- March 28, 2017 Small tax cuts and bigger-than-expected increases for health and education will drive Quebec government spending in 2017. The Liberal government's fourth budget continues an effort to ease the pain of the austerity measures that marked the beginning of its mandate. Finance Minister Carlos Leitão called it a "good news" budget that is "sustainable and responsible." With a projected surplus of nearly $2.5 billion for 2017-2018, education and higher education will see a 4.2% increase, while health will see a 4.3% increase. The budget also puts measures in place for several major public transit projects, which the finance minister hopes will have long-term benefits for the province's economy. The most ambitious of these projects is the $6 billion light-rail project for Montreal, spearheaded by the Caisse de dépôt et placement.
The Rorschach budget: What do you see when you look at Quebec's economic plan? - CBC
Quebec budget 2017: What
- March 28, 2017 Quebec will provide $36 million over the next five years to support local and community print media, Finance Minister Carlos Leitão said in his budget speech. "The existence of a lively, diversified and high-quality print media sector is crucial for the vitality of our culture, but also for the health of our democratic way of life throughout Quebec, and particularly in the regions," Leitão said. With the rise of the Internet and social media, print media outlets have been hit with a dramatic decline in advertising and subscriptions, resulting in layoffs of journalists and a reduction in news coverage. He said Quebec will set aside $24 million over five years for the "digital transformation of information print news." The money will go to two assistance programs. One will strengthen the local and regional information disseminated by community media. The other, aimed at bigger media outlets, is intended to support and encourage print
- March 28, 2017
This Toronto Star piece suggests that while in opposition, Justin Trudeau was an outspoken critic of Stephen Harper's autocratic tendencies, but that since taking power, he has floated parliamentary reforms that show he is not all that different from his predecessors. It states the reforms that the government is proposing would make it easier for government to govern, but harder for Parliament to hold government to account. And the anti-democratic manner in which the government seems set on pursuing them is further proof that expediency, not democracy, is the priority.
Trudeau's either clueless or hypocritical on democratic reform - Edmonton Sun
- March 29, 2017
An analysis by CBC reveals that one in three governor in council positions - ranging from directors of government agencies to members of tribunals that hear appeals of employment insurance or pension disputes - is currently vacant or occupied by an appointee whose term is past its expiry date. When CBC first looked at the question in October 2016, 19.6% of the governor in council positions were vacant or past their expiry date. The number is currently at 35%, although it will drop slightly when several appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board made by cabinet take effect. The backlog in October of more than 300 appointments has now swelled to 572. Of the 515 positions, 354 are vacant. Another 161 are occupied by an appointee, often one named by the previous Conservative government.
- March 28, 2017 Dan Delmar notes that while many Quebecers felt outraged following the Maclean's article which subsequently forced the resignation of Andrew Potter, Quebec journalists including Journal de Montreal's Richard Martineau and Mathieu Bock-Côté routinely engage in disparaging the province. Delmar notes that in a January column, Bock-Côté said Quebecers' refusal to accept sovereignty amounted to "collective suicide."
Quebeckers arent thin-skinned; they just don't tolerate falsehoods - The Globe & Mail (sub. req.)
- March 29, 2017 The government's lead on Access to Information Act reform isn't making any promises to change the law before Canadians go to the polls again in 2019. Treasury Board President Scott Brison wouldn't commit to completing before the next election the changes to Canada's access to information regime that the government has promised, including opening up ministers' offices to access to information requests and completing a review of the Access to Information Act. Brison didn't directly confirm or deny if he would keep the promises before the election.
- March 29, 2017 Conservative Leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary claims he signed up 33,336 members to the party in 69 days, and called on the other contenders to release their membership sales and called on the Conservative Party to audit the membership list to ensure they conform to the rules.
Jason Kenney rules out Kevin O'Leary as Conservative leader - Global News
Kevin O'Leary: Rebel without a (notwithstanding) clause - The Globe & Mail (sub. req.)
Among Conservatives the dark side of Stephen Harper lives on: Walkom - Toronto Star
John Ivison: Slow, steady O'Toole makes his pitch to be the CPC's consensus candidate - National Post
- March 28, 2017 Montreal city council passed a resolution slamming Quebec's plan to change the provincial electoral map. Marvin Rotrand, the city councillor representing Snowdon, said the matter will be going before the courts. The changes would go into effect for the next provincial election, merging Outremont and Mont-Royal into one riding. It would also expand D'Arcy-McGee eastward; the riding is currently 43% Jewish and incorporates the boroughs of Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead. Rotrand argued the change would effectively cut the Orthodox Jewish community in half. "There will be unequal representation: huge counties or seats in the cities, small seats in the rural areas," he said.
- March 29, 2017 Fadma Zadra, the president of l'Association des communautés francophones de l'Ontario à Toronto (ACFO Toronto), insists Toronto city council has no interest in furthering the prevalence of the French language in the city. "Either Canada is not bilingual and then there is no need to explain why there are no services in French, [or] we continue talking about a bilingual country and deliver the goods," she says. [Translated from French]
- March 29, 2017 CBC analyst Eric Grenier believes that, contrary to the notion that byelections are often inconsequential to the bigger picture, they often provide a glimpse at the pulse of the nation and where the country could be heading in the federal election. He notes that since 1978, a party that has lost (or gained) vote share in a byelection has gone on to lose (or gain) support provincewide in the next general election 65% of the time.