Chris Gray is a Senior Consultant based in Ottawa who worked on Parliament Hill as a legislative assistant for the Liberals. Chris can be contacted at chris@grassrootspa.ca.


As provinces start to re-open and allow larger gatherings and businesses to resume operations, and Canada’s COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, we are hopeful that parliamentary meetings will also resume in a normal fashion come this fall. After weeks of socially distanced in-person meetings and online communication to conduct parliamentary business, the special COVID-19 Committee will cease to exist. Parliament plans to meet four times over the summer months to ensure MPs have an opportunity to interact with the government regarding Canada’s plan to recover from the pandemic.

In a recent report, the parliamentary budget officer said this year’s federal deficit could hit $256 billion due to COVID-19. The result is the combination of an estimated $169 billion in federal spending on emergency aid and a historic drop in economic output. The budget office estimates the economy could shrink by 6.8 per cent in 2020, the weakest showing since 1981 and double the record of 3.2 per cent shrinkage in 1982. We await the Liberal government’s fiscal “snapshot”, that will be presented to the House of Commons on July 8th, to see what their projections are moving forward after the COVID recovery spending blitz.

With Conservatives on the verge of selecting their new leader, it will be interesting to watch frontrunners Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole as they turn up the heat and seek support. As the August 21st selection date grows closer, our money is on MacKay for leader. MacKay has backed away from earlier comments that he would try to force a fall election, citing the country’s need to focus on COVID recovery.

2020 Pre-Budget Consultations

The House of Commons Finance Committee has signaled its intention to proceed with 2021 federal budget consultations by inviting stakeholders to submit a brief for consideration by August 7th. This is a good opportunity for organizations to kick off engagement with government officials and MPs. The Finance Committee’s theme this year will be measures to restart the Canadian economy.

Polling

It was just seven short months ago the Liberals held onto power with a minority government. Given how the Prime Minister and the government have responded to the COVID crisis, Canadians are giving them a thumbs up – if an election were held now, polls suggest the Liberals would win a majority with 191 seats in the House of Commons.

338Canada Electoral Projection from June 14, 2020
Source: 338Canada

While we at Grassroots don’t anticipate an election this fall, it’s prudent for organizations to be prepared with a plan, just in case. The opposition parties stated early in the year that a fall election could happen, but COVID restrictions has likely put a hard stop to that. And now with the Liberals riding high in the polls, the other parties, particularly the Conservatives, will want to get back to parliament to hold the government to account for all additional spending commitments. Couple this with the upcoming U.S. election that Canadians will undoubtedly watch very closely, the appetite for a federal election will be low.

The House of Commons will return in September and we expect some semblance of normality in the proceedings, with in-person sittings and committee meetings. Also, pre-budget consultations with the Finance Committee will kick into high gear and many organizations will look to meet with committees, MPs and officials (either in-person or virtually) to advance their priorities with government.

Key Dates to Remember:

  • July 8th – Government presents fiscal update to the House of Commons
  • The House of Commons meets on July 8th, July 22nd, August 12th, August 26th
  • August 7th – Finance Committee pre-budget consultation process closes
  • August 21st – Conservative leadership results announced
  • September 21st – Regular House of Commons sittings resume

Peter Seemann is a Senior Consultant and Principal of Grassroots Public Affairs and is based in Toronto. Peter can be contacted at peter@grassrootspa.ca.


If you thought the last few months of politics at Queen’s Park were a blur, you’re not alone. While the legislature normally breaks for the summer around this time, a revised schedule is now available online for the coming months. Due to time lost during the COVID 19 lockdown, a rotating number of legislators and staff will find themselves sitting for 3 weeks in July. Currently the plan is to be away for August and return to a normal schedule in September.

In the meantime, let’s consider a few government priorities.

COVID-19 Reopening

To say COVID-19 has dominated everyone’s attention since March, remains an understatement. Speaking to numerous government staff over the last few weeks, everyone agrees that besides the massive and ongoing response to tackling the pandemic, little else is getting done. Most major announcements outside of the Ministry of Health all relate to COVID (i.e. Education on school programs, Agriculture on temporary foreign workers, etc.), while Finance and the Treasury Board do their best to get a handle on what the bottom line looks like.

