• The Conservative Party caucus room is shown shortly after shooting began on Parliament Hill. (Reuters)The Conservative Party caucus room is shown shortly after shooting began on Parliament Hill. (Reuters)

    There’s a lot to criticize our public safety officials about following last week’s attack in Ottawa. 

    After all, a gunman — Michael Zehaf-Bibeau — was able to penetrate the security perimeter of Parliament Hill and get within metres of our elected officials and even the prime minister. 

    But the latest critique is a little unexpected. 

    The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is calling out the public safety ministry for sending out an emergency safety alert, just minutes after the attack, in only English. 

    As explained by the Ottawa Citizen, the alert was sent to departmental security officers across the country urging public servants to stay where they were and not leave their buildings until further notice. 

    "Public Safety officials say they were trying to get information out as quickly as possible," notes the Citizen's report, adding that the alert was at a time when it wasn't clear how many gunmen were involved. 

    "Meaning they didn’t have time to get the alert

    Read More »from Canada's language watchdog to intervene about English-only security alert following Ottawa attack
  • A group of Canadian Muslim woman hold a candlelight vigil in memory of the fallen Canadian soldiers. (Reuters)A group of Canadian Muslim woman hold a candlelight vigil in memory of the fallen Canadian soldiers. (Reuters)

    The Harper government has talked tough about the need to beef-up anti-terrorism legislation following last week's attacks in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa. 

    On Monday, the Tories introduced Bill C-44 which would give CSIS the ability to cooperate with international spy agencies and give legal protection to informants who provide them with evidence. 

    The Feds have also indicated that there’s more legislation on it’s way. 

    But even before the new laws make their way through the House and the Senate, it appears that officials have already ratcheted-up their counter-terrorism efforts. 

    And they’re being creative about it. 

    The Globe and Mail is reporting on the case of Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari, a Pakastani national now living in Ontario. 

    Ansari’s lawyer tells the Globe that his client was arrested this week  with threat of deportation  under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for being a danger to the security of Canada. 

    "[Lawyer Anser Farooq] said federal officials allege Mr.

    Read More »from Security officials utilize alternative strategies while they wait for anti-terror legislation
  • Doug Ford waves to supporters after failing to be elected as mayor in Toronto. (Reuters)Doug Ford waves to supporters after failing to be elected as mayor in Toronto. (Reuters)

    Doug Ford might not be done with politics just yet. 

    The runner-up to John Tory in the Toronto mayoral race  and brother of former mayor Rob Ford  is now musing about running for the leadership the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. 

    "I think we would have a big base of support," Ford told the Toronto Star on Tuesday. 

    "We have to start focusing more on the hard-working blue-collar people. Out of the votes I had (for mayor) I would say probably three-quarters of them would never vote PC in their lives.

    "My personal opinion, I don’t think any of the candidates could beat Kathleen Wynne … they don’t attract a certain base in Toronto and the 905 that we would attract."

    Nobody knows for sure if this is for real or if it’s another one of the Ford brothers’ reveries. 

    Personality is a factor in elections and can work in favour — or against — of appealing to voters.
    —Maddie Di Muccio, political analyst

    Doug does have several other options on the table. He could go back to

    Read More »from If he runs, could Doug Ford actually win the Ontario PC leadership race?
  • Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney and Canadian detainee Omar Khadr (CP)Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney and Canadian detainee Omar Khadr (CP)

    Cabinet Minister Jason Kenney has taken umbrage with the Ottawa Citizen's decision to publish an op-ed column written by Omar Khadr

    Khadr, of course, is the Canadian citizen who spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay for killing a U.S. soldier as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan.

    He did plead guilty to the crime but but since suggested that he confessed as a means to come home. He was transferred to Canada in 2012, after a U.S. military commission sentenced him to eight years in jail. 

    In his op-ed  presumably written from his medium security prison cell — Khadr recounts his time at the infamous Guantanamo Bay complaining that he was never “accorded the protection” he deserved as a child soldier.

    "I have been through so many other human rights violations. I was held for years without being charged," he wrote.

    "I have been tortured and ill-treated. I have suffered through harsh prison conditions. And I went through an unfair trial process that sometimes felt like it would never end."


    Read More »from Jason Kenney derides newspaper for publishing Omar Khadr op-ed
  • Should the federal government be doing more to close the gender gap in Canada?

    On Tuesday, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released it’s 2014 gender equality report, an annual analysis that captures the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world. 

    Canada ranked 19th out of 142 countries, and has actually improved in the rankings over the past few years.

    "Canada moves up one spot to 19th place, having closed 75 per cent of its overall gender gap, up from 74 per cent in 2013," notes the report.

    Looking further back to 2006, Canada has closed 4 per cent more of the gender gap than it had in 2006.”

    There are, however, some areas of concern. 

    Particularly, Canada ranks 27th in the world when it comes wage equality for similar work and 40th with regard to the percentage of female legislators, corporate executives and general managers. 

