June 21st, 2024

In The News for Feb. 28: Where is the money going on budget day in Alberta and B.C.?

By The Canadian Press on February 28, 2023.

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023 …

What we are watching in Canada …

It’s budget day in Alberta – the last before an expected provincial election in May.

Finance Minister Travis Toews is to unfurl the spending document as the legislature begins its spring sitting.

The expectation is another multibillion-dollar surplus generated by strong oil and gas revenues coupled with higher payouts from maturing oilsands operations.

The province is expected to take in $12.3 billion in the current fiscal year that ends in just over a month.

Premier Danielle Smith’s government has already announced a number of new spending initiatives in the budget, including $158 million for physician recruitment and $243 million for primary care.

Opposition NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips says Smith and the UCP can’t be trusted on health care, given they have failed to match spending with inflation and population growth while fighting with doctors and trying to cut nurses’ wages during the pandemic.

Also this …

British Columbia Finance Minister Katrine Conroy says the provincial budget she’ll release today won’t be “quite as rosy” with deficits looming in the future.

Conroy says the prospect of a multibillion-dollar surplus similar to last year’s budget is not in the forecast.

She says that almost $6-billion surplus was an anomaly that allowed the NDP government to announce numerous spending initiatives on health, affordability, infrastructure and housing.

At a pre-budget news conference at a Victoria-area elementary school, Conroy suggested her new budget will invest in health care, public safety and communities.

Premier David Eby says budgets are about choices and the latest budget will reflect priorities that help people.

Eby says B.C.’s economy is one of the strongest in Canada and the government intends to continue to invest in areas that help people.

And this …

Statistics Canada will release December and fourth-quarter gross domestic product figures this morning.

The federal agency’s preliminary estimate indicated the economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, marking a slowdown from previous quarters.

In comparison, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2022.

Canada’s rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic led to strong economic growth last year, but the economy is expected to slow in early 2023 amid high-interest rates.

RBC says its own credit card data shows spending plateaued in the second half of 2022 as consumers began to face high-interest rates and inflation.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

The Northeast is gearing up for what could be very heavy snow. Parts of the region that have seen little snow were under a winter storm warning early Tuesday.

Tornadoes and other powerful winds have swept through parts of the Southern Plains, with emergency officials saying at least one person was killed in a tornado in western Oklahoma. In Michigan, residents had faced a sixth consecutive day without power on Monday following last week’s ice storm.

In California, weather officials said winter storms will continue moving into the state through Wednesday after residents got a brief break from severe weather.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

An ultranationalist ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tendered his resignation as a deputy minister in the new government.

Avi Maoz’s departure was the first crack in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, which assumed office in late December after securing a parliamentary majority in the November elections.

Maoz, the head of a small ultranationalist faction known for his homophobic rhetoric and disparaging remarks about non-Orthodox Jews, said he would step down as a deputy minister but would continue to vote with the coalition in parliament. Netanyahu’s ruling coalition holds 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

He has denied the legitimacy of non-Orthodox Judaism, including the Reform and Conservative movements, which are marginal in Israel but dominant in the U.S. and have long provided the country with financial and diplomatic support.

On this day in 1952 …

Vincent Massey was sworn in as the first Canadian-born Governor General. Born in Toronto in 1887, he was president of the Massey-Harris Company from 1921-25.

He was appointed minister without portfolio in the Mackenzie King cabinet in 1925 but failed to win a seat in Parliament. Massey was Canada’s first ambassador to the U.S., from 1926-30, and Canadian high commissioner in London from 1935-46.

The brother of actor Raymond Massey, he left Rideau Hall in 1959 and died in 1967.

In entertainment …

Paul McCartney has donated the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four” to help chimpanzees.

The song is used in a new campaign for Save The Chimps, a sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida, that supports hundreds of chimpanzees. McCartney says in a statement that most people don’t realize chimpanzees can live into their 60s.

He says he’s happy to donate “When I’m Sixty-Four” to the sanctuary because nearly half the chimps at the sanctuary are older ones.

The song is used in a 30-second ad that launches today on PBS.

Did you see this?

Some students at South Kelowna Elementary School in British Columbia got a surprise day off after a raccoon broke in and got comfortable in the building’s ceiling.

A statement from Central Okanagan Public Schools says staff discovered the animal and worried it could pose a risk if cornered, so families were asked to keep their children at home Monday.

Students who weren’t able to take the day off were bused to a local middle school.

The statement says conservation officers tried to get the raccoon to leave but it climbed up into the space above the ceiling tiles.

Operations staff were eventually able to gently guide the raccoon out of the space and through a back door just before lunch.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2023

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