• Who was the winner? Who lost?

    Those are usually the first questions analysts and pundits ask after any leaders' debate.

    On Tuesday night — at the Ontario leaders' debate — there was no game changer.

    There was no major gaffe and there was no knock-out punch.

    I think most would agree, however, that all three leaders' stuck to their respective talking points to help solidify their base.

    Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne addressed the gas plant scandal early and tried to change the channel by framing Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak as the scary boogeyman.

    "I've seen Tim Hudak's movie before too," she said at one point in the debate, referring to the Mike Harris-era.

    "Tim Hudak was part of a government that slashed public services and did not care for the interests of the people of the province in terms of education in terms of health care. They said they were going to, but then did not."

    [ Related: Why are Ontarians ignoring the Liberal Party scandals? ]

    Tim Hudak spent his time

    Read More »from Ontario leaders’ debate dissected: The best and the worst of the exchange
  • The federal New Democrats are fighting for their reputation.

    This week, the Board of Internal Review, the all-party committee that oversees Commons spending, deemed that NDP mailouts broke the rules on the use of parliamentary resources.

    Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer — who is the chair of the secretive committee — has now directed Commons administrators to suggest appropriate remedies for the infraction.

    The New Democrats are fighting back. They say that they consulted with House officials prior to the mail-out and are suggesting that they've tried and convicted by a kangaroo court.

    "Under Stephen Harper’s Banana Republic Conservatives, due process and the rule of law are secondary to political gamesmanship," read a party statement.

    "Behind closed doors, with no due process and no opportunity to review the evidence, the two parties transformed the BOIE into a kangaroo court. Ironically, this transformation is the ultimate misuse of parliamentary resources for partisan purposes."

    Read More »from NDP fights back over ruling that mailouts broke Commons rules
  • We all know that the labour movement is proactively campaigning against Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives in the Ontario election.

    But this is a little odd.

    On Monday, the Ontario Provincial Police Association put out a press release explaining why, for the first time in the organization's history, it's produced political attack ads.

    "A Tim Hudak led government would launch a direct assault on the Collective Agreements of Police Associations right across the Province. His positions on arbitration, public sector pensions and further wage freezes, among others issues, are unacceptable to our members who put their lives on the line for their communities every day," Jim Christie, president of the OPPA, said in a statement.

    "Let me be clear. These ads do not serve as an endorsement for the Liberals or the NDP. This also does not mean that we don’t respect and work well with many in the Conservative caucus. We just don’t want this Conservative as Premier.

    "There is no room for the

    Read More »from Ontario police union produces its first ever political attack ads
  • Cartoon by Graeme MacKayCartoon by Graeme MacKay

    Let's get ready to rumble — today is debate day in Ontario.

    The Liberal's Kathleen Wynne, the Progressive Conservatives' Tim Hudak and the New Democrats' Andrea Horwath will face off at 6:30 p.m. local time for their only televised debate ahead of the June 12th election.

    We went to our expert slate of political consultants for some insight on what advice the leaders are getting. What are their respective advisers telling them?

    Kathleen Wynne

    Wynne, as the incumbent premier, will need to be prepared to be attacked and — perhaps — teamed up against.

    Political communications consultant Marcel Wieder says that she needs to ensure that her talking points are forward-looking.

    "The heavy burden of a decade of Liberal government is a strong argument for change," Wieder, President of Aurora Strategy Group, told Yahoo Canada News in an email exchange.

    "She will need to show people why change for the sake of change is not always the best option.

    "She will also have to brush Horwath to the side

    Read More »from What each of Ontario's party leaders needs to do to win the televised debate
  • Dalton McGuinty congratulates Kathleen Wynne at the Leadership convention in January 2013.

    It's no secret that the Ontario Liberal party comes to this election campaign with a lot of baggage.

    After 11 consecutive years in office, the Grits have accumulated an impressive list of scandals, failures and embarrassments that have literally cost Ontario taxpayers billions of dollars.

    Their political fumbles have included the gas plant scandal, eHealth and the McGuinty slush fund.

    And even during the campaign, the opposition parties continue to push stories of new scandals.

    On Monday, the Progressive Conservatives released a damning safety report about Orgne – the province's much-maligned air ambulance service.

    Last week, they shed light on a story about the Liberal government's alleged $317 million secret bailout of a private company.

    And the NDP is accusing some Liberal cabinet ministers of receiving taxpayer-funded maid service.

    But despite the growing list of scandals, the Liberals continue to perform well in the public opinion polls; according to some pollsters, there's a

    Read More »from Why are Ontarians ignoring the Liberal scandals?
  • Ontario's union leaders are touting a somewhat surprising message ahead of the June 12 provincial election: Vote strategically to defeat Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives.

