Blog Posts by Andy Radia

  • Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin in Senate as debate on their suspensions begins

    Cartoon by Fleg

    Independent Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau were all in attendance in the upper chamber on Tuesday, as debate began on Conservative party motions to suspend them without pay for "gross negligence" of their Parliamentary budgets.

    [ Related: Pamela Wallin's lawyer threatens legal action against possible Senate suspension ]

    As of 4:30 pm (EST), none of the three maligned politicians had yet had the opportunity to address their colleagues.

    Last week, Wallin's lawyer Terrence O'Sullivan indicated that they would indeed fight the motion.

    "It is backroom politics at its transparent worst and it's designed to create the impression of a clean slate for the Tory convention in Calgary next week," he told the Canadian Press.

    "It's a fundamental affront to Canadian democracy."

    And, on Monday, Duffy's lawyer told reporters that they too would consider legal action if the senator from PEI was suspended.

    "At my insistence, Senator Duffy and his wife Heather have maintained silence in

    Read More »from Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin in Senate as debate on their suspensions begins
  • Naheed Nenshi wins second term as Calgary mayor in landslide victory

    There were no surprises in Monday's civic election in Calgary.

    Naheed Nenshi has been re-elected as mayor for a second term in a landslide victory. As of 11:30pm (MDT), the incumbent had 73.7 per cent of the popular vote; finishing a very distant second was Jon Lord with 21.3 per cent support.

    "The secret of our success in this community is very simple. We’ve learned a basic truth that evades so many in this broken world," Nenshi said during his victory speech.

    "We’re all in it together. Our neighbour’s pain is our pain, our neighbour’s success is our success."

    For Nenshi, a primary issue during the campaign became his desire to increase population density in the downtown core versus a well-funded home builder lobby profiting handsomely from building suburban homes.

    Nenshi won that battle in the mayoralty race and, as of press time, it looked as if the pro-density Nenshi-friendly councillors — except for Gael MacLeod in Ward 4 — were poised to be re-elected as well.

    [ Related: Calgary

    Read More »from Naheed Nenshi wins second term as Calgary mayor in landslide victory
  • Mike Duffy's lawyer, Donald BayneSenator Mike Duffy — through his lawyer — has come out swinging at the Prime Minister's Office and the Senate leadership.

    In what can only be described as an explosive press conference, Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, launched damning allegation after damning allegation in a staunch defence of his client.

    The press conference in Ottawa, comes ahead of Tuesday's Senate debate on a motion to suspend Duffy — along with Senator Pamela Wallin and Senator Patrick Brazeau — without pay for his part in the ongoing Senate expense scandal.

    "At my insistence, Senator Duffy and his wife Heather have maintained silence in the face of allegations made concerning Senator Duffy's senate living allowance and expense claims," Bayne started.

    "Now, however, the Senate or at least the Conservative majority whipped by their leader intends to act like a mob to sentence Senator Duffy without a hearing. Without knowing the evidence and without strangely waiting for the very RCMP investigation which they called for."

    Read More »from Duffy’s lawyer suggests PMO pressured senator into taking repayment deal
  • 'Justin factor' helps to buoy Liberals in byelection opinion polls

    Liberal leader Justin Trudeau with his star candidate for Toronto Centre Chrystia FreelandWhen it comes to byelections, there are generally two schools of thought.

    The first one is that they are a harbinger for a general election; a referendum — if you will — on the government.

    The second theory suggests that pundits should pay little attention to byelections — that they are a different beast dependent on local issues and star candidates.

    So, which narrative should we believe?

    As with most things, the answer probably lies in the middle.

    [ Related: Stephen Harper calls four byelections for November ]

    On Monday, Forum Research released their first poll on the four federal byelections — in Bourassa (Quebec), in Toronto Centre (Ontario), in Provencher (Manitoba), and in Brandon Souris (Manitoba) — now slated for November 25th.

    If you believe the first theory — that byelections are a sign of things to come —then the poll is great news for the Liberals and bad news for the Tories and NDP.

    Forum suggests that Justin Trudeau's party is poised to win three out of the four ridings for a net

    Read More »from 'Justin factor' helps to buoy Liberals in byelection opinion polls
  • Stephen Harper calls four byelections for November

    Brandon Souris Liberal candidate Rolf Dinsdale with Justin TrudeauVoters in four currently unrepresented ridings will be going to the polls next month.

    The Prime Minister's Office has announced byelections in Bourassa (Quebec), Provencher (Manitoba), Brandon-Souris (Manitoba) and Toronto Centre (Ontario) for Nov. 25.

    "With Conservative-appointed Senators [Mike] Duffy, [Pamela] Wallin and [Patrick] Brazeau now on suspension from the Senate, a Canada-Europe trade agreement (CETA) initialed, and all four government party candidates in place, the Prime Minister may not have a better time to pull the plug than now," Alice Funke — who provides excellent analysis on all things election related — wrote on her Pundits' Guide website.

