• It’s not a leaders debate on women’s issues, but it’ll have to do.

    More than 30 years after Canadians last saw a federal election debate on women’s issues, the Up for Debate campaign has announced Plan B — that four of the five main party leaders have agreed to participate in an “alternative debate format” focusing solely on those issues.

    The new format will see leaders from the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada and the Bloc Québécois sit down for pre-recorded interviews on women’s issues. Quebec journalist France Pelletier is expected to conduct the interviews, which will then be screened with analysis and commentary at Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre on Sept. 21. They will also be made available online.

    “If the major broadcasters in the country can’t get all five leaders to the table, it’s sad but not surprising that we can’t either,” says Ann Decter, director of advocacy and public policy at YWCA Canada and a spokeswoman for Up for Debate,

    Read More »from Leaders debate on women’s issues cancelled but debate long overdue

    The federal Conservatives are learning the hard way that the power of social media will not let flubs go unnoticed, particularly when they involve stock photos.

    Leader Stephen Harper stopped in the riding of North Island-Powell River in British Columbia on Friday to announce the promise of $15 million towards repairing wild salmon habitats. He then tweeted a poster of a salmon jumping upstream, with the banner “Protecting British Columbia’s Natural Environment,” along with the Tory logo.

    Only problem was that whoever designed the poster used a stock image of an Atlantic salmon, not a Pacific salmon. The image was later attributed to a photographer in England who snapped the shot on the river Tyne at Hexham, located in Northumberland County.

    The tweet about the salmon was quickly taken down and replaced with the correct species, but not before astute Twitter users, including Derrick O’Keefe and Alexandra Morton, could respond.

    Read More »from Tory ads show perils of using stock photos
  • Flickr/palindrom6996Flickr/palindrom6996

    A new poll shows that one in five Quebecers don’t know who’s leading the federal government.

    Nineteen per cent of respondents didn’t know that the Conservative Party of Canada holds power in Ottawa, according to a CROP survey commissioned by La Presse newspaper.

    CROP vice-president Youri Rivest told Yahoo Canada News that he wasn’t surprised by the results.

    “They don’t care about politics,” he says of the respondents. “They have no interest in politics.”

    The lack of knowledge was greater among women, given that 28 per cent of female respondents and only 11 per cent of males didn’t know the Tories run the show.

    Those aged 18-34 were the most clueless at 32 per cent, while only 9 per cent of respondents over 55 didn’t know which party has power.


    Eighty-four per cent of respondents knew Stephen Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party, 81 per cent knew Justin Trudeau leads the Liberal Party and 77 per cent knew Thomas Mulcair heads the NDP.

    Seventy-three per cent knew Gilles

    Read More »from 1 in 5 Quebecers don’t know the Tories are in power: poll
  • (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)(Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

    The public health care system is a source of pride for a majority of Canadians, but a new study from the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute has found that individuals and families aren’t fully appreciating the cost they pay out of their own pockets to access that system.

    In a research bulletin released Thursday, the conservative think tank said Canadians need to better understand how much health care actually costs them personally so they can determine whether they are receiving good value for their tax dollars.

    The research found that in 2015, for six common Canadian family types, the estimate average payment ranges from $3,789 to $12,055.

    Graphic from Fraser Institute report on 'The Price of Public Health Care Insurance' (Fraser Institute)Graphic from Fraser Institute report on 'The Price of Public Health Care Insurance' (Fraser Institute)

    For the average Canadian family over the ten years starting in 2005, the cost of public health care insurance increased 1.6 times faster than average income, 1.3 times as fast as the cost of shelter and 2.7 times as fast as the price they were paying for food.

    Nearly three quarters of Canadians polled in a recent Ipsos Reid survey says that the

    Read More »from Canadian families pay up to $12K annually for 'free' healthcare, right-wing think tank finds
  • Stickers sold by StopHarperStickers.com (courtesy StopHarperStickers.com)Stickers sold by StopHarperStickers.com (courtesy StopHarperStickers.com)

    The message on the stickers couldn’t be clearer: Stop Harper, framed in the shape of the familiar red octagonal road sign. Or just the word Harper, designed to be slapped on a real stop sign, with the added benefit of being bilingual if you’re in Quebec.

    The Stop Harper sticker campaign has become a vandalism nuisance for several Canadian cities from coast to coast, forcing them to repair or replace defaced road signs.

    The stickers first began showing up last year, documented on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. It’s reasonable to think the lengthy federal election campaign could trigger another wave of them.

    While they might seem juvenile, one political scientist suggests they’re an interesting backlash to the slick, stage-managed political advertising we now take for granted.

    Officials in Prince Rupert, on B.C.’s northern coast, reported having to replace a half-dozen signs at more than $50 a throw. On the East Coast a spate of defacements of signs around the University of

    Read More »from 'Stop Harper' sticker campaign has potential to make a real impact, says expert
  • An Edmonton man got a $543 ticket for carrying a profane sign about Stephen Harper in his car.An Edmonton man got a $543 ticket for carrying a profane sign about Stephen Harper in his car.

