• Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 30, 2015. Parliamentarians voted to expand Canada's military mission against Islamic State by launching air strikes against the militants' safe havens in Syria as well as Iraq. REUTERS/Chris WattieCanada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 30, 2015. Parliamentarians voted to expand Canada's military mission against Islamic State by launching air strikes against the militants' safe havens in Syria as well as Iraq. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

    1) Original efforts to fight ISIS

    On Oct.7 of last year, Canada’s Parliament adopted a motion in support of Canada joining the U.S.-led coalition, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Turkey, France, Germany, Poland, Italy and Denmark, against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The vote, supported by the Conservative majority in the House of Commons and with the help of some independent MPs, passed with 157 in favour and 134 against. All NDP and Liberal MPs, aside from Irwin Cotler who abstained, voted against the motion.

    The original motion covered a 6-month time frame for air operations in the Middle East. Canada devoted 69 special forces operatives to advise Kurdish peshmerga fighting ISIS, as well as six CF-18 fighter jets, one refuelling aircraft and two surveillance aircrafts.

    As of mid-February, Ottawa had spent $122 million on the air and ground mission.

    “Costs will ultimately be higher than that, but how much higher will depend on whether we wrap up the operation at

    Read More »from 5 things to know about Canada’s expanded mission against ISIS
  • The new Canadian five and 10 dollar bills, made of polymer, are displayed with the previously released 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes following an unveiling ceremony at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Chris WattieThe new Canadian five and 10 dollar bills, made of polymer, are displayed with the previously released 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes following an unveiling ceremony at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

    The Conservative government likes to trumpet its “low tax plan for jobs and growth” puts money back into the pockets of consumers, but the financial state of many provinces, according to BMO Nesbitt Burns, is putting a dent in some of the federal government’s efforts.

    “Most of what Ottawa will be returning to one taxpayers’ pocket, the provinces will take out of the other,” wrote Robert Kavic, a senior economist with BMO, in a recent note.

    It’s budget season and many provinces — Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick — are looking to cut debt and spending, which could result in a tax hike for some Canadians.

    “All told,” Kavic wrote, “while Ottawa’s package of tax cuts/benefit increases will come in at around $4.5 billion in FY15/16, it looks like the provinces will take back about three-quarters of it.”

    Kavic said the net tax/fee increases for the 2015-2016 fiscal year have already hit more than $2 billion.

    Last week both Alberta and Quebec tabled their provincial budgets. The Liberal

    Read More »from Austerity provincial budgets to claw back most of Ottawa’s tax breaks: BMO
  • Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, right, and Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer speak during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, March 30, 2015, to call for 60 amendments to Bill C-51. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickGreen Party Leader Elizabeth May, right, and Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer speak during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, March 30, 2015, to call for 60 amendments to Bill C-51. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick


    Green Party leader Elizabeth May and fellow MP Bruce Hyer will table 60 amendments to the government’s controversial anti-terror bill, which will be voted on when the House of Commons national security committee goes through clause-by-clause consideration of the legislation on Tuesday.

    May and Hyer have both been outspoken against Bill C-51 and on Monday morning, one day before possible amendments from the Harper government are tabled, the party leader said even if their amendments aren’t adopted, there’s still some time for critics to put pressure on MPs to ultimately vote against the bill so that it does not become law.

    Conservatives amendments

    Last week news broke the government will be making minor amendments to the bill. The first amendment deals with the measure that says “lawful protest” would not be monitored by Canada’s spy agency CSIS. But many have worried that protests or civil disobedience of any sort could fall under CSIS jurisdiction.

    The amendment will remove “lawful”

    Read More »from Greens unveil their amendments to ‘dangerous’ Bill C-51
  • Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson wants MPs to consider tightening up House conflict of interest code.Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson wants MPs to consider tightening up House conflict of interest code.
    Taiwan came out as the top travel destinations for MPs — when it didn’t come out of their own pockets or the government’s coffers — in 2014.

    On Thursday ethics commissioner Mary Dawson released the annual list of sponsored travel for MPs. In total, 60 MPs racked up $442,524 in free travel over the past year. 

    Members of Parliament are required, as a rule under the conflict of interest act, to disclose to the ethics commissioner any travel that exceeds $500 in cost and that are not “wholly or substantially” paid from by a government revenue fund, their own personal funds or by any interparliamentary or friendship group.

    In the 2014 calendar year, there were 17 trips to Taiwan. The cost of most of these were covered by the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association.

    MPs, including Russ Heibert, Bruce Hyer, Dominic LeBlanc, Bev Shipley and Peter Goldring, made trips to Taipei over the past year, either on parliamentary delegations or on trips to assess or learn about trade and

    Read More »from Taiwan ranks #1 for dishing out free trips to Canadian MPs
  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks with the media on March 25, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks with the media on March 25, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

    NDP leader Tom Mulcair unveiled another election platform plank Friday: a commitment to reducing child poverty in Canada by closing tax loopholes for high earners and redirecting that money to low-income families.

    Mulcair made the announcement to delegates at the left-leaning Broadbent Institute’s second annual Progress Summit in Ottawa.

    In his address, Mulcair reminded delegates of former NDP leader Ed Broadbent’s 1989 motion in the House of Commons to end child poverty in Canada by 2000. The motion was adopted by all political parties, but he said subsequent governments failed to get the job done.

    “It wasn’t a lack of tools, it wasn’t a lack of resources,” Mulcair said. “It was a lack of political will.”