With Toronto and Peel Region finally getting the green light to enter Phase 2 of re-opening, the government is cautiously hoping the infection numbers continue their downward trend. Evident by the massive beach party last weekend in Toronto, Ontarians are eager to get out and celebrate the arrival of summer after 3 months of social isolation.

Yet everyone should be concerned about the possibility of a spike in infections as people let their guard down, and what that might do to our already crippled economy. Suffice to say, there are lots of fingers and toes crossed in and around Queen’s Park these days.

Provincial Budget

Back on March 4th the provincial government announced their annual budget would be presented on March 25th. That date was scuttled when Premier Ford declared a provincial State of Emergency on March 17th. Since then, government expenditures, particularly for healthcare, have skyrocketed and tax revenues have plummeted due to the forced closure of so many businesses and industries. This perfect storm of economic turmoil is causing sizeable uncertainty, but Ontario is not alone and engages daily with their federal counterparts in Ottawa, as governments look to support Canadians during these difficult times.

As of last fall, the projected annual deficit for 2020/21 was estimated at between $6-9B. A report released in May by the Financial Accountability Office suggested Ontario’s annual deficit could balloon to over $40B as a result of the pandemic. This unforeseen economic catastrophe will completely derail the PC government’s plan to balance the provincial budget by 2023. Finance Minister Rod Phillips announced in March that a full budget would not be released until this fall.

Despite the reality of things changing on a daily basis, staff at Finance will be working overtime during the summer months to try and get a handle on things. The legislature is set to resume on September 14th, and we anticipate a budget date during the first full week of October.

Cabinet Shuffle

It’s normal for majority governments to look at shuffling their cabinet around the mid-way point of their term, and in recent days the Premier has fielded questions from reporters on the topic. Expectedly, Ford did not tip his hat on any specific plans but noted he was blessed with a great team and that he had “20 caucus members who could jump into cabinet in a heartbeat and be just as good”. So, let’s speculate on what changes might occur if a shuffle does in fact happen.

First off, the Premier and his government have enjoyed increased public approval in their handling of the pandemic since March. With that in mind, don’t expect any of the prominent faces seen daily with the Premier during his COVID updates to be changing positions. Finance Minister Phillips, Health Minister Elliott, Education Minister Lecce and even Labour Minister McNaughton are all likely to remain in their current positions going forward. However, there may be promotions of some younger and more diverse faces from caucus to full ministerial roles, including:

Photo of MPP Stan Cho

Stan Cho (Willowdale)

Currently the PA for Finance, MPP Cho was previously PA to Treasury Board. Widely recognized as a rising star, he has the added benefit of representing an important Toronto riding, and is the most likely new face to enter cabinet.

Photo of MPP Michael Parsa

Michael Parsa (Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill)

MPP Parsa is currently the PA to Treasury Board and was previously the PA for Small Business. A tireless worker, he has an excellent track record of listening to people’s concerns, and his own experience as a successful small business owner puts him in a favourable position with Premier Ford.

Photo of MPP Christine Hogarth

Christine Hogarth (Etobicoke–Lakeshore)

Involved in provincial politics for many years, MPP Hogarth was a staffer during the Mike Harris years.  She understands politics at the grassroots level and has done well in her role of PA to the Solicitor General for Community Safety. Also representing an important riding in Etobicoke, her chances of being promoted to cabinet are good.

Photo of MPP Nina Tangri

Nina Tangri (Mississauga–Streetsville)

Prior to politics, MPP Tangri enjoyed a successful career in the private sector boasting over 30 years’ experience in financial management. Last year she was promoted to PA under the Minister of Economic Development. Given the importance of holding on to GTA area ridings, promoting a capable MPP like Tangri can only help the government with its re-election bid.

Photo of MPP Lindsey Park

Lindsey Park (Durham)

While still relatively unknown, MPP Park is a very capable and competent politician ready to serve in cabinet if asked. A lawyer by trade, she has stayed in the role of PA for the Attorney General under both Ministers Mulroney and now Downey. Ms. Park’s riding has a good mix of rural and urban areas so she could easily step into a variety of roles, especially if the Premier is interested in giving his cabinet a more youthful element.

