• So far, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has been — let's say 'guarded' — with regard to sharing his platform for the 2015 election campaign.

    One thing he has talked about is being a champion for the middle class who, Trudeau says, are mightily struggling in Canada.

    That stance, however, has given both the Conservatives and New Democrats some easy attack lines.

    The Conservatives have chided Trudeau for not being able to define what 'middle class' is while NDP leader Thomas Mulcair recently suggested that the Liberal leader doesn't "know what middle class means" because he's never been there.

    Well, now there's a third line of attack thanks to a New York Times report that claims that Canada's middle class is doing relatively well under the Harper government.

    "After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans," notes the report, released on Tuesday.

    "Although

    Read More »from Canadian middle-class isn’t better off despite NY Times report, Liberals retort
  • There's another language controversy, of sorts, brewing in Canada.

    No, this one is not happening in Quebec — it's taking place on the West Coast, in Richmond, British Columbia.

    According to the Richmond Review newspaper, there are rumblings about the thrust of Chinese language signage in that city.

    The latest incident came this week when a Crest toothpaste ad was spotted on bus shelter on a busy highway. The sign included text was almost fully in Chinese.

    "Telecommunications companies, realtors and banks have used Chinese-only advertisements before — on bus shelters and in direct mail — but such targeted ads for consumer products aren’t as common.

    "Kerry Starchuk, a longtime resident who has advocated for English to be included on signs, plans to boycott Procter and Gamble’s products. because of the ad, which she said is also being used in Toronto. And some Twitter users this week wondered what the result would be if the advertisements were used in Quebec, where French language has

    Read More »from Chinese-only sign stirs language controversy in Richmond, B.C.
  • Since April 14, 2013 — the day Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership — it seems that all the opinion polls have essentially said the same thing: 'The Liberals are beating the Conservatives.'

    It's true: In a recent Globe and Mail article, polling analyst Eric Grenier deduced that in the 48 polls conducted since Trudeau became leader, the Liberals have either led or have been tied for the lead in all but two of them.

    [ Related: Justin Trudeau’s first year as Liberal leader a good one ]

    That's why the latest poll from Angus Reid is somewhat newsworthy.

    The survey, released on Tuesday, has the Harper Conservatives ahead of the Liberals and NDP both in terms of 'eligible voters' and 'likely voters.'

    Q: If a federal election were held tomorrow, which one of the following parties would you be most likely to support in your constituency?

      Eligible Voters Likely Voters
    Conservatives 32% 34%
    Liberals 30% 29%
    NDP 26% 27%

    The regional numbers are just as astonishing, especially the shifting

    Read More »from Federal Conservatives vault to the top in new opinion poll
  • Herb Gray — former Liberal MP who served for almost four decades, cabinet minister in 11 posts, and deputy prime minister and Canada's first Jewish cabinet minister — passed away on Monday at the age of 82.

    When the news began to make headlines on Monday evening, journos and politicos — past and present — took to social and traditional media to praise the man affectionately known as "The Gray Fog."

    Read More »from Should Herb Gray be given a state funeral?
  • The man poised to be the next premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is under fire — from all sides — about his views on abortion.

    As explained by the Canadian Press, Frank Coleman — the only candidate in the race to replace former premier Kathy Dunderdale as Conservative party leader — was recently outed for attending anti-abortion rallies in the past.

    He responded to the controversy by issuing this statement:

    Democracy exists when different people share different views and are open to listening to one another.

    I celebrate the fact that we live in a diverse society and I therefore do not seek to impose my personal beliefs on others for respect does not insist on its own way. I think the strength of a democracy rests on our ability to draw upon leaders from varied faiths, beliefs and experiences.

    It is with humility and honesty that I say unequivocally yes, I have as a private individual participated in the Right to Life walk held each Good Friday in Corner Brook.

    My family’s
    Read More »from Frank Coleman, the man poised to be the next premier of Newfoundland, mired in abortion controversy
  • It’s beginning to look a lot like an election campaign in the province of Ontario.

    The minority Liberal government will table their budget — the third of their current mandate — on May 1. Like the previous budgets, the Kathleen Wynne Liberals will need the support of one of the opposition parties in order to stay in power.

    So what does premier do? Instead of trying to woo the opposition parties with honey she goes after them with vinegar.

