National Newswatch

Liberals drop capital-gains tax proposal amid family farm concerns

Oct 19 2017 — Bill Curry — The Liberal government is dropping one of the three key elements of its controversial small-business tax proposals in response to farmers’ concerns that it would harm the ability to pass on the family farm to the next generation. Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay made the announcement at a farm in the […]

Morneau hires former Christy Clark aide Ben Chin as a senior adviser

Oct 6 2017 — Bill Curry — Ben Chin, a former senior political aide with Liberal governments in B.C. and Ontario, is joining Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office as a senior adviser. Mr. Chin will report directly to Mr. Morneau’s chief of staff, Richard Maksymetz. The position is expected to include providing the Minister with strategic advice on how to manage hot […]

Tories launch ad campaign against tax changes

Sep 18 2017 — Bill Curry — The Conservative Party is launching a national advertising campaign this week to oppose the Liberals’ small-business tax plans, an issue that is set to dominate the agenda as Parliament returns Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, will face opposition questions for the first time since the government announced the controversial […]

CPP changes will disqualify 243,000 from Guaranteed Income Supplement: report

Aug 23 2017 — Bill Curry — The federal government’s plans to enhance the Canada Pension Plan will ultimately bump 243,000 low-income Canadians from qualifying for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, according to the latest report from Canada’s chief actuary. The finding highlights one of the concerns that was raised at the time of the CPP reform debate, namely that forcing low-income Canadians […]

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 […]