Blog Posts by Andy Radia

  • Is the media distracted by the Senate scandal?

    The Canadian Press photo'It's the media that is distracted by the Senate scandal.'

    That seems to be the position, at least, of Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan who addressed reporters on Thursday about his government's accomplishments in the fall session of Parliament.

    "I think there's a deep recognition the priority for this government has been the economy, continues to be the economy," he said, when asked about the Senate scandal being a distraction.

    "And while the media may be distracted by sensational events elsewhere, we have stayed on track. We're on track to get the budget balanced on schedule in 2015. We continue to post the strongest economic growth and job creation growth among the major developed economies.

    "The country stays on course economically and, I think, Canadians recognize that that is what is happening here in Ottawa regardless of what may be on the entertainment television."

    Van Loan went on to list several of his government's accomplishments this Fall, including the passing of budget

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  • 'Quebec is already independent in its mind,' PQ minister says

    Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and PQ minister Jean-Francois Lisee (CP file photo)There's a prevailing belief out there — outside of Quebec — that the sovereignty debate is dead or at least on hold.

    Maybe someone should tell that to the governing Parti Québécois.

    Last weekend a Léger poll suggested that support for an independent Quebec was on the decline. On Wednesday, another poll — this time from CROP — suggested that 44 per cent of Quebecers still support some form of sovereignty.

    Not surprisingly, the PQ is jumping all over that.

    "Quebecers realize we are sovereign," Jean-François Lisée, the PQ minister of international affairs, said on Wednesday according to the Montreal Gazette.

    "An every time we make decisions for ourselves, whether it is in economic policy, in foreign affairs, in resolving our union issues, the recovery of Montreal, we are among Quebecers, and we make decisions for Quebecers.

    "It’s as though, on many levels, Quebec is already independent in its mind, in its way of making decisions and it doesn’t see why it should ask permission from our

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  • Will the Canada Post overhaul become an election issue?

    On Wednesday morning, Canada Post announced major operational changes which they hope will put the crown corporation on a more sustainable financial path.

    Essentially, they will phase out door-to-door mail delivery in urban areas, will boost the price of stamps and cut as many as 8,000 jobs.

    Responding to the announcement, Liberal Insider and Sun News personality Warren Kinsella wrote this on his website.


    I’m not kidding, either. If this extraordinary story isn’t an Onion-like bit of satire – and I checked, it doesn’t seem to be – the Harper guys are done like dinner. Dead.

    Justin, here are your talking points: “No wonder they were eager to shut down the House early. If elected, I will stop this. Vote for me, and I will force Canada Post to keep delivering your mail.”

    You know what, Kinsella is probably right.

    [ Related: Canada Post cuts urban door-to-door delivery in major strategy shift ]

    Maybe not about Harper losing the

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  • Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau denied parliamentary press pass

    Sen. Brazeau applies for press passSuspended Senator Patrick Brazeau's journalism career has hit a bit of a snag.

    Earlier this month, after posting his resume on Twitter, Brazeau announced that he had landed a job with Frank Magazine as their newest Parliamentary reporter.

    But on Wednesday morning, according to CBC News, he was denied a press pass "because he does not meet the requirement for press credentials on Parliament Hill."

    [Press] Gallery president Daniel Thibeault said the gallery's constitution states that a member's principal occupation must be reporting on federal politics, and also specifies that gallery members can't represent the interests of political parties or governments.

    "Senator Brazeau is still a senator with benefits and the executive feels [the request] is incompatible with those rules," said Thibeault, a reporter with Radio-Canada.

    [ Related: Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner slams Tories with his annual Christmas rhyme ]

    Frank Magazine was obviously hoping Brazeau would be a boon to their satirical

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  • Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has been travelling the country meeting with votersIf you've been watching Question Period in the House of Commons lately, you will have noticed that Liberal Justin Trudeau isn't there very often.

    Instead, he's been crisscrossing the country, attending community events and trying to elevate the Liberal brand.

    Well, thanks to the National Post, we now know exactly how many times Justin Trudeau hasn't been in Parliament:

    "...there wasn’t a single instance over the past nearly two months in which Trudeau was present for more than two question periods in the same week.

    All told, Trudeau skipped 22 question periods — or about one in three. This compares to 19 question periods missed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and 14 for NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

    Since Oct. 16, Trudeau has missed four of 41 votes, as compared to three by Mulcair and 25 by Harper."

    Trudeau defended his 'truancy' in an interview with the Post.