    An Alberta man who was cited for a profane political message against Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper intends to fight the fine in court — and he has a good case.

    Rob Wells of Edmonton got a $543 ticket on Sunday after Mounties pulled him over for the hot pink “F*** Harper” sign in his car’s rear window, according to his Facebook post, which has gotten 863 shares.

    “When I refused to let him trample on my Charter rights, he gave me a ticket,” he wrote.

    Wells, who did not immediately respond to a request for an interview, said on Facebook that he plans to plead not guilty and challenge the fine on Charter grounds.

    Late Tuesday he also said he filed a complaint for “political harassment and attempted extortion” against the officer who issued the “bogus” ticket, which was for stunting — performing or engaging in any activity that is “likely to distract, startle or interfere with users of the highway.”

    This is a classic free speech case, Montreal human rights lawyer Pearl Eliadis

    Read More »from Alberta man to fight $543 fine over profane Harper sign
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, receives a gift, at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir opening in July 2007 in Toronto. (CP PHOTO/Nathan Denette) CANADAPrime Minister Stephen Harper, left, receives a gift, at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir opening in July 2007 in Toronto. (CP PHOTO/Nathan Denette) CANADA

    In a multicultural country like Canada, the word minority can sometimes be a misnomer — particularly when minorities make up the majority in 33 of the 338 federal ridings up for grabs in the Oct. 19 election.

    According to the government’s 2011 census figures, visible minorities account for 19.1 per cent of Canada’s total population; more than two-thirds of them (65.1 per cent) were born elsewhere and emigrated here.

    In that same census, more than 200 different ethnic origins were reported, and 13 of them had surpassed the one million mark.

    Wooing the so-called ethnic vote can be fraught with pitfalls, but parties ignore it at their peril.

    There are 15 electoral districts where the population is 70 per cent visible minorities, and another 18 ridings with 50-70 per cent visible minorities, according

    Read More »from Courting ethnic vote fraught with pitfalls, but parties still do it
  • How politicians present themselves is sometimes as important — and scrutinized — as the message they are trying to convey.

    Yahoo Canada News asked image consultants Karen Brunger and Christie Ressel to analyze the five main party candidates — Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Green Leader Elizabeth May, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau — on how they do when it comes to presenting themselves sartorially.

    We asked our style experts to analyze hair, accessories, colour choices and clothing fit. The bottom line: Duceppe should get a good tailor, Harper’s hair and glasses need updating, May can use some finesse in the colour department, Mulcair’s beard has got to go and Trudeau needs to tighten his (tie) knots. Read on for the detailed breakdown. 

    Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, left.Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, left.

    Gilles Duceppe

    Brunger: His face has a sharp, professional look. Although his narrow jawline can detract from the look of leadership, his face generally gives him the look of

    Read More »from Image consultants grade main party leaders’ styles
  • Tory candidate Mark Adler claims to be the first child of a Holocaust survivor elected to Parliament, which offended some including an ex-MP.Tory candidate Mark Adler claims to be the first child of a Holocaust survivor elected to Parliament, which offended some including an ex-MP.

    A Conservative MP’s re-election campaign has taken an ugly turn over a contentious piece of personal history.

    Mark Adler, member for the Toronto riding of York Centre, claimed to be the first child of a Holocaust survivor to be elected a Member of Parliament.

    The assertion appeared in his online bio until it was called into question Monday by an article in the Canadian Jewish News (CJN). It can still be found in the cached version.

    In an email to the CJN, former Montreal-area Liberal MP Raymonde Folco called it “disgusting” for Adler “to use the Holocaust in this way, for personal ends.”

    Folco’s father escaped from a train bound for the Auschwitz death camp, and both her parents later fought for the French resistance. She told the CJN she never used her background to further her political career, which included serving as an MP from 1997 to 2011.

    As of Tuesday Adler’s bio read: “Being a child of a Holocaust survivor, Mark has passionately dedicated his time to raise awareness about

    Read More »from Tory candidate removes ‘son of a Holocaust survivor‘ in poster
  • Tina Fontaine: 1 year since her death, has anything changed?Tina Fontaine: 1 year since her death, has anything changed?

    By June Chua

    It has been a year since the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was pulled from Winnipeg’s Red River. Last summer, lead investigator Sgt. John O’Donovan said she had “definitely been exploited and taken advantage of.”

    The discovery of the aboriginal girl’s body, which was found wrapped in plastic, marked a tipping point, according to Leslie Spillett, an indigenous advocate and director of Ka Ni Kanichihk in Winnipeg, which provides educational, health and job services to aboriginal people.

    Spillett says the teen’s death made a deep impact in the consciousness of the Canadian public where “this is now an issue that doesn’t seem to be going away.”

    According to an RCMP report released in June, 1,181 women and girls identified as indigenous were murdered between 1980 and 2012 with another 174 missing. It’s a homicide rate 4.5 times higher than that of all other women in the country.

    The issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women became a clarion call around the country

    Read More »from Main federal parties and their aboriginal platforms


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