In The News This Week – April 30, 2017

It’s been a busy week in politics, both internationally and here at home. Here’s everything you need to know to start your week (and the month of May!) informed:

1. Conservative Leadership Race: Kevin O’Leary stunned Canadians this week with his decision to drop out of the Conservative leadership race and formally endorse Maxime Bernier as the next leader. In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail, O’Leary revealed his decision was made due to a lack of popularity in Quebec and weak second ballot. (The Globe and Mail, CTV)

  • FYEI: The deadline for candidates to drop out of the Conservative leadership race was March 31, and as a result Kevin O’Leary’s name will still appear on the ballots (which have already been printed and mailed). In other Conservative Party news, the party has set a new record for party memberships. In a statement published Tuesday, the Conservatives say 259,010 Canadians are now paid-up party members, an increase of 150,000 people since the beginning of January. (The Globe and Mail)

2. Ontario’s Balanced Budget: The Ontario government unveiled the 2017 budget on Thursday, delivering on their promise to balance the books by 2017-18. The budget includes significant investments in healthcare, most notably a universal drug coverage program for children and youth that makes prescription drugs free for all youths aged 24 and under, regardless of family income or private insurance coverage. (CBC)

  • For more information, check out this roundup from The Globe and Mail which outlines ’10 things you need to know’ – including details on housing, day care, youth employment, and a new hotel and Airbnb tax.

3. BC Election: The final leaders’ debate of the BC provincial election campaign took place on Wednesday. Key discussion topics included housing prices, softwood lumber, the economy and education. The CBC has a great article breaking down 5 ‘key moments’ from the debate. The debate was also fact-checked in real time by the Vancouver Sun. Voters head to the polls on May 9. 

4. U.S. Politics: It was a busy week for U.S. President Donald Trump, from unveiling his tax plan, to flip-flopping on NAFTA, announcing a new tax on Canadian softwood lumber imports, last night’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, and celebrating (?) his first 100 days in office. Here is a quick breakdown: 

  • Trump’s Tax Plan: A one-page plan revealed Wednesday that proposes deep U.S. tax cuts, many for businesses.
  • NAFTA: It appears President Trump is still prepared to kill NAFTA, if negotiation efforts with Mexico and Canada prove fruitless.
  • Softwood Lumber: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced a new anti-subsidy duty averaging 20 per cent on Canadian softwood imports this week.
  • White House Correspondent’s Dinner: Trump skipped the dinner and slammed the national news media for their “fake news.”
  • 100 Days in Office: Trump celebrated his 100th day in office with a rally in Pennsylvania. He also signed an executive order directing the Commerce Department and the U.S. trade representative to conduct a study of U.S. trade agreements.
Kevin O’Leary drops out of the Conservative leadership race. Source: The Canadian Press

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