Word from the Hill
The House of Commons was back in session on September 18. As the Liberal Government approaches the halfway point of its mandate, its immediate focus in the coming months will be on three main issues: changes to the tax code pertaining to private corporations, passing the Federal carbon pricing backstop, and finalizing the legalization of marijuana.
The CPA is planning a very busy fall schedule of meetings with various Minister’s offices and MPs from all political parties. The CPA will also be looking for opportunities to appear before House of Commons and Senate Committees to discuss the importance of the propane industry to Canada’s economy and its environment.
In August, the CPA submitted its pre-budget recommendations for the Federal Budget 2018 to the Finance Committee.
Among those recommendations was one concerned with Indigenous and northern communities that face unique challenges in trying to address their heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
The CPA recommended that the federal government invest in a $75 million fund specific to Indigenous and northern communities to assist in the conversion from fossil fuels such as diesel and furnace oil to propane.
The CPA is hopeful that a more focused approach by the federal government in addressing important challenges facing Indigenous communities will provide a real opportunity for the propane industry to discuss fuel switching to clean-burning propane, which would improve their air quality.
It was with great interest to the CPA that over the summer Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) would be divided into two new departments: the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the Department of Indigenous Services.
INAC had become a very slow-moving department and was in need of change. The splitting of INAC into two new departments should allow the federal government to be more responsive to ideas that can help improve the lives of Indigenous peoples.
It’s likely that the government believes these new departments will allow for more efficient services to Indigenous communities. The hope is that the Department of Indigenous Services under its new Minister (and former Minister of Health) the Hon. Jane Phillpott can now focus on providing quality day-to-day services to Indigenous peoples. At the same time, outstanding issues around self-government and Canada’s relationship can be addressed under the new Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (and former INAC Minister) the Hon. Carolyn Bennett.