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Prime Ministers Convene in Winnipeg to Address Affordability, Housing, and Healthcare | Breaking:


Officials from several provinces say affordability is their top priority ahead of Monday’s prime ministerial meeting as the cost of living soars across the country.

Atlantic Canada premiers say the federal government’s new clean fuel regulations are driving up the price of gas, diesel and home heating as many struggle to pay their bills.

Last month, the four Atlantic premiers sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying the federal regulations will hurt their provinces more than others and urging Ottawa to reconsider the regulations.

The region is heavily dependent on oil for home heating; more than half of the households in Prince Edward Island heat their homes with oil. Prices have risen as much as 25 cents a liter since the new regulations took effect on July 1.

“We are increasingly concerned that federal measures with a known disproportionate impact are being carried out in Atlantic Canada,” reads the letter, signed by PEI Premier Dennis King.

VIDEO: Maritime premiers lobby against new clean fuel regulations

Atlantic PMs reject clean fuel regulations

June 30, 2023 – Power & Politics speaks with Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston about a new federal clean fuel policy that goes into effect tomorrow that he says will hit his province hard. And we heard from a panel of economists about what the latest GDP data means for affordability and inflation in Canada.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson will host her provincial and territorial counterparts for three days of discussions in Winnipeg. Prime ministers meet each summer to discuss shared priorities and present a united front when calling on the federal government for financial aid and regulatory changes.

BC Premier David Eby plans to make the housing crisis one of his top priorities.

A senior BC government official told Breaking: that the need for affordable housing in BC is particularly acute due to “challenges arising from population growth,” largely attributable to the influx of immigrants to the province in response to labor shortages.

Nunavut Premier PJ Akeeagok is also focused on housing. He wants more federal support for the construction of 1,000 housing units that his government plans to build by the end of his term and seeks investment toward a goal of 3,000 units by 2030.

“Not only are our Inuit communities continuing to experience a housing crisis and overcrowded homes, but Nunavummiut is experiencing some of the highest costs of living in the country,” Akeeagok said in a statement to Breaking:.

the early edition12:46Prime Minister David Eby on the cost of housing in British Columbia

Canada’s prime ministers are converging on Winnipeg next week for their annual summer meeting, and BC’s prime minister says housing will be high on his agenda.

Ontario is joining that momentum. Both provinces want Ottawa’s help in increasing housing supply to keep up with a growing population.

“As we welcome hundreds of thousands of new arrivals each year, we must ensure that we are building the infrastructure necessary to keep pace with our historic growth,” Prime Minister Doug Ford said in a statement to Breaking:.

“My priority at this year’s summer meeting is to make sure we’re doing everything we can to get the shovels in the ground faster so we can build more homes and deliver on key projects.”

Those projects include mining in the mineral-rich Northern Ontario Ring of Fire and proposed Highway 413, which would connect suburbs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Ford said it will also ask Ottawa to reduce what it calls “unnecessary duplication” in federal reviews and provincial environmental assessments for infrastructure projects.

Health on the agenda

Stefanson, from Manitoba, said her priorities for the meeting, as the current president of the Federation Council, include public safety, infrastructure and improving trade corridors across Canada.

She said she hopes health care issues will come up, but not dominate the meeting, as they have in recent years.

After repeated requests for additional health care funding, Ottawa offered provinces and territories in February approximately $46 billion in new funding over 10 years.

The deal fell short of the prime ministers’ request for an annual increase of $28 billion for Canada’s Health Transfer.

The agenda for Tuesday includes the discussion of improvements to the health system. The prime ministers are seeking to pressure the federal government to continue its commitment to increase funding. The leaders are expected to discuss economic issues on Wednesday.

Inuit leader skips meeting with indigenous leaders

The prime ministers will also sit with national indigenous leaders, including Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron and Manitoba Assembly of First Nations Regional Head Cindy Woodhouse at Assiniboine Park.

Stefanson also extended invitations for that meeting to the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), which was created to represent the interests of urban indigenous peoples, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).

The organization representing Inuit in Canada will not be at the table. Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), told Breaking: that declined the invitation due to a dispute over the inclusion of indigenous groups without rights.

In a joint statement on Friday, ITK and Métis National Council leaders called the inclusion of CAP and NWAC “inappropriate” because the groups “claim to represent Inuit and Métis rights.”

Caron said he would attend, in part, “to bring clear terms to prime ministers for future participation” in the annual meeting.

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