Blog Posts by Andy Radia

  • Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. (Reuters)Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. (Reuters)

    Trudeau has had a lousy week  a lousy month even  and the Conservative Party is doing its best to make sure you know that. 

    As has been widely reported, Trudeau has fumbled and mumbled his way through the debate over Canada’s combat mission in Iraq. 

    It started a couple of weeks ago with his party’s flip-flopping on the issue. 

    The Liberals had hoped Trudeau’s troubles had climaxed last Thursday when, during a Q&A, Trudeau inappropriately said that Canada can do better than “trying to whip out our CF-18’s” and show the international community “how big they are.”

    Things got worse, however, with some intense media criticism and a cadre of senior Liberals  including current MP Irwin Cotler and former cabinet ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Ujjal Dosanjh  publicly disagreeing with the party’s stance not to support the airstrikes. 

    And along the way, the Tories hav been providing some creative commentary via social media. 

    Read More »from Conservative Party, Jason Kenney pounce on Justin Trudeau's terrible week via social media
  • Prime Minister Harper wears a headdress after being made an honourary chief of the Blood tribe. (CP)Prime Minister Harper wears a headdress after being made an honourary chief of the Blood tribe. (CP)

    It has all the makings of a first-rate reality television show.

    A B.C. First Nation community has penned a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to spend one week living among them on their reserve. 

    The letter by the Cheam Indian Band, obtained by Yahoo Canada News, claims that the visit would strengthen the relationship between the Government of Canada and its indigenous populations:

    This would provide an opportunity to get to know our community, develop an understanding of how we govern, learn about our cultural life and see the steps that Cheam is taking in health, land, economic development and other important matters."

    This could be an historic and memorable event to add to the positive steps already taken by your office. We see this as an opportunity to reconcile relations between the Canadian government, the people of Canada and the indigenous nations of Canada.

    The invite was inspired by Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s vow to spend one week a year

    Read More »from First Nation community invites Stephen Harper to live among them for one week
  • Justin Trudeau In over his head adJustin Trudeau In over his head ad

    Gaffe-prone politicians be warned — the Conservative Party wants to pounce on your words. 

    According to CTV News, the Harper government has a plan to change copyright laws allowing political parties to use broadcast news content in their negative ads, for free, and without the authorization of the broadcaster. 

    So, for example, if someone like — let’s say — Justin Trudeau says something dumb in a television or radio interview, the Tories will be able to use that footage in their negative political ads. 

    The new rules, according to CTV, will be pushed through in an omnibus budget bill later this Fall.

    [ Related: Cult of personality: How celebrity status still wins votes in Cdn politics ] 

    Not surprisingly, the Liberals are angry. 

    "Such unethical activity is explicitly illegal under current Canadian law. It constitutes theft of the intellectual property of news organizations produced for journalistic purposes, not partisan advertising. To eliminate that important distinction would blur

    Read More »from Harper government's plan to change copyright laws for ads slammed by opposition parties
  • Myth or fact: Is the Harper government really muzzling scientists?

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tours a research lab in Montreal.Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tours a research lab in Montreal.

    There’s been a lot chatter over the past several years about the Harper government being secretive and antagonistic with the media. 

    One of the things that gets a lot of attention are the allegations  from the opposition parties, from federal scientists and from the media  that the Tories are muzzling scientists, presumably as a means to hide information to further their oil-based agenda.

    Well, a new report penned by the Evidence For Democracy supports that narrative. 

    The report’s authors looked at 16 federal departments and came to the conclusion that “government media policies do not support open and timely communication between scientists and journalists.”

    The worst department, according to the report, was Natural Resources Canada:

    "NRCan policies emphasize message control and place restrictions on who may interact with the media. Media relations will develop messages together with the spokesperson and communications managers; approval is then required from the Minister’s

    Read More »from Myth or fact: Is the Harper government really muzzling scientists?
  • PM Harper rises in the House of Commons to vote for an air combat mission against ISIS on Tuesday. (CP)PM Harper rises in the House of Commons to vote for an air combat mission against ISIS on Tuesday. (CP)

    The official House of Commons debate over Canada’s mission to Iraq ended on Tuesday evening with the Conservative majority voting to join the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS. 

    The NDP voted against the motion citing a lack of clarity and no U.N or NATO resolution backing the mission. The Liberals, like the NDP, touted a more humanitarian role. 

    The question now turns to how those two parties should proceed. 

    [ Related: Airstrikes against IS force them to withdraw from parts of Syrian town ]

    The fact that Parliament is divided about going to war is a rarity in Canadian history.

    According to Duncan Cameron, the President of the left-wing online newspaper Rabble.ca, “Canada has not sent military into a war zone without support from the Official Opposition party in the House of Commons” ever before.

    "In World Wars I and II, Korea, all UN missions, the first Iraq war (1993), Afghanistan, and Libya," he wrote, "Canadian military action had bipartisan support. " 

    Internationally, there’s an

    Read More »from House of Commons division over ISIS mission a rarity in Canadian politics
  • Anti-abortion protesters place signs in a pile during the National March for Life on Parliament Hill. (Reuters)Anti-abortion protesters place signs in a pile during the National March for Life on Parliament Hill. (Reuters)

    An Alberta-based anti-abortion group is making no apologies for once again distributing graphic flyers in Calgary that were apparently seen and handled by young children.

