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On the Way to the 2019 Federal Election

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Feds announce $100M in funding for steel and aluminum industries

In the wake of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel, the federal government has announced $100 million in funding for small and medium-sized enterprise steel and aluminum manufacturers in Canada.

Liberal MP Navdeep Bains made the announcement at Nova Steel in Hamilton on Monday

CBC News · Posted: Mar 11, 2019 10:42 AM ET | Last Updated: 38 minutes ago

In the wake of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel, the federal government has announced $100 million in funding for small and medium-sized enterprise steel and aluminum manufacturers in Canada.

 

Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development made the announcement at Nova Steel in Hamilton on Monday.

 

"In the face of unjust and illegal U.S. tariffs hurting businesses and workers on both sides of the border, our government is standing shoulder to shoulder with our hard-working steel and aluminum workers and the users of their world-class products," Bains said in a statement.

 

"Our investment to support small and medium-sized producers and users across the country will help businesses innovate to drive productivity, scale up and expand into new markets to create good middle-class jobs."

 

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — back in 2018 on national security grounds. Tariffs on both sides of the border have disrupted supply chains and added extra costs for consumers and businesses across a wide range of industries.

 

The Canadian government says "escalating commodity prices" and "increasing financial and competitive pressures" have significantly impacted small and medium-sized producers operating within Canadian steel and aluminum supply chains. 

 

The government says this new initiative will provide $100 million in non-repayable contributions to small and medium-sized businesses within these industries for investment in projects that will enhance productivity and/or competitiveness.

 

That includes assisting businesses with "high growth potential" to expand, as well as encouraging the "early adoption or adaptation of leading-edge technologies and processes to improve productivity."

 

The government says specific contributions will range from $150,000 to $1 million, to support up to a maximum of 45 per cent of eligible project costs.

The bulk of the funding from this program is being distributed in Southern Ontario, Quebec and Western Canada. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

 

"Steel and aluminum workers are a foundational part of our country's economy. The investments announced today will help companies to adapt and innovate, to remain competitive in the global marketplace, making this region even stronger and benefitting communities and workers across all of Canada," said MPs Filomena Tassi and Bob Bratina in a joint statement.

 

Bratina has been embroiled in his own controversy involving local steelworkers, as local unions allege he shouted "F--k the steelworkers" and "F--k those Stelco pensioners" near the end of a tense meeting at the end of February.

 

Bratina, the MP for Hamilton East — Stoney Creek, has since denied the alleged comments and said he regrets the "inferences" that came out of the meeting.

Finance Canada says $839 million was collected in the six months leading up to Dec. 31 from retaliatory tariffs on imported American steel, aluminum and other products.

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The Federal Piggy Bank is empty but the promise of money prior to the election is accelerating.

 

City of Calgary receives federal funding to reduce landfill gas emissions

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2019, ‏‎49 minutes ago

Federal funding, announced today, provides The City of Calgary with $5.8 million under the Low Carbon Economy Challenge (LCEC) to support the expansion of its landfill gas collection systems across three different project sites to responsibly manage and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Waste & Recycling Services will install new landfill gas collection wells and associated infrastructure to expand the volume of landfill gas collected. It is expected that GHG emissions will be reduced by more than 630,000 tonnes of CO2e over the lifetime of the project, by collecting landfill-generated methane and converting it into carbon dioxide.

The Low Carbon Economy Challenge was launched in March 2018 to support projects across Canada that reduce carbon pollution and generate clean growth.

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I know I am a sceptic but

March 11, 2019 12:31 pm

Official Languages Act up for review as feds launch bid to modernize law

By Staff The Canadian Press

Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Minister Melanie Joly speaks during an event in Ottawa, Monday March 11, 2019. Joly announced a review to modernize the Official Languages Act. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The federal government is launching a review of the Official Languages Act, saying it is time to modernize the decades-old law.

The 1969 law enshrined Canadians’ right to receive federal services in English or French.

READ MORE: Ontario government announces new French commissioner job amid outcry over cuts

The last major reform of the law was in 1988 and there have been recent calls to update it again, including from a Senate committee that late last month said the act needs to be applied more effectively and consistently.

Oversight mechanisms need to be beefed up to ensure rights aren’t trampled on, the report said, adding a veiled reference to a furor in Ontario that forced the government to backtrack on plans to abolish the independent office of its French-language services commissioner and shrink a francophone-affairs cabinet post

 

The Liberals plan a series of meetings, the first taking place Tuesday in Moncton, N.B., and an online consultation that’s to result in a final report in June.

Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement that the government wants a modernized act to help minority-language communities “meet the new challenges they face” and ensure the law “can continue to meet the needs of Canadians.”

