• Kimberly Rivera, the first female American Iraq war resister to come to Canada, poses for a photo in her Toronto home on Thursday, August 30, 2012.Despite a 19,600 name petition, a plea by Amnesty International and even a letter from Noble Peace Laurete Desmond Tutu, Citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenney will not intervene in the case of Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera.

    The American-born Rivera fled to Canada in 2007, after her first tour in Iraq to avoid further military service. Shortly after her arrival in Canada, she applied for refugee status, was rejected, and after numerous appeals has been ordered to return to the U.S. on September 20.

    For the last couple of years she has lived in Toronto with her husband and four children, two of which were born in Canada.

    [ Related: Refugee claimants still collecting welfare even after being deported ]

    In a telephone interview with Yahoo! Canada News on Wednesday afternoon, Kenney said that it's not his place to intervene.

    "We have a legal process for handling immigration matters, removal orders and asylum claims," he said.

    "It's not a political system, it's a legal

    Read More »from Jason Kenney won’t intervene in Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera’s case
  • The Harper government's decision to close its Tehran embassy has the support of most Canadians, according to a new Angus Reid poll released Wednesday.The Harper government's decision to close its Tehran embassy has the support of most Canadians.

    According to a new Angus Reid poll released Wednesday, 72 per cent of those surveyed believe that suspending diplomatic ties with Iran was the right move.

    The Tories announced the embassy closure in Tehran, along with the expulsion of Iranian diplomats in Canada, earlier this month citing a laundry list of beefs against the Ahmajinejad regime.

    "Ever since the attack on the British embassy last year, I have been increasingly concerned about the safety of our diplomats," prime minister Harper told reporters.

    "Whether it's [their] nuclear programs, support for Assad, its antisemitism, its support for terrorism...the risk to our diplomats just keeps going up so ever since last year we have been scaling down our presence."

    [ Related: Iranian born professor says Canada's closure of Tehran embassy 'not the best course of action' ]

    It's an explanation that Canadians are willing to accept. Angus Reid

    Read More »from Canadians support government’s decision to close Tehran embassy while other countries stay put
  • The government will include reform of the generous pension plan for members of Parliament in a second omnibus budget bill.Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?

    Well, here's the good.

    It appears that the government is finally doing something about gold-plated MP pensions.

    Several media outlets are reporting that the Tories are poised to introduce another omnibus budget bill during the Fall sitting of the House which will include, among other things, reforms to public sector and MP pension schemes.

    [ Related: Opposition parties ready to battle another omnibus budget bill ]

    According to the Globe and Mail, the new legislation would mean that retired MPs — starting after the next election — would begin receiving their parliamentary pension at age 65 instead of 55.

    Moreover, MPs are going to have to contribute more to their retirement nest eggs.

    "The Conservative caucus is designing a new scheme that would force MPs to pay 50 per cent of the annual contribution to their pension package," notes the Globe and Mail.

    "These days, MP contributions represent a small fraction of what the government

    Read More »from Tories to scale back MP pensions but salary freeze could be lifted
  • Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals will continue to be called Liberals, regardless of their internal politics.

    The B.C. Liberals will continue to be Liberals, at least for the time being.

    Last May, the province's governing party embarked upon a review of its name because, well, they're not really liberals.

    The B.C. Liberal Party is actually a right-of-centre coalition made up of Liberals and Conservatives joined in conflict against the B.C. New Democrats. Its supporters include the likes former federal Tory cabinet minister Stockwell Day and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning.

    Confusing, isn't it?

    In a statement released by the party on Monday, however, the party claimed that there's not enough time to try and rebrand the party before voters go to the polls in May.

    [ Related: Labour strife heats up, but it could bode well for B.C. Liberals ]

    "Even if a name change were desirable, is there enough time to transition from the existing name to a new brand before the next election or would there be a risk that many voters would be more confused?" the party asked, according to the Globe

    Read More »from Not enough time for name change to distance the B.C. Liberals from … the B.C. Liberals
  • Regardless of his love of hockey, we won't be seeing Stephen Harper in an NHL crowd anytime soon.It's no secret that the Harper government has an affinity towards ending work stoppages.

    Over the past year and a half, citing the need to protect Canada's fragile economy, the Tories have stepped-in to end labour disputes at Canada Post, Air Canada and CP Rail.

    A NDP MP now wants to know why they're not intervening in the NHL lockout.

    "To end the NHL lockout would make a really really good chapter in the prime minister's hockey book," Alexandre Boulerice said during a tongue-in-cheek statement in the House on Monday.

    "As long as they're going to stick their nose into labour disputes, they might as well bring back our national sport and do something useful for a change."

    Certainly Boulerice was joking.  The fact that the majority of the teams play in the U.S. makes an intervention virtually impossible.

    [ Related: Federal Tories and NDP tied for support, Nanos poll shows ]

    But would it make economic sense?

    BMO Nesbitt Burns deputy chief economist Douglas Porter doesn't think so.

