• Some quirky policy resolutions often come from political party conventions. This one ranks up there as one of the wackiest.

    At the Green Party convention in Sidney, British Columbia, delegates have overwhelmingly voted in favour of an emergency resolution which tasks party leader Elizabeth May to ask the Queen for a Royal Inquiry into the Robo-call scandal.

    "If the government won't call for an inquiry, our only option is the Queen," one delegate said in favour of the resolution, passed Sunday.

    Another delegate said he doesn't support the monarchy but that the Greens should "hold their noses" and make the request.

    According to recent reports by the Ottawa Citizen, Elections Canada keeps hitting dead ends in its attempts to identify 'Pierre Poutine,' the suspect who sent out the pre-recorded calls, incorrectly telling voters that their Guelph, Ont., polling stations had moved.

    There are now doubts about when, if ever, they'll solve the politically-charged probe that began more than 14

    Read More »from Elizabeth May to ask the Queen for a Royal Inquiry into the Robo-call scandal
  • Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was the keynote speaker at the Green Party biennial convention this weekend in Sidney, British Columbia.

    Prior to his appearance, many wondered aloud why a Liberal MP would address another party's convention. Was Dion joining the Greens? Was Elizabeth May going to make a play for the Liberal leadership?

    But alas, on Saturday afternoon, it became clear that Dion was only there as a cheerleader for proportional representation — an issue that he's championed for years. Proportional representation, or PR, means that the number of seats won by a party is proportionate to the number of votes received. And without PR in Canada, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and her Greens have a tough slog ahead of them.

    It's no coincidence that the countries' that have significant political representation by a 'green' party — Germany, France, Belgium, New Zealand, and Finland — have some form of PR.

    New Zealand's Green Party, for example, is the third party in that

    Read More »from Greens tout proportional representation at party convention
  • Life is about to get a little bit tougher for our members of parliament.

    As part of the Harper government's austerity budget of 2012, the Tories are axing a little-known, but widely used perk of political office — free massages.

    According to CTV News, MPs who pay $100 a year to use a private gym on the eighth floor of the Confederation building were entitled one free therapeutic massage a week.

    The perk was even extended to an MP's designated spouse, partner, girl or boyfriend.

    But Speaker Andrew Scheer eliminated the perk in an email to MPs this week, calling it part of the plan to cut $30 million from the House of Commons budget.

    "Within the context of the House of Commons' Strategic and Operating Review and as approved by the Board of Internal Economy, the House Administration will no longer be in a position to offer massage therapy services to clients of the members' gym. Please be advised that this change is effective immediately."

    Two staff therapists were let go when the program

    Read More »from Tories ‘rub’ away free massage perk for MPs
  • Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques BoissinotIf a vote were held today, the Parti Québécois would form the next government of Quebec.

    A Léger Marketing poll for the QMI news agency, released Friday, shows the PQ with 33 per cent of voter intentions ahead of the Liberals at 28 per cent and the CAQ with 27 per cent. If the polls are to be believed, in less than three weeks, Canada is about to enter an era of constitutional strife not seen since the 1990s.

    Over the course of the campaign, Canadians have gotten a glimpse of what a PQ government might look like.  The separatist party has already announced its intentions to toughen French language laws and to ban all civil servants from wearing or exposing overt religious symbols.

    [ Related: PQ takes aim at language laws, overweight people ]

    And on Thursday we learned that they would selectively disregard Supreme Court of Canada rulings.

    Speaking about the policy that would ban religious symbols, a PQ candidate says his party wouldn't hesitate to use the constitutional notwithstanding

    Read More »from What a Parti Québécois victory would mean for the rest of Canada
  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is entertaining some of Canada's top CEOs at an exclusive retreat to get their opinions on Canada's future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickWouldn't it be nice to have a two-day confab with the finance minister to help shape Canada's economic future?

    Well, if you're a president or CEO of one Canada's largest companies, maybe you got an invitation to Jim Flaherty's annual summer policy retreat currently taking place in Wakefield, Quebec.

    That's right: Every year, Flaherty hosts a closed-door policy retreat with the who's-who of corporate Canada to discuss what Ottawa should do to give the economy a boost.

    According to documents obtained by the Globe and Mail, at last year's sessions the minister was urged to adopt measures to reduce the pay of Canadian workers, limit union power by enacting U.S.-style right-to-work legislation, and allow two-tier health care.

    Labour issues surface in several discussion categories, with the general view that Canadian workers are overpriced.

    [ Related: Should Canada help with a European bailout? ]

    "Need to address wage differentials in labor market among countries; we are losing jobs to other

    Read More »from Canada’s top CEOs taking advantage of exclusive face time with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
  • Is it possible that Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is a Canadian permanent resident?

    A new YouTube video gives evidence that she might be.