READ MORE: Amanda Simard, Ontario PC MPP, speaks out against Doug Ford government’s French services cuts

The latest census figures from Statistics Canada show that in 2016, the country’s bilingualism rate stood 17.9 per cent — an all-time high — mainly due to an increase in the number of people who can speak French.

Statistics Canada had to revise the bilingualism rate down by one-10th of a percentage point after it found a computer error in about 61,000 online census responses: French-speakers were recorded as having English as their mother tongue, leading the agency to report an increase in anglophones in Quebec.

The erroneously reported jump in English-language speakers caused emotional ripples in Quebec, with provincial politicians talking about legislative means to ensure the survival of the French language in the province

this news article should be "Chasing Francophone Votes"

 

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For those who wonder how we ever got to where we are now, with a PM that is obviously anti-pipeline, anti western jobs:

Quote

What would become a massively disruptive intrusion into Canadian affairs would take years and a large amount of money. Enter the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. They, along with environmentalist charities, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the U.S.-based Tides Foundation, a murky organization that provides cover as a legal laundering service that can funnel donations into activist groups, without revealing the source.

 

 

https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/gwyn-morgan-talk-about-collusion-how-foreign-backed-anti-oil-activists-infiltrated-canadas-government

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Calgary energy companies to share $72M in federal funds for clean tech projects

Two Calgary energy companies will share more than $72 million in federal funding for clean technology projects being developed in Alberta’s oil and gas sector.

Money will support Canadian Natural and Titanium Corp.'s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions

CBC News · Posted: Mar 14, 2019 11:36 AM MT | Last Updated: 19 minutes ago
 
cnrl-horizon-mine.jpg
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will get a share of $72.3 million from Ottawa that it will use to further develop an in-pit extraction process that separates oilsands ore into solids, bitumen and water at its Horizon oilsands mine in northern Alberta. (CNRL)

Two Calgary energy companies will share more than $72 million in federal funding for three clean technology projects being developed in Alberta's oil and gas sector.

Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi was in Calgary on Thursday to announce the new funding, which the federal government says will leverage more than $415 million in private investments.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will get $22.3 million from the Low Carbon Economy Fund for a new steam turbine generator technology that will help produce lower-emission power at its facilities at the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.

The company will also receive $5 million from the Clean Growth Program to further develop an in-pit extraction process that separates oilsands ore into solids, bitumen and water at its Horizon oilsands mine site in northern Alberta.

Emissions Reduction Alberta is putting up $5.6 million to support this project through the provincial government's Oil Sands Innovation Challenge.

Tailings remediation

Titanium Corporation will get $45 million from the Clean Growth Program and Low Carbon Economy Fund for a technology designed to remediate oilsands tailings at Canadian Natural's Horizon Oil Sands site.

Emissions Reduction Alberta has committed another $10 million to support this project.

"Accelerating clean technology development is a key component of our government's approach to promoting sustainable economic growth as Canada moves toward a low-carbon economy," Sohi said in a release.

Canadian Natural president Tim McKay says the company is committed to using new technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"In fact, Canadian Natural's Horizon Oil Sands operations has reduced our GHG intensity by 31 per cent from 2012 to 2017. At today's production levels, that's equivalent to taking 665,000 cars off the road," he said in a release.

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I am putting these sort of announcements in the election thread as the bulk of the money promised will not be doled out until after the next election, if then.

March 15, 2019 2:16 pm

B.C. wild salmon get $142M cash infusion for habitat restoration

headshot2.jpg?quality=60&strip=all&w=40& By Simon Little Online Journalist  Global News "The B.C. and federal governments have committed more than $140 million to a new fund meant to help protect wild Pacific salmon."

The federal and B.C. governments have announced a massive cash infusion meant to help restore wild salmon habitat.

Over a five-year period, the federal government has pledged $100 million, while the B.C. government is promising $42.85 million over the same span.

The money will go to the new British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which is open to proposals from Indigenous groups, conservation groups, academic and research organizations and commercial groups in the fishing industries.

READ MORE: Government-appointed council calls for immediate actions to increase B.C.’s wild salmon population

To be eligible, projects will need to focus on innovation, infrastructure improvements or science partnerships.

More details about eligibility can be found on the Fund’s website.

WATCH: Federal court rules not screening B.C. farmed salmon for virus is unlawful

FSV%202.jpg?w=670&quality=70&strip=all

“British Columbians are rightly concerned about the state of several wild salmon stocks and I share that concern,” said Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

“They are intrinsically linked to our identity, they are fundamental to Indigenous communities, and they are a significant indicator of overall environmental health. They are also, as you know, a major food source for our iconic [southern resident] killer whales.”

