• Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver tries on his new budget shoes with the assistance of Bruce Dinan, president of Town Shoes, during a photo op in Toronto on Monday, April 20, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank GunnFederal Finance Minister Joe Oliver tries on his new budget shoes with the assistance of Bruce Dinan, president of Town Shoes, during a photo op in Toronto on Monday, April 20, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn


    If Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s choice for budget day shoes are any indication, the Conservatives will table a document Tuesday that will be a centrepiece in their federal election campaign this year.

    For the annual tradition, in which Canada’s finance minister selects a pair of shoes for budget day, Oliver chose to don blue New Balance runners, reflecting the expectation that the budget will be more about campaigning for the next federal election — the promise of a balanced budget and tax incentives for Canadian families — than about creating a sound economic roadmap for the country.

    “Budgets are always about appeasing voters,” says David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “I mean, that’s not something that’s new … But certainly this budget will be going to voters in a much more direct way than most, in the sense that this will be an election budget.”

    Tuesday’s document is expected to reveal a number of measures, including doubling of the

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  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks with the media following caucus in Ottawa on March 25, 2015. Tom Mulcair says an NDP government would take tax benefits from those who need them least and give them to those who need them most. The NDP leader is promising to scrap a tax loophole enjoyed by corporate executives on stock options, worth more than $700 million each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldNDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks with the media following caucus in Ottawa on March 25, 2015. Tom Mulcair says an NDP government would take tax benefits from those who need them least and give them to those who need them most. The NDP leader is promising to scrap a tax loophole enjoyed by corporate executives on stock options, worth more than $700 million each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

    The NDP is making a big push against the government’s anti-terror legislation just ahead of Parliament’s return from a two week break when the House of Commons is set to bring its attention back to the controversial bill.

    In particular, the party is targeting Liberal MPs in an effort to persuade them to vote against C-51, using the Twitter hashtag #VoteAgainstC51.

    A number of Liberal MPs, according to an NDP press release, have concerns about the bill, as do former party leaders Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Bob Rae. Liberal members in the House of Commons, however, are expected to vote in favour of the bill, despite their misgivings.

    The NDP launched a “Tell a Liberal” campaign website Friday to drum up more online activity in their efforts to sway Liberal MPs. Typing in a postal code will take a user to

    Read More »from NDP targeting Liberal MPs to vote against C-51
  • Inuit children read an Inuktitut language book at a day care in Iqaluit. The Auditor General of Canada is in Nunavut discussing his report on education, which says Nunavut won't meet its goal of a bilingual education in English and Inuktitut by 2020.Inuit children read an Inuktitut language book at a day care in Iqaluit. The Auditor General of Canada is in Nunavut discussing his report on education, which says Nunavut won't meet its goal of a bilingual education in English and Inuktitut by 2020.

    Employment and Social Development Minister Pierre Poilievre is pleading with everyone — with you, with his colleagues in the House of Commons — to help spread the word about the lack of families lining up to claim the government’s Universal Child Care Benefit.

    Anyone who has previously applied for the child care benefit will be automatically registered for the changes, but according to Poilievre, about 200,000 unregistered families will likely miss out on the expanded program.

    Previously, families would receive $100 a month for every child under 6 years of age. Under the expanded program, parents will receive $160 per month, for a total annual benefit of $1,920 per year for each child.

    A new benefit for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 17 has also been added, offering $60 per month

    Read More »from Canadian families missing out on millions in unclaimed child care benefits: Ottawa
  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attend a panel discussion at the âiVote - jeVoteâ event in Ottawa, Tuesday March 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldNDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attend a panel discussion at the âiVote - jeVoteâ event in Ottawa, Tuesday March 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

    There may be a dark horse in the race to the Oct. 19 federal election, as Justin Trudeau appears to stumble and the Conservative brand takes a hit in national and provincial polls. The NDP is showing modest gains, according latest polling averages, with potential votes creeping from Liberal support to NDP support in dire regions.

    Eric Grenier of the blog ThreeHundredEight.com crunched some numbers and found that Trudeau’s lead in national voting intentions has slipped below the Conservatives for the first time since Trudeau has led the Liberal party.

    And while this puts the Conservatives in first place, it’s the NDP that seems to be gaining — modestly — from the decline in Liberal support.

    Grenier’s polling averages have put the Conservatives just ahead with 32 per cent support and the Liberals with 31 per cent, whereas in previous polling averages the LPC would reach about 34 per cent. The NDP currently comes in at 22 per cent, as good as they’ve been polling in the past year.

    Read More »from Polls suggest support for NDP increasing at Liberal’s expense
  • Rick StrankmanRick Strankman

    Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman is apologizing for a poster announcing a pie auction fundraiser that was deemed much too old fashioned for many people’s palates.

    The auction, dubbed a “BYWP (Bring Your Wife’s Pie)” event, was set to raise funds for Strankman’s re-election campaign.

    The event’s advertisement, though — suggesting women do the baking and men do the politics — had critics up in arms, with accusations that the party is stuck in the past.

     

    Strankman, via

    Read More »from Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman apologizes for ‘old fashioned’ pie poster
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, accompanied by Canadian Pan Am and Parapan Am athletes Elise Marcotte, second left, Marco Dispaltro, third from right, Priscilla Gagne, second from right, and Tera Van Beilen, right, waves as he departs for Panama to participate in the Summit of the Americas, in Ottawa on Friday, April 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldPrime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, accompanied by Canadian Pan Am and Parapan Am athletes Elise Marcotte, second left, Marco Dispaltro, third from right, Priscilla Gagne, second from right, and Tera Van Beilen, right, waves as he departs for Panama to participate in the Summit of the Americas, in Ottawa on Friday, April 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
    Like the best races, whether horses or honourable members of Parliament, the contenders for this year’s federal election are on the move.