    Late last week, the governing Liberals released two attack ads:

    Here’s the one against the Tories:

    Here’s the one targeting the New Democrats:

    The segments, posted on the Ontario Liberal YouTube page, are a bit weak.

    Right-leaning pundit and political communications consultant Gerry Nicholls calls them a textbook case of what not to do in attack ads. On a blog post on his website, he criticizes Wynne's "boring monotone voice" and the fact that the premier is the one doing the attacking.

    [ Related: Embattled Ontario Liberals set crucial budget date

    Read More »from Election buzz heats up in Ontario as Wynne releases two new attack ads
  • I woke up this morning, weary-eyed, to check-out the top political stories of the day on my smartphone.

    The first headline I saw included the words “Economic Action Plan ads” and “dropped.”

    “Could it be?” I asked myself.

    Did the Harper government finally come to their senses and nix those expensive, tiresome and useless ads?

    Alas, it was not to be.

    The headline was actually from a Canadian Press story which indicated that the Feds were just dropping questions from their bi-annual survey about the controversial campaign. Specifically, the Department of Finance will no longer ask Canadians whether they took any action as a result of seeing the EAP ads.

    "The common measurement tool is periodically revised and was most recently modified last fall, in order to streamline data collection to questions most useful in assessing a campaign's objectives — notably recall, recognition and message retention," department spokesman Jack Aubry said in an email to CP while defending the move.

    Read More »from Economic Action Plan questions dropped from Conservative public opinion poll
  • Ex-prime ministers, former premiers and ousted party leaders are notorious for not showing up for work.

    Those politicians — who in many cases are embarrassed out of their chiefly roles — become diffident about coming to their respective parliaments or legislatures to do their duty and represent the views of their constituents.

    Such is the case of former Alberta premier Alison Redford.

    About a month ago, amid questions about her travel expenses, dwindling poll numbers and a pseudo-caucus mutiny, Redford resigned as premier. She didn't resign as an MLA and continues to earn a whopping annual salary of $134,000.

    But, as explained by the National Post, she's been MIA.

    "With the exception of a few Twitter comments and one meeting during which she took no questions from media, the former premier has been AWOL for her continuing job as a member of the Legislative Assembly, representing the residents of Calgary-Elbow," the Post notes.

    "As of Wednesday afternoon, she had skipped seven

    Read More »from Should we cut former Alberta premier Alison Redford some slack for poor attendance?
  • Canada's SenateThe media often uses the term 'historic' too loosely.

    But in this case, it seems to be appropriate.

    Next Friday — April 25 — the Supreme Court of Canada will offer a 'historic' opinion to the Harper government's reference about what it would take to reform or abolish the Senate.

    Canada's highest court is expected to answer the following questions put to it by the Harper government in a legal 'factum' filed last year:

    - Can Parliament enact term limits on senators so they serve eight or nine years rather than having a job for life?

    - Can Parliament set in place a democratic vote to recommend names to the prime minister for the Senate?

    - Can the provinces hold a democratic vote of their own to recommend names to the prime minister for the Senate.

    - Can the Parliament remove antiquated property ownership requirements for Senators?

    - Can the Parliament abolish the Senate without the unanimous consent of the provinces?

    The so-called reference was heard in November, where the Harper

    Read More »from Ruling from Supreme Court on Senate reform (or abolishment) coming next week
  • We may soon have word about the future of Mike Duffy.

    Multiple media outlets are reporting that the RCMP are in the final stages of their investigation regarding the suspended Senator's alleged false expense claims and his acceptance of a $90,000 gift from Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff.

    Both Global News and the Toronto Star are reporting that a decision on whether or not to lay charges could come within the next month.

    [ Related: RCMP drop investigation into Nigel Wright’s $90,000 gift to Mike Duffy ]

    The reports come just days after RCMP decided not to lay charges against Wright.

    "In June 2013, the RCMPs National Division initially launched an investigation of Nigel Wright with respect to his gifting of $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy," the Mounties noted in a statement on Tuesday.

    "When the RCMP initiated the investigation there were sufficient grounds to pursue the matter with regards to the offences of breach of trust, bribery, frauds on the government, as

    Read More »from Duffy's fate should be decided in the coming weeks

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