Power & Politics: Top 5 political issues to watch in 2017

What are the hottest political issues on the agenda in 2017? CBC News Network's Power & Politics gazes into the political crystal ball for the upcoming year.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau isn't the only one keeping an eye on the economy in 2017 — it's one of Power & Politics' top 5 issues to watch in the coming year. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

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

Top 5 issues to watch: pot legalization

6 years ago
Duration 7:51
Top 5 issues to watch: pot legalization

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.

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

Top 5 issues to watch: Indigenous relationship

6 years ago
Duration 8:27
Top 5 issues to watch: 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.

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

Top 5 issues to watch: Economy

6 years ago
Duration 6:55
Top 5 issues to watch: 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. 

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

Top 5 issues to watch: Canada-U.S. relationship

6 years ago
Duration 9:01
Top 5 issues to watch: Canada-U.S. relationship

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?

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

Top 5 issues to watch: Federal-provincial relationship

6 years ago
Duration 9:07
Top 5 issues to watch: 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.

Some of the issues to watch in 2017 include healthcare transfers, the carbon price ultimatum and pot legalization. So is the new era of cooperation and coordination already over?

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.


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