• B.C. Premier and Liberal leader Christy Clark and her son celebrate her victory in the provincial election. REUTERS/Andy Clark

    In an astounding turn of events in British Columbia, Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals have won the provincial election and will retain power for another four years.

    The Liberals have earned a convincing majority winning 50 of the 85 ridings compared to the NDP at 33. Green Party candidate Andrew Weaver — a renowned climate scientist at the University of Victoria — wins a seat becoming the first ever Green member in the B.C. legislature. Independent candidate Vikki Huntington also wins her seat in Delta South.

    In terms of popular vote the Liberals are at 44.5 per cent, the NDP at 39.4 per cent and the Greens at 8 per cent.

    NDP leader Adrian Dix — who won his riding in Vancouver-Kingsway — was clearly deflated after the results were announced.

    "In a democratic system, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and in British Columbia it often rains," Dix told a crowd of stunned NDP supporters.

    "But the issues we raised in this campaign, the issues I consider a passion in my life: To ensure young

    Read More »from Liberals pull off surprise victory in B.C. election
  • Despite continuing concerns about the state of the health care and education systems, the B.C. election will turn on who voters think can best manage the economy and the public purse.

    According to a post on Full Duplex, which looks at trends in polls and social media, the economy and jobs were the top two issues regardless of party messaging. Education ranked third and health care fourth, with concerns about two proposed oil pipeline projects in fifth place.

    No one knows what's in a voter's head when he or she marks their ballot, but B.C. campaigns historically have been fought on money issues.

    The incumbent Liberals under Premier Christy Clark have campaigned on their three-term government's record as sound managers and dangled the promise of massive future natural gas development and liquified natural gas (LNG) exports as the key to prosperity and erasing the province's debt.

    The New Democrats under Adrian Dix seem less willing to embrace large-scale expansion of the resource economy,

    Read More »from Health care, education, rural issues take a back seat in B.C. election
  • Leaders have a surprisingly short shelf life in the cutthroat world of B.C. politics, something Adrian Dix or Christy Clark could learn on Tuesday night when voters pass judgment on them.

    Clark, 47, has headed the incumbent Liberals for two years and hopes to lead them to a fourth term in government. It isn't just the polls that are not in her favour — it's history.

    As Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer noted recently, British Columbia has had 35 premiers in the 142 years since the province joined Confederation, which works out to roughly one every four years.

    The legendary W.A.C. Bennett (Wacky to both critics and admirers) served seven terms and his son, Bill, won three elections, as did Liberal Gordon Campbell, whom Clark replaced.

    But Bill Bennett's successor, the faux castle-dwelling gardner Bill Vander Zalm, managed less than five years before resigning in a conflict-of-interest scandal in 1991. His lame-duck replacement, Rita Johnston, presided over an election disaster

    Read More »from Leaders’ blemished records par for the course in British Columbia
  • It was dubbed Justin Trudeau's first test as Liberal leader.

    As it turns out, the Labrador by-election wasn't much of a test at all.

    Liberal Yvonne Jones won the seat in convincing fashion on Monday, earning approximately 48 per cent of the vote. Conservative Peter Penashue earned 32.5 per cent while NDP candidate Harry Borlase earned just under 19 per cent of the total vote.

    It's estimated that voter turnout is above 53 per cent, which is impressive for a byelection.

    The vote was triggered in March, when Tory MP Peter Penashue resigned after it was learned that his 2011 election campaign team had broken federal election rules. According to reports, Penashue, who is still under investigation, overspent his campaign limit by over 20 per cent and even accepted corporate donations, which are illegal under Elections Canada guidelines.

    [ Related: Something smells rotten in Peter Penashue’s riding of Labrador ]

    Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was quick to release this statement congratulating Jones:

    Read More »from Liberals win Labrador by-election: A sign of things to come for the Conservatives?
  • Have you ever wanted to ask a question during Question Period?

    To hear the government of the day deflect the question?

    For some reason Justin Trudeau thinks that a lot of people would want to do that.

    [ Related: Justin Trudeau's cargo shorts overshadow Liberal Party announcement ]

    On Monday, Trudeau and the Liberals released this video asking Canadians to send them their questions about "middle-class concerns." If your question gets picked, they say, it will be read in Question Period.

    On the Liberal website, they even offer some tips on how to structure your question:

    How to structure your question:

    Describe the current situation;
    (1-2 sentences)
    Describe the problem you want addressed;
    (1-2 sentences)
    Ask a question of the government that seeks action or information.
    (1 sentence)

    Aaron Wherry of Maclean’s notes that this isn't the first time somebody tried this.

    Michael Ignatieff tried something like this in the fall of 2010—see here and here for examples. I don’t recall whether Mr. Ignatieff

    Read More »from Help Justin Trudeau create a question for Question Period
  • Christy Clark doing some last minute campaigning.
    British Columbians are just hours away from electing a new government.