    The starting gun has yet to fire but positions are shifting, along with voter intentions, and one of the latest polls puts the three main parties in a tight race on a national scale.

    A surge in Conservative support after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced strict new security measures last fall appears to have evaporated, says the poll from Ekos.

    ”The voter landscape is shifting in ways that do not appear to favour Stephen Harper’s Conservatives who now find themselves under 29 points for the first time since the security bounce from last October propelled them into a small but significant lead,” says the poll.

    “They now (insignificantly) trail Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and see less than a six-point margin over a clearly rejuvenated NDP.”

    Nationally, 30.1 per cent of those polled say they would vote Liberal, 28.7 per cent Conservative and 22.0

    Read More »from Tory support sliding but next fed election still anybody's game: poll
  • Rachel Notley says election about best interests of Tories, not AlbertaRachel Notley says election about best interests of Tories, not Alberta

    The provincial election in Alberta is likely to bode well for the NDP, under the new leadership of party leader Rachel Notley, and the party could realistically set its sights on official opposition status.

    The party’s prospects aren’t, technically, the best they’ve ever been. The NDP was the official opposition in Alberta in the mid-to-late eighties, says Duane Bratt, political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, when they held the bulk of seats in Edmonton. This, he added, is what the party is looking at now.

    Bratt expects they’ll do very well in Edmonton, likely picking up a seat in Lethbridge and maybe in Calgary as well, but shouldn’t expect to knock out Jim Prentice and the reign of the Progressive Conservatives.

    “Given that they have a caucus of four, previously they had a caucus of two, going up to 10 or 12 or 14 seats would be dramatic for the NDP. They’re not about to form power,” Bratt says.

    “Notley can talk about [how] she’s running for premier, [but]

    Read More »from NDP’s Rachel Notley running for opposition leader, not premier, says expert
  • A view shows the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 24, 2014. The Supreme Court of Canada will deliver its opinion Friday on how Canada's unelected Senate can be reformed or abolished. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)A view shows the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 24, 2014. The Supreme Court of Canada will deliver its opinion Friday on how Canada's unelected Senate can be reformed or abolished. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)
    The next few months may be an exercise in airing the dirty laundry of members of the country’s Upper Chamber, as if Canadians needed more fodder to fuel their disappointment in the 148-year-old institution.

    A new poll from Angus Reid suggests an overwhelming number of Canadians want the Senate to change.

    According the the poll, conducted between March 11 and 12, 45 per cent of respondents said the Senate should be reformed and 41 per cent said the Upper Chamber should be outright abolished. Only 14 per cent said the Senate should stay as it is.

    Respondents also don’t trust any of the political parties in the House of Commons to fix the Senate.

    Only 17 per cent said they trusted Prime Minister Stephen Harper to effectively deal with Senate issues, 16 per cent said the same for NDP leader Tom Mulcair and 15 per cent responded this way for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

    More than one third, or 34 per cent of respondents, said they trust “none of the above” to effectively deal with the

    Read More »from Canadians not satisfied with Senate status quo: poll
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at an event in Miramichi, N.B., on Thursday, April 2, 2015 where it was announced a contract has been awarded to build a new federal payroll centre in northern New Brunswick. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivrayPrime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at an event in Miramichi, N.B., on Thursday, April 2, 2015 where it was announced a contract has been awarded to build a new federal payroll centre in northern New Brunswick. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray

    Despite a drop in support, with public outcry over the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation and a lagging national economy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks set to return to 24 Sussex after Canadians head to the ballot box later this year, according to a new poll.

    The survey, conducted by EKOS research between March 25 and March 31, suggests there are some paradoxes at play. The public isn’t giving the country or the government high marks on direction and the prime minister has the worst approval rating of all the federal leaders.

    Yet, the public still intends to vote for Harper. This, according to EKOS, could come down to what’s perceived as “clear, consistent and values-based” messaging over the past few months on the part of the prime minister.

    When asked about federal vote intention, 32 per cent of respondents said they’d cast a ballot for the Conservatives. About 28 per cent are planning to vote Liberal, 23 per cent NDP with the Greens bringing up the rear at

    Read More »from Harper in lead despite slumping economy, approval rating: poll
  • Canada’s security watchdog needs more power, says Liberal MP

    Joyce Murray calls for stronger mandate for CSE commissioner's office

    Liberal defense critic Joyce Murray says giving the Communications Security Establishment commissioner’s office more teeth to do its job may be more important than giving the agency more funding and resources.

    The CSE commissioner is tasked with providing independent, external review of the country’s intelligence agencies to ensure they are complying with with Canadian law.

    In a report tabled in the House of Commons this week, the commissioner’s office noted that cost-sharing with the CSE’s initiatives and “fiscal restraint measures are reducing the flexibility of the office’s available funding.”

    The report suggests that as the CSE grows, the fiscal situation for the commissioner’s office isn’t keeping pace. According to the Toronto Star, the commissioner’s office has a team of about 10 people and a budget of $2 million. The CSE has over 2,000 employees and will be spending more than $500 million this year.

    Murray noted in an interview with Yahoo Canada News that this “raises the

    Read More »from Canada’s security watchdog needs more power, says Liberal MP

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