Fall Session

While MPPs will continue to sit for July, things are far from normal at Queen’s Park. All of us are optimistically looking towards the fall in the hopes that regular face-to-face visits will resume come September. Despite the singular focus on COVID, the government is likely eager to move forward with other priorities, yet no one knows exactly when they will be safe to do that. Post-COVID, government focus will be restarting the economy and priority will be given to any and all advocacy initiatives based around economic growth and job creation.

Many industry groups have been pleading with government for emergency funding, but resources are limited. Therefore, as you look ahead to restarting your advocacy plans this fall, be mindful to highlight what’s in it for the government so they take notice and provide support.


Grassroots will be monitoring government activities throughout the summer months, and is your eyes and ears at Queen’s Park as you need it.

Stay healthy and enjoy the summer!

Photo of Catherine O'Gorman

Grassroots Public Affairs is excited to welcome Catherine O’Gorman to the team as a Campaign Support Specialist, effective immediately.

Catherine is a bilingual public policy and communications professional with an interest in public affairs and the agri-food sector. She has experience working with supranational, national, provincial and municipal governments and organizations including: the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the United Nations, the House of Commons, the City of Ottawa, and the Québec Public Service.

Catherine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Politics with Minors in French and Spanish from Carleton University, a Masters of Public and International Affairs from Glendon College, and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Strasbourg.

Catherine currently lives in Prince Edward County and works as a Communications and Community Outreach Specialist in the agri-food sector at Sprague Foods, an independent, family-run Canadian cannery.

Contact Catherine:

An annual snapshot of public opinion about Canadian agriculture and food.


As enthusiastic advocates for the Canadian Agri-Food sector, Grassroots Public Affairs is pleased to release our second annual agriculture and food research public opinion poll.

Our approach for 2020 includes COVID-19 pandemic-related food questions, as well as repeated questions from 2019 so we can measure any change in public opinion. Key findings for this year’s research include:

  • 64% of Canadians believe that hunger and food insecurity will worsen in future as a result of COVID-19. –
  • 97% of Canadians trust the quality of food grown or produced domestically – an increase from 2019. –
  • 92% of Canadians endorse government support for the agriculture and agri-food sector. –
  • 62% of Canadians believe that temporary foreign workers should continue to come into Canada. –
  • 87% of Canadians believe that agriculture and agri-food is a leading economic driver in Canada, identifying the sector as the most economically important industry surveyed. –
  • 86% of Canadians believe that agriculture and agri-food plays a key role in Canada’s national security and critical infrastructure, with the sector coming second only to healthcare in terms of importance.

Other key findings include:

  • Across the country more than one-in-six saying they have worked on a farm, in agriculture or in food processing. –
  • Canadians are more likely to grocery shop themselves as opposed to ordering-in, grabbing takeaway or using a grocery delivery service due to COVID-19. –
  • Canadians continue to hold overwhelmingly negative views towards food additives such hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs. –
  • The future of Canadian agriculture looks positive with a strong plurality believing that the industry is likely to grow as opposed to shrink or stay the same as it is today. –
  • Canadians continue to believe that the federal government should prioritize financial support for grains over livestock but support for proteins has increased in the past year.

Special thanks to Food Banks Canada for their participation.

You can read coverage of our poll findings by Bernard Tobin of Real Agriculture here.

We invite you to download and share the ‘Greenhouse’:

Grassroots-Greenhouse-Agriculture-Poll-Findings-May-1st-compresed

For customized presentations on the findings please contact us by email at info@grassrootspa.ca

Stay safe and healthy,

Peter Seemann, President
905-716-3000

Chris Gray is a Senior Consultant based in Ottawa who worked on Parliament Hill as a legislative assistant for the Liberals. Chris can be contacted at chris@grassrootspa.ca.


With the Prime Minister and government officials providing unprecedented daily updates on the COVID-19 health crisis, communications and advocacy efforts seemingly move at light speed and change on a dime. Grassroots continues to monitor the changing atmosphere, with updates available on our COVID-19 Resources page.

