• Stephen Harper and Pauline Marois at the 2012 Francophonie Summit
    Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are embroiled in bit of a "spat."

    No, it doesn't have anything to do with Quebec sovereignty; this disagreement is about a press conference.

    [ Related: Does the Clarity Act need to be revisited? ]

    Marois and Harper will meet Friday afternoon to discuss funding for the province's ailing infrastructure. The two leaders were supposed have a joint press conference following the tete-a-tete but, according to the Montreal Gazette, Marois put a kibosh on that.

    "Marois’s staff balked at Ottawa’s request that the standard Harper news conference format apply. That usually means four questions from journalists, with their names submitted in advance.

    Quebec’s format is more spontaneous, follow-up questions are allowed and there are no lists. The exchanges can become heated.

    The leaders will instead appear on the same stage to make what Marois’s agenda says is a “common announcement,” meaning each will read a statement in front of

    Read More »from Spat erupts between PM and Quebec premier over how to plan a news conference
  • Jim FlahertyDon't pinch me awake — but it appears that the Harper government is transforming itself into a more open administration.

    In an exclusive and in-depth interview with the Globe and Mail, published Thursday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty came out about having a skin condition that requires him to take steroids; the steroids, however, come with significant side effects.

    "I developed a dermatological condition – which is like a really bad rash – which got progressively worse. I was having medical care for that – under medication, but it was relatively mild – and some treatment also. And it was ineffective.

    So my specialist then moved to a higher level of medication and that is a medication with significant side effects, including bloating, puffiness and significant weight gain – all of which I have been a classic case of.

    I've had a couple of stakeholders say “You’ve put on a lot of weight, you should get more exercise.” And I don’t talk to them about this. In fact I don’t like talking

    Read More »from Is the Harper government in the midst of a ‘re-branding?’
  • Justin TrudeauEveryone knows that Justin Trudeau is the front runner in the federal Liberal leadership race.

    But Trudeau's latest fundraising numbers — in comparison to the 8 other candidates —are simply staggering.

    [ Related: Are the federal Liberals in the midst of an epic comeback? ]

    According Punditsguide.ca, all 9 candidates have collectively raised about $1.15 million; Trudeau has raised $673,156.53 or 58.4 per cent of the total money. (Incidentally, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair raised $443,357 during that party's leadership race which ended last March).

    "If it's not over already, and that's not the writing on the wall, then please just ignore the rubenesque diva in the corner singing swan songs for the also-rans from here until April 14," Alice Funke of PunditsGuide writes.

    "It's not nice to call her a fat-lady-singing anyway."

    Not surprisingly, it's not a narrative that the other campaigns are buying — at least not publicly.

    "It's not up to the media or the pundit class to decide who is in this

    Read More »from Justin Trudeau leaving other Liberal Party leadership candidates in the dust
  • Will and Kate during their 2011 visit to Canada
    If 'Will and Kate' have a baby girl later this year, she will be in line to become Canada's Queen.

    In 2011, the U.K. and its commonwealth brethren all agreed to change the sexist rule that allowed younger male heirs to over-take their elder female sisters in the order of their right to the throne.

    [ Related: Canadians became more enamoured with the monarchy in 2012 ]

    Other countries — Australia and the U.K — have already introduced new succession legislation; on Thursday it was Canada's turn.

    "Today in the House of Commons we are tabling legislation that will provide Canada's ascent to changes that will enshrine gender equality and the freedom to marry an individual of another another faith into the laws that govern the royal line of succession," Heritage Minister James Moore told reporters in the House lobby.

    "What this means is if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge first child is a girl she will be heir to the throne and she will be able to marry someone of any faith," he said.

    Read More »from Harper government unveils its 'Royal baby' succession bill
  • Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau waits for the start of a royal assent ceremony in the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 14, 2012.If you follow Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau on Twitter, you know that he doesn't mince words.

    The Aboriginal senator from Quebec has been very outspoken about the Idle No More protests and specifically about Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's month-long 'hunger-strike.'

    [ Related: Was Chief Theresa Spence's 'hunger strike worth it? ]

    But this may be going a little too far.

    According to the Toronto Star, Brazeau made some disparaging comments about Spence at a provincial party fundraiser in Ottawa on Tuesday:

    Sen. Patrick Brazeau referred to Spence’s “so-called hunger strike” in addressing about 80 people at a Legion hall in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans, and mocked her physical shape. “I was sick two weeks ago,” Brazeau said. “I had the flu and I lost five pounds.

    “I look at Miss Spence, when she started her hunger strike, and now?” Brazeau added as a voice in the hall called out, “She’s fatter,” which drew laughter from much of the audience.

