Canada in Brief, Sept. 27-Oct. 3

September 26, 2018 Updated: September 26, 2018

Goodale tours Ottawa area destroyed by tornado

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale toured Dunrobin, west of Ottawa, on Sept. 25 where locals are still reeling after a powerful tornado ripped through the town. He said some of the modern homes hit hardest in the area looked like they had gone “through a grinder.”

Environment Canada says six tornadoes swept across the Ottawa area and through the neighbouring Quebec region on Sept. 21, levelling homes and knocking out power grids along the way.

Goodale said the federal government has not provided financial assistance because the first portion of response and recovery costs are covered by the provinces. But Ottawa will step up if the price tag reaches a certain level, he said.

Ontario to halt minimum wage hike set to kick in next year

The Ontario government said it will halt a planned increase to minimum wage that was scheduled to kick in next year, following up on a promise made during the spring election campaign.

Labour Minister Laurie Scott said Sept. 25 the minimum wage will remain at $14 an hour rather than rising to $15 as planned by the previous government.

Ontario’s minimum wage increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, drawing complaints from businesses and prompting some to raise prices and cut staff hours and employee benefits.

Kenney says no confusion sowed on India trip

Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney says he didn’t sow confusion on his recent trade trip to India, and says the contacts he renewed there can only help the province.

Kenney and two United Conservative MLAs toured India last week, meeting with senior government and oil and gas officials.

He said he went as Alberta’s official Opposition leader and used the trip to renew and strengthen relations with Indian officials established previously while working as a federal cabinet minister.

On Sept. 24, Premier Rachel Notley dismissed Kenney for playing “minister of make believe” abroad.

Kenney said for him, partisan politics stops when he goes abroad. “When I leave the borders of Canada, I’m on Team Alberta,” he said.

NB party leader says he’s open to minority government

A potential New Brunswick king-maker says he’s willing to work with any party to make a minority government work after the deadlocked election results on Sept. 24.

People’s Alliance Leader Chris Austin says it’s unfortunate that Liberal Premier Brian Gallant has stated the Liberals would not form a coalition with his party, which won three seats.

The Liberals won 21 seats—one fewer than the Progressive Conservatives—but Gallant remains premier as he tries to get support from other parties to maintain the legislature’s confidence.

Austin says party leaders need to put aside egos and agendas to make a minority government work.

With files from The Canadian Press