Politics Briefing: Ontario Liberals aim to rein in housing prices in election platform – The Globe and Mail

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An Ontario Liberal government would reinstate rent control, create a new tax on vacant homes in urban areas across the province and charge speculators who keep approved housing projects idle – a levy meant to spur them to build.

The new policy proposals are contained in Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca’s platform document, released Monday, which includes costing details and also pledges billions in new spending.

All of the main political parties competing for votes in Ontario’s June 2 election have made runaway real estate prices a key issue, as many worry most in younger generations will be shut out of home ownership.

Queen’s Park Reporter Jeff Gray reports here.

Meanwhile the Ontario New Democrats are promising northerners quicker reimbursement for health travel expenses and more local health centres in their communities. Story here. And the Progressive Conservatives are promising to increase disability support payment rates by five per cent, if re-elected. Story here.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

TRUDEAU VISIT TO UKRAINE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Sunday and told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Canada would deliver more weapons and other assistance, as well as reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital. Story here.

Reporter’s Comment Mark MacKinnon, Senior International Correspondent: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unannounced visit to Ukraine on Sunday (along with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly) was supposed to be kept secret, with media barred from reporting on the trip until after the PM and his entourage had already left Kyiv following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But that plan exploded when Irpin mayor Oleksandr Markushyn posted photos on his Telegram account of Mr. Trudeau touring his shattered town on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital. Suddenly, it was a media free-for-all, with reporters racing to get their own images and stories online.

“That glitch aside, the visit – which was highlighted by an announcement of more military and humanitarian aid, plus the reopening of the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv – was warmly welcomed in Kyiv, with Mr. Zelensky naming Canada as one of four countries of whom ‘I don’t know what to ask for because you’ve already given everything you had.’

“Canadian ambassador Larisa Galadza was particularly delighted, tweeting that she ‘never expected to have such great company on my return to Kyiv.’”

Meanwhile, on a day meant to showcase his country’s military might, Russian President Vladimir Putin spent his Victory Day speech on Monday justifying his decision to invade Ukraine, as a smaller-than-usual parade of Russian forces rolled through Red Square. Story here.

CALL FOR REVIEW OF RCMP TREATMENT OF WOMEN – An alliance of organizations focused on women’s rights is calling for the federal government to establish an external review of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to address its treatment of women. Story here.

QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT MP’S PARTICIPATION FROM WASHROOM IN HOUSE PROCEEDINGS – The Conservatives are alleging “contempt of the House” after a Liberal MP appeared to be participating in House of Commons proceedings virtually from a washroom stall on Friday. Story here from CTV.

FEDERAL FUNDING NOT RELEASED – A year after the federal government announced a $45-million fund for organizations making sexual and reproductive information and services more available, advocates say none of the money has been released. Story here.

VANCE TERMINATES MILITARY HONOUR – Retired gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada’s former chief of the defence staff, has terminated his appointment to a major Canadian military honour. Story here from CP24.

SIMON TOURS REGION WHERE SHE GREW UP – Governor-General Mary Simon is on a tour of the Nunavik region of northern Quebec this week, marking the first time she’s been on an official visit to the area where she grew up since she was appointed to the viceregal office in July, 2021. Story here.

FERGUS DEPARTS LEADERSHIP ROLES IN BLACK CAUCUSES – Greg Fergus is stepping down from his dual roles as co-chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus and head of the Liberal Black Caucus – groups whose advocacy has more than once turned into government policy. The parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also the MP for Hull-Aylmer, said he’s making room for a new generation of Black parliamentarians. Story here from CBC.

MANY WOMEN IN QUEBEC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BAIL ON PROVINCIAL POLITICS – One in four women in Quebec’s National Assembly are not seeking re-election in this year’s provincial election. There’s a CBC story here on what’s going on.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL – On Monday, Scott Aitchison was campaigning virtually. Former Quebec premier Jean Charest – after spending the weekend in Manitoba visiting Winnipeg and Brandon – was in Edmonton, preparing for Wednesday’s leadership debate. Leslyn Lewis is en route to Alberta and had no events scheduled on Monday. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa ahead of departing for Edmonton on Tuesday. No schedules were available for the other candidates.

DODGE DENOUNCES POILIEVRE CLAIM – Former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge, in an interview on CTV’s Question Period, reacts to Pierre Poilievre’s claim that the central bank is “financially illiterate.” Story here from CTV. Mr. Poilievre responded here.

