Four stories in the news for Tuesday, March 19
BUDGET SETS LIBERAL STAGE FOR FALL ELECTION
The Trudeau government will attempt to set the stage for this fall’s election — and provide some distraction from the SNC-Lavalin affair — with today’s end-of-mandate budget touting the Liberals’ economic record. The Liberal government’s fourth and final budget before the election is expected to include measures to help first-time home buyers, seniors and adult Canadians who want to return to school for skills training. It’s also expected to take an initial step towards a national pharmacare program and disclose details of previously announced tax credits and incentives, worth $595 million over five years, to help Canada’s ailing journalism industry.
PRIVY COUNCIL CLERK MICHAEL WERNICK TO QUIT
The SNC-Lavalin affair claimed its fourth resignation Monday as Michael Wernick announced he will step down as the country’s top public servant, having concluded he’s lost the trust of opposition parties. Opposition parties have been calling for the clerk of the Privy Council’s resignation since he first vehemently rejected allegations that he and others improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, Wernick said he will retire before this fall’s federal election campaign kicks off. Trudeau said he intends to name Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace Wernick.
MONTREAL HAITIANS TRY TO BLOCK EX-PRESIDENT’S VISIT
A group of Haitian Montrealers is appealing to federal and municipal authorities to block an upcoming concert by former Haitian president Michel Martelly, citing what they say are his misogynistic comments and his alleged complicity in corruption scandals. As part of the campaign, women’s groups sent a letter Monday asking Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante to use “all your political power” to block a concert this Friday by the former leader, a popular singer who performs as Sweet Micky. “Michel Martelly, alias Sweet Micky, a notorious misogynist who is an apologist for rape, is scheduled to come perform on stage in Montreal on March 22,” reads the letter, which is signed by seven groups, including the community organization Maison d’Haiti.
NEW BRUNSWICK TORIES TO HAND DOWN FIRST BUDGET
New Brunswick’s minority Tory government is set to table its first budget today and is warning to expect the hard decisions needed to balance the province’s books. Finance Minister Ernie Steeves says the province is paying almost $700 million a year to service its approximately $14-billion debt. Steeves says he thinks it’s urgent the government balance the budget and try to pay down the net debt. He says while there will be some new money spent in the budget, some departments will face cuts. Steeves also says the budget will not have big tax cuts, but it won’t raise taxes either.
IN THE NEWS:
— Matthew Matchett’s case is back in court. He is charged with breach of trust in relation with the shipbuilding contract at the heart of the Mark Norman case.
— The B.C. Court of Appeal hears the provincial government’s reference case to see if it has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory.
— Calgary Police Commission Chair Brian Thiessen and Mayor Naheed Nenshi introduce new police chief Mark Neufeld.
— Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario minister of training, colleges and universities will make an announcement.
The Canadian Press