$82B aid package

After some political wrangling with the opposition parties, the government has now passed Bill C-13, the $82-billion aid package to help Canadians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic — legislation that will improve access to Employment Insurance and other programs that provide money to workers and businesses in need. The crisis continues to have a massive effect on almost all industries.  Moving forward, we can expect other stimulus announcements from the government aimed at helping businesses stay afloat.

The changing advocacy environment

As social distancing is now the norm, advocacy efforts will have to shift towards digital initiatives – email and social media campaigns. In many ways, lobby groups can be useful conduits to the government in terms of relaying what’s happening on the ground per industry.  Moving forward, the legislative workload will get heavier once the government shifts from holding near-daily announcements into “the actual administrative rolling out of funds and programs”.

Looking ahead:

  • House of Commons tentatively set to resume regular sittings on April 20;
  • Federal Budget set for March 30th has been postponed indefinitely;
  • The Conservative leadership race has pushed back the June 27th convention; and
  • Many organizations are communicating with government seeking help – charities, hotel sector, tourism, for instance.

Grassroots can help!

The need for clarity, consistency and collaboration between the private sector and government has never been greater. Let Grassroots Public Affairs help support your critical  communication and advocacy initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Gray is a Senior Consultant based in Ottawa who worked on Parliament Hill as a legislative assistant for the Liberals. Chris can be contacted at chris@grassrootspa.ca.

Rail blockades keeping MPs hopping

Parliament resumed sitting this week and had a very busy agenda, with meetings on to address the rail blockades, committee agendas and Chairs established, the new CUSMA trade deal debated and the Finance Committee wrapping up its pre-budget consultations. The House of Commons will now sit for two more weeks before taking another week back in the ridings for March break (week of March 16th). The Prime Minister, who spent 10 days recently with meetings in Africa, has established a team of cabinet members dedicated to finding solutions to the rail blockades. Canadian businesses are calling on the PM to take decisive action to limit the effects of these blockades. As expected, the opposition parties are pressing the government for answers and action.

Other news around Ottawa

With memberships now sorted out for the committees, most of them met this week to elect a Chair and plan committee business. The Finance Committee heard from Minister Bill Morneau (along with departmental officials) on Wednesday as he laid out the government’s fiscal priorities leading up to Budget 2020.  The Trade Committee met a number of times this week to discuss Bill C-4, the new NAFTA implementation legislation with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland appearing Tuesday. The Health Committee, which has been studying Canada’s response to the coronavirus, met Wednesday afternoon to plan future work.

The Bloc Quebecois flexed its new muscle this week and press the House of Commons to support them as they look for the government to increase employment insurance coverage for people dealing with a serious illness (such as cancer) by extending from the current 15 weeks to 50 weeks. Ideally for the Bloc, this measure would be included in the government’s 2020 Budget expected in the coming weeks.

The NDP are committed to keeping pharmacare on the front-burner in the House of Commons. We are still expecting the party to introduce a private member’s bill soon that would call on the governing Liberals to keep their campaign pledge and extend the existing health care system to include prescription drugs. The private member’s bill, “An Act to implement the Canada Pharmacare Act”, could be introduced as early as this week.

With a few days to go until the private members’ circuit is officially up and running, New Democrat House Leader Peter Julian is set to set to launch a new backbench bid to put national pharmacare — and specifically, the New Democrat call for the federal Liberals to keep their campaign pledge and extend the existing health care system to include prescription drugs — on the House agenda. As per the notice paper, Julian served notice of his intention to introduce a bill to implement the Canada Pharmacare Act, although that’s just the first stage in priming the proposal to make its debut on the House floor.

We expect the next two weeks to be very busy leading up to the March Break. Committees will be busy tacking initial studies and the House agenda will be full and MPs will be pulled in all directions as stakeholders look to establish relationships with new MPs and influence the federal budget, expected in late March or early April.

Chris Gray is a Senior Consultant based in Ottawa who worked on Parliament Hill as a legislative assistant for the Liberals. Chris can be contacted at chris@grassrootspa.ca.