    The Star notes that Tory member

    Read More »from Senator Patrick Brazeau mocks Chief Theresa Spence at Tory fundraiser
  • NWT Premier Bob McLeod

    In many ways, the Northwest Territories is like the Rodney Dangerfield of Canada — it gets very little respect.

    That might change in the next couple of weeks.

    Officials from NWT are in Ottawa this week to hammer out an agreement which would cede federal control over land, resources and water to the territorial government. It's a historical move that the Globe and Mail characterizes as making the Northwest Territories into "a province in all but name."

    "Much of the territorial government has arrived in Ottawa. Premier Bob McLeod, his cabinet, deputy ministers and aboriginal and business leaders begin two days of talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and officials.

    The people and government of the territory stand to benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in new resource revenues under the agreement, which will see the territorial and not the federal government primarily responsible for approving resource developments."

    The process of devolution — as it's called —

    Read More »from Federal government poised to cede powers to the Northwest Territories
  • Stephen Harper in India
    It seems that the RCMP has bruised the collective ego of India's security community.

    Last November, the mounties decided to fly two armoured vehicles to India from Canada, as part of the Prime Minister's security detail during an official state visit.

    On Tuesday, it was learned that the bill for shipping the vehicles totaled $1 million.

    [ Related: RCMP security advice behind $1 million tab for Harper's armoured cars: Baird ]

    While Canadian taxpayers are left holding the bag, Indians are left with some hurt feelings.

    Several of them spoke to the Globe and Mail wondering why the RCMP spent all that money instead of relying on Indian security.

    Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in Dehli:

    "To think that India cannot protect a visiting dignitary is testament to very poor intelligence in Western countries and a failure of comprehension – it’s just plain stupid.

    From a pure security perspective, it’s money down the toilet."

    Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson

    Read More »from Indian security experts slam Canada for spending $1M on armoured car for Harper visit
  • Nathan Cullen
    'Props' to NDP member of Parliament Nathan Cullen for attempting to bring some civility into the House of Commons with a motion, introduced on Tuesday, that would punish misbehaving MPs.

    Unfortunately, Cullen's proposal, dubbed the Civility Project, is not going to work.

    [ More Political Points: Quebec sovereignty is still very much a story ]

    As explained by CBC News, Cullen wants to give the Speaker of the House the power to suspend, fine or reprimand MPs for using 'harassment, threats, personal attacks, or extreme misrepresentation of facts'" during Question Period.

    First of all, I'm a little confused as to how one would distinguish between an 'extreme' misrepresentation of facts from a 'minor' misrepresentation of facts?

    Secondly, as former MP Dan McTeague points out, there are some serious logistical issues here.

    "The Speaker has to be able to hear/see these things in order for it to be effective," he told Yahoo! Canada News. "Otherwise accusations of breaking the proposed code

    Read More »from Three alternatives to Nathan Cullen’s ‘Civility Project’ for Parliament
  • Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said governments will have to take the unpopular step of finding new ways to pay for transit improvements. Kathleen Wynne is the leader the Ontario Liberal Party elected, but is she the one that party insiders had wanted?

    Some signs coming out of last weekend's leadership convention suggest there are headaches ahead for the premier-designate, as some of the party's inner circle balks at its new direction.

    A handful of key MPPs could be on their way out as Wynne crafts a new vision for the party, including the formation of a new inner cabal.

    The Globe and Mail's Adam Radwanski breaks down a few of the Liberal insiders who are likely to bail out in the coming weeks.

    On the top of that list is Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who promised to vacate his Windsor seat if Sandra Pupatello had been named party leader and needed to find a riding.

    [ Related: Wynne should consider gas-plant inquiry: Horwath ]

    A source told the Globe that Duncan will still step down for a job on Bay Street, possibly before the next election.

    Also on the list of likely exits are Energy Minister Chris Bentley, who has

    Read More »from Will Ontario Liberals see a shakeup under Wynne?
  • Pauline MaroisThere are many in Canada who like to believe that the issue of Quebec sovereignty is dead.

    They'll argue that the separatist Parti Quebecois only won a minority government in the September election; some even suggest that it's 'the media' who are fanning the flames of this 'non-issue.'

    Well — if the last 24 hours are any indication — Quebec sovereignty is still front and centre.

    The winter session of Parliament began on Monday morning, with debate on a Bloc Quebecois private member's bill which, if passed, would repeal the Clarity Act — the Chretien-era bill which mandates a clear question and clear majority in any referendum in Quebec separation.

    [ Related: Quebec premier Pauline Marois to talk sovereignty with Scottish separatists ]

    Later in the day on Monday, as explained by the Canadian Press, the NDP countered with their own Quebec secession bill dubbed the "Unity Act."

    "...the NDP’s unity bill specifies Parliament must be satisfied the referendum question was clear and there

    Read More »from Quebec sovereignty is still very much a story

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