KENNEY AND MACKAY OFFER TORY LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES SIMILAR ADVICE – Jason Kenney and Peter MacKay, both former federal Conservative cabinet ministers under Stephen Harper, are offering advice to candidates seeking the Conservative leadership. In the wake of last week’s combative first leadership debate, both say candidates need to look beyond the hurlyburly of the current fractious race. “My advice to all of the candidates would be to remember…whoever wins, you’ve got to unite the party at the end of it, and try and be respectful,” Mr. Kenney, now Alberta premier, told CTV’s Question Period. Story here. Mr. MacKay warned, on Global’s The West Block that the combative tone of the debate in Ottawa was “off-putting” to Canadian voters, who will need to be swayed if the party is to have a hope of toppling the Liberals. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May 9, accessible here.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – House of Commons committee meetings later today include a 3:30 p.m ET meeting of the Official Languages committee on Government Measures to Protect and Promote French in Quebec and Canada featuring Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, and a 6:30 p.m. ET meeting of the Special Committee on Afghanistan on the situation in Afghanistan featuring an appearance by Defence Minister Anita Anand. All hearings can be viewed online. The full list of committee hearings is here.

OLIPHANT IN EGYPT AND MOROCCO – Robert Oliphant, parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister, is visiting Egypt and Morocco until May 12, meeting with officials in Cairo to discuss such issues as climate change and human rights, and taking trade, climate change and peace and security in Marrakesh and Rabat, Morocco, as well as attending a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh.

THE DECIBEL

On Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, transportation reporter Eric Atkins talks about the major delays Canada’s international airports have experienced getting passengers on and off their flights, as people begin returning to air travel in numbers not seen since before the pandemic. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

In Rzeszów, Poland, the Prime Minister holds private meetings and then departs for Ottawa.

LEADERS:

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet concludes a visit to the Madeleine Islands that began on May. 6.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

PUBLIC OPINION

CANADIANS SUPPORT UKRAINE POLICY – Canadians are mostly supportive of the government response to the crisis in Ukraine, and many are finding their own ways to assist with the situation such as donating money to support efforts to help Ukrainians, according to a new study from the Angus Reid Institute. Details here.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the realities of Canada being an energy superpower: Energy now accounts for more than a quarter of Canada’s exports, a level last hit in 2014, when crude prices were also on a tear. Back then, Stephen Harper was a vocal booster of the oil industry, and not much interested in talking about climate change. Today, Justin Trudeau is the opposite. Yet for all the Liberal government work to try to cut Canada’s carbon emissions, the economy remains as dependent as ever on pumping oil. Why? Because the world remains as dependent as ever on consuming oil. And Canada is among the world’s largest producers of oil.”

Ebru Kaya and Leonie Herx (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how assisted dying must not be confused for palliative care: While access to MAID is guaranteed in Canada, access to palliative care and other supports, including home and disability services, are not – and worse, MAID is being provided at the expense of already limited palliative care resources. No one should feel compelled to choose an early death because of inadequate care. Tragically, too many physicians know of patients who opted for MAID due to lack of adequate palliative home-care resources to remain in their homes or communities.”

Vanessa Sasson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how all Quebeckers are victims of Bill 96′s overreach: History is repeating itself in Quebec. The repressive measures rolling out in Bill 96, the province’s new proposed language law, are returning us an to era of top-down control that echoes Quebec’s earlier history. The language debate regularly returns in Quebec because the solution to the problem will always be a moving target. French is vulnerable in the face of the global dominance of English, and efforts will have to keep being made to ensure it remains vibrant. That is not a history I take issue with. Most anglophones in Quebec don’t either (despite popular fears claiming otherwise). The invasive methods used to reach that target, however, are. I am speaking here specifically about Bill 96, which is facing a vote in the National Assembly later this month.”

Stephen Harper (National Post) on why it’s time to stop negotiating with Iran:Western leaders must learn from the mistakes that led to the attack on Ukraine and start dealing with the world in accord with our own security interests. We must return to policies anchored in the concept of peace through strength. This means boosting our own capacities, but also working more closely with those with whose interests we are aligned. A nuclear armed Iran, with its apocalyptic vision, would be nothing short of catastrophic for its regional neighbours and global security, including the interests of North America. “

Steve Paikin (TVO) on the real opponent of the Ontario Liberals: “The NDP is understandably miffed that the Liberals would spend any time trying to take back seats that New Democrats occupied in the last house. Surely, given their majority-government status, the PCs have enough seats the Liberals should be targeting, instead of competing against another progressive party, is the NDP argument. On the other hand, see it from the Liberals’ point of view. Their drubbing in the 2018 election was historic. The NDP won plenty of seats it’d never won before, because progressive voters abandoned the Liberals in favour of the NDP. That’s how seats such as Toronto St. Paul’s, Toronto Centre, and Humber River–Black Creek (all Liberal since 1999), and Kingston and the Islands (Liberal since 1995) suddenly went orange in 2018.”

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