    In a

    Read More »from Despite history on labour disputes, Harper won’t intervene in NHL lockout
  • Canada's Parliament will have its own Candice Bergen, following the name change of a Tory backbencher.

    Those of you that were around in the 1990s will undoubtedly remember the CBS hit sitcom, Murphy Brown, where actress Candice Bergen played a feisty anchorwoman in the title role.

    Well, get ready for the Murphy Brown jokes on Parliament Hill because we now have our very own Candice Bergen.

    Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner rose in the House Monday to announce that she is reverting to her birth name: Candice Bergen.

    "I rise today to inform you, my colleagues and my constituents that I have decided to return to my birth name, Candice Bergen," she said.

    "I realize that many will associate that name with a popular actress but it is in fact the name that my parents gave me ... So Mr. Speaker, if you hear on the Hill that Candice Bergen is here, it's not Murphy Brown people will be referring to, it will be me."

    According to the Huffington Post, Bergen's office would not confirm whether the name change is related to a change in marital status.

    Oh, and for you Murphy Brown fans out

    Read More »from Tory backbencher changes her name to Candice Bergen
  • A pro-life activist holds a doll and banner while advocating his stance on abortion near the site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4, 2012.A Tory MP is conceding that his private members bill that would require a Parliamentary committee to study the point at which a baby becomes a human being might not have the support to pass a House of Commons vote next week.

    According to the Globe and Mail, Stephen Woodworth booked the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Monday to clarify his motivation behind the bill and admit that he has a tough fight ahead him.

    Ultimately, Woodworth wants Parliament to review Section 223 of the Criminal Code which says a child becomes a human being "when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.''

    The review, Woodworth argues, won't necessarily lead to a change in abortion rules but is needed because the law is based on a 400-year-old definition of the term 'human being.'

    [ Related: Baird promotes record of women's rights around the world ]

    "Let's have an open-minded, respectful dialogue about our 400-year-old definition of human being," he said, adding that

    Read More »from Proposed review of existing abortion rules likely won’t pass first stage
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper's long-awaited Senate reform bill likely won't be introduced to the House this fall.It looks as if the long-awaited Senate reform bill might not be making its way to the House of Commons during the fall session after all.

    According to the Globe and Mail, the Harper government is making plans to ask the Supreme Court to vet the constitutionality of Bill C-7, a controversial piece of legislation which would incline provinces to hold senatorial elections and impose a nine-year term limit for senators.

    The proposed reforms have faced serious opposition from the other parties in the House as well as provincial governments across the country. Quebec has already called on the province's court of appeal to rule on C-7's constitutionality while Nova Scotia has asked that any reforms be done through constitutional amendment.

    A Supreme Court blessing would indeed help the Harper government push the bill through the legislative process. Former Quebec MNA Benoît Pelletier says that it's a case of better now than later.

    [ Related: Harper fills five Senate vacancies ]

    "It is a wise

    Read More »from Harper’s bid to reform the Senate likely delayed again
  • Are voters ending their honeymoon with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair?Stephen Harper is riding high and Thomas Mulcair is sliding.

    According to a new survey by Nanos Research, the prime minister's approval rating took a significant jump over the summer break.

    In a measure of Canadians' beliefs about his trustworthiness, competence and vision for Canada, Harper finished with a score of 93.4 compared to the 72.7 mark he achieved in a similar survey in July.

    NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, on the other hand scored a 48.0; interestingly Jack Layton scored in the 90s when he was leader. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae finished with 38 points.

    While the Nanos poll suggests support for the three political parties remains static, another poll, released Sunday, claims that NDP support is dropping.

    The Canadian Press/Harris-Decima survey, which was conducted Aug. 30-Sept. 10, put Conservative support at 34 per cent, the NDP at 27, the Liberals at 24 and the Greens at seven.

    [ Related: Here's what to expect when Parliament resumes ]

    Mulcair brushed off that poll in an

    Read More »from Thomas Mulcair and the NDP take a hit in the polls thanks to resurgent Tories
  • House of Commons on Parliament Hill. REUTERS/Chris WattieThey're baaack!

    Over this past weekend MPs from across the country have been making their way back to Ottawa for the fall sitting of Parliament which begins Monday.

    Analysts and pundits are predicting a tumultuous fall — both inside and outside the House of Commons — with debates about foreign investment rules, another contentious omnibus budget bill, free-trade and Quebec's new sovereignist government.

    [ Related: Highlights of summer politics season ]

    Here's what we can expect to see from the three major parties over the next several weeks:

    Conservatives:

    Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Tories' say that their focus in this session of Parliament will be "job creation" and "economic growth."

    According to PostMedia News, the cornerstone of the Harper government's legislative agenda this fall will be a large — and maybe omnibus — budget implementation bill which will include changes to civil servant and parliamentarian pension plans, a potential sell-off of government assets

    Read More »from Parliament resumes Monday: what to expect

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