Blog Posts by Andy Radia

  • If anyone thought that Rob Ford’s absence from the hustings would somehow civilize the Toronto City Council election campaign, they would be sadly mistaken. 

    On Tuesday, Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, an ardent opponent of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, was the subject a homophobic attack in the form of a mailed letter from someone who claimed to be a supporter of Ford Nation. 

    She posted the letter on Twitter. 

    Some took to social media to call out out Wong-Tam for trying to tie the Fords to this attack, suggesting that she was playing politics.

    "Why are you promoting @kristynwongtam tweet?” one person tweeted.

    "For all we know Wong-Tam wrote this letter NO PROOF it came from [Ford Nation]."

    Another person suggested that Wong-Tam was “playing the gay card.”

    "You must be getting desperate," he wrote

    But journalist Jeet

    Read More »from City councillor receives offensive letter as election campaign takes sharp turn into the gutter
  • Foreign affairs experts slam Stephen Harper's relationship with the U.N.

    The pile-on against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his handling of the foreign affairs file continues. 

    Harper is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday evening  his first such address since September 2010.

    To coincide with this rare event, a venerable collection of Canada’s foreign affairs community has released a series of scathing essays slamming the government’s disengagement from the ‘community of nations.’ 

    The essays, released on Wednesday, were published by the World Federalist movement, a non-profit research organization that studies and advocates for global governance reforms and democratization. 

    The University of Ottawa’s John Trent, who edited the project, says that the Harper government’s foreign policy positions have been starkly different than any other government in Canadian history.

    "Canada has had a steady policy with regard to multilateral relations with international organizations like the U.N.," he told Yahoo Canada News.

    "All

    Read More »from Foreign affairs experts slam Stephen Harper's relationship with the U.N.
  • NDP's youngest MPs prove predictions of gaffes and goofs wrong

    Newly elected New Democratic Party MP's Myléne Freeman, left to right, Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dubé, and Laurin Liu.Newly elected New Democratic Party MP's Myléne Freeman, left to right, Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dubé, and Laurin Liu.

    Much was made   in 2011  about the ‘McGill 5.’

    This was the group of five McGill University students  Charmaine Borg, Laurin Liu, Matthew Dubé, Myléne Freeman, and Jaimie Nichols  who got swept-up by the NDP’s Orange Crush in Quebec and unexpectedly got elected in the 2011 federal election. 

    Those five were joined by a number of other NDP millennials including Pierre-Luc Dusseault, the youngest member of parliament in Canadian history, and Ruth Ellen Brosseau,  the assistant pub manager who spent some of the election campaign in Las Vegas. 

    At the time, political pundits warned that these ‘naïve’ youngsters  these paper candidates if you will  would be prone to embarrassing  gaffes and blunders that would ultimately hurt the party and their future prospects.  

    We hadn’t seen much of that all. 

    Until this week. 

    As explained by CTV News, Charmaigne Borg, 23, launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise some money for her re-election bid on the website known as FundRazr.

    As part of

    Read More »from NDP's youngest MPs prove predictions of gaffes and goofs wrong
  • Bad news, Tories: Mike Duffy trial date set for next spring

    Sen. Mike Duffy arrives to the Senate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, October 28, 2013.Sen. Mike Duffy arrives to the Senate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, October 28, 2013.

    The Mike Duffy trial date has been set and the timing couldn’t be worse for the Stephen Harper Conservatives. 

    On Tuesday morning, an Ontario Court Justice set aside 41 days in April, May and June of next year  to hear the case against the suspended senator. Duffy has been charged with 31 counts of fraud and breach of trust, related to his expense claims.

    Also at issue is a $90,000 payment, which Duffy received from Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s former chief of staff. 

    [ Related: Wayne Gretzky’s praise for Harper & the power of celebrity endorsement ]

    The case  which will be heard before a judge and not a jury  will be heard just months ahead of a legislated federal election date of October 19.

    While it’s unclear whether or not Harper will be forced to sit in the witness stand, many of his close aides may have to. The likes of Nigel Wright, former Senate majority leader Marjory LeBreton, Conservative chief fundraiser Irving Gerstein and the PMO’s legal team will likely be

    Read More »from Bad news, Tories: Mike Duffy trial date set for next spring
  • Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, centre left, and N.B. Liberal Leader Brian Gallant (Canadian Press)Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, centre left, and N.B. Liberal Leader Brian Gallant (Canadian Press)

    The Grits have won another one.

    On a long Monday night, marred by electronic vote tabulation hiccups, Brian Gallant’s Liberals finally emerged as the winners in the New Brunswick provincial election, ousting David Alward’s Progressive Conservatives from power. 

    The 32-year old Gallant and his party won 27 out of a possible 49 seats, earning 43 per cent of the popular vote. The Tories came in second with 21 seats and 34 per cent of the votes while the Greens won a seat for the first time in the province’s history.

    The final results could change slightly  the PCs had initially asked that all ballots be counted by hand after some discrepancies were found with the vote-counting machines. According to the Canadian Press, the Tories will announce late Tuesday, whether or not they’ll accept the results as is. 

    While the race was a lot closer than most expected, the election victory is another notch in the belt for the Liberals  a party that has been on a winning streak of sorts for well

    Read More »from With a win in the New Brunswick election, the Liberal brand continues to soar
  • Some of Canada’s largest cities have too many police officers. 

