• Canada's Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks during the Maclean's National Leaders debate in Toronto, August 6, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a national election on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark BlinchCanada's Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks during the Maclean's National Leaders debate in Toronto, August 6, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a national election on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

    The revelation that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, a green transportation supporter, cannot ride a bicycle is the talk of Quebec media today.

    “I don’t ride a bike,” May told Dandyhorse, a Canadian magazine for cyclists, in August. “I grew up on rural roads, where my mother decided it would be unsafe to ride bicycles.” 

    The admission is seen as an embarrassing one by some in the media. Le Journal de Montreal and La Presse both ran articles quoting May saying it was a “catastrophe” for a leader of the country’s environmentally focused federal party to be a non-cyclist.

    But May — who was not immediately available for comment —  is not alone in her inability to get around on two wheels.

    Six per cent of Americans don’t know how to ride a bike, according to a survey of about 1,200 U.S. adults done by YouGov in 2013. Cities across Canada offer bike riding and bike safety classes for adults, including both those who never learned to ride at all and others who want to know how to ride

    Read More »from Green Party leader not the only one who can’t ride a bike
  • Canada's Green Party leader Elizabeth May (L), New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair (2nd L), Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) are pictured in this combination photograph during the Maclean's National Leaders debate in Toronto, August 6, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a national election on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark BlinchCanada's Green Party leader Elizabeth May (L), New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair (2nd L), Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) are pictured in this combination photograph during the Maclean's National Leaders debate in Toronto, August 6, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a national election on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

    Canada’s federal party leaders have been near silent on health care in the early weeks of the federal election campaign, despite the importance of the issue to voters.

    Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said heath care was one of the top three issues in determining their vote, ahead of jobs, economic management and taxes, according to an Abacus survey of 1,500 Canadians aged 18 or older done in June.

    The issue was particularly important to Canadians aged 60 and older, with 61 per cent listing health care as a deciding factor in their vote. But even millennials consider health care a major concern — 52 per cent of respondents aged 18-29 said it was a top-three issue.

    Despite those numbers and the prominence of health care in past elections, party leaders have largely avoided discussing it since the campaign began on Aug. 2.

    ‘A slow start’ for health care

    “We sort of expected it to be a slow start,” Dr. Chris Simpson, election lead for the Canadian Medical Association, tells Yahoo

    Read More »from Health care important to voters but absent on campaign trail
  • Harper on Tuesday said healthy June GDP growth showed the economy was back on track. (Reuters)Harper on Tuesday said healthy June GDP growth showed the economy was back on track. (Reuters)

    If online search results are anything to go by, a lot of us are worried about Canada’s purported recession.

    Google Canada released a couple of interesting facts this week. Recession was the top trending election-related topic on Google in August, ahead of daycare, the Bill C-51 national security legislation, the Mike Duffy expenses scandal and a tax on Netflix.

    But the recession queries really came to a head recently. On September 1, the things Canadians wanted to know most were whether the country was indeed in a recession, what the heck was a technical recession, why Canada was in recession (if it was), how often the economy had experienced recessions and how they could survive such a slump.

    Top questions on recession searched by Canadians. (via Google Canada)Top questions on recession searched by Canadians. (via Google Canada)

    All good questions, really, so Yahoo Canada tapped some of Canada’s top economists to get the answers.

     

    Is Canada in a recession?

    According to economists, probably not — though some people may beg to differ.

    Recessions are a prolonged and broad-based contraction in a country’s gross domestic

    Read More »from Canadians’ most asked questions about the recession, answered by economists
  • Google has updated its logoGoogle has updated its logo

    Thirty per cent of eligible voters in this country have no cable or satellite television and now rely instead on online news, says Google, making digital door-knocking a key factor in the current election campaign.

    Polling done for the company found 56 per cent of Canadian voters have used a search engine to fact-check something a political candidate or party has said and 70 per cent of voters have searched for a political news story online.

    Nearly half of Canadian voters are watching less TV than they did four years ago, says Google spokesman Aaron Brindle.

    “When those are the kinds of numbers that are out there, obviously it’s going to reflect how Canadians are consuming their news, where they’re getting information,” he tells Yahoo Canada News.

    On Tuesday, for example, the search engine saw a huge spike in the number of searches for recession, following media reports of new GDP data that point to a recession.

    “It certainly suggests that the Internet, Google and social media are

    Read More »from Digital door-knocking key in modern election campaign
  • Stephen Harper meets Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons at a batting practice. REUTERS/Fred ThornhillStephen Harper meets Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons at a batting practice. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

    By Ian Denomme

    The first-place Blue Jays are suddenly the talk of Toronto, and indeed, much of Canada. The country’s only major-league baseball team is very likely slugging its way to its first postseason appearance since 1993. Tickets are getting hard to come by and almost every game sets a new record for television ratings.