    Here's a breakdown of each of the ridings:

    1. Bourassa (Quebec):

    - Incumbent: Denis Coderre (LPC)

    - Results from last election: LPC: 40.9 per cent; NDP: 32.3 per cent; BQ: 16.1 per cent; CPC: 8.8 per cent

    - Analysis:

    The two front runners in the battle for Bourassa are former Liberal MNA Emmanuel Dubourg and the NDP Stéphane Moraille.


    Read More »from Stephen Harper calls four byelections for November
  • Is Elizabeth May’s leadership hurting her party’s future prospects?

    Green Party leader Elizabeth May (CP)Last summer, I was one of the few reporters to attend the Green Party national convention on Vancouver Island.

    What was striking was how much May was revered — not just respected but truly admired — by the party faithful. She was, after all, the party's first ever elected MP and a leader who continues to punch well above her weight when it comes to media attention.

    Outside Green circles, however, it appears that May has some work to do to appeal to the masses.

    [ Related: Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque steps down as Green Party candidate, deputy leader ]

    On Friday, the National Post editorial board published a scathing article questioning May's leadership.

    The impetus of the column seems to have been this Twitter exchange between May and Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney during the throne speech when it was re-announced that Canada would be building a monument to victims of communism.

    Read More »from Is Elizabeth May’s leadership hurting her party’s future prospects?
  • What not to like about the Canada-EU trade deal

    "The biggest deal Canada has ever made."

    That's how Prime Minister Stephen Harper is describing Canada's free trade deal with the European Union, announced in principle on Friday.

    At a press conference in Brussels, Harper touted the deal as one that would create 80,000 jobs and pour $12 billion into the Canadian economy. In the House of Commons on Thursday, the government boasted that the agreement could add $1,000 to the income of the average Canadian family.

    The deal still needs to be ratified by the provinces and by the European nations, so its implementation is at least 18 months away.

    [ Related: Say cheese: EU strikes trade deal with Canada, looks to U.S ]

    Overall, most economists agree this deal is a good news story for most Canadians and Canadian businesses that get access to a consumer market of over 500 million people.

    But like any trade deal — there is some opposition.

    Here's what is being opposed.

    Say cheese:

    With the implementation of the deal, European cheese quotas will double to

    Read More »from What not to like about the Canada-EU trade deal
  • Green Party Leader Elizabeth May with Georges LaraqueFormer NHL tough-guy Georges Laraque has stepped down as the Green Party candidate in the Montreal riding of Bourassa because of fraud and theft charges laid against him earlier this week.

    At a press conference on Friday morning, Laraque said that he's taking a leave while the judicial process takes its course.

    "It's important to run the campaign when you're clear of any charges," Laraque said, aside Green Party leader Elizabeth May, according to CTV News.

    "When you set a standard like this, you demand the same for all the parties that are running and I think that's fair. And that's why I think it's more important right now to clear my name, and after that when I go see people, people will know that I did the right thing at that time."

    [ Related: Candidate Laraque: Legitimate candidate, or just a publicity stunt? ]

    Laraque's judicial problems emanate from a business partnership with Marc Filion. According to Sun News, the duo entered into an agreement to distribute synthetic ice panels in

    Read More »from Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque steps down as Green Party candidate, deputy leader
  • Sen. Mike Duffy takes sick leave from SenateMike Duffy is taking a medical leave of absence from his duties as a senator.

    According to CTV News, Duffy sent a letter to Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella on Thursday morning, outlining his reasons.

    Duffy reveals in the letter that he spent two-and-a-half days in hospital at the end of August after suffering “unstable angina,” or chest pains, at his Prince Edward Island home.

    “On examination here this week, my Ottawa GP fears the disease has progressed,” Duffy writes. “He is suggesting immediate tests. My GP suggests that to avoid further stress on my system, I stay off work until I get the all-clear from my medical team.”

    Duffy had open-heart surgery in 2006 and during the operation, doctors found three blockages. However, due to complications, doctors only fixed “the main problem,” according to his letter, and did not fix the other two blockages.

    “They suggested that surgery could come later,” Duffy writes.

    In a strange twist to the story, the Conservative party leadership in the

    Read More »from Mike Duffy takes medical leave as Tories prepare to suspend him, Brazeau and Wallin
  • It's back to business in Ottawa.

    One day after the government's Speech from the Throne, MPs have returned to the Hill for routine proceedings, their other parliamentary duties and, of course, the always raucous Question Period.

    [ Related: Harper government ‘resets’ with throne speech promising balanced-budget law, consumer-first measures ]

    Opposition parties, in particular, are salivating at the opportunity to query the Conservatives about the ongoing Senate expense scandal that dogged the Harper government through much of the extended summer recess.

    But to their chagrin, the prime minister won't be there.

    Conveniently — and apparently coincidentally — Stephen Harper will be flying to Belgium today to finalize details of the Canada - EU free trade agreement touted in Wednesday's throne speech.

    That led NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair to decry "he can run but can't hide." According to the Huffington Post, Mulcair said that Harper was showing "cowardly behaviour."

    Liberal leader Justin Trudeau told

    Read More »from Is Stephen Harper showing 'cowardly behaviour' by not showing up to Question Period?


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