Speech from the Throne

Last week, the Governor General opened the 43rd Parliament with the reading of the Speech from the Throne. The speech largely re-iterated many priorities that the governing Liberals laid out in their election platform – addressing climate change will remain a top priority, increasing the personal income tax exemption to $15,000 will be one of the first bills introduced in the House, finding a workable solution to pharmacare and working to improve gun control measures.

With a minority Parliament and a brand new Speaker (Liberal MP Anthony Rota) the government will need to find concessions with the other parties on an issue-by-issue basis – however, no party truly wants to throw the country back into an election and the Liberals only need the backing of one of the parties to hold the confidence of the House. Both the NDP and the Conservatives have said that they will not support the government’s Throne Speech – however, the Bloc will support it, giving the Liberals the necessary votes in the House of Commons to pass.

Meet the new Ministers

On November 20th, the government’s gender balanced cabinet ministers were sworn in at Rideau Hall. Below are some new Ministers or those with a new portfolio:

Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver) was promoted to Minister of Environment after serving as Parliamentary Secretary to Environment and Minister of Fisheries in the last Parliament. He takes over a tough and demanding portfolio from Catherine McKenna and will be front and centre leading the government’s agenda to tackle climate change. The Chief of Staff to Minister Wilkinson is Marlo Reynolds. (Image retrieved from OurCommons.ca)

Steven Guilbeault (Laurier-Sainte Marie) is one of Trudeau’s “star” new MPs from the island of Montréal. A founding member of Équiterre, a Quebec environmental organization, he was also director and campaign manager for the Greenpeace Quebec chapter for ten years. His Chief of Staff is Mathieu Bouchard. (Image retrieved from the Government of Canada)

Mona Fortier (Ottawa-Vanier) is now in her second term and has been rewarded with her first cabinet position. Prior to being elected, Minister Fortier worked as the Chief Director of Communications and Market Development at Collège La Cité and managed her own strategic communications consulting firm. (Image retrieved from the Government of Canada)

Looking ahead – next steps

The House of Commons will now sit for the next week to largely debate the various elements of the Throne Speech. Once the House rises on December 13th (if not earlier) MPs will resume their regular schedule of a lengthy winter break to work in their constituencies. Parliament will resume on January 27th. Committees will be set soon so stakeholders will want to engage with these MPs on their specific issues. Meetings in the ridings in January are often a good idea to plant seeds with MPs on your issues. The government will soon be thinking about the 2020 federal budget. Ministers will have an opportunity to provide input into the Finance Minister and his office on their priority issues. The House of Commons Finance Committee will hold pre-budget consultations in the New Year and invite stakeholders to present before the committee. The Finance Committee’s report must be tabled in the House of Commons by February 28th, 2020.

If you are considering making a pre-budget submission and engaging with government to try to get a line in the budget, now is the time to think about meeting with MPs, staff and Ministers to discuss your ideas and requests. Grassroots Public Affairs can help you along the way – feel free to reach out and ask our advice!

Written by Chris Gray, Senior Consultant

As promised, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced his new gender-balanced cabinet yesterday afternoon. There are now 36 cabinet ministers with 10 of those coming from Quebec, despite only having elected 35 Liberal MPs from the province in last month’s election. The Prime Minister has assembled a strong team to govern during this minority Parliament, rewarding those ministers who have been solid performers by keeping many in their same portfolios for stability and bringing in some new faces with diverse backgrounds.

There were some notable promotions, with Chrystia Freeland moving from Foreign Affairs to become the Deputy Prime Minister and François-Philippe Champagne moving to Foreign Affairs. Approximately half of the cabinet members from the previous parliamentary session have held onto their portfolios: Bill Morneau remains at Finance; Navdeep Bains stays at Innovation, Science, and Industry; Marie-Claude Bibeau holds onto Agriculture and Agri-Food; Marc Garneau stays at Transport; and David Lametti remains the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

Notable deletions from cabinet include Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, who was the Health Minister and Kirsty Duncan who was the Minister of Science.