    It's surprising because in most provinces across the country, union leaders will support their respective New Democratic Party — no questions asked. The labour movement, after all, is an integral part of the NDP's raison d'être.

    In Ontario — and in this election campaign — labour isn't staying on-script thanks to Hudak's "tough on unions" talk and his pledge to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs.

    "The Ontario Federation of Labour views Tim Hudak's platform as the beginning of the destruction of the labour movement," Sid Ryan, the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told Yahoo Canada News.

    "We therefore see this election as an existential battle for our future."

    [ Related: Unions mobilizing against Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak ]

    Ryan — whose organization's executive board is made up of 15 unions — is

    Read More »from Ontario’s unions advocate for strategic voting to defeat Tim Hudak
  • Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro will introduce a private member's bill Monday that would legalize the practice of paying surrogate mothers to carry a child.

    Section 6 of Canada's Assisted Human Reproduction Act says "no person shall pay consideration to a female person to be a surrogate mother" and "no person shall accept consideration for arranging for the services of a surrogate mother."

    Oddly enough, it is completely legal for Canadians to pay a surrogate in a foreign country (e.g. in the United States) and to bring that child back to Canada as a citizen.

    Del Mastro hopes to change those "hypocritical" laws.

    In a telephone interview with Yahoo Canada News on Friday, the MP from Peterborough said that this is a personal issue for him.

    "My heart was really changed on [this issue]. I had friends that could not have children on their own and they went through this process. They actually contracted the services of a surrogate in the United States," Del Mastro said, adding that 10 per

    Read More »from Should surrogate mothers in Canada be allowed to charge a fee?
  • Abortion — an issue that Canadians from coast to coast don't want to re-open — has seemingly become an issue again.

    On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged $3.5 billion in funding aimed at improving the health of mothers and newborns in developing countries around the world.

    Instead of being lauded for this generous and significant contribution, the headlines Friday morning were all about Harper not funding access to safe abortions.

    The Globe and Mail: Harper excludes abortion from maternal health plan

    The National Post: Canada won't fund abortions in developing countries because it's a 'divisive' issue, Stephen Harper says

    Maclean's: Harper won't fund global abortion

    The opposition New Democrats argue that $3.5 billion is a good start, but "ensuring access to safe abortion and full reproductive health care is the best way to reduce maternal mortality."

    "Unsafe abortion amounts to 13 percent of maternal death worldwide — 47,000 women a year — and we urge the Government to

    Read More »from The abortion debate bubbles back to the surface
  • Canada's Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino (C) makes his way past journalists on  May 29, 2014.Canada's Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino (C) makes his way past journalists on May 29, 2014.

    Stop me if you've heard this one before: Federal Minister of Veteran Affairs Julian Fantino is being accused of disrespecting veterans.

    On Thursday, as reported by the Canadian Press, Fantino rushed out of a committee meeting while being chased by media and the wife of a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    "We're nothing to you," Jenifer Migneault — wife of Sgt (Ret) Claude Rainville, yelled out to a rushing Fantino.

    Migneault — like a lot of other veterans and their families — is upset that the ministry is spending millions of dollars on an ad campaign; they want that money to be reallocated to veterans' services and particularly support for caregivers.

    [ Related: $4M more to be spent on veterans ads to counter 'misinformation': Fantino ]

    Jenifer Migneault tries to get Fantino to stop and talk on May 29, 2014.Jenifer Migneault tries to get Fantino to stop and talk on May 29, 2014.

    "Please just use that money to talk to us," she said.

    "We'll tell you a whole lot about our husbands that you guys don't know about. Spend the money in the right place and you'll see real results."

    For their part, Fantino's

    Read More »from Blame prime minister for Julian Fantino’s veterans affairs fumbles, says Liberal MP
  • Prime Minister Pearson is remembered for his role in establishing Canada as a peacekeeper.

    Pierre Trudeau is remembered for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Brian Mulroney's name stirs conversations about free trade and GST.

    But what will be Stephen Harper's legacy?

    It's probably still early to say, but it's clear that one thing he'd like to be remembered for is his work on foreign aid for maternal health.

    As part of the three-day Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto, the Conservative government identified the issue as their "top international development priority."

    They also put their money where their mouths are, pledging $3.5 billion in funding aimed at improving the health of mothers and newborns in developing countries around the world. The new funds are in addition to the $2.8 billion Harper committed to the so-called Muskoka Initiative in 2010.

    "We have come to a pivotal moment in global efforts to save the lives of women and children in

    Read More »from Stephen Harper recommits to maternal health as he tries to build a legacy


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