Archives for category: News & Politics

 
 
Kelly McParland: You could say Trudeau’s Liberals accomplished one thing this year — disappointing everyone
 

Andrew Coyne: Trudeau government must be prepared in case Trump keeps any campaign promises

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Top Ten Trudeau Misfires of 2016
#10 – His failure to show up for work!
#9 – The massive Paris delegation!
#8 – The moving expense scandal!
#7 – Cancelling Conservative tax breaks!
#6 – Refusing to call ISIS atrocities a genocide!
#5 – His glowing praise for Fidel Castro!
#4 – The reckless spending of Liberal Ministers!
#3 – Refusing a referendum on democratic reform!
#2 – The cash-for-access scandal!
#1‎ – The crippling Liberal debt.

 
Elections commissioner urged to investigate cash-for-access allegations

 

 
 

Justin Trudeau and David MacNaughton, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, welcome members of the 115th Congress.
 

 
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out in a video address to the new U.S. Congress on Tuesday to stress how tightly linked the economies of Canada and the United States are, amid fears of a protectionist Donald Trump administration.

Read more…

 
How Trudeau gets it!!!

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And

Liberals looking at taxing Health Benefits
The new internet taxes being considered by Liberals

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‘Feminist’ Trudeau under attack for attending gender-segregated event at Ottawa mosque
 

 
“That’s the big differential for liberals, they fancy themselves as honouring the women’s body and yet the segregation by its very definition hyper-sexualizes women’s bodies. That’s the great irony.”
 

 
This kid speaks for every Canadian forced to listen to this guy speak…
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That is a strong mandate for proportional representation.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NIGEL W

1) He probably took a BIG pay cut
It is believed that Wright was earning more than $2 million in salary and bonuses at Onex, but made around $300,000 working on Parliament Hill.

2) He’s unmarried
Along with John Baird, Jason Kenney, and James Moore, Wright was one of four “single, white males” profiled in Maclean’s magazine in 2011 as holding immense power in Harper’s inner circle. Moore has since tied the knot.

Harper’s single white males
Paul Wells takes an inside look at where the power really lies in Ottawa

3) He’s a big runner
Wright would apparently run a half-marathon each morning before starting a 14-hour work day at Onex.

He has kept that pace after he began working in Ottawa.

He is said to be fond of telling a story of once being surrounded by several snarling dogs during an early morning run – a perfect metaphor for politics.

4) Harper isn’t the first PM he’s worked for
Wright was a speechwriter and policy adviser to former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

He was also policy co-ordinator for Kim Campbell’s leadership campaign.

5) He almost became a priest
Wright considered joining the Anglican priesthood as a young man. He is currently a subdeacon at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church in Toronto.

6) He was the subject of a conflict of interest probe
The federal ethics watchdog cleared Wright of conflict of interest allegations in January.

Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson investigated Wright after it was reported he was lobbied on three occasions by Barrick Gold Corp, despite deep personal connections to the company’s founding family.

Dawson found there was no violation of the Conflict of Interest Act.

PM’s chief of staff cleared over conflict-of-interest allegations

 
 

Why Mike Duffy is facing charges, and Nigel Wright isn’t
Jonathon Gatehouse explains how it might be a criminal act to take that $90,000 cheque — but not to write it

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

33,476,688 People
As of May 2011, 33,476,688 people were enumerated in Canada, nearly twice as many as in 1961 and 10 times the number in 1861.

Population Growth Speeds Up
Canada’s population grew by 5.9 per cent between 2006 and 2011, up slightly from 5.4 per cent during the previous five years.

Go West
For the first time, more people in Canada live west of Ontario (30.7 per cent) than in Quebec and Atlantic Canada combined (30.6 per cent).

We’re Number One
Canada’s population growth between 2006 and 2011 was the highest among G8 countries.

Exceptions To The Rule
Every province and most territories saw their population increase between 2006 and 2011; the rate of growth increased everywhere except in Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Ontario Falters
The growth rate in Ontario declined to 5.7 per cent, its lowest level since the early 1980s.

Saskatchewan Out Of The Red
Population growth in Saskatchewan hit 6.7 per cent, compared with a negative growth rate of 1.1 per cent between 2001 and 2006; the province welcomed more than 28,000 immigrants during the latest census period, nearly three times the number of the previous five-year period.

Yukon And Manitoba Take Off
The rate of growth in both Yukon (11.6 per cent) and Manitoba (5.2 per cent) has doubled since 2006

The East Is Growing Too
The rate of growth in Prince Edward Island (3.2 per cent), New Brunswick (2.9 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1.8 per cent) has increased substantially between 2006 and 2011.