Some key shifts:

Notable new faces in Trudeau’s cabinet this time around, including seven rookies:

  • Rookie Oakville MP Anita Anand is the Minister of Public Services and Procurement;
  • Manitoba MP Dan Vandal is the Minister of Northern Affairs;
  • Toronto MP Marco Mendocino becomes the Minister of Immigration;
  • Rookie Montreal MP Stephen Guilbeault is the new Minister of Canadian Heritage.

So what about western representation? The Prime Minister was stuck between a rock and a hard place with no MPs in either Saskatchewan or Alberta. He has appointed Winnipeg MP Jim Carr, the former Natural Resources Minister, as the government’s special representative in the Prairies. Presumably his role will include regular liaison with western MPs of all stripes and provincial governments to ensure the government is listening to their priorities.

The government will be focused on continuing to tackle climate change and ensure the country’s economic growth by investing further in Canada’s natural resources, particularly in the west with pipelines and oil. And of course, ratification of the USMCA trade deal between Canada/U.S./Mexico is still to be completed.

We anticipate that this minority government will be in place anywhere from 18 months to two years. It will be important for stakeholders to connect with MPs, ministers and their staff in the early days of the new government to establish relationships and put issues on the table. And we must remember that with a minority Parliament, opposition MPs and critics can play an important role in the House of Commons and in Committees.

The Governor General will read the Speech from the Throne on Thursday, December 5th and Parliament will sit for the next week to take care of house keeping items before breaking for Christmas and returning on January 27th. Over the next week, stakeholders can anticipate the release of the Minister’s mandate letters and the announcement of Parliamentary Secretaries to support the Ministers.

Grassroots is ready to assist your organization in Ottawa with any federal engagement or strategic advice you may require as you plan your advocacy efforts.

The members of the cabinet are:

Written by Chris Gray

Canadian Parliament buildings
Photo by James Beheshti on Unsplash

When the Prime Minister visits the Governor General on November 20th to unveil his new cabinet, we can expect significant changes. Reduced from 177 seats to 157, including losing a high-profile Minister in Ralph Goodale, there are some holes. Over the next few weeks, we will hear many rumours as the vetting process begins and MPs start to field calls to gauge their interest in serving in cabinet. The Prime Minister, who has once again committed to a gender balanced cabinet, will also have to factor in rewarding long-serving MPs, keeping some current core cabinet ministers and rewarding key high-profile rookies who knocked off key opposition MPs. And of course, the Prime Minster will have to figure out how best to serve Western Canada’s interest in cabinet with no MPs in Alberta or Saskatchewan. So, let’s take a closer look.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba

The West is a mess for the Prime Minister. With no seats in either Alberta or Saskatchewan, he may be forced to do something unconventional to ensure they are represented around the cabinet table. Since a cabinet minister does not have to be a sitting MP, the Prime Minister could look to appoint a Senator or two from those provinces, which is not unprecedented. Rumours continue that there are ongoing discussions with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Trudeau could also designate a minister from B.C. or Manitoba to cover off Alberta and Saskatchewan. This will be one of the most important early decisions for this minority government. Reduced to only four seats in Manitoba, it’s quite possible that two of the four will be awarded a cabinet seat. With Jim Carr’s recent cancer diagnosis, it would be very surprising to see him return to cabinet, where he serves as the Minister of International Trade Diversification. That leaves Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface-Saint Vital), Terry Duguid (Winnipeg South) and Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North) with a very good chance to be promoted.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South) and Carla Qualtrough (Delta) both performed well in their roles at Defence and Public Services respectively – they should be a lock to return. We don’t expect a lot of changes to the BC representatives in cabinet – Joyce Murray could also return; she served as the Minister of Digital Government and Treasury Board last Parliament. If the Prime Minister wants to have a northern representative, his choice will be between Larry Bagnell (Yukon) and Michael McLeod (Northwest Territories).

