• An Idle No More spokesperson says that a leaked audit critical of the Attawapiskat Band Council appears to be an attempt to smear hunger-striking Chief Theresa Spence.

    On Monday, CBC News reported that they had received a leaked audit from Deloitte and Touche — commissioned by the feds — which claims 'there is little or no documentation for millions of dollars spent by the band' between 2005 and 2011.

    "In a letter dated Sept. 20, 2012, that was written by Deloitte to Chief Theresa Spence and copied to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, that auditing firm says that of 505 transactions reviewed, more than 400 lacked proper documentation.

    The letter says "an average of 81 per cent of files did not have adequate supporting documents and over 60 per cent had no documentation of the reason for payment."

    Idle No More spokesperson and Mi'kmaq lawyer Pam Palmater says that in the midst of the ongoing protests and just days before a summit between the Prime Minister and First Nations

    Read More »from Idle No More spokesperson calls leak of Attawapiskat audit ‘political’
  • Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began her liquids-only strike on Dec. 11. Radio Canada photo.
    While Theresa Spence is getting weak, the Attawapiskat chief plans to continue her hunger strike at least until Friday's First Nations meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and maybe even after that, her spokesperson says.

    Spence began her liquids-only strike on Dec. 11, adding fuel to the grassroots Idle No More movement growing since October.

    In a telephone interview with Yahoo! Canada News on Sunday morning, Spence's spokesperson Danny Metatawabin discussed the chief's health, her expectations for the Jan. 11 meeting and the recent media attacks against her.

    Here are some excerpts from that interview.

    Yahoo! Canada News: How is Chief Spence doing?

    Metatawabin: Health wise, you know as each day goes by now it's getting critical. She's weak, tired, fatigued, she's [starting] to sleep more.  She needs to rest more than before. I believe this is her day 27 so, myself, I'm surprised that she has come this far.

    Yahoo! Canada News: Is she going to be able to continue to hunger

    Read More »from Yahoo! Exclusive: Chief to continue strike after PM meeting, unless ‘concrete commitment’ is reached
  • PM Stephen Harper says the Automotive Innovation Fund has helped the industry become more competitive.

    The federal government is doling out another huge chunk of taxpayer money.

    On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a $250 million investment into the Automotive Innovation Fund, which was set up in 2008 to help the Canada's automotive industry become more innovative and competitive.

    "Our Government remains focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and to keeping Canada's automotive manufacturing sector globally competitive and innovative," Harper said as part of a PMO press release.

    "The Automotive Innovation Fund has a proven track record of generating results for Canadians in terms of jobs, prosperity and foreign investment in Canada."

    [ Related: Canada to invest $250 million in auto industry ]

    According to the Canadian Press, the fund requires automakers and auto suppliers to invest their own money to access government cash.

    This investment isn't coming with a lot of fanfare outside of the auto-sector — especially since it's been only four years

    Read More »from Critics slam Tories’ $250 million auto investment as corporate welfare
  • Justin Trudeau - Can he save the Liberal Party?Ever since Justin Trudeau entered the leadership race, the Liberals' polling number have been rising.

    Not surprisingly, a new Ipsos Reid poll, released Thursday, suggests that 69 per cent of Canadians believe Justin Trudeau will be the next leader of the Grits.

    What is a little surprising, however, is that the survey claims that 56 per cent of Canadians agree with this statement: "The Liberal party, led by the person who wins the current leadership, will some day return to power as Canada's government."

    Fifty-six per cent?

    That's a far cry from where party was just after the May 2011 election when pundits and authors such as Peter C. Newman were writing about the death of Canada's 'natural governing party.'

    So what happened?

    Liberal insider Warren Kinsella attributes the success to Trudeau.

    "I take [the poll] seriously - Ipsos is one of the best polling outfits in the country," Kinsella wrote in an email exchange with Yahoo! Canada News.

    "It means that, controversies notwithstanding,

    Read More »from Are the federal Liberals in the midst of an epic comeback?
  • Photo Shows Obama Hearing of Sandy Hook Shooting (ABC News)

    Proving the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, the White House has released a photograph of U.S. President Barack Obama at the moment he was told about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

    In the photo, taken on Dec. 14, the president looks distressed with arms folded and eyes closed as John Brennan, his deputy national security adviser, briefs him on the tragedy which ultimately resulted in death of 20 first graders.

    Later that day, a still visibly shaken Obama addressed reporters saying: "we've been through this too many times."

    Why is the White House releasing the photos?

