• U.S. Park Police officers move in to arrest a group of about 40 demonstrators in front of the White House.They're calling it the "largest act of peaceful civil disobedience on the climate issue that Canada has ever seen."

    Greenpeace, along with over 80 First Nations, environmental, labour, academic, medical and artistic groups, is organizing a mass sit-in in front of B.C.'s provincial legislature on October 22 as a protest against oil sand pipelines and tankers on the west coast.  The demonstration is dubbed Defend our Coast.

    "The October sit-in builds on the success of protests against tar sands expansion and pipelines that have taken place in the U.S. and Canada in recent months," notes an event press release.

    "The August 2011 sit-ins in Washington D.C. that helped delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the September 26, 2011 sit-in in Ottawa that helped put Canadian tar sands pipeline proposals in the national spotlight."

    [ More from Political Points: Would you trade Stephen Harper for Barack Obama? ]

    Last year's Ottawa protest, also organized by Greenpeace, led to over 100

    Read More »from Anti-oil pipeline activists plan mass protest in Victoria
  • Due to the impending NHL lockout,  hockey fans aren't going to be able to talk about trading players anymore — at least for the foreseeable future.

    So the media has gone on to the next best thing: talking about trading politicians?

    That's what Sun News Network personality Brian Lilley has done.

    In a very well written tongue in cheek column, Lilley asks if  Canadians would trade Stephen Harper for U.S. President Barack Obama.

    The right-leaning Sun News columnist obviously 'declines the offer' but we thought we'd do our own analysis:

    Employment: Nod goes to Harper

    Canada now trumps the U.S. when it comes to employment levels: Our unemployment rate is now  7.2 percent, compared to America's 8.2 percent.  Moreover, an estimated 9 million people in the United States have left the workforce because they couldn't find jobs.

    Debts and deficits: Nod goes to Harper

    Canada's combined federal and provincial debt to GDP ratio — the ratio used to measure a country's ability to repay debt — is 57 per

    Read More »from Would you trade Stephen Harper for Barack Obama?
  • In 1971, the Progressive Conservatives under Peter Lougheed ended 36 years of Social Credit governments in Alberta. Condolences and tributes are pouring in for former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, who passed away Thursday night after battling undisclosed health problems.

    By most accounts, Lougheed, who served as premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985, made an indomitable political contribution to both his native province and to the rest of Canada.

    As chronicled by The Canadian Press, "he became a provincial folk hero and a nationally recognized figure for his epic battles with Ottawa" over Alberta's oil revenues.

    He nurtured oilsands development and created a multi-billion-dollar savings fund for Alberta while at the same time investing in medicine, arts, culture, and tourism.

    He was also a key figure in the patriation of the Constitution.

    Earlier this year,  Lougheed attended a ceremony where he was named Canada's best premier of the last 40 years by a panel of 30 historians, political scientists, economists, journalists and policy advisers convened by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

    Read More »from The Lougheed Legacy: ‘He reminded Ottawa that Canada was more than just Ontario and Quebec’
  • Here we go again.

    Parliament resumes next week and it looks as if the Harper government is set to introduce another large budget implementation bill.

    According to PostMedia News, the new bill will likely be introduced early in the Fall session and will include "changes to pension plans for federal employees and parliamentarians, a potential sell-off of government assets, and 'refocusing' the National Research Council to concentrate more on demand-driven research that's relevant to industry."

    "The Harper government's second budget bill — much like C-38, the initial budget legislation that passed in June — is expected to include a number of contentious changes that have profound impacts on government programs and public services.

    Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has promised the second budget bill will have "quite a bit" in it, and that "it will be another serious bill" that includes outstanding items mentioned in the budget but left out of the first piece of legislation."

    Whether the bill

    Read More »from Opposition parties ready to battle another omnibus budget bill as Parliament resumes
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is under fire for using paid staff to help him coach the Don Bosco Eagles in practice.'Mama said there'd be days like this ... mama said, mama said.'

    Right about now, that might be a tune going through Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's head — boy, is he having a bad day.

    According to a Globe and Mail report, Toronto resident Jude MacDonald has filed a complaint with Toronto integrity commissioner Janet Leiper about Ford's use of municipal resources and staff for his youth football program.

    The seven-page affidavit was submitted Thursday morning in response to news that the mayor's two taxpayer-funded 'special assistants' — Chris Fickel and Isaac Shirokoff — are listed as contacts on the Facebook page for Ford's Rexdale Raiders. Another 'special assistant', a former quarterback of the University of Toronto's Varsity Blues, was at a 3.30 p.m. practice on Tuesday, to to help Ford lead the Don Bosco Eagles in practice.

    Ford's defence is that the staffers are volunteering their time and that he's just trying to "help kids."

    But MacDonald says Ford must adhere to council's code of

    Read More »from Noose tightens around Rob Ford for using paid staff to help coach football
  • Nigel Wright, chief of staff for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldThe opposition parties might not have Nigel Wright to kick around anymore.