    According to a spokesperson for Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women Kellie Leitch, the government has made significant

    Read More »from Gender inequality: Canada ranks 19th of 142 countries around the globe
  • John Tory speaks to supporters after being elected as mayor in Toronto, October 27, 2014. (Reuters)John Tory speaks to supporters after being elected as mayor in Toronto, October 27, 2014. (Reuters)

    In politics, pundits and analysts like to give elected officials arbitrary milestones. 

    Sometimes, during an election campaign, politicians will promise change within 100 days; often the media will put out report cards at the end of that period.

    So, what can Toronto mayor-elect John Tory accomplish in his first 100 days in office? 

    In a victory speech on Monday, after beating out Doug Ford and Olivia Chow to earn the right to be the 65th mayor of Canada’s largest city, John Tory foreshadowed some of his first steps.  

    "Tonight, voters have sent a message that is abundantly clear. Voters want their elected officials to get down to work on the priorities that matter most to them," he said.

    "Better transit, more jobs, an end to the gridlock that is choking our streets.

    "And the electorate has spoken on one other issue: Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed city hall in the last few years."


    Related:

    Full Coverage: Toronto Election 2014

    What went wrong for

    Read More »from What to expect from John Tory's first 100 days in office
  • Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow concedes defeat Monday night.Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow concedes defeat Monday night.

    It wasn’t suppose to happen this way for Olivia Chow. 

    On Monday, Chow placed third in Toronto’s mayoral election finishing with just 23 per cent support. 

    That’s certainly not what Chow expected when she resigned as an NDP Member of Parliament back in March, and instantly became the front-runner in this race.  

    For much of the early spring, she was ahead in the opinion polls as the anti-Rob Ford candidate and the one who was supposed to appeal to the average, blue-collar worker. 

    There doesn’t seem to be a single reason – a consensus, if you will – on why Torontonians soured on Chow. There are, however, several theories. 

    Chow’s ‘weak’ communication skills

    There are some in the media who have openly suggested that Chow’s speaking style played a key role in her electoral demise. 

    Essentially, some pundits suggest that Chow isn’t a strong communicator.

    Chow is campaigning in her second language. She came to Canada from Hong Kong when she was 13. She still speaks English with an

    Read More »from What went wrong for Olivia Chow?
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    Human rights and refugee advocates in Canada are gearing up for another battle with the Harper government. 

    This time they’re angry at the Tories’ attempts to deny social assistance for refugee claimants. 

    Currently  under federal transfer payment regulations  provinces are not allowed to impose residency requirements for their welfare programs. 

    Last week, the House was scheduled to debate Bill C-585, Tory MP Corneliu Chisu’s private member bill, which if passed would amend those rules and allow provinces to bar asylum seekers from receiving benefits such as housing or other support services. 

    Now, according to the Canadian Press, text of Chisu’s bill has effectively found its way into the Tories’ omnibus budget bill, introduced in the House of Commons on Thursday. 

    Barring any major surprises, the bill will likely become law before Christmas. 

    [ Related: Should Canada accept more refugees?

    Even before the Tories’ decision to include Chisu’s bill in their omnibus budget bill,

    Read More »from New Harper government measure could restrict social assistance for asylum seekers
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper hugs the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Justin Trudeau. (AP)Prime Minister Stephen Harper hugs the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Justin Trudeau. (AP)

    The hug fest Thursday in the House of Commons, one day after a lone gunman stormed the Centre Block, probably marked a kumbaya high point in the normally fractious chamber.

    It was a perfectly natural emotional release. The MPs, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, had a close shave the day before as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau ran past their full caucus rooms before being cornered and killed outside the Commons library by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. They came together in their relief at being spared.

    But how long will it take before the attack, which claimed the life of a reservist guarding the nearby National War Memorial, becomes fodder for the parties’ campaign machinery heading into next October’s federal election?

    Veterans organizers of past national campaigns tell Yahoo Canada News it’s far too soon for anyone to exploit the incident to score political points.

    “I think everybody’s going to be extremely cautious in dealing with this in an overtly partisan way,” said Brad Zubyk,

    Read More »from After the post-attack 'kumbaya' moment, when will it be politics as usual in Ottawa?
  • Kathy Cirillo, the mother of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, reacts while following pallbearers. (Reuters)Kathy Cirillo, the mother of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, reacts while following pallbearers. (Reuters)

    What a difference a week can make. 

    Canadians now rank terrorism as the world’s most serious threat, according to a new poll released by Angus Reid on Friday. 

    The survey  conducted the same week as the deadly attacks on soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa  has 50 per cent of Canadians ranking terrorism and ISIS over other international concerns such as the Ebola outbreak, Russian aggression, climate change and the global economy.

    Question: Which of the following international issues do you yourself consider to be the most serious threats for the world today?

    image

    Another interesting finding of the survey is that the majority of Canadians don’t have a lot of confidence in the RCMP, CSIS or local police “to prevent homegrown radicals from carrying out terrorist attacks in Canada.”

    "Slightly more than half (55 per cent) of respondents say they aren’t confident, with 41 (per cent) saying they’re ‘not very confident’ and 14 per cent saying they’re ‘not confident at all,’” notes the

    Read More »from Majority of Canadians not confident in Canada's security services ability to stop acts of terror: poll

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