Trudeau to talk affordability, fall plans with cabinet


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is convening a multi-day meeting with members of the federal cabinet to plot out their plans for the fall, with a focus on affordability woes, according to his office.

The retreat, happening in Vancouver, is bringing together all federal ministers for a series of meetings between Tuesday and Thursday. Meetings are scheduled to begin Tuesday evening.

“During the retreat, Cabinet will discuss what they heard when talking to Canadians over the summer,” said the Prime Minister’s Office in a release about the cabinet confab.

After a summer when many Canadians experienced travel chaos and the effects of inflation at the grocery store and gas pumps, ministers are likely to bring to the table the concerns they’ve heard first-hand while in their constituencies and meeting others across the country.

With another interest rate hike expected this week, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said new measures meant to help Canadians through the affordability crisis are going to be “one of the main topics of conversation” at the retreat. 

“We think there can be more that the government has to do,” he said on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “I’ve spoken to premiers across the country all summer about what provincial governments are doing, if there are measures that the Government of Canada can do that will be complementary.”

Gathering in one of Canada’s most expensive cities — particularly when it comes to housing — cabinet will also be the government’s next steps when it comes to meeting their promises to make housing more affordable. 

Before the meetings kick off, the prime minister will be making a housing announcement in Vancouver, and will face questions from reporters.

According to Trudeau’s office, other topics slated for discussion include: the “unacceptable” delays tied to passport and immigration applications, climate change and the Liberal plans for transitioning to a clean economy, and strengthening democracy. The PMO has also noted plans for ministers to talk about “creating safer communities” which may be connected to the government’s gun control policy.

With a manhunt still underway for one of the suspects in a series of stabbing attacks — one of the worst mass murders in Canadian history — that took place in Saskatchewan over the weekend, offering federal resources is also likely to be a topic of conversation.

As the Liberals plot out their fall plans, an additional dynamic at play is the ongoing confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP that, if it’s maintained, will keep Trudeau’s minority government in power until the end of the current Parliament in 2025. 

To lock in this stability, the Liberals committed to making progress on a series of longstanding NDP priorities, and without tangible action on key pillars like dental care soon, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has suggested he’d be willing to walk away from the deal.

The cabinet retreat will wrap up just a few days before the federal Conservatives announce who has won their months-long leadership race process. The winner is poised to waste no time in challenging the Liberals over their plans, prompting Nanos Research Founder Nik Nanos to predict an “ugly and edgy House of Commons this fall.” 

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