Power & Politics: Top 5 political issues to watch in 2017
It has been a packed political year that included an unpredictable U.S. election, major pipeline decisions and federal action on key files from marijuana to Indigenous relations. What's on our radar for 2017?
CBC News Network's Power & Politics has combed through this year's archives to bring you some of the political highlights of 2016, and to look ahead to next year. Today, we turn our attention to the top political issues to watch in 2017.
The Power Panel — Tim Powers of Summa Strategies, Gerry Caplan, online columnist for the Globe and Mail, Susan Smith of Bluesky Strategies and CBC Radio's The House host and National Affairs editor Chris Hall — helps Rosemary Barton count down the stories to watch in the coming year.
5. Legalization of marijuana
The federal government may have promised to introduce marijuana legislation by spring 2017, but it's still a long road towards legalization of pot in Canada.
- Pot task force recommends legal cannabis sales be limited to users 18 and over
- Highlights from the federal marijuana task force report
A task force appointed by the Canadian government to study the legalization process had more than 80 recommendations on everything from a minimum age for purchase to where to sell marijuana. Questions remain, however, over whether or not the government will adopt those recommendations — and what to do about pressing concerns on licensing, law enforcement, driving under the influence and more.
4. Indigenous relationship
The federal government has made it a top priority to forge a new relationship with Indigenous peoples. After meeting with Indigenous leaders in Ottawa in December, the focus is now on the prime minister to follow through with his commitments.
- Trudeau announces 3 steps to help enact Truth and Reconciliation calls to action
- PM honoured by Tsuut'ina First Nation as 'the one that keeps trying'
While Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said earlier this year there's "no question" Indigenous Canadians will work in collaboration with the federal government, he added "we will call you out as well if you're not respecting that partnership."
One of the top files to watch is the inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women, a key campaign promise of Trudeau's Liberals. While the official launch of the inquiry began in September 2016, commissioners won't begin hearing testimonies from families until this spring. The inquiry is set to wrap up in December 2018. Indigenous women's advocates say they are are anxious to see action soon.
"There's been very, very limited movement forward," said Francyne Joe, interim president of the Native Women's Association of Canada.
3. The economy
Sluggish growth, unemployment and a very slow climb in oil prices were all issues in 2016 keeping Finance Minister Bill Morneau up at night — and they're likely to do the same in 2017.
- Liberals paint gloomy picture of Canada's economy
- Analysis: it's doom or boom for our economic future
As the Liberals head into their second full year, what can they look forward to on the financial front? And what should Canadians be looking for as a consequence of their second budget?
2. Canada-U.S. relations
On Jan. 20, 2017, the presidential transition will be complete, and Donald Trump will officially be sworn in as the president of the United States. What does that mean for Canada's relationship with our neighbours to the south?
- What could Trump's victory mean for Canada?
- Canadian economy will get its first taste of the Trump era in 2017
- Trudeau tries to ease nerves over relationship with U.S. under Trump
For starters, it could mean a ripping-up — and renegotiating — of the North American Free Trade Agreement. There are also border and immigration issues, a softwood lumber trade dispute, and concerns over differing environmental policies.
1. Federal-provincial relationship
The dynamic between the federal government and the provinces and territories was especially testy in 2016, setting the stage for more disputes in the coming year.
- Ottawa brought an ultimatum, not a deal, Manitoba health minister says
- Analysis: Trudeau signals he may override provinces' wishes on health care
- Saskatchewan alone in threatening carbon tax suit: Brad Wall
Be sure to check in all week as Power & Politics counts down the Top 5 newsmakers and political blunders of 2016, plus issues and players to watch in the year ahead.