Another Liberal Budget, another multi-billion dollar deficit
The Liberal government is borrowing another $20 billion to finance its latest budget, tabled this afternoon in the House of Commons.
Loaded with promises to entice voters this election year, it’s the fourth consecutive deficit spending plan Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has crafted since taking power in 2015.
The federal government wants to introduce an immigration program in order to let certain cities and areas bring in new immigrants by taking local labour demands into account.
In the electoral campaign the Trudeau government said that they would be introducing the system. The person Prime Minister Trudeau designated for the job is Marco Mendico, a new immigration minister.
The goal of the program is to put some of the decision making abilities in the hands of local communities based on their needs. Trudeau’s mandate letter noted that there will be more than 5,000 spaces created by implementing the new program.
According to CBC, Mendico said that the program helps “to draw on local experiences, expertise, capacities to understand where are the labour shortages, where are the economic opportunities and how that information can help us select individuals who wish to come to Canada to ply their trade, to fulfil their opportunity.”
The current ratio of workers to retirees in Canada is 4:1 according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). By 2035 that ratio is expected to drop to 2:1.
In the past ten years about three quarters of the population growth in Canada has been due to immigration. The IRCC projects that by 2031, this number will rise to 80 percent.
Similar programs have been put forward to bring newcomers into rural areas and Atlantic Canada to fill job positions.
Leah Nord, who works for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as director of workforce strategies and inclusive growth, noted that there are labour gaps throughout the country. She added that close to 500,000 job positions are not being filled.
Many immigrants end up in Canada’s major cities and this program is meant to bring and keep skilled workers in smaller communities.
Nord told CBC, “One of the greatest ways to ensure immigration integration is a success is to have a job, to have labour market integration,” she added. “And that comes from the employer, from the chambers, from the business point of view. Having them involved in the beginning and making them those liaisons is key to success.”
She explained that a lot of immigrants will be able to “hit the ground running” by having job opportunities when they arrive.
Chief economist of The Conference Board of Canada, Pedro Antunes, mentioned that with ageing populations, immigrants will play a critical role in the labour market in Canada.
Antunes said, “The economic migrants play a big, big role … in helping us grow our workforce at a time when, if not for immigration, we’d actually be seeing a decline in the number of workers in Canada.”
According to the Conference Board, by 2030, the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age will be over nine million.
Mendicino’s mandate letter also says “This continues our modest and responsible increases to immigration, with a focus on welcoming highly skilled people who can help build a stronger Canada.”
Mendico is planning to review outcomes based on data and will be working directly with Canada’s provinces and territories.
A Conservative motion to create a Canada-China relations committee to study the current relationship between the two states has passed, with the help of every party but the Liberals.
The Conservative call to action interestingly came on the one year anniversary of the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in torture-like conditions in China.
While the defeat at the combined hands of the NDP, some Greens, the Bloc, and Conservatives will not cause a defeat, as it is not a vote of confidence, it will likely send signals that there could be troubles when it comes to the negotiations needed to keep a minority government lasting.
With the vote passed, there will be a formation of a special House of Commons committee with a mandate to hold hearings on Canada-China relationship, “including, but not limited to consular, economic, legal, security and diplomatic relations.”
The committee will include 12 members, of which six will be liberal and six opposition.
The committee will have all the powers of a normal House committee.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he’s willing to help bridge the current divide between Western Canada and the federal government. However, he says that no job has been offered and that speculation over the possibility of his being appointed as a representative of Alberta in a federal cabinet is “silly.”
“No job has been offered, nor no job has been contemplated,” Nenshi told CTV’s Question Period in an interview aired Sunday. “Probably it’s wrong, but I am enjoying all this speculation because it’s so silly.”
Following the election, concern over Western representation in government has been steadily growing, as Conservative candidates, with the exception of one NDP candidate, swept both Alberta and Saskatchewan. This means that the Liberals lack a seat in parliament to represent either of the provinces and their interests.
Recently, Nenshi said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling #Wexit and separatist sentiment in Alberta “very real.”
“Of course the (Trans Mountain) pipeline has to get built, of course we need to re-examine Bill C-69 which my premier calls the No More Pipelines Bill, but is actually much more dangerous than that,” Nenshi said.
Neshi says that Bill C-69 will not only stifle the oil industry’s growth but will also make other infrastructure projects significantly more difficult in the province.
According to The Canadian Press, speculation over whether Nenshi will represent Western Canada was triggered by comments made by Trudeau following the election.
These comments came Thursday when Trudeau said he has no intention of forming a coalition government but does need to be more collaborative to bridge the regional gaps between Canadians.
Along with Nenshi, former Alberta premier Alison Redford has also been pegged as a possible Trudeau confidant and representative. In a CTV Question Period, she says that she would be happy to assist the Liberals in addressing Western representation at the federal level. However, like Nenshi, she has yet to be asked.
“I haven’t been asked. I am happy to help in any way,” she told CTV’s Question Period.
“This is something Canadians have been thinking about for a long time and I think the key is that there has to be a lot of voices at the table.”
On October 24, Alvin Tedjo, a hopeful candidate vying for leadership of the Ontario Liberals, announced his campaign promise to merge the Catholic and public school boards in Ontario according to the Toronto Star. To achieve this, Tedio says that it is necessary to eliminate all public funding to a separate Catholic school board.
“For students, this change means the convenience of attending their closest school, less time on the bus and access to an optional religious curriculum,” Tedjo said Thursday.
“For teachers and early childhood educators, it means smaller class sizes, availability of more resources and the freedom to teach in any publicly funded school.”
Despite being Catholic himself, Tedjo says his move makes fiscal sense and that it’s necessary to have all four school boards merged into secular French and English schools.
“As a Catholic, I have a choice, but others don’t have that choice.”
Tedjo says that by merging Catholic school boards with the public, Ontario could save between $1.2 and $1.6 billion, citing a 2012 Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods study.
Tedjo has entitled his plan “Learning Together,” and has drawn inspiration from Quebec, Manitoba, and Newfoundland which have done the same.
“For students, this change means the convenience of attending their closest school, less time on the bus and access to an optional religious curriculum. For teachers and early childhood educators, it means smaller class sizes, availability of more resources and the freedom to teach in any publicly funded school,” said Tedjo in a news release.
“Learning Together would also see more class offerings in STEM and the arts, as well as improved mental health resources and supports for students with special needs.”
Despite the controversy, and the fact Tedjo has three children enrolled in Catholic education right now, he says that Learning Together will allow the merged school board to incorporate the strengths of both and provide a better education and school experience for all kids in the province.