    The Blue Jays are so popular, in fact, it appears the Rogers Centre is becoming a go-to destination for Canada’s political-party leaders on the campaign trail in advance of the October 19 federal election.

    On Monday, Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper rolled into the Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays took on the Cleveland Indians. He was greeted by Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar before heading out to watch batting practice. He walked on to the turf behind the batters box just as Blue Jays’ batting practice ended and shook hands and signed some autographs for a small group of fans on the field.

    Read More »from Blue Jays are so popular they’re now a go-to stop on the campaign trail
  • With the extended 11-week election upon us and over two dozen third-parties looking to influence voters, you may be wondering if any of them actually have a chance at affecting the election outcome in any way.

    These aren't actually political parties, but unions, veterans groups, animal rights groups — groups looking to defeat Stephen Harper's conservative government and groups representing a particular issue like heathcare, open Internet or safe technology. All of them are looking to influence the election in some way, but it's a steep hill to climb.

    Nelson Wiseman, director of the Canadian Studies Program in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, predicts third parties won't have much influence at all.

    “They're limited in how much money they can spend now, which is one of the reason the election was called early because they could've spent all the money they wanted until the writ was dropped. Now that the writ's been dropped, they're limited, so they won't

    Read More »from Will non-political third parties have an influence on the Canadian election?
  • Stephen Harper speaks during a campaign stop in King Township, Ontario, August 20, 2015. (Reuters)Stephen Harper speaks during a campaign stop in King Township, Ontario, August 20, 2015. (Reuters)

    We take for granted that government will continue when an election campaign is underway. Public works will get done, cheques will be sent out, foreign policy matters dealt with.

    But how does that happen, exactly, when the Governor General has dissolved Parliament and the government has lost its mandate? And what’s to stop the ruling party from nudging the levers of power to make inroads with voters come polling day?

    Incumbency offers huge potential advantages. That’s why there’s something called the Caretaker Convention, which sets the rules of how governments can operate during election campaigns and after the vote before a new government is sworn in.

    The convention has existed for about as long as Canada itself but largely out of sight of the public until earlier this month when the government was pressured to post the latest version of it on the Privy Council Office’s web site on Aug. 2, the day the election was called.

    “This is the first time that a government has just voluntarily

    Read More »from There’s an election on, so who’s running the country?
  • A shift in how federal government employees communicate during the election appears to be taking a toll on operational issues at a local level.

    The Caretaker Convention outlines how government employees must limit their communication during an election in an effort to keep things neutral.

    One media report details how Parks Canada spokeswoman Christina Tricomi would not be interviewed for a story about two wolves that killed a deer in a populated area of Banff. Instead the agency released a statement nearly a week after the two animals chased and killed the deer in the townsite.  

    Tricomi referred to the Caretaker Convention as to why she couldn’t speak directly on the matter. The report points out that the convention excludes “routine, non-controversial or urgent issues,”,which can be addressed.

    When asked for comment by Yahoo Canada News, a Parks Canada media relations advisor responded with the following message:

    According to the Caretaker Convention, which governs government

    Read More »from Parks Canada’s muted response on Banff wolves questioned
  • Journalists are encountering a wall of silence from federal Conservative Party candidates as they and their Leader Stephen Harper work the campaign trail across Canada.

    Several media outlets have detailed accounts of trying — and failing — to find a Tory candidate, including Harper, willing to talk outside strict guidelines, on the record.

    In a column, the Toronto Star’s Tim Harper writes about trying to arrange interviews with several Tory candidates in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, only to have them cancelled or denied. A representative for Joe Daniel, the Conservative MP for Don Valley East told the Ottawa Citizen that he wouldn’t be doing interviews until after the election.

    Vice’s Justin Ling gives a detailed account of trying to submit a question to Harper at a campaign stop in eastern

    Read More »from Tory candidates avoiding media on campaign trail: reports
  • With its vast power to both influence and embarrass, social media can make or break candidates in this year’s federal election.

    With more than seven weeks left to go, six candidates have already found themselves in hot water after their controversial posts online were unearthed and presented to the media. While some resigned their candidacy and others stayed on, most were forced to go off-message and apologize publicly.

    Here is the list of candidates who have found themselves in the hot seat for their social media postings.

    VirJiny Provost, Mégantic-L'Érable, Que.

    VirJiny Provost, 18, the Bloc Québécois candidate in Mégantic-L'Érable, was the subject of a mocking blog post after a list she posted on ask.fm was published by Quebec comedian and journalist Infoman.

    Infoman published her response to the question of what three things she would want if she was the sole survivor of a nuclear attack. Her answer: “mon cell, un pénis, ben des chips,” which means “my cell, a penis, uhh some

    Read More »from Election 2015′s social media casualties (so far)

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