National Newswatch

Trudeau credits Liberal economic agenda for upset win in Quebec byelection

Oct 24 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A triumphant Justin Trudeau contends the Liberals' stunning byelection victory in Quebec's nationalist heartland is a vote of confidence in his government's economic agenda. Implicit in the prime minister's assertion is that it's also a vote of confidence in the man who's presided over that economic agenda, embattled Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Opposition parties counter […]

Trudeau says it’s not up to federal government to challenge Quebec veil-ban law

Oct 20 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau offered relatively mild criticism on Thursday of a new Quebec law that bans people from providing or receiving public services with their faces covered and asserted that it's not up to the federal government to challenge its constitutionality. The prime minister's response to Bill 62, passed Wednesday by Quebec's Liberal government, is in stark […]

Morneau’s credibility on the line as Liberals hit reset button on tax reforms

Oct 17 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau hit the reset button on his government's controversial small-business tax reforms Monday but the awkward spectacle of the prime minister sidelining his finance minister, along with mushrooming questions about Bill Morneau's personal financial arrangements, suggests the political crisis roiling Liberal ranks isn't over just yet. Indeed, the controversy has morphed into a test of credibility […]

Ottawa to cut small business tax rate to 9%

Oct 15 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau will belatedly honour his campaign promise to cut the small business tax rate to nine per cent as his government scrambles to undo the damage from weeks of controversy over proposed tax reforms for private corporations. The prime minister is to announce the reduction Monday, along with some changes to the tax […]

Morneau to unveil changes to controversial small business tax proposals

Oct 13 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau will unveil changes Monday aimed at mollifying the many critics of his controversial small business tax reform proposals, hoping to tamp down a political wildfire that has scorched Justin Trudeau's Liberal government. The damage control effort will begin with a special briefing early Monday morning for Liberal backbenchers, some […]

PM proposes federal excise tax on legal pot, sharing revenue with provinces

Oct 4 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is proposing to levy a federal excise tax on recreational marijuana once it becomes legal next July, with the provinces and territories receiving half the revenue. Under a federal proposal put to premiers during a first ministers meeting Tuesday, each gram of pot would be subject to an excise tax of $1 […]

Canada’s chief negotiator says too soon to tell if new NAFTA by year end

Sep 25 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canada's chief negotiator says solid progress is being made in talks to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it's too soon to tell if a deal can be reached by the year-end deadline set by the United States. "The pace is very fast and the (negotiating) rounds are very closely squeezed together, […]

Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules

Sep 23 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Despite tough talk from the U.S. about the job-killing impact of NAFTA on its automotive sector, Canada's chief negotiator isn't expecting to see a detailed American proposal on the matter during the latest round of talks to rewrite the continental trade pact. Rules of origin will be "a subject for discussion, but we're not expecting to see […]

Year-end deadline for new NAFTA looking impossible, trade experts say

Sep 21 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — NAFTA negotiators appear to have adopted the lament of the White Rabbit: "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Battalions of negotiators for Canada, Mexico and the United States have been working at a breakneck pace trying to reach agreement on a revamped North American free trade pact by the end of the year […]

Trudeau, Scheer draw election battle lines over small biz tax proposal

Sep 18 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A jousting match erupted Monday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as the Liberal government's plan to end "unfair" tax advantages for some wealthy small business owners dominated the return of Parliament. As they exchanged blows, the two leaders gave what is likely a preview of the themes that will underlie their […]

Plaintiff in assisted dying court challenge finally gets medical help to die

Sep 18 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — One of two British Columbia women challenging the federal government's restrictive law on medically assisted dying has finally been able to end her suffering with the help of a doctor. But Robyn Moro's case will continue to be part of the constitutional challenge, held up as an example of the torment individuals can be forced to endure due […]

PM balances welcoming message to newcomers with emphasis on immigration rules

Sep 8 2017 — Joan Bryden — KELOWNA, B.C. — Justin Trudeau says there's nothing inconsistent about touting Canada as a welcoming country that embraces immigrants and refugees while simultaneously trying to head off another wave of irregular arrivals. Indeed, the prime minister insisted Thursday that emphasizing openness to newcomers while insisting that immigration rules be followed "are not two separate things." Canadians embrace newcomers precisely […]

PM defends small business tax changes as doctors complain of negative impact

Sep 7 2017 — Joan Bryden — KELOWNA, B.C. — Justin Trudeau got a small taste of the kind of grief his backbenchers have been getting over the government's plan to end what it calls unfair tax advantages for wealthy small business owners. During a townhall meeting Wednesday night, the prime minister was lectured by two female doctors about the negative impact they contended  the proposals will have […]

Small business tax backlash tops agenda for Liberal caucus retreat

Sep 5 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — As they prepare to return to the parliamentary hot seat in two weeks, it seems somehow appropriate that Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal colleagues are holing up in Kelowna, B.C. — amid smoke from nearby wildfires — to plot strategy. Liberal MPs are bracing for sparks to fly during the fall sitting of the House of […]

Morneau calls nervous Liberal MPs as backlash to small biz tax proposals grows

Aug 31 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Bill Morneau is scrambling to calm the fears of nervous Liberal backbenchers who've been inundated with complaints about the finance minister's plan to eliminate loopholes that give some wealthy small business owners an unfair tax advantage. The finance minister hosted an hour-long conference call Thursday with Liberal MPs, aimed at listening to their concerns, giving […]