    The practice of releasing 'personal moment' still images has become a common practice of the Obama administration. In 2009, the White House launched an official photostream on Flickr which now has over 4,000 images.

    Political consultant Marcel Wieder says the images are designed to reinforce certain messages.

    [ More politics: Senator Hugh Segal wants to scrap welfare to combat

    Read More »from Photo of Obama being briefed on Sandy Hook shootings released
  • It's usually those on the left of the political spectrum who tout the policy of a 'guaranteed income.'

    Heck, it's in the communist manifesto — isn't it?

    Well, now a right-wing politico is promoting the concept.

    In the most recent issue of the Literary Issue of Canada, Tory Senator Hugh Segal argues that we should scrap welfare in exchange for a system whereby the federal government 'tops-up' the income of everyone who is beneath the poverty line to the poverty line.

    "We spend billions on programs that address dropouts, reduce substance abuse, assist young people in trouble with the law, encourage nutrition, subsidize housing, provide safe houses for the victims of family violence, run the Children’s Aid, realign incentives in the tax system for the working poor, support First Nations education and fund micro-managing welfare systems that do not bring anyone above the poverty line. And yet the [percentage of impoverished Canadians], depending on the province or region, has not changed

    Read More »from Senator Hugh Segal wants to scrap welfare to combat poverty
  • Cartoon: Stephen Harper’s wishbook

    Beginning later this month, Yahoo! Canada News will feature daily cartoons from some of Canada's best artists. We've got a sneak preview of what's to come, courtesy of cartoonist Wes Tyrell. Enjoy!

  • Over the past week, some 'mainstream media' editorial boards, columnists and analysts in this country have become a lot more critical of the chief and her hunger strike.For her sake, I hope Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence isn't reading the newspapers while in her tepee on Victoria Island on the Ottawa River.

    While her hunger strike — and the corresponding Idle No More movement — has garnered international media attention and sympathy, it appears that some Canadian media-types aren't as understanding.

    Over the past week, some 'mainstream media' editorial boards, columnists and analysts in this country have become a lot more critical of the chief and her hunger strike.

    [ Related: First Nations leaders want Jan. 24 meeting with Harper ]

    In a column published on Wednesday, the Calgary Herald editorial board accused Spence of "blackmailing" Stephen Harper:

    "The threat of suicide is always ill advised or rooted in selfishness. In the regrettable case of Theresa Spence, it appears to be a case of both.

    "Apart from Spence’s inexcusable blackmailing of the prime minister, it’s evident she’s unreasonable. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has expressed

    Read More »from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike continues amid growing list of critics
  • According to the survey, confidence in the Tories is dropping.Yet another poll is out this week indicating that the public is losing confidence in the Harper government.

    On Thursday, Nanos Research and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRRP) released the results of their sixth annual Mood of Canada survey, an annual Q&A about the 'direction' of the country.

    This year's verdict is that we're feeling blue.

    [ Related: Five political stories to watch for in 2013 ]

    According to the survey results, posted on the Nanos website, 48 per cent of Canadians feel the country is on "the right track" compared to 64 per cent this time last year.

    More importantly, the survey report notes that confidence in the Tories is dropping.

    "Canadians are divided on the performance of the Harper government but negative assessments have risen over the past 12 months," Nanos president, Nik Nanos, wrote.

    "The number of those who rated the Conservative Government’s performance as “very” or “somewhat” poor jumped eight points, to 33 percent."

    This is just the latest

    Read More »from Survey suggests Canadians have the blues over Stephen Harper
  • First Nations protesters on Parliament Hill December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
    Trudeau-mania 2.0; the F-35 debacle; mayors across the country getting into hot water: 2012 has been an eventful year in Canadian politics.

    What will 2013 bring?

    Here is our look at the year ahead:

    1. A new premier for Ontario. A new one for British Columbia?

    The New Year will kick-off with the Ontario Liberal leadership convention in Toronto in late January.

    As of now, the common refrain is that former MPPs Gerard Kennedy and Sandra Pupatello are the front runners in the race to replace Dalton McGuinty as premier. Whoever wins will have a tough year ahead with a ballooning debt crisis, a teacher's dispute and dysfunctional minority legislature.

    Meanwhile, British Columbians will head to the polls in May to elect their new provincial government — most likely to be led by NDP Leader Adrian Dix.

    If the pro-oil pipeline crowd thought current Premier Christy Clark was a headache, just wait until they're forced to deal with premier Dix.

    2. A new leader for the federal Liberals

    Barring an

    Read More »from Five political stories to watch for in 2013

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