    The video, unearthed by political analyst Warren Kinsella, shows Tolokonnikova being interrogated by a Russian official.  At one point in the video (1.03), we see what appears to be Tolonikova's Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) Card which includes her picture, name, and birth date.

    According to Alina Seagal of Yahoo! Canada News, the narrator of the video is saying that Russian officials believe that Tolokonnikova has permanent residency status in Canada.

    Tolokonnikova, however, denies it, saying she has visited Canada in the past, but doesn't have Canadian residency.

    "I have no plans to leave Russia just yet, I want to wait and see. For now, I'll fight," she says in Russian.

    According to the Irish Examiner, Tolokonnikova's husband, Pyotr Verzilov, attended high school in Canada and holds dual Russian-Canadian citizenship.  Marriage to a

    Read More »from Pussy Riot leader’s Canadian connection evokes call for government support
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at a news conference with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Parliament Hill.The world needs more Canada.

    While she didn't say that verbatim, that seemed to be the recurring message coming from German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her official visit to our nation's capital this week.

    At a joint press conference Thursday morning, Merkel reiterated that Canada's fiscal record is an "example" for the rest of the world.

    According to the Bloomberg News, Merkel, who is facing pressure from global partners to do more to stop European financial contagion, praised Canada's budget discipline, promotion of economic growth and "not living on borrowed money" as models for the 17-nation euro region.

    [ Related: Can Angela Merkel convince Stephen Harper to change his approach to the environment?]

    "This is also the right solution for Europe," Merkel said at a reception in Ottawa late Wednesday, according to a transcript posted on the German government's website.

    While the praise by a respected world leader is nice, what Harper really wanted from the bilateral meeting was

    Read More »from German chancellor Angela Merkel ends official visit with praise for Canada
  • PQ candidate Djemila Benhabib has come under fire from Saquenay's mayor for promoting secularism in the province.It's another day in the Quebec election campaign and invariably another day of: "they said what?!"

    Today's politically incorrect comment comes from Saguenay mayor Jean Tremblay, who has accused Algerian born Parti Québécois candidate Djemila Benhabib of of posing a threat to "French Canadians" by trying to impose her "rules" on the culture and values of the province.

    "What angers me is that we, the soft French-Canadians, are going to allow a person who arrived here from Algeria — we can't even pronounce her name — to dictate to us how to behave, how to respect our culture," he said, Tuesday.

    According to the Globe and Mail, Benhabib, who has written about the persecution by Islamists in Algeria, has been a strong advocate of secularism, saying that religion has no business in the affairs of the state.

    Benhabib, who is running to represent the riding of Trois-Rivières, had a hand in the PQ's proposed secular charter, announced Tuesday, which would ban all civil servants from wearing or

    Read More »from Saguenay mayor says Algerian-born PQ candidate Djemila Benhabib poses ‘a threat’ to French Canadians
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM Stephen Harper have little in common regarding the environment.When German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Stephen Harper meet in Ottawa this week, they're expected to talk about bilateral trade, the Euro Crisis, the Arab Spring and Syria.

    [ Related: Euro crisis 'elephant in the room' for Harper-Merkel talks ]

    One thing they likely won't be discussing, in any great detail at least, is the environment — when it come to issues about environment and climate change, Merkel and Harper are on two different planets.

    Back in the mid-1990s, when she was Germany's environment minister, Merkel made it her mission to bring together officials from rich and poor countries to talk seriously about limiting greenhouse gas emissions. According to Time Magazine, her efforts were instrumental in getting leaders to sign the so-called Berlin Mandate in 1995, a precursor to the landmark Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

    Now as chancellor, Merkel has continued the battle, setting lofty environmental goals for Germany while warning other countries that global warming

    Read More »from Can Angela Merkel convince Stephen Harper to change his approach to the environment?
  • Peter Penashue provided the same answer to CBC's questions about how the financing and management of his 2011 election campaign.Talk about 'staying on message.'

    On Tuesday, CBC reporter Peter Cowan tracked down federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue about allegations that his campaign overspent its limit by over $4,000 during the 2011 election campaign.

    Graciously, Penashue answered Cowan's questions.

    But there was one problem — he gave the same answer for each question.

    Cabinet minister Peter Penashue answers questions from reporter Peter Cowan

    NDP MP Charlie Angus was even amused by the video.

    "I love this footage of Conservative Peter Penashue," he wrote on his Facebook page.

    "He has graduated from the Conservative summer school course in how to deny, repeat, deny, dodge...etc. etc."

    [ Related: Penashue campaign head apologizes for spending errors, lax reporting ]

    At the very least, it looks like Penashue, the usually very thoughtful and candid politician, has been muzzled.

    Read More »from Tory MP Peter Penashue does his best ‘Groundhog Day’ impersonation during interview


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