warn Canadians the ongoing slump could prove to be unexpectedly stubborn, says one of the bank's top officials. Deputy governor Lynn Patterson said in a speech Thursday that the central bank had been expecting a growth slowdown in the energy sector over the final three months […]

Central bank predicts longer slump and more uncertainty about future rate hikes

Mar 6 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is leaving its key interest rate unchanged in the wake of an abrupt economic deceleration that it says is injecting more uncertainty about the timing of future rate hikes. The central bank also told Canadians on Wednesday that they should to expect a bleaker economic performance in the months ahead. The bank now […]

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

Mar 5 2019 — Andy Blatchford — 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 — 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 […]