Blog Posts by Andy Radia

  • New Brunswick Tories call Brian Gallant gaffe his "Stéphane Dion" moment

    New Brunswick's Liberal leader Brian Gallant is getting called out for not knowing his numbers less than a week before the provincial election.

    The criticism emanates from two interviews Gallant had with CBC News on September 12.

    In the first Q & A, the 32-year old Liberal leader repeatedly said that his plan to raise taxes for the richest New Brunswickers would mean that just 200 people, making over $500,000, would end up paying a higher level of taxes than those in the province of Quebec.

    CBC gave Gallant a re-do interview —  five hours later  where he corrected himself claiming that his tax increase would actually affect about 600 people making over $370,000.

    "I take full responsibility. A staffer was working 'til about 4 a.m. to provide us with this [information]," he said.

    "Obviously in a campaign things move very quickly but I should have double checked."

    [ Related: Anti-abortion postcards targeting Brian Gallant lead to complaints ]

    The CBC host didn’t let Gallant off the

    Read More »from New Brunswick Tories call Brian Gallant gaffe his "Stéphane Dion" moment
  • NDP's renewed interest in a national minimum wage a strong political play

    On Tuesday, Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats introduced a doomed-for-failure motion in the House of Commons, which would reinstate a federal minimum wage, and increase it to $15/hour.

    Even if the motion somehow passed, it’s affect would be limited  it would only apply to those workers who belong to a federally regulated industry such as banking, air transport and radio and television broadcasting. 

    It has, however, re-ignited the debate about the efficacy of raising the minimum wage, for all workers, across the country  a debate that has reached grand proportions in the United States. 

    "Here in Canada, the minimum-wage debate has been trapped in a time warp," the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Trish Hennessy wrote in an essay praising the New Democrats for introducing the motion. 

    "Provincially, any attempt to increase the minimum wage on a steady basis has been overly cautious, muted by a loud and powerful business lobby.

    "[The NDP motion] is the beginning of a national

    Read More »from NDP's renewed interest in a national minimum wage a strong political play
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, greets Wayne Gretzky, right, at the United for Ukraine Gala (CP Photo)Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, greets Wayne Gretzky, right, at the United for Ukraine Gala (CP Photo)

    Conservatives are still experiencing an intense afterglow after last week’s pseudo-endorsement by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. 

    At the United for Ukraine Gala in Toronto last Thursday, 'The Great One’ praised Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his strong support for Ukraine.

    "It’s really amazing, that our country, the leadership we have right now. One of the greatest prime ministers ever," Gretzky said. 

    "It’s really nice to see that our prime minister is not only protecting Canadians in Canada, but Canadians around the world. So congratulations for leading our country the way you are."

    Unfortunately for Harper, Gretzky’s flattering words weren’t the beginning of a trend of Canadian icons getting behind the blue Tory machine. 

    On Monday, music legend Randy Bachman complained about the Tories using his ‘Taking Care of Business’ song during a campaign-style speech in Ottawa. 

    "I don’t think he’s taking care of business for the right people or the right reasons," Bachman told the

    Read More »from Wayne Gretzky's praise for Stephen Harper and the power of celebrity endorsement
  • What Doug Ford needs to do to win Toronto's mayoral race

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    He's in it, but can he win it? What does Doug Ford have to do to keep the Toronto Chain of Office in the family? 

    Last Friday, Rob and Doug Ford's last-minute switcheroo threw Toronto's electoral landscape into chaos. Due to his ongoing health problems, Rob Ford is no longer a candidate for mayor, and his older brother Doug Ford is now running in his stead.

    On the surface, it appears that Doug Ford couldn’t do any worse than his younger brother. One might think that he'd retain the support of 'Ford Nation' and could even gain votes from people who were turned off by his brother’s drug and alcohol issues.

    But according to Ekos Research pollster Frank Graves, it’s not that straightforward, as the Fords' base of support seems to be changing.

    [ Related: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says God 'wants him somewhere else' ]

    "Our private polling suggested that 'Ford Nation' had morphed from a sort of Tea Party-like constituency of older, middle-socioeconomic status homeowners to a much younger and

    Read More »from What Doug Ford needs to do to win Toronto's mayoral race
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech in Ottawa September 15, 2014. (Reuters)Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech in Ottawa September 15, 2014. (Reuters)

    Stephen Harper has unofficially launched the 399-day election campaign to 2015. 

    In an unusual move, the prime minister held his annual back-to-the-House of Commons address at the Ottawa Convention centre  not on Parliament Hill  in front of MPs, staffers, Conservative Party supporters and the media.

    It was a rah-rah, campaign-style speech which gives Canadians a glimpse of what’s to come in what is sure to be a seemingly never-ending blitz of Tory mail-outs, advertisements and public relations campaigns. 

    Of course, there was top line mention of the economy:

    Our plan is not complicated. We’re here to create jobs and lower taxes. We’re here to help Canadian families,” Harper told the crowd. 

    Even as other countries have stagnated — or worse — Canada has created nearly 1.1 million jobs and they are overwhelmingly private-sector, full-time, high-paying jobs.”

    (Reuters photo)(Reuters photo)

    Harper also raised the specter of an uncertain world. 

    "We live in an uncertain world, indeed, a dangerous world. But the

    Read More »from Harper touts strong economy, international leadership in campaign-style speech
  • Four things to expect as Parliament resumes Monday

    Desks are pictured in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 12, 2014. (Reuters)Desks are pictured in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 12, 2014. (Reuters)

    They’re baa-aaack!  