Cities Rule …
Nearly seven of every 10 Canadians lived in one of Canada’s 33 main urban centres in 2011.

.. Except Not In Ontario…
The rate of population growth in almost all census metropolitan areas located in Ontario slowed between 2006 and 2011

Maybe Because Everyone Moved To Alberta
Of the 15 Canadian communities with the highest rates of growth, 10 were located in Alberta.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Babies On The Rise, But Not As Fast As Seniors
The number of seniors aged 65 and over in Canada increased 14.1 per cent to nearly five million, a faster rate of growth than that for children aged 14 and under (0.5 per cent) and people aged 15 to 64 (5.7 per cent).

Seniors Nation
Seniors accounted for a record high of 14.8 per cent of the Canadian population in 2011, up from 13.7 per cent five years earlier.

Babies, Toddlers Everywhere
The number of children aged 4 and under increased 11 per cent, the highest growth rate for that age group since the latter half of the baby boom between 1956 and 1961. It marks the first time in 50 years that Canada has seen an increase in small children in every province and territory.

Seniors Communities Are B.C.-Based
Seven of the 10 municipalities with the highest proportion of seniors were in British Columbia.

Spots For Seniors: East Coast, West Coast
In 2011, the proportion of seniors was the highest in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and British Columbia.

55+ Beats The 15 – 24 Demo
For the first time, there were more people in Canada aged 55 to 64 — typically the age group where people leave the labour force — than aged 15 to 24, when they typically enter it.

Work-Force Population Dominates
In 2011, people aged 15 to 64 — the working-age population — represented 68.5 per cent of the Canadian population, the highest proportion of all G8 countries except Russia.

100-Year-Old Demo Growing Fast
People aged 100 or older comprised the second fastest-growing age group in Canada, after those aged 60-64; there were 5,825 centenarians in 2011, an increase of 25.7 per cent since 2006.

Peterborough Is The New Florida
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterborough,_Ontario
Nearly one in five people were aged 65 and over in Peterborough, Ont. (Shown here), and Trois-Rivieres, Que.; in Calgary, the ratio was less than one in 10.

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Small Communities With Lots Of Seniors
Among smaller communities, the Vancouver Island community of Parksville, B.C. (shown here) and Elliot Lake, Ont., had the highest proportion of seniors — 38.6 per cent and 35.1 per cent, respectively, more than twice the national average of 14.8 per cent.

Parksville
Bordered by ocean and sheltered by mountains, Parksville boasts one of the finest climates in Canada and is favoured as one of the most popular summer family vacations destinations of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

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Elliot Lake, Ont.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_Lake

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Statistics Canada says the number of crimes committed was lower last year, but so was the severity of those criminal acts.

Most provinces and territories recorded a decrease in the severity of crimes committed, except in the Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador, where they saw slight increases.

Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba recorded the largest declines among the provinces and territories.

 

Source: Statistics Canada (2010)
Rates are calculated per 100,000 population

 
 

Thunder Bay – 4.2
Number of murders in 2010: 5

Saskatoon – 3.7
Number of murders in 2010: 10

Regina – 3.7
Number of murders in 2010: 8

Winnipeg – 2.8
Number of murders in 2010: 22

Halifax – 2.7
Number of murders in 2010: 11

Edmonton – 2.7
Number of murders in 2010: 32

Greater Sudbury – 2.4
Number of murders in 2010: 4

Abbotsford-Mission – 2.3
Number of murders in 2010: 4

Moncton – 2.2
Number of murders in 2010: 3

Saint John – 1.9
Number of murders in 2010: 2

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Why was Mike Duffy charged when Nigel Wright wasn’t?

How could the RCMP charge him for accepting $90,000 from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright after the Mounties publicly said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Wright with giving Duffy the money?

 

Sen. Mike Duffy sent an email to Nigel Wright following a news story referencing a Senate matter.

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On March 1, Duffy’s lawyer Janice Payne emailed former PMO legal adviser Ben Perrin for an update.

DUFFY 3

 

In an March 8 email, Wright told Chris Woodcock the party would not be paying the Duffy cheque.

DUFFY 4

 

On May 9, Wright responded to an email forwarded by Ray Novak from Sen. Linda Frum over concerns about protecting Tory senators.

DUFFY 5

 

On page 26 of the documents, the RCMP note “On February 15, there were e-mail discussions within the PMO about the Senate Rules committee and a proposed definition of residency, Nigel Wright e-mailed Benjamin Perrin.”

