Next week's federal Liberal cabinet retreat in Hamilton to discuss making 'life more affordable'

In a press release issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday, Trudeau said cabinet will discuss ways to continue supporting people by creating good middle-class jobs, investing in skills and training, and helping deliver better health care for Canadians. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
In a press release issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday, Trudeau said cabinet will discuss ways to continue supporting people by creating good middle-class jobs, investing in skills and training, and helping deliver better health care for Canadians. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal cabinet ministers will gather in Hamilton for a three-day federal retreat next week, from Jan. 23 to 25.

Cabinet will discuss ways "to continue supporting people by creating good middle-class jobs, investing in skills and training, and helping deliver better health care for Canadians," a press release issued by the Prime Minister's Office said on Wednesday.

"This cabinet retreat will be an important opportunity to build on our continued efforts to make life more affordable for the middle class and people working hard to join it, as well as seize new opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses," Trudeau said.

"In 2023, we will keep working relentlessly to build a better future and a strong economy for all Canadians."

The release said members of the cabinet will also advance the government's work to fight climate change and build a clean economy, including continuing to drive innovation, strengthen supply chains, and build clean technologies.

At least one group says it plans on demonstrating outside of the meeting. The Migrant Rights Network says it will be gathering to "demonstrate support for a life-altering uncapped and inclusive regularization program through which an estimated half a million undocumented people and their families will get permanent resident status; as well as calling for permanent resident status for all migrants."

The Liberal cabinet's last retreat was held in Vancouver last September. That meeting also had the rising cost of living and the state of the economy topping the agenda.

The January retreat comes at a time when Hamilton city council is also hearing about how affordability is impacting residents, such as health effects — Hamiltonians with the lowest income live over a decade shorter than the wealthiest residents, board of health heard Monday — and with a lack of food security and affordable housing, as the general issues committee heard Thursday.

3 out of 5 federal ridings are now Liberal

It also comes at a time when Hamilton, a longtime stronghold for the New Democratic Party, has seen political changes from recent federal and provincial elections.

Since Trudeau visited during the 2021 election campaign, the NDP lost its Hamilton Mountain seat to now-Liberal MP Lisa Hepfner. It was the tightest race of Hamilton's five electoral districts in the federal election.

Hepfner is one of three Liberal MPs in Hamilton, with Filomena Tassi in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas and Chad Collins of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. The city has five federal ridings, the other two represented by the NDP and Conservatives, respectively.

Provincially, the NDP also lost Hamilton East Stoney Creek in June to the Conservatives.

Hamilton Centre is also awaiting a byelection to be called after Andrea Horwath stepped down in August as MPP, though Karen Bird, a McMaster University political science professor, said in July, before new candidates were announced, it would be unlikely the NDP will lose the riding.

Sarah Jama is the NDP's provincial candidate for the riding, while the Liberal candidate is Deirdre Pike. The Greens announced Lucia Iannantuono would also be running for the seat.