This week marked the 1 year anniversary of the Trudeau Liberals coming to power. Here is what was making headlines this week:
1. Election Reform Still a Priority? In an interview with Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper released on Wednesday, the anniversary of the government, Prime Minister Trudeau commented,
“Under Mr. Harper, there were so many people who were unhappy with the government and his approach that people said, ‘We need electoral reform in order to stop having governments we don’t like,’ ” Mr. Trudeau told the newspaper in French. “However, under the current system, they now have a government with which they are more satisfied. And the thirst to change the electoral system is less striking.”
The Committee set to study electoral reform has until December to release a report with its recommendations on a new system. With these latest comments, Trudeau appears to be setting expectations, in case his government does not change the electoral system as promised. – Globe and Mail
- ICYMI (In case you missed it): Check out our piece Where in the world do we stand with electoral reform? for an overview on the process and the systems being proposed.
2. CETA (EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is in jeopardy this week after the people of Walloonia, a region in Belgium, refused to support the agreement. The Belgian government cannot support CETA unless all five of its regional governments are aligned. This caused International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland to walk out of meetings on Friday, claiming “the ball is in the EU court.” This weekend, the EU set a deadline of Monday for Belgian to overcome the opposition. Prime Minister Trudeau was originally planned to travel to Europe for an official signing on Thursday October 27th. – CBC
- FYEI (For your extra information): The deal would be the first of its kind between the entire EU block and a G7 country. It would remove duties (essentially taxes) on 95% of everything sold between Canada and the EU. If the deal falls apart, consequences could be dire for the EU who is struggling on the international stage after Brexit, and would lessen chances of a deal with other G7 nations. – Globe and Mail
3. Healthcare – Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott met with her provincial counterparts this week to discuss federal health spending for next year. The Ministers agreed on areas for the federal dollars to be invested, including home care, mental health and addiction, indigenous health, innovation and pharmacare. However the parties were not able to reach an agreement on the amount that the federal transfer would increase this year, with the Federal government suggesting 3% versus the expected 6%. – Globe and Mail
4. Aboriginal relations – One of Trudeau’s major promises was to make truth and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities a priority. At the one year anniversary of his government coming to power this week, we see there is still much to be done:
- Four girls under the age of 14 committed suicide in northern Saskatchewan communities this month, with the latest occurring this week. The Trudeau government has pledged $8.4 billion over 5 years to help Indigenous communities, but critics say the money cannot come fast enough to help those in crisis. – Globe and Mail
- Chanie Wenjack was 12 years old when he ran away from a Residential School in 1966 and died of hunger and exposure. His story was found by Tragically Hip frontrunner Gord Downie, who has released an album and graphic novel called Secret Path to tell Chanie’s story. Secret Path was performed for the first time this week in Ottawa; and Downie, who is battling terminal brain cancer, has called on Prime Minister Trudeau to improve conditions for Indigenous communities. – Toronto Star
5. Kurdish and Iraqi forces are engaged in a fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, along with US-led coalition aircraft and advisers. Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq, and releasing it from IS hold would be a major win against the terrorist group’s so-called caliphate. The fight has grave humanitarian concerns as Mosul is home to 1.2 million civilians. – Globe and Mail, Globe and Mail
6. The third and final Presidential debate took place this week. We’ve summarized our key takeaways and most memorable moments here: #DebateNight.
A protestor against CETA in Berlin