DUFFY 6

 

On page 44 of the documents, the RCMP detail an email exchange between Tory Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen and PMO staffers Chris Woodcock and Patrick Rogers.

DUFFY 7

 

Page 32 of the documents details a Feb. 22 email from Nigel Wright to staffers in the PMO, including lawyer Benjamin Perrin.

DUFFY 8

 

Page 45 of the documents details an email on May 14 from PMO staffer Andrew MacDougall to Nigel Wright and others. MacDougall says he has received inquiries from a journalist about Nigel Wright co-signing a loan for Senator Duffy to repay the money. Carl Vallee, PMO Press Secretary, writes:

“Would the PM know the actual answer to the question? Just in case he asks us.”

DUFFY 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The Canada Revenue Agency, ordered by the Harper government to audit political activities, is now targeting charities focused on foreign aid, human rights, and even poverty.

List of charities undergoing tax audits related to political activities
Tides Canada Foundation, Vancouver
Tides Canada Initiatives Society, Vancouver
Environmental charity
David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver
Ecology Action Centre, Halifax
Canada Without Poverty, Ottawa
Social-justice charity
Equiterre, Montreal
United Church of Canada, including Kairos
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ottawa
Amnesty International Canada, Ottawa

 
 

6 Water Charities In Canada

WaterCan – Ottawa, Ont.
WaterCan funds projects that create sustainable clean water sources, sanitation and hygiene education practices in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

You can call toll free: 1-800-370-5658 for information or visit their site for a number of ways to donate.

http://www.watercan.com/whatyoucando/index.htm

Plan Canada – Toronto, Ont.
Plan Canada is the relief arm of Plan International, a nonprofit organization that promotes social justice for youth and families. As one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies working to end poverty, they work in 69 countries.

As part of its Gifts of Hope program, the “Gift of Clean Water can help provide clean water for a family starting at $75.

You can call toll free,1-800-387-1418 for information or visit their website to donate.

http://plancanada.ca/Donate

Water Ambassadors Canada – Toronto, Ont.
Water Ambassadors Canada is a faith-based, nonprofit Canadian charity that drill and repair wells, setup water purification systems, distribute water filters and teach health and hygiene in several countries.

They have not only brought water solutions within Canada, but have travelled to Central America, the Caribbean, Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo and India.

You can call toll free 1-877-988-4688 or visit their site to make a donation.

https://www.facebook.com/WaterAmbassadorsCanada

Ryan’s Well – Kemptville, Ont.
The Ryan’s Well Foundation is a Canadian registered charity named after Ryan Hreljac, who at age seven raised enough money to build a well at a school in northern Uganda, Africa.

The Foundation has built more than 1,200 water projects and toilets in more that 30 countries. Their build and empower program lets communities identify water-based problems and as a team, the organization helps raise funds towards finding a solution. Ryan’s Well also revisits finished sites to ensure they are still operational.

You can call 1-613-258-6832 for information or visit their website to donate.

https://www.ryanswell.ca/get-involved/ways-to-donate/donation-form.aspx?

Clean Water for Haiti – Burlington, Ont.
This organization provides people in Haiti with affordable access to clean water in their homes through the use of Biosand water filters.

Most water sources in the country are contaminated, so filtration systems are the priority. In this 2010 photo, the organization conduced a site visit to evaluate the difficult task of bringing in a filtration system. Site visits are important to determine how to assist the community with the sustainable filtered water.

While the Biosand water filters are installed by qualified team members, donors can go on organized visits to see the projects in Haiti themselves.

You can visit their website for various ways to help.

http://cleanwaterforhaiti.org/_howtogive.html

Run for Water – Calgary, Alta
Run for Water is an annual fundraising event that supports HOPE International Development Agency, which has been setting up and installing fresh water delivery systems in East Africa since 1974.

For this project there are two running and walking events: One in Calgary, Alta on September 7 and the other in Abbotsford, B.C. on May 26.

You can visit their website to find out how to participate in the race or become a sponsor.

http://www.runforwater.ca/

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

The highlights and lowlights of the spring session of Parliament:

 
1. Board of Internal Economy/NDP mailings
The secretive board broke a tradition of working by consensus after it found that 23 NDP MPs had broken rules governing large volume mail. The board said the electoral letters should have been paid for by the party. It also said MPs owed a combined $36,309 to the House for envelopes and toner and $1.13 million to Canada Post for franking privileges.