    The party leader doubled down on NDP commitments to help struggling middle-class families. He said that Canadians are working hard but falling further behind, and that wealth in the country is ending up in fewer and fewer hands.

    The NDP plan to tackle this problem, he continued,

    Read More »from Tom Mulcair announces NDP's Robin Hood proposal to reduce child poverty
  • A women, wearing a niqab despite a nationwide ban on the Islamic face veil, gives a phone call outside the courts in Meaux, east of Paris, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Charles PlatiauA women, wearing a niqab despite a nationwide ban on the Islamic face veil, gives a phone call outside the courts in Meaux, east of Paris, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
    The Conservative government should be wary of letting the debate around the niqab extend beyond the bounds of citizenship ceremonies, according to new poll results.

    This week Abacus Data released results of a national survey of public opinion about the rights of Muslim women to wear the niqab and the hijab in Canada.

    According to the study, Canadians are generally uncomfortable with women wearing a niqab or hijab — 56 per cent of those surveyed would prefer it if women didn’t wear niqabs at all in public places.

    But overwhelmingly, at 64 per cent, Canadians believe regardless of whether they like the niqab, it’s not their place to say what others should and shouldn’t wear. Seventy-seven per cent of those surveyed said the same thing about the hijab.

    More than half of the respondents said it should be a matter of personal choice to wear a niqab, at 55 per cent; 73 per cent said wearing the hijab is a matter of personal choice as well. 

    The Abacus survey, conducted online between March

    Read More »from Harper government’s stance on niqab needs to focus on citizenship ceremony alone, poll results show
  • <span class=irc_su style=text-align: left; dir=ltr>Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was first elected in the riding of Mount Royal with a remarkable. Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS </span>
    Despite the vow from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau that his party will be supporting the government’s anti-terror bill, one of the party’s senior MPs says the Liberals wouldn’t have introduced the legislation in the first place. 

    The Liberal party, and its leader, have been criticized for not opposing the government’s controversial anti-terror bill. On Thursday morning, Liberal MPs Irwin Cotler and Wayne Easter unveiled the list of amendments the party would like to see to Bill C-51.

    “We have a series of 10 fundamental amendments … to maintain the proper relationship between protection of security, which is a parliamentary as well as governmental obligation, as well as protection of our civil liberties,” Cotler said.

    The MPs said that there’s a need for Canada’s security and intelligence agencies to have greater powers to counter terrorist threats, one of the main planks of the government’s contentious anti-terror bill.

    But, Cotler added, “this is not a bill that we would have

    Read More »from Liberal MPs seek changes to Bill C-51: “This is not a bill that we would have introduced”
  • With the province in dire financial straits due to the dwindling price of oil, Alberta premier Jim Prentice will likely ask Albertans to pay more and get less in his government’s budget on Thursday.

    The premier made a televised pitch to his constituents on Tuesday night and said that without making changes, the province will be facing an even worse financial situation: a revenue shortfall of more than $20 billion over the next three years.

    The province’s finance minister Robin Campbell is expected to introduce tax hikes in the upcoming budget and Prentice said, in his address Tuesday, that Albertans should expect to contribute directly to the province’s health care system to compensate for lost revenues.

    It may sound like a tough sell, but it will probably bear little negative effect on the Conservatives' chances in an upcoming provincial election, said Duane Bratt, a political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.


    Related Stories:

    Prentice says new Alberta health

    Read More »from Prentice to ask Albertans to pay more for less in Thursday's budget
  • Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose announces new regulations aimed at pharmaceutical companies during a news conference at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday February 10, 2015. Canada&#39;s health minister says companies will be required to post drug shortages on a new website or risk being named and shamed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckFederal Health Minister Rona Ambrose announces new regulations aimed at pharmaceutical companies during a news conference at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday February 10, 2015. Canada's health minister says companies will be required to post drug shortages on a new website or risk being named and shamed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

    A Liberal MP is expressing disappointment with what she says is the government’s “status quo” approach to dealing with a pressing mental health issue in Canada.

    Kirsty Duncan, MP for Etobicoke North and vice chair of the Status of Women committee, tells Yahoo Canada News that Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s response to the Status of Women committee report on an eating disorders study has done nothing to address the concerns the MP has raised.

    The Status of Women committee embarked on a study of the situation of eating disorders in Canada in November of 2013. The study saw witnesses ranging from Status of Women and Health Canada representatives, to experts in the field, to individuals with lived experience.

    A number of the committee’s witnesses criticized the final report when it was tabled in the House of Commons in the fall for not including recommendations they’d made, such as implementing national standards that would force provinces to reduce wait times for treatment and creating a

    Read More »from Liberal slams government's ‘status quo’ approach to eating disorders
  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

    As the Harper government seeks to extend its mission in Iraq and expand into Syria, there’s no doubt the mission and Canada’s role in fighting the Islamic State will play out as an issue in this year’s federal election.

    Thomas Juneau, from the University of Ottawa, tellsYahoo Canada News missions extensions are best done in shorter terms — six months by six months, for example — because it provides more flexibility to pull out or change course; except when heading into an election year. 

    “Renewing the mission for 12 months I think was the right thing to do,” he says. “Having a renewal debate, basically, right before the election, that would have been wrong … it would have been so politicized as to be out of control.”

    Juneau says, however, the war will continue to be a contentious issue during the upcoming federal election campaign.  

    "We have to assume that from the Conservative perspective, they expect the NDP to oppose and the NDP’s constituency to oppose,” he says. 

    “A bit like

    Read More »from War against ISIS a wedge election issue: analyst

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