READ MORE: Province launches wild salmon council, advocacy groups don’t think it’s enough

The creation of the fund comes several months after Washington state governor Jay Inslee announced his own $1.1-billion plan to protect orcas and restore salmon habitat.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said both he and Wilkinson had met with Inslee, and that protecting salmon would need to be a multi-jurisdictional effort.

WATCH: DFO launches pilot project amid wild salmon population concerns

NB_WILD_SALMON_STOCKS_tnb_3.jpg?w=670&quality=70&strip=all

“The federal government, provincial government and the state government in Washington working together to protect our salmon, to protect our southern resident orca populations, are absolutely critical, and its the cooperation and consensus approach to decision making that I believe will set us all free,” he said.

“The salmon don’t know boundaries, the orca don’t know boundaries … all they know is that humans have been interfering with their life cycle.”

Aaron Hill with the Watershed Watch Salmon Society said he was pleased to see the provincial and federal governments working together, but the test of the fund would be how the money was spent, and whether it relied on sound science to get results.

READ MORE: British Columbia chinook salmon populations in decline: scientists

“It’s really important that when we’re making these decisions, we involve scientists from both the government, [the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] and provincial agencies, as well as independent scientists from universities and other stakeholders like conservation groups,” he said.

Hill said while the government has clearly committed a large amount of money to the project, it will need to ensure that it isn’t spent on simply the easiest or most visible attempts at solutions.

He said he’d like to see it used to help move fish farms out of wild salmon migration routes, to protect fish habitat so that it doesn’t need to be restored later at high cost and used to ensure the commercial fishery is properly managed.

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PM Justin Trudeau in free-fall as election approaches

It took Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberals a decade to dig itself into such a deep hole that it lost party status.

At least two things contributed to reducing the Ontario Liberals to rubble apart from the miscellaneous scandals.

One, Wynne’s own gargantuan ego that she could beat the odds, whatever they might be. Wynne was in it for herself. The Liberal party not so much.

Second, she lost touch with people. It made it easy for Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives to run on a simple three-word slogan: “For the People.” It wasn’t sophisticated but it worked.

The same disease is now afflicting the governing federal Liberals. But, instead of incrementally losing touch with reality, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a free-fall seven months before the election and after only three years in power. Trudeau thinks acting the role of Prime Minister instead of actually doing the job is good enough.

 

Just about everyone who’s familiar with Lavscam sees a government out of touch with reality. The only exceptions are a clutch of politicos in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office. And the PCO head Michael Wernick’s disgraceful appearances at the Justice Committee show that he’s unfit for the job, shooting Trudeau’s partisan bullets at Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Outside government, wacky Sheila Copps of Rat Pack fame and loopy Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick think everything’s fine. Nothing to see here.

Trudeau claimed when elected that “Canada is back.” Now it seems a more apt claim would be that “Canada’s going backwards.”

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is reviewing Canada’s compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. That’s the kind of review you’d expect of developing countries rife with corruption.

Interestingly, Trudeau and his bunch of gofers justified harassing Wilson-Raybould into a deferred prosecution agreement by claiming they could save 9,000 jobs. But a country being under an OECD bribery investigation sends bad vibes to international businesses who might want to invest in Canada. Brilliant.

How serious is Trudeau taking this?

He gave a press conference where his spinners were suggesting ahead of time, he would be contrite, maybe even apologetic. Not a chance. It was our former substitute drama teacher at his best. Appearing calm, speaking slowly, Trudeau blamed Wilson-Raybould for not coming to him with her protests. She, of course, has presented very compelling evidence to the contrary.

On Wednesday, the Justice Committee was to hold an emergency meeting to discuss bringing back Wilson-Raybould for a second appearance. Instead, the Liberals used their majority to adjourn the committee’s work to budget day, hoping no doubt that the budget’s news would drown out Lavscam.

As for Trudeau he was vacationing in North Captiva Island, an off mainland remote tourist destination only accessible by charter boat. (Hopefully the Agha Khan didn’t pick up the tab for the transfer this time.) Less than two days after arriving, he was jetting it back to Ottawa on his Challenger jet “for private meetings.” Then appeared on his twitter feed in a photo-op with Finance Minister Bill Morneau before heading back out of dodge to sun-drenched Florida.

Figures. Photo ops are apparently priceless for Trudeau. It likely cost tens of thousands of our dollars for that one. Oh, and he used his time in Ottawa to call the Kenyan president about the Ethiopian Airlines crash. I guess phones don’t work in Florida.

First, if Trudeau has any chance of surviving Lavscam and winning the election, he has to check his ego at the door. Second, he has to fess up and admit he and his cronies messed up and won’t interfere with criminal prosecutions again.

Otherwise Conservative Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer might be tempted to steal the “For the People” slogan for the October election.

