In The News This Week – October 9, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Canada! Here’s what happened in Canadian and world politics this week:

1. Action on Climate Change in Canada:

  • What happened? This week while Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment, met with the Provincial Environment Ministers, Prime Minister Trudeau announced in the House of Commons that the Federal government would impose a minimum carbon tax of $50 per tonne on provinces who had not adopted their own carbon tax or cap-and-trade system by 2018. – Globe and Mail
  • Why did it happen? On Wednesday the House voted to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to meet the goals set out in the agreement, Canada needs to take action to curb emissions. – Toronto Star
  • The outcome?
    • From the Provinces: Three Ministers left the meeting with Minister McKenna, with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall stating “the decision is a “betrayal” of the co-operative approach the Prime Minister had promised.” – Globe and Mail
    • From the Climate Change Activists: Activists, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, are criticizing the governments $50/tonne tax, saying it will not go far enough to curb emissions. There is further criticism on the government’s recent move to approve the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion, and the environmental implications of this pipeline and others. – National Post

2. Housing Market – The Federal government announced two major policy changes this week that seek to calm the hot Canadian housing market and manage debt levels. The two changes are:

a) “Starting Oct. 17, all insured mortgages will have to undergo a stress test to determine whether a borrower could still make mortgage payments if faced with higher interest rates or less income.” Essentially, low and middle-income Canadians will likely qualify for lower mortgages with the new policy.

b) On November 30, “the government said it will tighten a loophole on an exemption that allows homeowners to avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of a principal residence.” As a result, foreign home buyers will be less likely to purchase and flip houses, and thereby increase market prices. – CTV

3. Immigration – A CBC-Angus Reid poll released this week shockingly showed that “68 per cent of Canadian respondents said minorities should be doing more to fit in with mainstream society instead of keeping their own customs and languages.” – CBC

4. Parti Québécois – On Friday, Quebec’s sovereigntist provincial political party elected Jean-François Lisée their new party leader. Lisée campaigned on a promise of lower immigration and other populist elements including banning the burka. The next provincial election will be held in the fall of 2018 – if Lisée wins over the presiding Liberal party, he has promised he will not hold a referendum in his first term. – Globe and MailCBC

5. American Election – From scandals to debates, here’s your weekly summary on the political happenings south of the border:

  1. Trump does it again – on Friday the Washington Post released a 2005 video of Trump making extraordinarily crude comments about sexually harassing and assaulting women. He was forced Friday night to apologize, but many are saying this could be the final ‘nail in the coffin’ for his Presidential race. – CBC
  2. The Vice Presidential candidates took to the stage in a Tuesday night debate. The debate was much of a “he-said, she-said” with the VP candidates attacking the others running mate, and defending their own. – CNN
  3. The 2nd Presidential debate airs tonight. We’ll see if Trump is able to rebound from the conflict this week and his last debate performance… Due to conflicts with turkey-eating, mPolitics will be live tweeting the next debate, Wednesday Oct 19th.

6. International Relations – It was a sad and troubling week for the people of Syria and the international community. The US walked away from talks with Russia that had repeatedly failed in ceasing hostilities in Syria. In response, Russia reportedly violated Finnish airspace this week, carried nukes across the baltic to its territory situated between Poland and Lithuania, and announced they would suspend a plutonium disposal treaty (a key ingredient in making nuclear bombs). All of this is deeply troubling for international relations, as is well documented in Mark MacKinnon’s piece in the Globe and Mail.


Image Source: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press 

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