• Canada's International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 20, 2012. REUTERS/Chris WattieBev Oda's departure from the Harper government has set the stage for a summertime cabinet shuffle.

    Oda, the minister of international cooperation, announced her resignation from politics Tuesday through a statement on her website.

    The 67-year-old, who was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year for her champagne spending habits, will officially step down as Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Durham on July 31.

    [ Related: Bev Oda stepping down as Member of Parliament ]

    Rumours are already circulating about who might replace her in cabinet.

    Rookie MP Kellie Leitch, a former surgeon from Ontario, seems to be the frontrunner.  Leitch, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of labour, has been an impressive MP despite her rookie status.

    Other contenders for Oda's job are Alberta's Michelle Rempel and Ontario's Chris Alexander, who was once Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan.

    Stephen Harper is also expected to make changes to other portfolios.

    Defence minister Peter

    Read More »from Bev Oda resignation sparks cabinet shuffle chatter
  • A sign stating masks mandatory is seen posted on a door of an abandoned asbestos mine in Quebec, February 12, 2012.There are two golden rules of political communications:

    1. If you have unpopular news, announce it on a Friday when the media and public have already tuned out for the week.

    2. If you have very unpopular news, announce it on a Friday afternoon at the beginning of a long weekend.

    It seems Quebec 's government sheepishly chose the latter when announcing a massive initiative to jump-start the controversial asbestos industry.

    In what's being a called a desperate political move on the eve of a difficult election campaign, the Charest Liberals have decided to loan $58-million to Montreal-based Balcorp Ltd. to mine chrysotile at the Jeffery Mine in the town of Asbestos.

    It's expected that the loan will create almost 1,500 direct and indirect jobs in a depressed region of the province, and as a result, help Charest's Liberals win some seats in an upcoming election.

    Outside the town of Asbestos, however, the announcement isn't going over very well, with critics suggesting Charest has chosen

    Read More »from Critics slam Jean Charest for jump-starting asbestos industry
  • Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda pauses as she responds to a question during question period in the House Commons on Parliament in Ottawa Monday Feb. 14, 2011.Beleaguered Member of Parliament Bev Oda is stepping down effective as of July 31, 2012, a press release announced today.

    It says that Oda advised Prime Minister Stephen Harper of her departure two weeks ago. Currently the MP for Durham in Ontario, Oda has been a mainstay in Canadian headlines over the last year as she was repeatedly found herself at the centre of controversy.

    Oda first came into Canadian headlines last year when she admitted to altering a funding request from Kairos with a "not" inserted into the text. Most recently, Oda has been at the centre of public scrutiny for her expensive tastes while at a conference in London. Her $16 glass of orange juice from the Savoy hotel was the focus of much of the criticism.

    Bev Oda quittingInternational Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announces that she is quitting her job as a member of Parliament effective July 31

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued a statement as well, thanking Oda for her hard work and dedication as an MP for

    Read More »from Bev Oda stepping down as Member of Parliament, Minister of International Cooperation
  • Edmonton MP Peter Goldring is outraged after he was barred from setting up a "unity table" at a Canada Day celebration on the grounds of Alberta's legislature.

    Goldring, a former Conservative who now sits as an independent, is the founder of the Edmonton Chapter of the Special Committee for Canadian Unity.

    Since 1996, the organization had set up the unity booth to hand out Maple Leaf pins and flags, "O Canada" bookmarks and an information pamphlet about the federal government.

    But, after 16 years, organizers have somehow deemed the booth  "too political."

    "We wouldn't allow any particular partisan cause to be present on the grounds on [Canada] Day," Sergeant-at-Arms Brian Hodgson told Global News.

    "I mean this is a day for all Canadians and it's not a place we would typically use for campaigns of any sort."

    Goldring, however,  insists unity is not a 'partisan cause'; for him it's an important cause.

    [ Related: Thousands attend Canada Day fest in Montreal but it’s not a sign of stronger

    Read More »from Edmonton MP Peter Goldring and his 'unity table' get snubbed on Canada Day
  • REUTERS/Rebecca Cook Is it Canada Day or is Anti-Harper day?

    As millions of Canadians come together to celebrate Canada's 145th birthday, it seems a large number of people have taken to Twitter in a virtual protest against Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    As of 2 p.m., Sunday, #DenounceHarper was the number 2 trending topic on Twitter — ahead of #CanadaDay. Tweeters were using the hashtag to voice dissatisfaction with the Harper government's policies.