    While pollsters are predicting an NDP victory on Tuesday, there are still many intriguing story lines that political observers will be watching for.

    Here are six things that we'll be tracking on Election night:

    1) Did the pollsters get it right, this time?

    After embarrassing flops in both the Alberta and Quebec elections, pollsters are hoping to redeem themselves.

    During this election campaign, the polls indicate that the Liberals have closed a huge 18 point gap on the NDP. An Ipsos Reid poll released Friday suggests the gap is now at 6 per cent, while an Angus Reid poll claims that it's back up to 9 per cent.

    In terms of seats, election analyst Eric Grenier suggests that the NDP will win 48 to the Liberal's 36.

    [ Related: B.C. Liberals within striking distance of NDP because of a masterful campaign ]

    2) Can an independent win a seat?

    The common refrain is that independents can't win seats. Just don't tell that to Vikki

    Read More »from Six things to watch for in the B.C. election
  • Justin Trudeau (April 2013)There seems to be a changing of the guard, so to speak, happening on Parliament Hill.

    On Monday, The Hill Times released their annual Political Savvy Survey.

    In addition to questions like the best and hardest-working MPs, the newspaper likes to have some fun and ask some fluffier questions. One of the most talked about categories every year is: Who are the sexiest MPs?

    This is where we're seeing the perennial favourites being replaced.

    In the male category Peter MacKay — who is a 10-time winner of the Sexiest Male MP distinction — has been replaced by Justin Trudeau. The new Liberal leader has now won the honour for the third consecutive year with 31 per cent of the vote. Mackay falls to third place behind Trudeau and Conservative colleague Maxime Bernier.

    [ More Politics: Taxpayers watchdog says senators shouldn’t collect pensions if convicted ]

    Meanwhile, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel takes the honour of being the sexiest female MP. She beat out 7-time winner Rona Ambrose and Tory

    Read More »from Hill Times crowns Trudeau Canada's sexiest MP
  • Senator Mike Duffy leaving a meeting on Parliament Hill last weekHere's an idea that I think would get almost unanimous support across the country: If a politician is convicted of a crime — while in office — they should not be entitled to their gold-plated pension.

    Over the weekend, the RCMP released a statement claiming that they are examining last week's Senate report which concluded that Senators Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy erroneously claimed living allowances and expenses that they weren't entitled to.

    Now, it should be stressed that this isn't a full-fledged investigation. The Mounties say that, at this point, they are just "examining."

    [ Related: RCMP to examine senators' expenses ]

    Regardless, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal government to follow Nova Scotia's lead and adopt a law whereby a politician convicted of a crime, would have their pension taken away.

    "Any politician convicted of stealing, fraud or breach of trust related to their position doesn’t deserve to get a cent from their taxpayer-funded

    Read More »from Taxpayers watchdog says senators shouldn’t collect pensions if convicted
  • Help Stephen Harper wish his wife a Happy Mother's Day
    Stephen Harper wants your help wishing his wife, Laureen, a Happy Mother's Day.

    On Sunday morning, Conservative headquarters sent out this email to party observers and supporters:

    I would like to wish mothers across Canada a Happy Mother’s Day – a day when we honour and celebrate their strength, guidance and compassion.

    Mothers are the anchors of our families, dedicating themselves to being our most important role models, nurturers and teachers.

    This Mother’s Day, I’d like to recognize a woman who has been an amazing mother to our two kids – my wife, Laureen.

    I hope you’ll join me in signing this card wishing Laureen a Happy Mother’s Day:


    Thank you – and to all mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day.


    Stephen Harper
    Leader, Conservative Party of Canada

    Clearly, it's a ploy by the Tories to get your email addresses on their 'outreach' database. To sign the card, you must enter your name, email address and postal code.

    The Democrats in the United States

    Read More »from Stephen Harper’s Mother’s Day request dubbed 'weird'
  • Doug Finley was sometimes dubbed as Stephen Harper's pit bull
    Conservative Senator Doug Finley has died of cancer at the age of 66.

    Finley — the husband of Human Resources Minister Diane Finley — was appointed to the Senate in 2009, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after leading the Conservatives to two straight election victories as the party's director of political operations.

    Finley was dubbed Harper's pit bull and was revered by many people across the political spectrum. He was a personable individual and brilliant political tactician. Yet, he didn't hold back — he wasn't afraid to say what was on his mind. The first time I met him, in 2010, he threw-in some expletives when describing one of his own Conservative candidates who lost an election because of "laziness."

    He was also a somewhat controversial and polarizing figure. His curtness and aggressiveness sometimes rubbed people the wrong way. Finley was one of the Tory insiders who plead guilty to a 2006 campaign financing scheme, known as the in-and-out affair, where the party was alleged to

    Read More »from Canadian Senator Doug Finley dies after battle with cancer


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