Small Signal, Big Change?

Craig Brockwell | June 2019

Within the 2019 Budget is a small change, which could potentially foreshadow the government’s attitude towards how the province plans to define its relationship with municipalities over the next three years. In the Budget, the government signaled a review of the provincial Gas Tax Program, which currently provides dedicated funds to municipalities to increase transit ridership. While the review of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) will be a larger undertaking and garner more attention, the review of the Gas Tax Program can provide a preemptive glimpse as to what degree the Province may have an appetite for granting spending[...]

+

The Budget – Opportunity and a Path Forward

Craig Brockwell | June 2019

At Solstice Public Affairs, we would rather lay out how your organization can use the budget as a signal that paves a path for the next year for your government relations plan than analyzing line by line each budget element. We did this with the recently released federal budget.  In this way, we hope to help guide you in a clearer path forward. A budget generally signals the end of a cycle of lobbying activities or as a first approach for a newly elected government. In the case of the Ford governments Budget 2019, it represents the latter. I’m sure[...]

+

Solstice Public Affairs: Yesterday, Today and on to Tomorrow!

Craig Brockwell | March 2019

Just a little over six years ago, my business partner Stewart Kiff offered me the opportunity to join him at Solstice Public Affairs. Having just retired early from my position as Legislative Observer (lobbyist) for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), I welcomed the chance. This looked like the perfect opportunity to continue working in an area I love and keep me active in an environment that provides challenging work. I also hoped to continue doing what I found most satisfying while working with OSSTF, namely impacting legislation and regulation in a positive way and thus making Ontario and[...]

+

Federal Budget 2019 – Through the Political Looking Glass

Craig Brockwell | March 2019

You have surely read and heard any number of comments and opinions on the recent Liberal budget. My analysis would not be much different than what is already out there. But, with seven months to go before the federal election, I’ll try to lay out what I believe to be the political options ahead in regards to Budget 2019. I should further disclose that like all other government relations firm, Solstice Public Affairs tries to retain practitioners from all political persuasions. Otherwise, businesses such as ours would open and close with each political cycle. I am the partisan Liberal Partner[...]

+

Meet Your New Ministers

Stewart Kiff | July 2018

Ontario Premier Doug Ford showed he aims for stability at the top when he unveiled his team of ministers on June 29. Thirteen of his 21-member cabinet (pared down from Kathleen Wynne’s last cabinet of 29 members) are Queen’s Park veterans and another served briefly in Stephen Harper’s cabinet. Click here for a complete list of the new cabinet members  Most of the big portfolios have been assigned to these experienced politicians. Christine Elliott, Doug Ford’s most serious rival for the PC leadership, will be Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. Long-time finance critic Vic Fedeli is the new Minister[...]

+

Ontario has a new government. Start getting to know it now!

Stewart Kiff | June 2018

Ontarians woke up this morning to a majority Progressive Conservative government led by populist leader, Doug Ford. That is quite a shift after almost 15 years of Liberals rule and it will require some immediate action on the part of groups and organizations that need to work with the government on an ongoing basis. At this point, we do not know where exactly Doug Ford wants to take the province. He has promised to make living in Ontario more affordable, cutting taxes, gas prices, hydro costs and even the price of a bottle of beer. He has also promised better[...]

+

Can Doug Ford hope to attract the Franco-Ontarian vote?

Stewart Kiff | March 2018

With Doug Ford now at the helm of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, it remains to be seen whether the controversial choice made by the party membership will be endorsed by the electorate come Election Day next June. Some speculate that the PCs have just made themselves less attractive to the centrist voters who represent a majority in the province. Certainly, poll after poll over the last months has shown that Ontario is ripe for change after 15 years of Liberal rule. And a Forum poll conducted the day after Ford’s election confirms that trend. Even though 48 % of[...]

+

Is “not being Kathleen Wynne” PC leader Patrick Brown’s main asset going into the 2018 election?

Stewart Kiff | January 2018

With the arrival of the New Year, the countdown is now officially on for the June 7 Ontario election. How that election will shape up is anyone’s guess at this point since the latest polls paint two very different scenarios. One points to a massive win by the PCs, with the Liberals falling to third place behind the NDP. The other suggests that the Liberals are not trailing as badly and could still hold on to power, albeit in a minority position. Both these scenarios will evolve over the next months, as the election campaign kicks into high gear.   PCs[...]

+

Jagmeet Singh leaves Queen’s Park to lead Federal NDP and other updates

Stewart Kiff | October 2017

Last October 1st, we witnessed the elevation of Brampton MPP Jagmeet Singh to the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party. Jagmeet has been a very popular and charismatic MPP at Queen’s Park. Since he was first elected in 2011, he has easily attracted positive media coverage not only in political news, but also in lifestyle publications like Toronto Life. In choosing him, the federal NDP made a strategic choice, picking a young, urban and authentic leader to face off against Justin Trudeau’s charm juggernaut in the fall 2019 general election. Jagmeet will have time to adjust to Parliament Hill[...]

+

Bilingual Ottawa: it’s about politics, not what’s right

Stewart Kiff | June 2017

Marching gets results. What other conclusion can we draw from the introduction yesterday at Queen’s Park of a Bill to amend the City of Ottawa Act to include the city’s current by-law on bilingual administration and services? Surely it’s not mere coincidence that Ottawa-Vanier MPP, Nathalie Des Rosiers, held a hastily-called press conference to introduce her private member’s bill merely hours after some 1200 marchers, mostly high school students, descended on City Hall in support of making Ottawa a bilingual city. The issue is not new. Ottawa’s, Ontario’s and Canada’s francophone leadership, as well as groups such as Dialogue Canada, have called repeatedly[...]

+