    According to Metro News, some residents of a Calgary neighbourhood are fuming after some of their sons and daughters  including a large number at a daycare centre  picked up the postcard which included a Photoshopped image of Tory MP Michelle Rempel smiling over a gruesome image of a bloody fetus.

    "Politician Michelle Rempel supports abortion," notes the card produced and hand-delivered by the Canadian Centre for Bio Ethical Reform (CCBR).

    "And she wants to be your MP."

    We’re showing people what abortion looks like so they realize that what we’re talking about is a real human being that is being victimized. We’ve seen a tremendous response in that regard.
    —Jonathon Van Maren, Canadian Centre for Bio Ethical Reform

    The CCBR’s Jonathon Van Maren is adamant that his group, which has distributed over 300,000 of

    Read More »from Anti-abortion group defends itself over latest 'graphic' flyer featuring Tory MP
  • Ranked ballot option coming to Ontario municipalities

    A man casts his vote for the 2011 federal election in Toronto in this May 2, 2011 photo. (Canadian Press)A man casts his vote for the 2011 federal election in Toronto in this May 2, 2011 photo. (Canadian Press)

    It won’t help decide the heated race in the upcoming Toronto election  but it could in 2018.

    The Ontario Liberals are making good on a campaign promise to give municipalities some new tools to supposedly enhance local democracy. 

    A spokesperson for Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin confirms that the Kathleen Wynne government will amend current legislation to give city governments the option of ranked ballots in future elections. 

    "As the Premier indicated in our ministry’s mandate letter, in the course of reviewing the Municipal Elections Act, we will provide municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections as an alternative to the first-past-the-post system, starting in 2018," Mark Cripps told Yahoo Canada News

    "This work will get underway following the elections on October 27."

    [Ranked ballot voting] means that no one has to vote strategically – you can vote with your heart each time. Runoff voting strongly discourages negative campaigning
    Read More »from Ranked ballot option coming to Ontario municipalities
  • image

    Politicians usually have announcements to ... well ... actually announce something new, such as a run for public office. 

    Maybe that’s why former Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla’s weekend event is causing so much confusion. 

    On Saturday, Dhalla posted this note on to her Facebook page: 

    "Dear Friends and supporters … I would like to personally invite you for a special announcement I will be making tomorrow Sunday October 5, 2014 at 2pm sharp at Pearson Convention Center (boardrooms) located at Airport and Steeles. Please feel free to invite family and friends and pass this invite along to fellow team members! Your support is appreciated. I look forward to seeing you. Best Dr. Ruby Dhalla and team"

    According to CTV News, about 60 people showed up on Sunday for the event, only to hear Dhalla announce that she wouldn’t be running in the next federal election.

    "As she spoke, Dhalla was surrounded by posters which had the Liberal Party name blacked out," noted the CTV report.

    "When Dhalla

    Read More »from Ruby Dhalla says Liberals didn't tell her not to run in the next federal election
  • Earlier this year, a political pundit opined that Justin Trudeau was the leader that ‘Canadians wanted to date but weren’t sure if they wanted to marry.’

    In other words, they like him  as the opinion polls suggest  but have some reservations about handing him the keys to 24 Sussex Drive in 2015.

    If he's going to convince them to commit to a long-term relationship, this week could prove crucial.

    The House of Commons is debating whether Canada should send CF-18’s to to join the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS in Iraq, and to date, Trudeau’s performance on this file doesn’t instill much confidence.

    The biggest problem has been the flip-flops. Over the past several weeks  as clearly illustrated by the NDP here  the Liberals haven’t had a clear message about their position on airstrikes.

    Last week they said they couldn’t support a combat mission without a fulsome debate in the House of Commons. But then on Friday, Trudeau said outright that the Grits would not support airstrikes,

    Read More »from Debate over Canada's role in ISIS fight may prove a litmus test of Trudeau's leadership
  • Is it time for Canada's MPs to be audited?

    Canada's Auditor General Michael Ferguson takes part in a news conference Nov. 26, 2013. (Reuters)Canada's Auditor General Michael Ferguson takes part in a news conference Nov. 26, 2013. (Reuters)

    Another attempt to open up the books of our members of parliament, and we hit another brick wall. 

    Earlier this year, Senator Percy Downe tabled a motion calling on the Senate to ask Auditor General Michael Ferguson “to conduct a comprehensive audit of House of Commons expenses, including Members’ expenses.”

    The motion was probably a stunt in response to the Auditor General’s audit of senator expenses. It would not have compelled Ferguson to take any action. It would just, as Downe suggested at the time, nudge the House to address public concerns about politicians’ expenses. 

    But, according to the Hill Times Tim Naumetz, the Tories are signalling that it will oppose the motion. 

    "[Conservative] Sen. Elizabeth Marshall argued that Sen. Downe’s motion is too sweeping, and attempts to set conditions on how and when Mr. Ferguson’s office would conduct an audit, which Sen. Marshall said would infringe on the independence of the auditor general," Naumetz wrote.

    "Despite a suggestion from

    Read More »from Is it time for Canada's MPs to be audited?

Pagination

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