    Amid the backdrop of international tumult, ongoing deliberations over the senate expense scandal and an election one year away, parliament resumes on Monday after a three month summer recess.

    Analysts and pundits are predicting a raucous fall sitting. 

    Here is some of what we can expect: 

    Mike Duffy sits in a vehicle outside a Kensington, P.E.I. dog kennel on Friday July 18, 2014. (CP Photo)Mike Duffy sits in a vehicle outside a Kensington, P.E.I. dog kennel on Friday July 18, 2014. (CP Photo)

    Senate shenanigans take centre-stage, again

    The Conservatives have successfully changed the channel on the senate expense scandal over the summer.

    This fall, the channel will likely change back. 

    Sen. Mike Duffy’s first court date is scheduled for Tuesday.

    In July, the RCMP announced 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery against Duffy after a year-long investigation into the suspended senator’s expense claims and that $90,000 cheque he received from Nigel Wright to repay taxpayers.

    Duffy has denied any wrongdoing and says that he looks forward to his day in court. 

    Meanwhile, Auditor General Michael Ferguson continues his audit into the expenses of all senators. 

    Read More »from Four things to expect as Parliament resumes Monday
  • Canadians are fighting for ISIS, but Canada has no terrorism alert system

    Ten Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have agreed to rally with the U.S. in tackling the threat posed by ISIS.Ten Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have agreed to rally with the U.S. in tackling the threat posed by ISIS.

    Australia became the latest country to increase its terrorism alert level on Friday in light of the emergence of Islamic extremists in the Middle East.

    Last week, the U.K. did the same. 

    Both countries — citing reports of their own citizens fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and threats against the west — raised their public threat rankings to their second highest levels indicating a terrorist risk is ‘likely.’

    If you’re waiting on Canada to do the same, don’t bother.

    While Canada may face the same risks as its commonwealth brethren, we don’t even have a public ranking system.

    The UK and Australia terror threat systems mirror the United States’ color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System — introduced by the Bush administration in 2002 — which ranged from green (a low risk of terrorist attacks) to red (a severe risk of terrorist attacks).

    Since 2011, the U.S. has transitioned to the National Terrorism Advisory System, which provides more timely and

    Read More »from Canadians are fighting for ISIS, but Canada has no terrorism alert system
  • The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is urging the federal government not to give in to what they call the public sector unions’ “crazy” demands. 

    Currently, the Treasury Board is in the midst of negotiating 27 collective agreements with 15 bargaining agents. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)  Canada’s largest public sector union  is one of those agents negotiating five different agreements. 

    In a scathing release distributed to media on Thursday, the CTF published some of the unions’ demands. 

    According to the taxpayer watchdog, PSAC and its affiliates are asking for three additional statutory holidays (January 2, February 16 and May 1), they want new hires to be given four weeks paid vacation 
    up from three, they are demanding that any critical comments in a performance review be deleted after one year, and they want taxpayers to contribute to a “social justice fund” controlled by the unions.

    What seems to have drawn the most outrage, however, is the Educational

    Read More »from Public union demand for 'aboriginal spirit friend' bereavement leave chastised by watchdog
  • U.S. Senator John McCain speaks during a news conference in Riga April 15, 2014. (Reuters)U.S. Senator John McCain speaks during a news conference in Riga April 15, 2014. (Reuters)

    Veteran U.S. Senator John McCain has raised the issue — again — of terrorists entering the United States from Canada.

    But the Canadian government remains confident that it is taking measures to prevent that from happening.

    On Wednesday evening, during an interview with CNN, McCain expressed concern about ISIS extremists entering his country through either the south or north. 

    "Today we had a hearing and there was testimony from counter-terroism people and the Department of Homeland Security. There is Twitter traffic right now and Facebook traffic where they are urging attacks on the United States of America," the Republican senator said, as part of his response to a President Barack Obama address to the nation.

    "And there is a great concern that our southern border and our northern border is porous and that they will be coming across."


    For their part, the Harper government didn’t comment directly on McCain’s comments.

    They did however want to boast about their record on strengthening

    Read More »from Ottawa says terrorists won't enter U.S. through Canada, despite McCain's suggestion
  • Five questions we’re left with after the Rob Ford tumour diagnosis

    Doug Ford arrives at the Humber River Hospital where Rob Ford is undergoing tests (Canadian Press)Doug Ford arrives at the Humber River Hospital where Rob Ford is undergoing tests (Canadian Press)

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is undergoing more tests after being admitted to the Humber River Hospital, yesterday, after experiencing intense pain in his stomach. 

    At a Wednesday evening press conference, Councillor Doug Ford and hospital CEO Dr. Rueben Devlin stated that a CT scan has revealed that there is a tumor in the mayor’s abdomen; a biopsy is still needed to determine the type of tumour and whether it is malignant.

    While personal health situations always require a level of sensitivity, there are a plethora of questions being raised on both social and traditional media about Ford’s health and the implications on the mayoralty race. 

    Will Ford remain in the mayoralty race?

    Only Rob Ford, of course, has the answer at this point.

    And even he may not know. 

    His decision is likely going to be dependent on diagnosis. 

    According to Newstalk 1010's medical correspondent Dr. Mitch Shulman, the worry is about colon cancer, especially since Ford's father died of that very disease eight years

    Read More »from Five questions we’re left with after the Rob Ford tumour diagnosis

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