• New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair (L) and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attend a regimental funeral for three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who were killed last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, June 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair (L) and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attend a regimental funeral for three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who were killed last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

    The Conservatives under Stephen Harper are hanging on in the polls with a narrow lead over opposition leaders Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, who just haven’t been able to steal the podium from the prime minister so far.

    A recent poll from EKOS research has federal voting intention with the Conservatives on top, with about 32 per cent. The Liberals follow at almost 28 per cent and the NDP at about 24 per cent.

    And according EKOS, the “faux horse race” to the next election has really only just begun, and not even in earnest. The public may start engaging more in federal issues now that the budget has been tabled in the House of Commons, a signal that the unofficial race to the election, expected Oct. 19, is on.

    EKOS CEO Frank Graves tells Yahoo Canada News last week that the Conservatives, with their PR skills and funds for government advertising, are winning the framing war.

    Last week’s budget, too, serves as a positive for getting the public’s attention.

    “I think it does deal with a

    Read More »from Mulcair and Trudeau unable to steal Harper's spotlight: poll
  • Anyone looking at reaction to the face off between Alberta party leaders would be hard pressed to find a negative word about NDP leader Rachel Notley, who according to many came out as the clear winner of Thursday night’s leaders debate.

    Notley was the main target of Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, suggesting she and her party pose the biggest threat to the longstanding Progressive Conservative reign in the province.

    A poll from Mainstreet Technologies, conducted immediately after the debate and released one day later, has Notley on top. Most watchers of the debate — at 44 per cent — said Notley won the night.

    “Notley went toe to toe with the Premier time and time again and more than stood her ground,” said Mainstreet Technologies president Quito Maggi in a press release.

    The poll surveyed 2,322 people and has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

    According to Mainstreet Technologies, 36 per cent of debate watchers said Notley would make the best

    Read More »from Notley clear winner of Alberta leaders debate: poll
  • Canada’s privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says the government’s proposed anti-terror bill C-51 will stretch the resources of his office and limit its ability fulfill the entire scope of its duties.

    “Given the breadth of information-sharing contemplated by this bill, and my other responsibilities under the privacy act, and PIPEDA, the private sector privacy legislation, my office’s review may not be fully effective with its current level of resources,” Therrien told the Senate committee on national defence Thursday afternoon.

    “We will try to adjust our work priorities as much as possible, but directing my review powers towards activities related to Bill C-51 will come at the expense of reviewing other important programs and initiatives, both in the public and private sector.”

    Among many provisions, Bill C-51 allows for information-sharing across 17 federal institutions, with the intention of detecting and identifying terrorist threats to national security. Privacy advocates have

    Read More »from Bill C-51 will strain my office's resources: privacy commissioner
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper accompanies Finance Minister Joe Oliver as he makes his way to deliver the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickPrime Minister Stephen Harper accompanies Finance Minister Joe Oliver as he makes his way to deliver the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick


    The government’s focus on retail politics and catering to target demographics, in the lead up to the next federal election, may add some complications for opposition parties as they try to jockey for votes. 

    In Joe Oliver’s first budget as Canada’s finance minister, tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday, the government put forward a message of fiscal discipline, relishing that the Conservatives kept their promise of a balanced budget while producing a modest surplus.

    The Conservatives also treated various segments of the population with specific inducements, “a kind of retail politics approach to specific segments where they have to shore up support,” says Frank Graves, CEO of EKOS Research. Segments such as families with kids, seniors and small business owners.

    This may present a challenge to the opposition that doesn’t want to — and nobody wants to do this — draw any ire from those types of voters.

    “Seniors, in our research, are absolutely critical to this government’s success,”

    Read More »from Government kicks off unofficial election campaign with retail politics budget
  • New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Chris WattieNew Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
    The Conservative government is patting itself on the back for living up to its promise of balancing this year’s federal budget, but opposition parties say this year’s fiscal document does nothing for Canadians who need help the most.

    “A promise made, a promise kept, Mr. Speaker, this budget is written in black ink,” Joe Oliver said when he delivered his first budget speech as finance minister in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon.

    The budget, coming in at over 500 pages, marks the first Conservative government surplus in eight years, at $1.4 billion projected this year, and includes many measures that were already expected or already announced.

    The budget is viewed by many as an obvious road to the 2015 election, with a focus on putting money back into the pockets of consumers and a drop in direct program expenditures.

    After the document was tabled in the House at 4 p.m. Tuesday, NDP leader Tom Mulcair responded to questions from reporters on Parliament Hill. He said the budget

    Read More »from Opposition says budget leaves too many Canadians behind

  • Most Canadians are in favour of two or more parties working in cooperation to govern if a single party doesn’t win a majority in the House of Commons in this year’s federal election, according to a recent pollfrom Forum Research.

    When asked about the appropriateness of a coalition, the majority of the 1365 people polled – about 6 in 10 – were in favour of parties forming a coalition if there’s no majority in Parliament. A similar number, 54 per cent of respondents, said it would be appropriate if two or more parties agreed on an informal arrangement to govern the House of Commons.

    There’s been plenty of talk of coalitions of late, leading up to the election that’s expected on Oct. 19, with many anticipating a minority government of some sort.

    Last week Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said he is “unequivocally opposed” to a coalition between his party and the NDP, led by Tom Mulcair. Trudeau was clarifying his stance on coalitions from the day before, when he noted in an interview with

    Read More »from Canadians in favour of coalition government: poll
  • 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

    Read More »from 'Budgets are always about appeasing voters’: economist
  • 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

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