 

https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/marin-pm-justin-trudeau-in-free-fall-as-election-approaches

 

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BUDGET A DISTRACTION: TORIES.

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 18 Mar 2019
  • MARIE-DANIELLE SMITH National Post mdsmith@postmedia.com Twitter.com/mariedanielles
img?regionKey=ZX6MRJCCGUuRF%2b6FXJtgiA%3d%3dSEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS Ex-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould testifies before the justice committee last month. At a closed-door meeting Tuesday, opposition MPs are expected to push the Liberal majority on the committee to invite her a second time.

OTTAWA • On the same day that Liberals are set to unveil their last federal budget before the next federal election, the House of Commons justice committee will hold a hotly anticipated, private meeting to discuss where to go next with its investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair.

During a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning, opposition party MPs are expected to push the Liberal majority on the committee to invite former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould for a second appearance.

Despite the federal budget’s tabling later Tuesday afternoon — always one of the biggest political events of the year — all eyes should be on those closed doors, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre told reporters Sunday. “We expect that the prime minister will try to drown out this scandal with billions of dollars of irresponsible spending,” he said.

When she testified before the committee earlier this month, Wilson-Raybould accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior officials of attempting to politically interfere in the criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant.

The ex-attorney general said over the last four months of 2018, Trudeau and high-ranking officials pressured her, including with “veiled threats,” to overturn the director of public prosecutions’s decision to deny SNC-Lavalin the opportunity to negotiate a remediation agreement. If the company was offered such a deal it could pay a large fine to avoid criminal charges and the possible ban on bidding for public contracts that would result from a conviction.

Wilson-Raybould was removed from her position in January and resigned in February. During her initial four hours of testimony at the committee, she was bound to speak only about events leading up to the cabinet shuffle that demoted her — not about the lead-up to her resignation or indeed why she resigned.

Trudeau can loosen those constraints. Wilson-Raybould wrote to the justice committee offering to expand on her testimony should he do so. But at its most recent meeting last week the Liberal majority on the committee quashed a motion to invite her in.

“If the prime minister has nothing to hide, why not let her attend?” Poilievre argued on Sunday, adding Conservatives would use “every parliamentary tool in the tool kit to end the coverup and let her speak,” although he was mum on the details. One of those procedural tools, which Conservatives have not shied from using in the past, would be to trigger marathon voting in the Commons. That could delay the budget’s tabling.

Trudeau has admitted no wrongdoing in the affair, expressing only that he was concerned about the thousands of Canadians SNCLavalin employs, and that a breakdown of trust occurred between Wilson-Raybould and his staff, chiefly principal secretary Gerald Butts, who resigned over the scandal last month. “Early indications are not good” that Trudeau will give Wilson-Raybould more leeway to talk, Poilievre admitted.

Meanwhile, in the leadup to the election Conservatives have remained preoccupied by the Liberals’ history of running budgetary deficits — last year’s budget predicted a deficit of $18.1 billion for 2018-19, and as of December, the finance department was predicting there wouldn’t be a balanced budget until 2040.

“We’re concerned that because (Trudeau) is trying to drown out the SNC-Lavalin scandal,” Poilievre said, “he will spray money in all directions in the hopes that Canadians will be distracted by the sights of their own money flying at them.”

He did not expand on what kinds of spending promises the Conservatives are particularly worried about, but said he thinks Liberals will have to increase taxes to pay for their promises if they are re-elected.

News reports ahead of Tuesday’s reveal indicate the budget is expected to contain significant stimulus, including more money for new home buyers, for families, for skills retraining and for pharmacare.

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2 hours ago, Malcolm said:

 

First the Attorney general quits, then the President of the treasury board resigns her post, then his confidant and right hand man BUTTS runs for the hills , then the ETHICS commissioner suddenly takes medical leave...now this. 

Yeah yeah...we know....all coincidences 🤬🤬

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‎March ‎18, ‎2019, ‏‎19 minutes ago

 

2019-2021 airport investments – Over $50M will be invested in Nunavik

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎18, ‎2019, ‏‎32 minutes ago | Canadian Aviation News

Provided by Cabinet du ministre des Transports/CNW

KUUJJUARAPIK, QC, March 18, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – The gouvernement du Québec announces the list of all airport projects of the ministère des Transports in Nunavik for 2019–2021. The MNA for Ungava, Denis Lamothe, on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Minister responsible for the Estrie region, François Bonnardel, made the announcement today.

Those projects, which involve concrete action on the state of infrastructures, represent a total investment of $50,526,000 in Nunavik. Contrary to previous years, the gouvernement du Québec has opted for transparency by making public all projects regarding which:

  • work is to be conducted in 2019–2020;
  • preparation activities are to be conducted in 2019–2020 with a view to begin work in 2020–2021.

