• Saturday’s cross-country rallies that saw thousands protest the Conservative government’s anti-terror bill picked up more consistent online activity than other recent controversial issues in Canadian politics, such as the Idle No More movement and the Senate scandal, according to an analysis of web and social media activity.

    Full Duplex, a digital public affairs and research company based in Ottawa, took a look at the prevalence of online mentions of the contentious Bill C-51 — which sparked a national day of action in well over 50 cities across Canada on March 14 — between March 11 and March 15.

    The analysis included sites such as Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube and Facebook, and delved a little deeper into Twitter activity.

    Full Duplex founder Mark Blevis noted on the company’s website that when connecting key terms in the “online chatter” the analysis shows a dominance of strong and medium-grade connections on Twitter, suggesting “the overall volume of online activity is high and the

    Read More »from Bill C-51 criticism has strong online presence: analysis
  • Members of the Liberal Party have fired back at the federal Conservatives with humour, spoofing a recent Justin Trudeau attack ad.

    Posted on former Liberal MP Omar Alghabra’s YouTube page, the seemingly homemade video shows a handful of actors in a boardroom conducting a performance review of an employee — one Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    The ad it’s spoofing had the same sort of idea — but instead had actors sharing their thoughts about Justin Trudeau while screening the Liberal leader for a job - to be the next prime minister.

    The Conservative ad played up  familiar attack lines against Trudeau:  that he, apparently, believes budgets balance themselves, his lack of experience and that he’s got nice hair but that’s about it.

    In the LIberal ad actors pull out Stephen Harper’s resume and go through his pitch in a re-application for the job of prime minister.

    “It says here that he’s the best at balancing budgets,” one actor says.

    “But didn’t he run deficits seven years in a row?” another

    Read More »from Liberals spoof Conservative attack ad
  • P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz (L) shakes hands with Metis National Council president Clement Chartier.P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz (L) shakes hands with Metis National Council president Clement Chartier.

    The Métis National Council says the government of Canada and Truth and Reconciliation Commission process has treated Canada’s Métis people as an afterthought, leaving them out of an opportunity for healing from the intergenerational effects of Canada’s residential school system.

    “For an Aboriginal people who have experienced decades of marginalization, many of whom attended Métis residential or boarding schools, this latest exclusion is inexcusable and demoralizing,” said Métis Nation president Clément Chartier in a press release.

    Although many children attended residential and boarding schools, Métis were not part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement, a multi-billion dollar agreement between the federal government, churches and survivors that resulted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    This was likely because the schools most Métis children attended, while run by churches, were provincially funded and not funded by Ottawa. The federal government has been, to put it

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  • Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine, right, watches as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanks Beverley Jacobs, head of the Native Women's Association of Canada, after she responded to the government's apology for more than a century of abuse and cultural loss involving Indian residential schools at a ceremony in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, June 11, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom HansonAssembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine, right, watches as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanks Beverley Jacobs, head of the Native Women's Association of Canada, after she responded to the government's apology for more than a century of abuse and cultural loss involving Indian residential schools at a ceremony in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, June 11, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom Hanson

    By voting against an NDP private member’s bill that sought to harmonize Canadian laws with the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, the government has gone against its own endorsement of the UN document, according to indigenous law and human rights experts.

    The Canadian government endorsed the UN declaration in 2010 after what critics say was deliberate attempt to derail or weaken it.

    “[But] this Canadian strategy has continued to be implemented for the past 9 years,” said Paul Joffe, a lawyer and international human rights expert, at a panel discussion during the final days of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa on Monday.

    The endorsement, Joffe said, did not change the way the Canadian government dealt with or treated indigenous issues.

    Joffe referenced a recent bill tabled in the House of Commons by NDP MP and residential school survivor Romeo Saganash that would have forced the federal government to align its laws with the UN declaration.

    Read More »from Harper government went against own endorsement of UN indigenous rights declaration
  • Protesters at a rally against Bill C-51 were treated to an unexpected conversation about the legislation with an RCMP officer on watch over the weekend.

    Video of the exchange surfaced on YouTube some time after the Saturday afternoon protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. In it, the officer and a couple of protesters are seen discussing Bill C-51, the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation.

    “People are really scared that they’re going to be taking the law to the worst possible limit. Is that going to happen? I’m not sure,” the officer, so far unnamed, says in the video.

    "Whenever you’re attacking the Canadian economy you could be branded a terrorist, right?” the officer says a little bit later. “Which is not necessarily what’s going to happen, but it could happen.”

