• Stephen Harper took to the airwaves on Wednesday night following the deadly shootings at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill. 

    In the televised address to the nation, the prime minister said that today’s events were a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere in the world. 

    "We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governments are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our value, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all," Harper said from an undisclosed location. 

    "But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact this will lead us to strengthen and re-double our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home. Just as it will lead us to strengthen our

    Read More »from Stephen Harper says "Canada will never be intimidated" after attack in Ottawa
  • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne increased minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne increased minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.
    The common refrain from Conservatives is that raising a minimum wage is a job killer. 

    Well, a new study pokes some pretty big holes into that theory. 

    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives  an Ottawa-based left-leaning think tank  reviewed minimum wage increases in all provinces from 1983 to 2012 and studied its affect on employment levels. 

    What they found was that, in 90 per cent of the cases, there was “no statistically significant relationship whatsoever between a higher minimum wage and labour market outcomes in Canada.”

    "In the overwhelming majority of cases, gradual increases in the minimum wage were not generative of negative labour market outcomes in Canadian provinces," notes the report. 

    "Most fundamentally, employers never purchase labour as an end to its own right. Employers hire workers in order to produce a good or service that is then sold into a product market.

    "The demand for labour is thus a derived demand, which depends entirely on the final demand for the

    Read More »from Increasing minimum wages may not lead to job losses after all, report suggests
  • Forces et Démocratie logo, via FacebookForces et Démocratie logo, via Facebook

    With so many other big stories in the news right now, one fairly important event seems to be getting brushed aside.

    While it may not seem significant today, it could have some serious ramifications for the 2015 federal election.

    On Tuesday, Quebec MPs Jean-François Fortin and Jean-François Larose have started a new political party called Forces et Démocratie.

    Fortin is a former Bloc Quebecois MP that has been sitting as an independent since last summer while Larose just defected from the NDP on Tuesday morning. 

    The FD intends to run candidates in all Quebec ridings in the next election, will push aside the sovereignty issue, will focus on grassroots politics and give party MPs much more power than the traditional parties. 

    Jean-Francois Fortin waits for the the announcement of the new Bloc Quebecois leader, on Dec. 11, 2011. (CP)Jean-Francois Fortin waits for the the announcement of the new Bloc Quebecois leader, on Dec. 11, 2011. (CP)

    For different reasons, the day’s events have to be of concern to both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP.

    The Bloc has been is disarray since Mario Beaulieu became the party’s leader last spring. Beulieu has become unpopuluar, both inside and outside his party

    Read More »from New political party Forces et Démocratie is bad news for the Bloc and NDP
  • A new opinion poll is causing a bit of a stir. 

    The Abacus Data poll, released on Monday afternoon, suggests that the federal Liberals have taken a six-point drop since last month. 

    The respected pollsters still have Justin Trudeau’s party in the lead with 32 per cent support, but now have the Tories on their heels with 30 per cent and the NDP not far behind at 25 per cent support. 

    Abacus’ David Coletto says the ”road for the Liberals may not be as smooth as appeared last month.”

    "For the first time in our tracking this year," Coletto wrote, “we have seen some movement. Liberal support is down, NDP and Green support has ticked up, while Conservative support is holding at 30 per cent.”

    [ Related: One year until the next election: what to expect ]

    A lot of people dismiss mid-term opinion polls, arguing that they don’t provide much value months or even years before an election.  

    But this latest poll is interesting for a couple of reasons. 

    It’s one of the first major polls conducted

    Read More »from In first poll since ISIS debate, Justin Trudeau's popularity takes a dip
  • 'It's the economy, stupid.' 

    During U.S. election campaigns we hear that phrase a lot. 

    It’s a message that means elections are about the economy; more than anything, voters are interested in job security and their ability to provide for their families. 

    There’s a lot of truth to that in Canada as well.

    While the economy isn’t the only issue Canadians care about, it is one of the key drivers that decide any federal or provincial election. 

    To that end, the federal Conservatives got some good news on Monday when Moody’s Investor Services released its annual credit analysis of Canada. 

    "Canada’s Aaa rating and stable outlook continue to be supported by the country’s relatively solid economic performance, favorable trends in federal government finance and debt levels, and strong institutional and regulatory framework," the report notes.

    "After a recession at the time of the global financial crisis, the economy recovered and continues to show positive momentum, supporting improvement in

    Read More »from Latest Moody's economic report should give Harper government a much-needed boost
  • A man casts his vote for the 2011 federal election in Toronto in this May 2, 2011 photo. (CP)A man casts his vote for the 2011 federal election in Toronto in this May 2, 2011 photo. (CP)

    Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen our federal party leaders shamelessly embrace populist politics.

    Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took part in a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast with new host George Stroumboulopoulos.

    Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was featured in a Chatelaine magazine article titled ‘Is  Justin Trudeau the candidate Canadian women have been waiting for' and this week will unveil his new tell-all biography.  

    NDP leader Thomas Mulcair went on “The Social”  a lifestyle show on CTV  to talk about his party’s childcare plan. The man some Conservatives ‘affectionately’ call “Angry Tom” even dove into a children’s ball pit. 

    If it feels like an election campaign, that’s because we’re in the midst of one — an election campaign which could be the longest in Canadian history.  

    In 2007, the

    Read More »from One year until the next federal election: What to expect
  • Two women wearing Islamic niqab veils stand outside the French Embassy in London, England. (Getty)Two women wearing Islamic niqab veils stand outside the French Embassy in London, England. (Getty)

    There’s yet another debate taking place in Canada about niqabs, face coverings and religious accommodation. 

    This one, however, is not focused on Quebec; it’s happening in an Ontario court. And no, it’s not the result of a separatist government. It’s all thanks to multicultural minister, Conservative Party ethnic outreach king and former immigration minister Jason Kenney. 

    Back in 2011, Kenney and his government amended regulations to place a ban on face coverings  such as niqabs  for anyone taking an oath of citizenship in front of a citizenship judge. 

    That change is now being deliberated over by a court.

    As explained by the Toronto Star, Mississauga resident Zunera Ishaq is challenging the government’s edict on grounds that it violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    "This policy was dictated by the immigration minister [Jason Kenney] that there had to be a change, and there’s no willingness to provide any accommodation,” Lorne Waldman, Ishaq’s co-counsel said, according

    Read More »from Muslim groups split on Jason Kenney's no-veil policy for citizenship oaths
  • Opposition parties are withholding judgement but voicing some concerns about the Harper government's plan to fight homegrown terrorism  a plan that was partially unveiled Thursday by Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney. 

    At a press conference in Alberta, Blaney announced that CSIS, Canada's spy agency, would be receiving additional powers, saying "we cannot be complacent in the face of terrorism."

    "In particular, we are firmly committed to take strong action to address the threat of individuals who become radicalized to violence and the growing problem of extremist travelers.

    "We want to introduce legislative changes to update the CSIS Act to allow our security and intelligence service to better operate and investigate threats from abroad  threats to our national security. There is no doubt that the threats to our security have changed dramatically since the passage of the CSIS Act in 1984, 30 years ago."

    According to the Ottawa Citizen, the changes will allow CSIS to cooperate

    Read More »from Conservative plan for new CSIS powers fails to impress critics
  • With their big, bold images, digital billboards are designed to draw the attention of drivers, and now they're drawing the ire of Ontario's emergency medical workers.

    In response to a proposal to erect new billboards in four locations along Highways 401 and 427, the Toronto and Ontario paramedic associations have each penned letters to Premier Kathleen Wynne asking her to kibosh the plan.

    "The [Toronto Paramedic Association] TPA is greatly troubled by the news that efforts are underway to seek regulatory exemptions related to signage and digital billboards on Ontario Highways," the TPA's Geoff MacBride wrote in his in letter.

    "Currently these signs are not permitted. The reasoning for this is obvious. Digital billboards are designed with one reason, to draw your attention. Anything that distracts road users from solely concentrating on their driving is completely unsafe and totally inappropriate."

    Cars drive past a digital billboard in Bucharest, Romania. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)Cars drive past a digital billboard in Bucharest, Romania. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)Metrolinx, the arms-length government body that oversees transportation in the Greater

    Read More »from Digital billboards along Ontario's highways worry paramedics
  • Protesters are seen in Montreal City Hall on Aug. 18.Protesters are seen in Montreal City Hall on Aug. 18.

    It’s been almost two months since municipal employees stormed Montreal’s City Hall in protest of Bill 3 — provincial legislation which would claw back pension benefits. 

    It was an ugly scene with dozens of union members encroaching municipal offices and council chambers, scattering paper and flinging cups of water. 

    Now, one of the union leaders involved in the melee, who has been suspended for his actions, is suggesting that things could get even uglier. 

    "This is the first time that a union president has been suspended while performing his union duties,” Ronald Martin, the president of the firefighters’ union, told the Montreal Gazette.

    “In Quebec, the presumption of innocence has fallen again. No one will stop me from performing my role as union president. Union action will continue, more than ever … more determined and forceful than ever.”

    The governing Liberals introduced Bill 3 in June as a means to mitigate municipal pension plan deficits which, province-wide, had reportedly

    Read More »from Montreal union leader promises 'forceful' action after being reprimanded for City Hall raid


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