Quotes:

“By investing massively in airport infrastructures, as we are today, our government contributes to improving and maintaining our installations in the Nord-du-Québec region. Contrary to what former governments used to do, we are now opting for transparency regarding airport investments. This will make it possible for the public to have a more detailed overview of all the projects for which work is to be conducted over the next two years, and to hold the Ministère accountable.”

François Bonnardel, Minister of Transport and Minister responsible for the Estrie region

“The announcement made today shows how important the gouvernement du Québec considers the economic development of Nunavik communities to be. With these investments, we are providing Nunavik residents with infrastructures that, through their efficiency and safety, will enhance the people’s ability to travel within the territory. Our government also intends to continue to be responsive to the needs of local communities.”

Denis Lamothe, MNA for Ungava

Highlights:

  • The projects include:
    • the construction of a garage in Kuujjuarapik;
    • the beginning of construction of the new terminal in Salluit.

Related links:

The complete list is available on the website of the ministère des Transports.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

SOURCE Cabinet du ministre des Transports

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I wonder how many votes for the Liberals that this will yield?

Budget 2019: Liberals add $4.5B for Indigenous services as reconciliation effort continues

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎19, ‎2019, ‏‎1 hour ago | Kristy Kirkup
Trudeau 20190114

The federal Liberal government plans to spend $4.5 billion over the next five years to try to narrow the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people — part of a plan to keep reconciliation at the forefront of this fall's campaign narrative.

 

 

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Budget 2019: $1.4B in loans to be forgiven or reimbursed to Indigenous groups for treaty negotiations

The federal government announced in its 2019 budget it will be forgiving loans to Indigenous groups who have taken on debt to negotiate comprehensive claims and treaties.

$938 million will be forgiven or reimbursed in 2018-19 fiscal year

Chantelle Bellrichard · CBC News · Posted: Mar 19, 2019 7:25 PM ET | Last Updated: 7 minutes ago
 
Grand Chief Ed John said First Nations are 'ecstatic' to learn about treaty loans being forgiven or reimbursed. (CBC)

Indigenous groups across Canada carrying millions in dollars of debt from negotiating treaty claims with Ottawa will soon have that debt erased.

The federal government announced in its 2019 budget it will be forgiving loans to Indigenous groups who have taken on debt to negotiate comprehensive claims and treaties.

Groups that have already repaid the government for such loans will get their money back, Ottawa says. 

The total amount being repaid or forgiven: $1.4 billion. Of that, $938 million will be dealt with in the current fiscal year — by the end of March.

According to the 2019 budget, tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in Ottawa on Tuesday, 200 Indigenous communities across Canada will benefit from this loan forgiveness and reimbursement. A large percentage of those groups are First Nations in B.C., where there have been few treaties in comparison to the rest of Canada.

The B.C. Treaty Commission's Chief Commissioner Celeste Haldane.said in a statement that the group "has long advocated for the elimination of loans in treaty negotiations. It is encouraging to see this issue finally being addressed and demonstrates real progress towards reconciliation."

The commission reported in its 2018 annual report roughly $550 million in outstanding negotiation loans to First Nations. Since the commission started negotiations in the early 1990s, it has loaned money to 60 First Nations.

'Ecstatic' reactions 

Grand Chief Ed John, an elected member of the First Nations Summit in B.C., said he personally asked the prime minister to forgive the loans at an event for Canada 150.

"As I read it, the loans will be forgiven in this fiscal year, at the end of March 2019," he said. 

John said he's already starting to hear from "pretty ecstatic" First Nations who are realizing they'll be free of this debt in the near future.

John said his own nation, Tl'azt'en, stands to see about $2 million in loans forgiven. He said freeing up this kind of debt will allow Indigenous groups to access more capital.

When asked about the symbolic significance of this move from Ottawa, John said it's further confirmation that the process to resolve the land question in Canada has been flawed.

"It was wrong in the first place to take our lands without sitting down and talking with us," he said.

"So we've been in this process trying to resolve this matter with both Canada and British Columbia but in doing so we've been put in this situation having to borrow money from the very governments who took our land in the first place."

The federal budget marked this financial commitment under the category of "redressing past wrongs and advancing self-determination."

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Liberals unveil tax breaks for media firms

Credit for those who subscribe to digital news

  • Calgary Herald
  • 20 Mar 2019
  • Postmedia News mdsmith@postmedia.com Twitter.com/mariedanielles MARIE-DANIELLE SMITH

WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION, THERE MAY BE A DECLINE IN THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF JOURNALISM.

OTTAWA • Buried within the federal budget Tuesday were details of how the federal government plans to prop up Canada’s struggling print media industry.

