In The News This Week – January 29

Hey Canada, Happy Sunday! While tales of Donald Trump’s first week in office continue to dominate headlines, the Canadian House of Commons is scheduled to resume activity tomorrow. Here’s a quick recap of this week’s political headlines:

  1. Donald Trump: True to campaign promises, and confirming the fears of many critics, President Donald Trump hammered out a “blitz” of executive orders during his first week in office. Here is a recap of his key decisions to-date: 
    • Obamacare: His first executive order, signed January 20, targeted the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’), and directed federal agencies to “ease regulations” associated with Obamacare, noting that Trump intends to seek the “prompt repeal” of this law. (CBC)
    • TPP: On January 23, Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, and signalled his intention to also renegotiate NAFTA at the “appropriate time.” (CBC)
    • Keystone XL: On his second day at the White House, Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline project, reversing Barack Obama’s decision in November, 2015 to deny the proposal. (BNN)
    • The Wall: On Wednesday, Donald Trump signed an order to build a wall along the U.S. – Mexico border. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump will seek a 20 per cent tax on imports from Mexico, which would help pay for the wall. (BNN)
    • Abortion order: Donald Trump has also reinstated an order blocking foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that provide or “promote” abortions. (The Hill)
    • Immigration ban: On Friday, Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order that closes America’s borders, for at least the next three months, to all refugees and to immigrants from the following seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Syria. (Macleans)
  2. Cash-for-access legislation: On Friday, the Liberal government announced a legislative initiative that would address the controversy surrounding the “cash-for-access” fundraising controversy that has plagued the Liberal government over the past few months. Called “window-dressing” and a “cosmetic” initiative by critics, the legislation will include the following measures: 
    • Fundraisers would have to be conducted in publicly accessible spaces rather than private homes or clubs.
    • All fundraisers must be publicly advertised in advance.
    • A public report on each individual fundraiser must be released in a timely manner, detailing the number of attendees and the amount of money raised.
    • The federal government will also commit to allowing the media to cover all of its fundraisers. (The Globe and Mail)
  3. Tory vs. Wynne: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has vetoed the road toll plan for Toronto spearheaded by Mayor John Tory. To soften the blow of this decision, Wynne announced Friday that the Ontario government will double the share of the two-cents-a-litre gasoline tax earmarked for municipalities within five years. (Toronto Star)
    • At a City Hall press conference on Friday, John Tory expressed his dismay at this decision, saying he is tired of being treated like “a little boy … in short pants” by the province, calling this a “shortsighted” and “paternalistic” decision. (The Globe and Mail)
Toronto Mayor John Tory at a City Hall press conference on Friday. Source: Toronto Star

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