Talking about a 'modest' increase in CPP

Politics on TV: Finance ministers, the Pickton report, game changers and Power Players

Message of the day

“We’ll have a report by June on the definition of a modest increase in CPP.”

Hot Topics

  1. Finance Ministers’ meeting
  2. The Pickton report
  3. The situation in the Middle East

Questions not answered

  • Will the provinces sign on to “modest” increases in the CPP?

Finance ministers:

At the finance ministers’ meeting at Meech Lake today, Jim Flaherty announced that provincial officials would be tasked with coming up with a definition of “modest increase” in CPP and the timelines for implementation by June. Power Play spoke with Ken Krawetz and Doug Horner, finance ministers for Saskatchewan and Alberta respectively, where Horner said that they are concerned about the situation in the States with the “fiscal cliff” and what it means for their resource-based economy, and how commodity prices are influencing their province’s bottom line. Horner said that they need market access in order to address the $30/barrel discount they’re subjected to with oil prices. Krawetz said that Saskatchewan has faced similar effects from revenue prices, but they are able to compensate with growth in other sectors. Both are concerned about what changes to the CPP mean for growth.

On Power & Politics, Evan Solomon spoke with Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. Duncan said he believes the public is ahead of the provincial governments on the CPP issue because they realize the middle class isn’t saving enough. Duncan disputed the characterization of CPP increases as a “payroll tax,” and said it was a savings program that is necessary for building a stronger economy in the future.

Pickton report:

Power & Politics heard from CBC’s Kirk Williams, who gave a recap of the report, which calls the investigation an “epic failure,” and detailed failures to communicate, internal divisions in police forces as to whether or not there was a serial killer, as well as the Crown staying a murder charge against Pickton at one point. Williams also said that Oppal’s report talked about how the issues included systematic biases around racism, sexism, poverty, inequality, drug addicts and sex workers.

Middle East:

Martin spoke with Bessma Momani from the Centre for International Governance and Dr. Samantha Nutt of War Child Canada about the situation in Egypt. Momani said that Egypt’s new constitution isn’t that draconian but there remains a lot of opposition in the streets. Nutt said the approval of the new constitution will solidify Morsi’s leadership in Egypt, but it remains too early to see how it will play out. Momani said that the situation in Syria is the one she worries most about in 2013, and while Nutt agreed that Syria is a major problem, she feels that the situation in Congo is one that could get worse in 2013.


Power Play chose Immigration Minister Jason Kenney as one of their “Power Players” of the year. Kenney touted the reforms designed to keep people from taking advantage of our refugee system, and said that the big changes over the past three or four years won’t culminate until end of 2014. Kenney said that over the past year, immigration has been morphing into an economic development tool, but also noted the increased number of refugees accepted (but failed to note that he restricted how those refugees are selected).

Power & Politics determined that the crisis in Syria is one of their top five “Game Changers” of 2012. To discuss the situation, Solomon spoke with Maher Arar, Hassan Hachimi of the Syrian National Council, and Mohamed El Rashidy of the Canadian Arab Federation. Hachimi said that the situation is progressing on the ground, and will be determined on the ground. Arar noted the geopolitical ramifications of the conflict, and the history of Syria’s role in a group of countries who were resisting American hegemony. El Rashidy said that it was not only a geopolitical situation with Russia and their military, but also regional situation, where the Arab Spring situation went to its extreme.

Power Play’s strategists panel of Goldy Hyder, Robin Sears and Jean Lapierre were asked for their picks on the biggest story of the year. Lapierre said that Marois’ election has changed the dynamic in Quebec. Robin Sears said that leadership was the big story – Obama showing it, Mulcair winning it, and Rae giving it up. Hyder said that it was a bad year for pollsters, and for media who relied on those polls.

Worth Noting:

  • Robin Sears said the fact that there were Liberals who felt that Mark Carney was a realizable dream shows the party still hasn’t learned their lessons. Jean Lapierre said that there are not witnesses to any of these allegations so we don’t know what Carney was entertaining when he stayed with Scott Brison. Goldy Hyder said that he doesn’t see a conflict, but it would have been if Carney had made a leadership bid.
  • Sue Bailey said that while the Muskrat Falls is project going forward, it still hasn’t passed regulatory review, and mega-projects have a tendency to go over budget. Jane Taber said that there is a lot of excitement about the project because of cleaner energy, but there is still uncertainty around how much the costs will grow.
  • John Ibbitson said the changes to medical marijuana regulations are a step backward, making it more expensive and difficult to get. Susan Delacourt said it’s not a surprise that they went with a free-market solution.
  • Greg Weston said that it’s great to see young Aboriginals engaging politically through social media, which Brad Lavigne noted sprang up from protests against the omnibus budget bill. Rob Silver said the power dynamics in the country are shifting, citing the First Nations opposition to the Northern Gateway. Alise Mills said the natural resource debate was the game changer for First Nations issues.

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