Last year’s budget announced $50 million over five years to support “local journalism,” after media companies lobbied the government to mitigate the corrosive effects of the internet on their businesses. In November’s fall economic statement, the government announced three tax measures costing $595 million over five years. (Postmedia, which owns this newspaper, was among the companies lobbying for assistance.)

“Concerns have been expressed that, without government intervention, there may be a decline in the quantity and quality of journalism available to Canadians, including a significant loss of local news coverage,” said the government’s statement last November.

However, many of the specifics of the measures — and definitions of what the government considers “qualified Canadian journalism organizations” and “eligible newsroom employees” — were not made public until Tuesday.

Tax breaks fall under three categories: allowing non-profit journalism organizations to register for something similar to charitable status, so they can receive donations and be exempt from income tax; giving news organizations a labour tax credit applied to the salaries of journalists they employ; and offering a tax credit to Canadians who subscribe to “Canadian digital news.”

The labour tax credit, which applies as of Jan. 1, allows journalism employers to apply a 25-per-cent refundable tax credit to the salaries of editorial employees at a cap of $55,000 per person, or a maximum credit of $13,750. Broadcasters and outlets that receive funding from the Canada Periodical Fund will not be eligible.

Canadians who buy digital news subscriptions between 2019 and 2025 will be able to claim an annual 15-per-cent tax credit on up to $500 in costs, for a maximum credit of $75. This credit, too, isn’t applicable to content produced by broadcasters.

The way definitions are set out in the budget, news outlets will only benefit from tax measures if they are registered as a corporation, partnership or trust; if they are incorporated and resident in Canada; if their chairperson and at least 75 per cent of directors are Canadian citizens; and in the case of partnerships or trusts, if they own at least a 75-per-cent share.

The organizations must employ at least two journalists who operate at an “arm’s length” from management and be “primarily engaged in the production of original news content.” The news must fit into “matters of general interest and reports of current events, including coverage of democratic institutions and processes.” Publications focused on industry-specific news, sports, arts or entertainment are excluded.

There are further requirements that organizations have a board of directors or trustees that operate independently of one another and of journalists and that they “not be factually controlled” by an individual or group. The definition stipulates that any additional business the organization conducts be related to journalism.

As of 2020, the non-profit news outlets that qualify as donees must publicly report large donations and issue tax receipts to donors. Any one source of gifts or donations can’t be responsible for more than 20 per cent of total revenue — unless it’s by bequest, or the minister of finance specifically approves it.

For the labour tax credit, additional criteria apply. Public corporations must be listed on a stock exchange in Canada and not be controlled by non-Canadian citizens. Private corporations must be at least 75-per-cent owned by Canadian citizens or by public corporations described above.

The budget document also sets out what constitutes an “eligible newsroom employee” for the purposes of that credit — the journalist needs to work for the organization at least 26 hours a week, and must be, or expected to be, an employee for a minimum of 40 consecutive weeks.

The “eligible” journalists must spend at least 75 per cent of their time “engaged in the production of news content, including by researching, collecting information, verifying facts, photographing, writing, editing, designing and otherwise preparing content.”

The definitions are not necessarily set in stone. An “independent panel,” about which few details are yet available, will have the ability to make recommendations on eligibility criteria. It is expected to be formed soon, more likely within weeks rather than months.

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Caution thrown to the wind

Liberals gamble on sunny skies — and no recession

  • Calgary Herald
  • 20 Mar 2019
  • KEVIN CARMICHAEL National Business Columnist
img?regionKey=MIaCbLbcZcYLh0i0S5BdxA%3d%3dADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks with Finance Minister Bill Morneau to the House of Commons Tuesday, where they delivered the final budget before the writ drops for the upcoming federal election.

Paul Martin, where have you gone?

In 2015, the deficit slayer appeared with Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail, lending instant credibility to the Liberal upstart’s economic policy.

Trudeau has repaid Martin for his support by frittering away the previous Liberal prime minister’s legacy for fiscal prudence.

Martin, as finance minister in Jean Chrétien’s government, perfected the budgetary art of underpromising and overdelivering. He regularly found himself with revenue windfalls, all of which he used to erase a record deficit and reduce the debt. Frankly, the constant “surprises” got ridiculous after awhile, but the effort did have the effect of instilling confidence in Ottawa’s oversight of the economy. Times have changed. Bill Morneau, the former executive who has served as Trudeau’s finance minister since the Liberals unexpectedly won the last election, keeps finding himself with more money than he expected. His latest budget, released on March 19, includes additional revenue of about $30 billion through 2024, compared with October’s economic update.

Unlike Martin, Morneau’s habit is to spend the windfall — all of it — on initiatives that will play well with his party’s base. Balanced budgets, rainy-day funds, and debt reduction no longer are features of the Liberal brand. From a purely economic perspective, the strategy could result in reduced poverty and narrower wealth gaps, which would have long-term societal benefits.