The board is also pursuing a study of NDP satellite offices, despite the objection of the two NDP MPs on the committee. New Democrats say they will not pay the money and vow a legal challenge, calling the board’s action a “ridiculous witch-hunt” by a kangaroo court.

The board is also looking into the use of per diems and secondary — housing allowances — those expenses that got senators such as Mike Duffy into trouble. Commons staff are reviewing each MP’s usage and warning party whips of what they find. The rules may be revamped.

2. Harper’s battle with the Supreme Court
After the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the federal government’s desired go-it-alone Senate reform plans, softened two tough-on-crime measures the Conservatives introduced and said Justice Marc Nadon was ineligible to sit on the top court, Conservatives fought back. Prime Minister Stephen Harper insinuated that the Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin had inappropriately tried to contact him to discuss Nadon’s candidacy.

Weeks later, however, Canadians learned that McLachlin never attempted to influence either Harper or Justice Minister Peter MacKay on Nadon’s appointment. Instead, it appears that she tried to warn them of potential constitutional problems with appointing four of the nominees on the government’s short list.

3. Jim Flaherty’s death
The former finance minister’s death stunned parliamentarians on April 10. The 64-year-old died of an apparent heart attack, a few weeks after announcing his retirement from politics.

He resigned his finance portfolio but kept his seat after a public spat with the Prime Minister and Employment Minister Jason Kenney over the government’s desire to implement income splitting – a costly the promise the Tories ran on in 2011 but one that Flaherty believed would benefit too few Canadians. Flaherty, who was well loved by opposition MPs, united the Hill in a brief moment of collegiality and genuine grief.

4. The Fair Elections Act
In a rare scene, political critics, civil society and even some of its own MPs united against the government’s proposed changes to the Canada Elections Act. The Tories tried to stack the deck in their favour by revamping fundraising rules and severely limiting some Canadians’ ability to vote.

After the outcry, Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre agreed to scrap several of the bill’s most contentious provisions, such as big fundraising loophole and the elimination of vouching.

5. Robocalls
It looks like Canadians will never know exactly what happened during the last federal election when thousands of voters received illegal calls misinforming them their polling station had moved. The Commissioner of Elections Canada issued a summary report in April finding that, despite not having the cooperation of a key witness or being able to listen or track most of the calls, it believed there had been no wide conspiracy to suppress the vote.

In June, the trial of former Conservative staffer Michael Sona, the only person charged over the misleading calls in Guelph, provided few answers. The Crown’s key witness, Andrew Prescott, a colleague of Sona’s during the local campaign, suggested that campaign manager Ken Morgan was also involved. It remains unclear whether anyone in the Conservatives’ national campaign knew what was going on or, even less clear, whether anyone up top orchestrated it. The verdict in Sona’s trial is expected in August.

6. Veterans
The Conservative government prides itself on being a strong defender of Canada’s armed forces, but it dropped the ball on veterans issue this year.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino cut funds to nine regional veterans affairs offices as part of a plan to move services to a centralized Service Canada counter. When upset vets flew to Ottawa to meet with him, he initially cancelled a meeting but then reluctantly met with them with the cameras rolling.

Later in May, Fantino was caught on tape evading the spouse of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. His office been under the gun for spending $4 million on advertising programs for veterans rather than investing the money in services. Meanwhile, the government organized a big show on Parliament Hill to praise Afghan vets.

7. Abortion
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s policy of imposing a pro-choice position on all new candidates while grandfathering MPs with anti-abortion views drew criticisms from all sides.

One of his MPs dubbed it a “bozo eruption” and questioned the advice Trudeau was getting, while Roman Catholic leaders condemned his policy. Meanwhile, the NDP attacked him for keeping longtime anti-abortion MPs within the party fold. Trudeau had difficulty explaining his position at first, but after two months of clarifying the Liberal policy, it now seems that everyone has got the message.

8. Privacy
The government reintroduced a new version of a bill that would give police sweeping powers to track and trace telecommunications online. The bill, C-13, “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act,” tackles cyberbullying by prohibiting the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. But it also overhauls the existing system of production orders and warrants.

The government says the bill does nothing new and that police are already obtaining information from third parties voluntarily, without a court order. That practice, however, was put into jeopardy in June when the Supreme Court said in a 8-0 ruling that police need a search warrant to get internet service producers to turn over information on their subscribers’ identities.

The Tories are also pushing ahead on another bill, S-4, “Digital Privacy Act,” that would allow internet service providers to share subscriber information with any organization that is investigating a possible breach of contract, such as a copyright violation, or illegal activity. Telecoms would be allowed to keep the sharing of data secret from the affected customers.