    According to the Globe and Mail, the man who became Stephen Harper's chief-of-staff in 2010 was supposed to return to his high power executive position on Bay Street after two years at the Prime Minister's Office.

    The Globe notes that several insiders believe Wright will extend his stay at the PMO. But if he did leave, could you blame him?

    In 2010, Wright took a leave of absence — along with a significant pay cut — from his job at private equity giant Onex Corp. to take on the thankless job of being Harper's right-hand man.

    Ever since then, he's been a target of NDP, Liberal and Bloc Québécois MPs.

    The National Post's editorial board wrote about the opposition to his hiring in November 2010.

    "At issue was the potential for conflict of interest arising from Mr. Wright's work as a senior executive with Onex Corporation, which has a wide range of holdings in industries ranging from aerospace to food services. NDP

    Read More »from Is Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s chief of staff, heading back to the corporate world?
  • Former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed at a tribute dinner to the former politician, in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 6, 2012.Peter Lougheed's reign as Alberta's premier was before my time — I was too young to even remember his exit from office in 1985.

    But as tributes and affection for Lougheed — who is reportedly gravely ill  — continue to pour in,  it's evident that he was a very impressive politician and is a special person.

    Conservative MP Rona Ambrose Tweeted: "Peter Lougheed is a Canadian treasure.  He has our love and our prayers.

    Veteran Calgary Herald reporter Don Braid wrote that, in all the years writing about the man, he never heard him utter a bad word about an opposition politician.

    "Lougheed always felt that people didn't want to hear something bad about the other guys," he wrote.

    Lougheed has received similar adulation in every major newspaper across the country this week.

    [ Related: Lougheed successor praying for former Alberta premier ]

    And the tributes aren't just a response to his current condition — he also received praise prior to his illness.

    Earlier this year, Lougheed attended a

    Read More »from While tributes to former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed pour in, where is this era’s ‘Canadian treasure’?
  • Former premier Lucien Bouchard has written a new book blasting the PQ sovereignty plan, citizen initiated referendums and his former party's position on tuition hikes.And, so it begins.

    Pundits and analysts warned that a Parti Quebecois victory would be, well, interesting.

    After a one week respite following Quebec's September 4 election, it appears they were right.

    This week started with an op-ed column in the Montreal Gazette written by PQ executive member Alexandre Thériault-Marois berating the Anglophone media for calling his party racist.

    "In the days after our Quebec general election, a Calgary Herald columnist wrote in her newspaper...'fully 31.94 per cent of Quebec voters have no problem supporting the bigoted and racist agenda of the winning Parti Québécois.'

    This is just one example of a plethora of comments published in English-Canadian newspapers and blogs during and after the election campaign that made reference to alleged racism of PQ candidates, volunteers and voters.

    Are these accusations founded, and can they be considered as fair — and therefore necessary — commentary?

    Or are they, as suggested by some nationalist groups, a new

    Read More »from Lucien Bouchard blasts PQ sovereignty plan while Liberals replace Jean Charest
  • Teachers crammed the front lawn of the Ontario Legislature during a protest last month, rallying against legislation that would force them into a two-year contract. The bill was passed on Tuesday.Tough times call for tough measures.

    And on Tuesday, the Conservatives and Liberals joined forces at Queen's Park to pass a tough measure.

    By a vote of 82 to 15, Ontario's legislature passed Bill 115 — the Putting Students First Act — which will freeze teachers' wages for two years and restrict them from walking off the job.

    "We are doing what we need to do, and we are putting the needs of students first," Premier Dalton McGuinty said in Question Period, according to the Globe and Mail.

    The McGuinty government had little choice in the matter — Ontario's financial situation is in dire straights.

    [ Related: Ontario anti-strike, wage freeze bill for teachers passes ]

    In 2009/10, Ontario joined the ranks of the "have-not" provinces for the first time and is now the second-largest recipient of equalization payments in the country with $2.2-billion set to flow into its coffers this year.

    And, according to data collated by CBC News, Ontario has the worst debt-to-GDP Ratio in the country. It

    Read More »from Imposing a settlement on teachers a necessary evil for cash-strapped Ontario
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Rabbi Arthur Schneier in OttawaIn the midst of all the domestic noise about Canada's international reputation going down the toilet, there's this: Later this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be awarded the World Statesman of the Year award by a prominent New York foundation.

    The award is given out annually by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, founded by Rabbi Arthur Schneier in 1965.

    "This interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders promotes peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution," notes the organization's website.

    "The Foundation believes that freedom, democracy and human rights are the fundamental values that give nations of the world their best hope for peace, security and shared prosperity."

    In a telephone interview with Yahoo! Canada News, Rabbi Schneier said Harper was chosen as this year's 'Statesman' because of his international leadership for freedom, democracy and human rights.

    "One specific issue, but not the only issue is [Canada's] establishment of the Office of Religious

    Read More »from Stephen Harper to be awarded the ‘World Statesman of the Year’ award in New York City

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