The worry is that too little is being done to prepare for an economic downturn, but that appears to be a risk that the Trudeau government is willing to take, especially months before an election.

“The most important promise we made to Canadians is to invest in their future,” Morneau said at a press conference in Ottawa before he tabled his fourth budget. In the House of Commons, he congratulated himself for making these investments while moving the books back “towards” balance. The deficit will be about $20 billion in the fiscal year that ends a year from now, and about $10 billion in 2024, according to Morneau’s latest financial plan.

If the economy continues to roll, those deficits won’t be a problem; they amount to one per cent of gross domestic product or less, entirely manageable and low by international standards.

But there is reason to be wary about Canada’s economic prospects.

The budget assumes economic growth of about 1.8 per cent over the next five years, which is about as fast as the Bank of Canada reckons the economy can grow without causing inflation. That’s a reasonable outlook, but one that some forecasters will see as optimistic.

GDP barely grew in the fourth quarter, and the first quarter probably won’t be much better. The soft patch could be temporary, the result of an unusually large convergence of headwinds that converged over the second half of last year that have since begun to relent. The future of the North American Free Trade Agreement no longer is in doubt, for example. That should be good for investment, as executives will have one less thing to worry about.

But what if something else is going on?

Canada might already be in a recession, if only a shallow one, according to David Wolf, a former adviser at the Bank of Canada who now is a portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in Toronto. Household debt is about 174 per cent of disposable income, a record and one of the highest levels in the world. The surprise in the fourth quarter was a dramatic slowdown in consumer spending, suggesting that all that debt could finally be weighing on domestic demand.

At the same time, national home prices declined in 2018 for the first time in records that date to 1990, according to Bloomberg News. A slump could cause the value of the currency to drop to record lows of around US$0.65, creating a new headwind, according to Wolf. The country’s economy remains uncompetitive, so there is little to offset weaker household spending. “There’s a good chance that those stars are going to be misaligned,” Wolf told Bloomberg News in an interview earlier this week.

Balance-sheet recessions tend to drag. The U.S. recovery from the financial crisis was weaker than anyone expected, and Japan still is digging out from under the debt that crashed its economy in the 1990s. Indebted households and companies are unable to help with the recovery because they owe so much to their creditors.

If Canada found itself in a downturn, the federal government alone would be in a position to do something about it, according to David Dodge, the former Bank of Canada governor and the deputy minister at Finance when Martin balanced the budget in the 1990s. The biggest provinces all spent heavily to help reverse the Great Recession. None of them have the fiscal room to do so now, especially Ontario, the country’s biggest provincial economy, Dodge and Richard Dion, a former economist at the central bank, said in a pre-budget report published by Bennett Jones, the Toronto-based law firm for which both now work as advisers.

“In his spring budget, the federal minister of finance should take no spending or tax actions which would further compromise a future government’s room to take the necessary discretionary action to support growth and public investment in the event of a major economic downturn, unless these actions are aimed directly and demonstrably at enhancing productivity and investment to promote the potential growth of the economy,” Dodge and Dion wrote.

Morneau pledged incentives to ensure all of rural Canada has a broadband connection by 2030 and promised about $2 billion over five years for new training initiatives. The rest of the windfall was used on initiatives such as pharmacare and enhanced pension benefits. Nice initiatives. Let’s hope a recession doesn’t wreck them.

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March 19, 2019 2:48 pm
Updated: March 20, 2019 7:59 am

Who are the winners and losers in the 2019 federal budget? Here’s what you need to know

By Amanda Connolly National Online Journalist  Global News
 
 

ABOVE: Here are the goodies found in the 2019 federal budget.

 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled the Liberal government’s final budget before the fall election on Tuesday.

It offers up a mixed bag of both benefits and potential consequences for Canadian stakeholders across a wide range of backgrounds.

Housing was a major focus of the budget with new measures proposed that the government argues will make it easier for millennials and first-time buyers to purchase a home.

While economists and critics differ on whether those measures will do what Morneau says they will, there are also a number of other ways the budget proposals will help — or potentially hurt — other Canadians.

Here are some of the winners and losers. 

WINNERS

People with student loans

Budget 2019 proposes lowering the floating interest rate, which most people with Canada Student Loans have among their debt loads, to prime. Currently, it sits at prime plus 2.5 per cent.

That change will go into effect this year and will mean people with student loans end up paying less on interest as they pay them back.

For the minority of those with Canada Student Loans on a fixed interest rate of prime plus five per cent, the government plans to lower those rates to prime plus 2.5 per cent.

The budget also proposes amending the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act so that borrowers do not accrue debt on their student loans in the six-month period after their leave school.

