An asylum-seeker surge across the Canada-U.S. border, the run-up to legalized pot and a trade relationship in flux made some of the biggest headlines in Canada in 2017.
CBC News Network’s Power & Politics has combed through this year’s archives to bring you some of the political highlights of 2017, from the most cringe-worthy blunders to the biggest players to watch. Today, we turn our attention to the top news stories of 2017.
The Power Panel — Counsel Public Affairs’ Brad Lavigne, former Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day, Bloomberg’s Josh Wingrove, University of Regina School of Journalism’s Merelda Fiddler and Susan Smith of Bluesky Strategy Group — help the CBC’s David Cochrane count down the can’t-miss moments of 2017.
5. Asylum-seeker surge
A debate in the United States over expiring temporary protected status for migrants didn’t just trickle across the border to Canada, it surged. Thousands of asylum seekers illegally crossed the U.S. border into Canada in 2017, most notably in Manitoba and Quebec, after President Donald Trump’s clampdown on immigration triggered an exodus.
The Canadian government responded by doubling down on a message seemingly at odds with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s viral tweet welcoming all those fleeing persecution — entering irregularly is not a free ticket into Canada.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen launched a public awareness campaign to dissuade potential crossers, and Trudeau also dispatched Haitian-Canadian Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg to Miami to talk to the local community ther and convey proper information about the rules of legal entry to Canada.
As Canada celebrated 150 years, the state of the relationship between Indigenous Canadians and the government came into the spotlight.
Ottawa took several symbolic steps in the name of reconciliation, including renaming the Langevin building in the national capital and apologizing to Newfoundland and Labrador residential school survivors. But as calls continue for a reset to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, is reconciliation moving in the direction Indigenous Canadians are asking for?
3. Legalized marijuana
With the deadline for legalized pot fast approaching, this year was all about paving the road to legalization in 2018. The federal government unveiled plans for a minimum $ 1 per gram tax, while cities and provinces clamoured for a larger piece of the tax pie and grappled with bylaw and regulatory changes.
Although some questions were answered this year as provinces came forward with their pot plans, details of just how the roll-out will unfold are still up in the air.
2. NAFTA negotiations
The fate of the North American Free Trade Agrement hung in the balance in 2017, as the first five rounds of renegotiations played out amidst numerous threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to tear the deal up.
Trade deal drama was a constant in 2017, as the U.S. continued to talk tough — especially on the Canadian dairy sector — and Canada and Mexico geared up for a potential post-NAFTA world.
Taxes and death are two certainties in life, but the blowback to the Liberals’ proposed tax changes seemed to take the government by surprise in 2017.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau scrambled to sell a contentious tax plan that was criticized by farmers, business owners, doctors, senators, and even backbenchers in his own party.
After fumbling the roll-out of the controversial changes in July, Morneau continued consultations into the fall of 2017 and promised simpler, fairer rules. Will the issue follow the Liberals to the ballot box in 2019, or has the government managed to assuage worries?
Be sure to check in all week as Power & Politics counts down the Top 5 newsmakers, political blunders, issues to watch, and players to watch of 2017 and the year ahead.