Liberals breaking Elections Act rules: Conservative ethics critic
Part funding announcement, part stump speech, part ‘climate action’ rally, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s August 26 green internships event at a United Nations Canada office in Ottawa was a “blatant conflict of interest”, says Conservative ethics critic Peter Kent.
McKenna was joined at the press conference by UN Canada CEO Kate White, who was a federal lobbyist until March of this year—UN Canada has since been tapped to dispense $13.5 million in green technology internships for underrepresented youth.
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.
Justin Trudeau has announced his new cabinet for the 43rd Parliament. Despite there being a great deal of speculation as to who would be included in the cabinet, there has only been insignificant change.
One of the more noteworthy changes is that Chrystia Freeland has been moved from her position as Minister of Foreign Affairs to her new position as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. She will also serve as the Deputy Prime Minister: a position that was first created by Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, and was done away with by Stephen Harper.
This will give Freeland broad power across the government and will only fuel speculation that she is being lined up as Trudeau’s successor. Quebec MP Francois-Philippe Champagne has replaced Freeland in the Foreign Affairs position.
The darling of the right, Catherine McKenna has been moved out of her position as Minister for the Environment. McKenna’s removal will delight the Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, who has previously demanded that McKenna leave her position for the sake of national unity. The Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, Johnathan Wilkinson, is expected to take over McKenna’s position.
Despite Bill Morneau being heavily criticized for running deficits, and also being attacked for “elitist” campaign posters, he will continue to remain in his position as finance minister.
Due to Trudeau’s woeful results in western Canada, the prime minister was unable to select a member of parliament who was from Alberta or Saskatchewan to serve in his cabinet. Trudeau has also declined to bring in a senator to represent western Canada. As a result of this, the Prairies will be entirely unrepresented in Canada’s executive.
Aside from the names previously mentioned, here is the list of other cabinet transitions, as listed by the CBC:
- Ahmed Hussen, going to families, children and social development.
- Melanie Joly, to economic development and official languages, in charge of regional development agencies.
- Bernadette Jordan, to fisheries and oceans.
- Catherine McKenna, to infrastructure and communities.
- Dominic LeBlanc, now president of the Queen’s privy council, chair of the operations committee.
- Joyce Murray, to digital government.
- Mary Ng, to small business export promotion and international trade.
- Carla Qualtrough, to employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.
- Filomena Tassi, to labour.
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.”