Officials estimate that could save student loan borrowers roughly $2,000.

 

People with rare diseases

Canadians with any of the roughly 7,000 rare diseases identified by the Canadian Organization for Rare Diseases can have hope they will get help dealing with the costs of their medications.

Budget 2019 proposes spending up to $1 billion over two years starting in 2022-2023 to help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need.

Up to $500 million would be made available each year ongoing.

The plan is to have the federal government partner with provinces and territories with come up with a strategy to improve access to drugs for rare diseases across the country and negotiate better prices with drug manufacturers.

People looking to reduce their carbon footprint

Canadians who want to buy a zero emission vehicle or retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient will likely see things they like in the budget.

The government proposes spending $130 million over five years, starting this year, to install new recharging and refuelling stations for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in remote locations, workplaces, public parking spots and commercial and residential buildings.

It also proposes offering $300 million over three years, starting this year, to create an incentive of up to $5,000 for people buying an electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with a retail price of less than $45,000.

 Transport Canada will also get $5 million over three years to work with auto manufacturers to get them to set voluntary sales targets for zero-emission vehicles to keep up with anticipated demand.

Budget 2019 also includes a plan to spend $1.01 billion in 2018-2019 through the Green Municipal Fund to help the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to make large community buildings more energy efficient, help homeowners with the costs of retrofitting their homes, and provide financing to improve energy efficiency in affordable housing developments.

Media and people who pay for it

Media and people who pay for their news will also likely see some benefits from the budget.

The government had proposed in the fall economic statement a fund worth $50 million over five years to support local news in underserved communities.

While that proposal is no longer on the table, the budget does propose three new tax measures.

First, subscribers to Canadian digital news will be able to claim up to $500 in costs towards eligible digital subscriptions for a maximum tax credit of $75 per year.Second, qualified Canadian journalism organizations will be able to claim a 25 per cent credit on the salaries or wages paid to eligible newsroom employees, subject to a cap of $55,000 per employee for a maximum tax credit of $13,750 per year per eligible employee.  According to the budget, organizations “carrying on a broadcast undertaking” will not qualify for the tax credit.

Third, qualified Canadian journalism organizations will be able to apply to be a new category of tax-exempt qualified donee that will let them issue charitable tax credits or donation deductions.

They will have to file yearly returns with the Canada Revenue Agency and disclose the names of any donors giving more than $5,000, as is the case for other charitable organizations.

LOSERS

People with employer stock options or big earnings

Anyone who makes more than $250,000 and was hoping for a break on their taxes is out of luck.

There are no measures in the budget to lower personal income tax rates, including for high earners.

As well, the government is proposing to limit the use of employee stock options by changing the tax regime around them.

Stock options give employees the right to get shares in their employing company at a special rate, are essentially an alternate form of compensation.

Federal Budget 2019: Andrew Scheer says Liberal spending plan ‘has no legitimacy’

They are currently taxed at the same rate as capital gains, which are roughly half the rate of personal income.

The government says that tax regime sees benefits go “disproportionately” to a small number of high-income people and “does not believe that employee stock options should be used as a tax-preferred method of compensation for executives of large, mature companies.”

On a similar note, small business owners hoping for a tax break are also likely to be disappointed in the budget.

There are no small business tax breaks included in Budget 2019.

READ MORE: No plan for balanced budgets even if Trudeau wins second majority

People hoping to buy edible cannabis products

The measures proposed in Budget 2019 are not so much a negative as a change to the tax structure around new categories of cannabis products.

Right now, cannabis products are subject to a flat rate on the amount of cannabis in the product purchased by the consumer.

But after legalizing marijuana in October 2018, three new legal categories of cannabis products will be available in Canada, and those will be subject to a different rate of tax.

Cannabis edibles, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals will instead be taxed on the concentration of THC they contain rather than the quantity of the cannabis plant.

THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana that produces the effect of a high.

READ MORE: No pharmacare in federal budget, but funding for a national drug agency

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Just when trudeau thought LavScam was behind him, Ms Philpott speaks up:

Quote

This is Philpott’s first interview since she resigned over Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin controversy. She believes, as she put it, that “there’s much more to the story that needs to be told” but that it can’t come out because “there’s been an attempt to shut down the story”—an attempt she attributed to the Prime Minister and his close advisors.

But she is also keenly aware, because she has been hearing from Liberal colleagues, that “there are people who are afraid that they’re not going to get elected because of what I did.” As she described that anger, the former minister said: “My only way of living with myself on that, is that this is not my fault. I did not start this.” Now she is trying to figure out how to see it through.

 

https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/jane-philpott-theres-much-more-to-the-story-that-needs-to-be-told/

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