– With files from Daniel Tencer and the Canadian Press

9. Prostitution
The Conservatives tabled legislation in June to respond to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down three major laws relating to prostitution last December. The constitutionality of its bill, C-36, “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act,” was first questioned by experts.

Then, outspoken sex-workers and those who advocate on their behalf argued that the bill would do nothing to address the top court’s concerns and would actually make their jobs less safe. Finally, even the Conservatives’ own supporters found problems with the bill, since it criminalizes prostitutes. The bill has been rushed to committee, which will hold hearings during the summer, when everyone is paying attention to other things.

10. Citizenship
Bill C-24, “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act,” contains several controversial measures that have opposition MPs worried. Among them:

– It limits appeals in order to cut down on processing time and reduce the department’s large backlog;
– Increases the length of time applicants need to spend in Canada before obtaining their citizenship;
– Forces 14- to 16-year-olds as well as 54- to 64-year-olds to meet language requirements and pass knowledge tests;
– Gives Ottawa the power to revoke the citizenship of dual citizens who are convicted with terrorism outside Canada.

Critics worry that there is no distinction between someone convicted after a fair hearing or a political scapegoat convicted in a sham trial. They are also concerned that the minister retains the right to grant or revoke citizenship without public knowledge or court approval.

11. Ukraine
Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a strong stand against Russia, condemning President Vladimir Putin for invasion and annexation of Crimea in March.

But despite tough talk, Canada and the international community have not been willing to do much to prevent Putin from expanding his sphere of influence. A team of 500 Canadian election observers, however, oversaw the country’s May 25 election. And Harper became the first world leader to meet Ukraine’s newly inaugurated President Petro Poroshenko. Poroshenko was elected after his predecessor, pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, fled the country following violent protests.

There are more than 1.25 million Canadians who claim Ukrainian roots, and the group is an important electoral constituency. But, NDP MP Jack Harris said, it’s unclear what the federal government has accomplished on the issue.
“Is the government doing much more than shouting out rhetoric at Vladimir Putin, or are we doing more on the ground?”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

The Supreme Court has put the Harper government — and Justice Minister Peter MacKay — in the difficult position of having to reform Canada’s prostitution laws.

Here are some of the key changes proposed in the Conservatives’ Bill C-36.

Why A New Law?
Last December, in a case known as Bedford, the Supreme Court of Canada threw out existing prostitution laws, saying they violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court gave the government a year to bring in new legislation.

In particular: The high court struck down all three prostitution-related prohibitions — keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution and street soliciting — as violations of the constitutional guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person.

The decision upheld a 2012 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that said the law exposed sex workers to added danger by forcing them onto the streets. It also rejected the argument that the old law was meant to promote the values of dignity and equality.

And it found that the purpose of banning communication for the purposes of prostitution — a measure intended merely to take the practice out of public view — created an unacceptable risk to its practitioners.

Choices
There are different approaches to prostitution across the world. In some countries, such as New Zealand, it is legal and regulated under labour and public health laws. In the United States it is illegal in all but a few counties in Nevada. The so-called Nordic model, followed in Norway, Sweden and Iceland, makes buying sex illegal, while selling it is not.

Old Law
Selling sex was legal, but living in a bawdy house or brothel was illegal, as was living off the profits of another’s prostitution and soliciting sex in public.

New Law
Selling sex remains legal, but buying it becomes a criminal offence. It will also be illegal for anyone to communicate for the purpose of prostitution and prohibits advertising the sexual services of others.

Pros
The government says the bill will protect vulnerable women and keep communities safe by allowing prostitutes to rent apartments, screen clients, hire a receptionist or security guard, and advertise their own services.

Cons
Sex workers say that because buying sex remains a criminal offence, the new law will drive prostitutes back into dark alleys and industrial zones, leaving them at risk.

IN QUOTES: Beverley McLachlin
“These appeals and the cross-appeal are not about whether prostitution should be legal or not. They are about whether the laws Parliament has enacted on how prostitution may be carried out pass constitutional muster. I conclude that they do not.” — Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, writing the decision in the Bedford case.

IN QUOTES: Peter MacKay
“We believe prostitution is inherently dangerous and exploitative.” — Justice Minister Peter MacKay, testifying at a Commons committee.

IN QUOTES: Stephen Harper
“They are not harmful because they are illegal. They are illegal because they are harmful.” — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking of activities in the sex trade.