    Read More »from Anti-Conservatives use Canada Day for on-line protests
  • Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. REUTERS/Chris WattieAn immigrant can apply to become a citizen three years after moving to Canada.

    It's the final step in immigrating and, as opposed to permanent residency, allows people to vote and carry a Canadian passport.

    But, according to an article in the Globe and Mail, more and more newcomers are failing the citizenship test since the Harper government had made the exam a lot tougher.

    In 2010, the Conservatives overhauled the test, requiring a higher score to pass — 15/20 instead of 12/20 — and emphasized the need for newcomers to speak English or French.  The test also included more challenging questions about Canadian history, identity and values.

    The changes have hurt some immigrant communities harder than others, according to pass-rate data kept by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and obtained by the Globe.

    "Across the board, the failure rate nearly quadrupled from less than four per cent in 2009 to nearly 15 per cent last year," notes the article.

    "Nearly half of the Afghan-born immigrants

    Read More »from More immigrants failing the citizenship test; how would you do?
  • Any time the Republicans come into power in the United States, the common refrain from  Democrats is "I'm moving to Canada."

    It makes sense — Canada, in theory, is a more liberal, socialized country than the U.S.

    In a perplexing twist, however, Thursday's Supreme Court of the United States decision, upholding President Barack Obama's plan to further socialize America's healthcare system, has led many Republicans to look north.

    Some took to Twitter to share their plans.

    Others, appropriately, mocked those posts, reminding expat-wannabes that Canada has been using a free healthcare model for years:

    Read More »from Anti-Obamacare Americans threaten to move to Canada
  • Apparently the Department of Canadian Heritage needs to do a better job with due diligence before doling out money to Canadian musicians and art groups.

    According to the Toronto SunMusicAction, a non-profit organization primarily funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, contributed more than $100,000 to a francophone artist who produced a rap video glorifying the Taliban and applauding the slaughter of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

    "The enemy approaches," rapper Manu Militari says during the video." I recognize Canada's colours."

    Later he says, "In a few seconds they'll understand how much I hate them."

    The slick production, according to the Sun, is set for official release on the 11th anniversary of al-Qaida's 2001 terrorist attacks.

    In response to the story, late Thursday, the Prime Minister's office sent out this email:

    Shocking Music Video Glorifies Taliban Terrorists

    Rapper Manu Militari has released a song and music video that glorify Taliban terrorists in

    Read More »from Ottawa funds, then condemns ‘Manu Militari’ rap video that glorifies terrorists
  • Senator Patrick Brazeau might wish he was back in the ring with Justin Trudeau after the week he's had.It's been a tough week for Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.

    On Tuesday, he caused a firestorm on Twitter after he essentially called Canadian Press reporter Jennifer Ditchburn a 'bitch' for publishing his poor attendance record in the Senate.

    Brazeau, who made headlines in March losing a charity boxing match to Justin Trudeau, eventually apologized to Ditchburn but his reputation has taken a beating.

    [ Related: Brazeau apologizes for insulting reporter on Twitter ]

    And now there's more bad news for Brazeau: the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has entered the fray.

    APTN National News is reporting that the Senator, who was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008, is fighting a sexual harassment battle in Federal Court.

    In 2007, Alisa Lombard, a former junior staffer at the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) accused Brazeau of harassment after a staff Christmas party.

    According to APTN, Lombard accused Brazeau, — the national chief at CAP at the time — of

    Read More »from Patrick Brazeau’s Twitter outburst rekindles interest in sexual harassment accusations
  • Things are going from bad to worse for Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro.

    Two weeks ago, PostMedia News reported that Del Mastro -- the parliamentary secretary to prime minister Harper -- was under investigation for contravening the Elections Act during his 2008 campaign. Elections Canada is alleging that Del Mastro exceeded his campaign spending limit by $17,000 and wrote a personal cheque for $21,000 to a campaign service provider.

    If that wasn't bad enough,  new allegations are now surfacing about a much more elaborate -- even sinister -- campaign scheme.

    Del Mastro investigationElections Canada lawyer wants to meet with Peterborough, Ont., MP over campaign spending allegations

    Postmedia is now reporting claims from employees of Deltro Electric Ltd. -- a company owned by Dean's cousin, David Del Mastro -- that they and their friends were asked to make $1,000 donations to Del Mastro's campaign and were paid back $1,050 by the company.

    [ Related: NDP may not back motion to study Dean Del

    Read More »from More election cheating allegations hurled at Tory MP Dean Del Mastro

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