The Maritimes

Looking to the Maritimes, it’s a safe bet that Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South-Mt. Pearl) will return to cabinet, as well as Bernadette Jordan (South Shore-St. Margarets) who easily won her seat over the Conservative challenger. Watch for newcomers Lenore Zann (Cumberland-Colchester) and Jaime Battiste (Sydney-Victoria) to get some consideration. Zann served the last 10 years as an NDP MLA, and Battiste is a lawyer by training and a member of the Potlotek First Nation. And with PEI returning all four of its Liberal MPs, we can once again anticipate that either Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan) or Wayne Easter (Malpeque) will come back to cabinet. MacAulay, the dean of the House having been an MP since 1988, served as the Veterans Affairs Minister last Parliament, while Easter was the Finance Committee Chair. In New Brunswick, look for both Dominic Leblanc (Beausejour) and Ginette Petitpas-Taylor (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe) to have a seat at the table again. Last Parliament, Leblanc served as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Petitpas-Taylor was the Health Minister.

Quebec

In Quebec, we won’t be surprised to see former cabinet members Marc Garneau (Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Westmount), Francois-Phillipe Champagne (Saint-Maurice-Champlain), Melanie Joly (Ahunistic-Cartierville) and David Lametti (Lasalle-Emard-Verdun) all returned. We don’t expect to See Diane Lebouthiller (Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine) come back given the fact that she struggled at times at the Canada Revenue Agency. Look for a newcomer to take her place, possibly Rachel Bendayan (Outremont).

Ontario

Seat-rich Ontario will be a tough balancing act once again for Trudeau. The GTA was well represented last Parliament and you can expect more of the same this time around. Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre), Chrystia Freeland (University Rosedale), Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North), Karina Gould (Burlington) should be locks to get back in. Around the province, Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre) will be back, but anticipate a change from Environment for her. Karen McCrimmon (Kanata-Carleton) is worthy of consideration, possibly for Veterans Affairs given her military background and having defeated a high-profile Conservative candidate. Adam van Koeverden (Milton) beat long-time Conservative Lisa Raitt and will surely get a look for a portfolio like Sport. Another name to watch for possible cabinet from Ontario – Irek Kusmierczyk (Windsor-Tecumseh) who won in an NDP stronghold, taking the riding for the Liberals for the first time since 2000.

Written by Peter Seemann

Photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash

A week has passed since the votes were counted and Canadians handed Justin Trudeau a second mandate – albeit a minority with strings attached. Unlike other recent elections, the pollsters and pundits were largely accurate in their result predictions. Much has been written since last week’s votes were tabulated, yet here are a few observations from Grassroots that we feel are important to note.

Minority for 4 years

While the Liberals only managed to win a minority government, it’s not likely to fall any time soon. The Liberals will enjoy the support of the NDP on many issues and given the financial reality both parties face, it is unlikely either will want to trigger an early election. The Fall Economic Statement will likely shed light on early priorities of this government. We anticipate the governing Liberals to move forward as if they have a majority government, at least in the first year or two. With the electorate fed up with the mudslinging and negative politics of this recent campaign, no party wants to be responsible for triggering another vote anytime soon.

Climate change only increasing in Canadians’ minds

Protest sign saying "There is no Planet B"
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Regardless of what you believe is the truth and what you believe should be done, Canadians increasingly are looking for government to show leadership in dealing with climate change. The path forward for Prime Minister Trudeau and his government will not be easy. He has repeated his commitment to build the Trans Mountain pipeline which will draw cheers and jeers from opposing sides. At the same time his government implemented a carbon tax and will push forward with other initiatives that will challenge Canada to reach the Paris Climate Agreement. While the federal Conservatives picked up 26 seats and won the popular vote, they were widely criticized for not properly communicating or putting forward a strong enough environmental plan. Environmental concerns have risen before and are routinely overshadowed by economic concerns when times get tough. Most Canadians have enjoyed a long period of prosperity. It will be interesting to watch how this government balances the environment and economics if and when a long overdue recession finally comes.

New faces mean continued lobbying required

In total there were 91 rookie MPs elected across all party lines. There were also 7 MPs elected that have previously served in government but did not serve in the last 4 year term. A new cabinet will be sworn in by next month and once parliament resumes new committees will be formed. Lots of new faces mean more work to be done on the Hill communicating your message to government.

What’s your plan? Need help? The Grassroots team is ready to assist!