    "This government, and unfortunately this House of Commons, tends to be focused on attacks and insults much more than on the service

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  • Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner slams Tories with his annual Christmas rhyme

    I've said it before: if this whole 'politics thing' doesn't work out for Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner, he may have a career as a poet.

    The MP from Nova Scotia has become a sort of resident poet in the House of Commons.

    In the the past he's given us such parliamentary parodies as the 'Bev Oda rap', 'The Ballad of Justin and Patrick' and last Christmas' 'Twas the week before Christmas (on Parliament Hill).'

    On Tuesday, he shared his latest work 'Twas the week before Christmas -- the 2013 edition.

    Maybe not his best poem but he certainly had a lot of material work with after a year filled with Senate scandal news.

    [ Related: 22 Minutes spoofs the birth of Justin Trudeau on Christmas special ]

    The House adjourns for the Christmas break on Friday.

    MPs return to Ottawa on January 27th.

    Are you a politics junkie?
    Follow @politicalpoints on Twitter!

    Read More »from Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner slams Tories with his annual Christmas rhyme
  • Aboriginal protesters march in Idle No More rallyOne year removed from Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike and the height of the Idle No More protests, the Fraser Institute has released a new report analyzing how much government money is spent on Aboriginal programs.

    It's a lot of money.

    The increase in spending on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples has been significant regardless of the source looked at. For instance, accounting for inflation, in the department of Aboriginal Affairs, spending on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples rose to almost $7.9 billion in 2011/12 from $79 million annually in 1946/47. Per First Nations person, such spending rose to $9,056 by 2011/12 from $922 per person in 1949/50. That constitutes an 882 percent rise in spending per First Nations person. In comparison, total federal program spending per person on all Canadians rose by 387 percent, to $7,316 in 2011/12 from $1,504 in 1949/50.

    The researchers of the study admit that their analysis is a little crude in that their accounting isn't exhaustive — they've only

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  • 22 Minutes spoofs the birth of Justin Trudeau on Christmas special

    December 25th is, of course, is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

    It's also the birthday of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

    The satirists at CBC's This Hour has 22 Minutes just couldn't pass-up a chance to spoof that tidbit in their annual Christmas special which airs Tuesday night.

    [ Related: CBC comedians mock Harper, Senate scandal with ‘Tories’ parody ]

    Here is the catchy preview of their festive Trudeau parody Pierre's Boy Child, inspired by Boney M's Mary's Boy Child.

    According to Terri McCulloch, the show's publicity manager, Tuesday's episode has a lot of political content.

    "[We have] the Premier of Alberta reading 'Twas The Night Before ALBERTA Christmas which includes a mention of ... [what] she's wishing for from President Obama," McCulloch told Yahoo Canada News.

    "Also on the show: MP Olivia Chow, MP Peter Stoffer and Transport Minister MP Lisa Raitt receive 'special' gifts from 22 Minutes."

    The episode airs between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the public broadcaster's

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  • Reuters photoBy now, Canadians are used to those sometimes graphic warning labels on cigarette packages that say things like "smoking causes cancer."

    Well, there's now a discussion brewing about whether we should adopt similar legislation for alcohol packages.

    Kudos to the National Post's Tom Blackwell for discovering a commentary — recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal — from Mohammed Al-hamdani who says that such warning labels could help raise awareness about the dangers of high-risk drinking.

    "Like cigarettes, alcohol is a social drug associated with considerable health and social costs. Relative to cigarettes, regulators worldwide have imposed very modest restrictions in its advertisements. Studies on alcohol health warnings show that they do not have a strong effect on influencing recall, perceptions and behaviors. Poorly visible and ambiguous health warnings plus the absence of pictorial warnings muddy previous studies," the abstract to Al-hamdani's research paper

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  • Conservative MP John Williamson and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in June 2011Here's a private member's bill that I hope will get unanimous support.

    This week, as explained by the Canadian Press, parliamentarians will debate Bill C-518 which would eliminate the pension for any MP or senator convicted of a serious crime while serving in office.

    "Under the proposed legislation, any MP or senator convicted of an indictable offence that carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison would only keep what they put into the pension plan, losing the generous government contribution"

    The timely bill — put forward by Tory MP John Williamson — is a no-brainer.

    [ Related: MPs to debate pulling pensions from convicted colleagues in Commons and Senate ]

    Gregory Thomas, of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, recently penned a commentary championing the bill but wondering what took so long.

    When Canadians discovered back in 2010 that serial child-killer Clifford Olson was banking over $14,000 a year in cheques from Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, many of us

    Read More »from MPs to debate Bill C-518, which would eliminate pensions for crooked politicians, finally


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