This is the first monthly “Political Pulse” brought to you by Burrard Strategy.
Although the House of Commons and the Legislature have been adjourned for the summer, there will undoubtedly be significant political developments in the coming months that can affect you.
Burrard Strategy is launching a monthly brief newsletter to keep you informed about what is happening federally, provincially and locally.
We look forward to continuing to keep you up to date and staying in contact.
For more information or to schedule a meeting with our team, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are more than happy to talk and assist you with any of your needs.
On June 21st, the House of Commons adjourned for the summer. Of the 4 federal by-elections this month, the results showed a largely unchanged political landscape with the Liberals taking two seats, in the west Island of Montreal and in Winnipeg, and the Conservatives winning two rural ridings in Ontario and Manitoba.
Despite facing a challenging last couple of months, the Liberals are still commanding the confidence of the house. Earlier in the year, the Conservatives led by Pierre Poilievre launched a concerted attack on the Prime Minister and the Liberals, but much of the early momentum has now stalled, placing federal politics in a holding pattern, with a virtual tie between both parties, with both parties commanding about one third of the electorate according to the polls.
A critical factor in the government’s support from the New Democrats is the early roll out of the Dental Care Program, a commitment made in part of the confidence and supply agreement between the government and the NDP.
Before adjourning for the summer, Bill C-11 & C-18 received royal assent with many other bills having to wait until the fall session to be passed. Bill C-11, also known as the Online Streaming Act, is a major piece of legislation. In plain terms, Bill C-11 aims to make large streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify, and CraveTV adhere to the same Canadian content requirements as traditional legacy media in Canada as mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications (CRTC). Bill C-11 generated significant debate from across the house and members of the public, and its eventual implementation by the CRTC will be a point of interest and contention in the coming months.
Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, mirrors a similar Australian law which requires tech giants like Google and Meta to pay media outlets for the content they share. A variety of deals have been forged between tech giants and sites in Australia since the Australian law came into force. Meta’s head of Public Policy in Canada was quoted saying that “we are working towards ending news availability in Canada permanently.” Minister Pablo Rodriguez has since expressed hope that the tech giants and the federal government could reach a deal to keep news available on the platforms.
The BC Legislature has been in its summer break since mid-May. The BC NDP continues to hold a commanding lead in the legislature and with the general public. Premier David Eby has taken the reins from John Horgan who is stepping down after his bout with cancer to return to his home community of Langford.
Before the summer recess, the government introduced Bill 23, which aims to enforce new rules for motorists and protect pedestrians and non-motorized commuters. As part of Bill 23, motorists must observe a one-metre passing distance and a three-metre following distance when sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized commuters. It will now also be required that heavy-duty commercial vehicles be equipped with speed limiters. By passing this legislation the provincial government aims to make the roads safer for all road users.
In addition to Bill 23, the premier recently introduced new funding as part of its greater reconciliation strategy for Indigenous Justice Centres. The high incarceration rate of Indigenous peoples in BC prisons of around 30%, despite representing roughly 5% of the population, highlights the need for collaboration between the province, Indigenous peoples and various other stakeholders to address this critical issue.
On June 24th, by-elections took place in two NDP-held ridings.NDP candidate Ravi Parmar won Langford-Juan de Fuca with 53% of the vote, while community activist NDP candidate Joan Phillip won Vancouver-Mount Pleasant with 68%.
The new MLAs will continue the work of the Premier and the NDP when the legislature reconvenes in the fall.
Environment Canada has reported that Canada including BC is in for a drier and warmer summer than in years past. Building on the already record setting fire season, BC will need to enhance its fire prevention, mitigation and response strategies.
VANCOUVER & METRO VANCOUVER
The summer months are going to be filled with exciting developments in Metro Vancouver. Within city limits, over 75% of Vancouver’s land has been zoned as single-family residential since the late 1920’s. This poses a significant problem with the increasing number of people choosing Greater Vancouver as home. Vancouver now has the highest share of renters spending more than half of their income on rent and utilities in Canada.
The Premier and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced in April that they would introduce legislation in late 2023 to override municipal governments across the province, to allow up to four units per single-family zoned lot. With this legislation in the pipeline the mayor, ABC, and city administration has a challenging task ahead addressing housing in the city. Toronto City Council decided to allow multiplexes throughout the city earlier this year.
After originally announcing a 9,000 unit project on the Jericho Lands the MST development corporation (Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh nations) has recently announced an amended project plan that includes roughly 13,000 units. Currently, the Jericho lands project is in public consultation, and a draft policy statement will be brought to council in the fall. City Council is likely to decide on the project late in the year. With a SkyTrain extension running through the project, this ambitious project will construct 13,000 new homes.
After the pandemic, Granville Street, once the center of arts and culture in Vancouver, has lost its energy and safety. To address this issue, Mayor Sim
announced early this month that the city is launching a public engagement campaign focused on revitalizing Granville Street. The mayor, intending to make Granville Street more lively, safe and enjoyable, went on to say that the public engagement and ensuing report would “set the stage for a safe, fun, and vibrant Granville Street for generations to come.” A final report and plan for revitalizing Granville Street will be released sometime in 2024.