PPGR Morning Briefing – November 21, 2016

PPGR Morning Briefing

Good morning and welcome to another edition of the PPGR Morning Briefing!

Well Toronto, it looks like winter may have finally arrived. Try to look on the bright side though: the chaos brought on by that first millimetre of snow is sure to give us all something fresh to complain about! No need to worry yourself with the morning commute to work or school (the TTC has probably ground to a halt anyways). Just cozy up with a non-denominational, seasonally-themed cup of something warm from your favourite café…and read our brief!

Each week we will bring you a selection of relevant articles from the PPGR and other publications on policy issues unfolding across the Canadian media landscape.

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New from the PPGR: 

With many fixated on the assemblage of President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration, the PPGR naturally spent much time thinking about political staff in Canada. Luckily for us, a recent event hosted by Massey College’s Democracy Study Group dealt with the issue of the “Modern Role of Political Staff in Canada.” As Nalisha Asgarali reports, the question of staff accountability in contemporary Canadian politics isn’t as simple as you might think.


Panellists discuss potential changes to the role of Canadian political staffers at the Massey College event. (From left: Liane Benoit, Anna Esselment, Hugo de Grandpré, Sean Speer, Chaviva Hosek.)

Curious about the Canadian implications of the upcoming Trump presidency? Our friends at CIUT’s Beyond the Headlines have you covered! On November 14th, hosts Ian T.D. Thomson and Jonah Kotzer sat down with policy experts for a special live episode to discuss the repercussions of the recent U.S. Election on Canadian environmental, trade, border security and foreign policy. Featured guests include Professor David Pettinicchio from the U of T Department of Sociology, Professor Peter Loewen, Director of SPPG, and Dr. Emily Gilbert, cross-appointed Associate Professor at the Department of Geography at the U of T and the Canadian Studies Program at University College. You can catch the whole episode here.

Morning Roundup:

When the news broke last month about Adam Capay, a 23-year-old who had been held in solitary confinement without trial  at the Thunder Bay district jail for four years, the Wynne government insisted that they were searching the province for anyone held in similar conditions, and that they planned to review the province’s segregation procedures. A top story from the Globe and Mail this morning suggests they shouldn’t have to look very far: multiple coroner’s inquests have warned the Ontario Liberals about unsafe conditions at the Thunder Bay facility, and have listed the segregation units as a contributing factor in at least one inmate’s death.


Former Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers has been tapped by the province to investigate the policy it calls “administrative segregation” beginning in January.

The 21 leaders of Asian Pacific nations met this weekend at an APEC summit in Lima, Peru to cement free trade in the regions. However, many left uncertain of the future of free trade thanks to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s anti-trade rhetoric. The annual meeting was used to discuss how each nation would convince their citizens that trade has been a beneficial component of their infrastructure. While Prime Minister Trudeau did not comment on whether he would lobby Trump to approve the Keystone project, he did echo President Obama’s sentiments that “realities of global economies” would be enough for Trump not to kill international trade deals like NAFTA. In a statement, the leaders all said that they would continue a commitment to keeping markets open, and denounce all forms of protectionism.

Later today, the Trudeau government is expected to announce a plan to phase out the use of coal-fired electricity by 2030. The announcement comes in the run up to a December first ministers’ meeting in which the Liberals hope to conclude a pan-Canadian climate accord with the provinces. While a timetable for the end of coal-fired power had been announced by the previous Conservative government, this announcement will accelerate that timeline while still aiming to offer flexibility for those provinces where the coal transition may be more difficult: Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.


Although the property market in the Greater Vancouver Area is already garnering attention from journalists and policymakers across the country, the front page of Saturday’s Globe and Mail turned readers’ attention to a lesser known part of this story: farmland. As Kathy Tomlinson reports, almost 60 per cent of the 122 agricultural properties sold in B.C.’s lower mainland between August 2015 and July 2016 went to investors who exploited agricultural tax provisions to reap millions in profits from new developments.


A house in the Agricultural Land Reserve near Pitt Meadows, B.C.

In his new report for the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Trent University Professor David Newhouse argues that “Canada has moved into a new era that has the potential to transform its relationship with Indigenous peoples.” The report, entitled, “Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the Possibility of Reconciliation,” provides an excellent outline of the history of the relationship, and examines how Canada’s efforts on reconciliation have begun to intersect with ongoing Indigenous efforts to address what he calls the “Canada problem.”


That’s all for today! Look out for the final 2016 edition of the PPGR Morning Briefing on Monday, November 28th, and Feel free to tweet us @PPGReview if you need help digging out after the winter storm.

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