    That’s the finding in the latest Fraser Institute report analyzing police staffing levels and expenditures across the country. 

    The report, titled 'Police and Crime Rates in Canada,' probes the somewhat perplexing relationship between rising policing costs and falling crime rates. 

    "Between 2001 and 2012, police officers per 100,000 of population in Canada rose 8.7 per cent while the crime rate declined by 26.3 per cent," notes the report written by Livio Di Matteo, an economics professor at Lakehead University.

    "When ranked according to their officers per 100,000 population in 2013, the smallest numbers are for Saguenay, Que. and Trois-Rivières, Que., each at 122 police officers per 100,000 of population. The largest numbers are for Winnipeg, Man. and Thunder Bay, Ont., each at 189 officers per 100,000 of population."

    Police fulfill a fundamental role in society and protect law-abiding citizens from criminals. But
    Read More »from Too many cops? New study questions efficiency of Windsor, Winnipeg police forces
  • Harper, 'tar sands' a focus for Canadians at New York climate rally

    image

    Some are dubbing it the largest climate change rally in the history of the world. 

    Others are calling it an environmental revolution. 

    Rhetoric aside, the event certainly drew big numbers. 

    About 310,000 people converged upon the streets of New York city on Sunday afternoon for the People’s Climate March  an event scheduled to coincide with the U.N. summit on Tuesday  intended “to mobilize political will” towards reducing global carbon emissions. 

    Canadians were there en-masse unofficially led by federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May. 

    "The atmosphere is jubilant because we recognize that a march of this size…that this changes everything," May told Yahoo Canada News in a telephone interview from the middle of the march. 

    "All the Canadians [here] are…trying to let the world know that we do not stand with Stephen Harper’s reckless determination to stop global climate action.

    "We stand with the countries that want to make progress and we know the people of Canada want to make

    Read More »from Harper, 'tar sands' a focus for Canadians at New York climate rally
  • Members of Generation Yes - a youth and students campaign for a Yes vote Scotland campaign in Glasgow.Members of Generation Yes - a youth and students campaign for a Yes vote Scotland campaign in Glasgow.

    Many around the world are lauding Scotland for the way they handled their independence referendum, which ended with a "No" vote on Thursday: The rules for campaigning were fair, the debates were respectful and the question was clear. 

    There’s another reason and another lesson the international community should heed, too.  

    Maybe it’s time for countries like Canada to lower the minimum voting age. 

    The Scots allowed 16 and 17 year olds to register to vote in this referendum  109,533 of them did. According to reports, both the pro-Union and pro-independence camps sent teacher-resource kits to the schools, which in turn were used to organize in-class debates.

    It paid off  students were engaged. Total voter turnout is pegged at approximately 85 per cent, meaning that this demographic turned out in big numbers. 

    [ Related: Scottish-Canadians weigh rejection of Scotland independence ]

    Conversely, in Canada and most of the Western world, youth voter turnout rates are simply pathetic. 

    Read More »from Scotland's inclusions of teens in the vote would be a good move for Canada, too
  • Andray Domise is seen campaining in this photo from the Twitter account @AndrayDomiseCampaignAndray Domise is seen campaining in this photo from the Twitter account @AndrayDomiseCampaign

    How do you campaign against someone with cancer? 

    That’s the question suddenly bestowed upon Toronto city council candidate Andray Domise, the principal challenger to Rob Ford in Ward 2. 

    On Wednesday we learned that Ford — who had dropped out of the mayoralty race but is running for his old council seat in Etobicoke North — was diagnosed with malignant liposarcoma. He is expected to go through an aggressive chemotherapy regimen, and it’s unclear, at this point, whether he’ll join the hustings ahead of the October 27 election. 

    [ Related: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford diagnosed with rare form of cancer ]

    Political consultant and analyst Marcel Wieder says that whether Ford campaigns or not, he’s almost certain to win. 

    "There’s a tremendous outpouring for sympathy for Rob. Everyone in the community is rooting for him. They want him to recover, to come back and represent them," Wieder told Yahoo Canada News.  

    "He has a lot of goodwill built up in the bank [in Ward 2] as the

    Read More »from Rob Ford's Ward 2 competitor, Andray Domise, facing steep challenge against mayor
  • Dalton McGuinty's new gig raises questions about lobbying rules

    Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty (Canadian Press)Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty (Canadian Press)

    Dalton McGuinty’s new job is causing a stir on both social and traditional media.

    The former Ontario premier has registered as a lobbyist for Desire2Learn, a company that produces educational software. He will now, presumably, lobby his former colleagues and underlings on behalf of his new employer.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the Ontario Liberals defended McGuinty’s new ‘career path.’

    "Treasury Board President Deb Matthews says McGuinty waited 18 months after leaving the premier’s office to become a registered lobbyist, when the rules state he only had to wait 12 months," notes a Canadian Press report.

    "She says what’s important is the principle of transparency, and as long as people know McGuinty is a lobbyist, his transactions with government will get the appropriate scrutiny."

    Matthews is right  in Ontario, politicians including the premier  are prohibited from lobbying for “contracts or benefits” for themselves or others for one year after they leave politics.

    Clearly McGuinty

    Read More »from Dalton McGuinty's new gig raises questions about lobbying rules

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