Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Comments on Flaherty calling banks about mortgage rates
- First Nations vowing protests against Northern Gateway
- Kevin Page’s last report
Power Play spoke with John Andrews of Queen’s University, who said that Flaherty’s calling Manulife Financial to persuade them from lowering their mortgage rate was “highly unusual” and said that there was a big difference between the Bank of Canada raising its rates or the minister setting mortgage policy, and calling up the lender. Andrews said that Flaherty crossed the line and that it was unacceptable interference in a free and competitive market. Don Martin then put it to an MP panel of Peggy Nash, Scott Brison and Stella Ambler, where Ambler said the concern was for affordable and stable rates in the long run, as interest rates will go up at some point. Nash said that the Conservatives used to want to deregulate banks, and won’t get involved with high credit card rates, while Brison noted that Flaherty helped to create the housing bubble, and that he would have been better off lowering the amortization period or raising the down payment levels.
Don Martin spoke with Chief Martin Louie from the Nadleh Whuten First Nation, whose territory the Northern Gateway pipeline would cross. Louie said that their studies have shown that the pipeline would not be safe for the environment, and would impact the waterways, and therefore chiefs across BC have stated that they are going to stop the pipeline no matter what. Over on Power & Politics, Evan Solomon spoke with Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who said that it was in the national interest to see pipeline access to tidewater, and while the First Nations have a right to protest within the confines of the law, everyone would stand to gain enormously from the pipeline. In reaction, Peter Julian said this was a mess of the government’s own making, and the new envoy for First Nations on pipelines wasn’t enough, while Carolyn Bennett said there was a legal obligation to negotiate with the First Nations on a nation-to-nation basis, and it was little surprise they didn’t trust in the process.
Evan Solomon spoke with outgoing Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page about his final report, which said that the cost of justice is going up and is increasingly borne by the provinces, but the crime rate has been steadily decreasing. Page said that the government hasn’t been looking across jurisdictions to see how the costs are downloaded onto the provinces, and that while the government may talk about the “costs to victims,” that was beyond his mandate to look at.
- Former TD Chief Economist Don Drummond noted that when the government transferred training funds to the provinces, they stopped collecting training information, so they don’t know where the jobs going unfilled are or what they are.