    It’s unknown whether "they" was in referrence to the Conservative government, the Department of Justice or law enforcement brass. And it's also unclear whether the officer was relaying his personal opinion about

    Read More »from ‘You could be branded terrorists’: RCMP officer to demonstrators
  • Kathy Absolon’s voice shook as she spoke, quietly, of her mother and her mother’s siblings who were never able to find any kind of healing after the racism and abuse they experienced as children.

    “The residential school was a time bomb that went off in my family,” she said.

    Absolon’s mother, who is now 83 years old and lives on North-Eastern point Georgian Bay, attended the St John’s Indian Residential School in Chaplea, Ontario from the age of five to 15.

    Her aunts and uncles also attended the institution and Absolon said the experience of residential school has had a serious and negative impact on her family, on how they all connected with each other. It tore them apart, she said, and left them scattered to the wind.

    Aboslon and many other survivors, or family members of survivors, spoke candidly Monday about the intergenerational effects of Canada’s Indian Residential School system during the final days of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa.

    Sharing circles

    Read More »from Survivors of residential school system share emotional stories as Truth and Reconciliation Commission wraps up in Ottawa
  • Justice Minister Peter MacKay rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldJustice Minister Peter MacKay rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

     

    Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s announcement today that he will not seek re-election does not signify that the Conservative Party’s ship is sinking. It does, however, hint that the Conservatives are unlikely to coast to another majority in this year’s federal election.  

    “He can read the writing on the wall,” said University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman. “And the writing on the wall is that even if the Conservatives form a minority government [after the next election, it is possible] that the Liberal and NDP will undo them.”       

    MacKay, who represents the riding of Central-Nova, has been in federal politics since 1997. He’s the former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party before it merged with the Conservative Alliance to form today’s governing Conservative Party of Canada.

    MacKay will be adding his name to a growing list of Conservative cabinet ministers who have either resigned, John Baird, for example, or said they won’t seek

    Read More »from MacKay dodging potential backbench bullet by jumping gun with early retirement
  • Alberta Premier Rachel NotleyAlberta Premier Rachel Notley
    The Alberta NDP recently made history for becoming a government with the highest proportion of women in caucus, but the case in other provinces, and federally, is not nearly the same.

    A few years ago the most provinces were led by a female premier, but now only three remain: Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. On the federal scene so far, candidates for the next election are primarily male and gender representation in the House of Commons next fall could pale in comparison to what it is now.

    Amid the troubling numbers for those seeking gender parity at all levels of government, Carleton University’s Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership and Equal Voice, a national advocacy group, have produced a how-to guide for women wanting to enter the world of politics.

    “Running for office can be intimidating but we need many more women to consider jumping in,” said Clare Beckton, executive director of the Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership.

    Just looking at the

    Read More »from New how-to guide seeks to get more women running for office
  • Minister for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre Minister for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre
    Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre announced a few amendments to the government’s Bill C-50 Thursday, but made no apologies — or changes — to parts of the bill that have raised concerns about restricting voter rights.

    C-50, the Citizen Voting Act, would change the Canada Elections Act and alter the way Canadians living abroad vote in federal elections.

    Among other things, the bill eliminates the International List of Electors and rolls that information into the general register of electors for all Canadians and requires electors outside of the country to apply to vote by special ballot after a writ is dropped, and not before.

    Poilievre appeared before the procedure and House affairs committee Thursday morning and defended a bill that critics have said is a solution looking for a problem — namely, attempting to prevent voter fraud overseas, where there’s little evidence of any real issues to warrant changing the Canada Elections Act.

    The opposition has also accused the

    Read More »from Poilievre pushing to have controversial changes in Citizen Election Act in place before next  election
  • Anti-abortion campaigners on Parliament Hill.Anti-abortion campaigners on Parliament Hill.
    The controversial issue of abortion looks ripe to make its way back to the House of Commons this week with a motion tabled by a backbench Conservative MP.

    Saskatchewan MP Ed Komarnicki’s motion M-590, tabled in the House earlier this year, will be debated for the first time Thursday evening.

    The motion — “That, in the opinion of the House, all Members of Parliament should be allowed to vote freely on all matters of conscience” — is a kind of read between the lines scenario.

    Nowhere within the text is there any reference to a woman’s right to choose, but Komarnicki is a regular attendee of the annual anti-abortion March for Life rally on Parliament Hill and has spoken out in favour of the government’s decision not to include funding for abortions in its international maternal and newborn health initiatives.

    A representative from Komarnicki’s office in Ottawa said the MP would not be speaking to media about the motion until after Thursday’s debate, slotted for 5:30 p.m.

    Komarnicki did

    Read More »from Abortion likely topic in House with MPs set to debate free votes on matters of conscience

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