• Sen. Mobina Jaffer leaves the Senate after being sworn in during a ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001. CP PHOTO/Jonathan HaywardSen. Mobina Jaffer leaves the Senate after being sworn in during a ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001. CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward

    By Sheena Goodyear

    It may have already passed into law, but the fight against Bill C-51 is far from over.

    Sen. Mobina Jaffer, Canada’s first Muslim senator, says she’ll hit the ground running with organizations fighting the controversial anti-terror law this summer and work with whichever party is elected government in the fall to repeal the parts she believes are divisive and dangerous.

    “I’m not saying be soft on terrorists, but let’s have a legislation that will truly bring us together in this country and not divide us,” Mobina told Yahoo Canada.

    “Presently, there is a fear of Muslims in this country and you don’t feel very comfortable. This is not the Canadian way.”

    C-51, which gives the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) increased powers to fight perceived terrorist threats, achieved royal assent last week.

    It passed in the House of Commons in May with the support of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. But Jaffer and her fellow Liberal senators — technically

    Read More »from Fight against new spy law just beginning, Muslim senator says

    Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger reads his government's speech from the throne at a news conference in Winnipeg on November 20, 2014. Selinger is expected to shuffle his cabinet this afternoon following a leadership challenge that he barely survived. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John WoodsManitoba Premier Greg Selinger reads his government's speech from the throne at a news conference in Winnipeg on November 20, 2014. Selinger is expected to shuffle his cabinet this afternoon following a leadership challenge that he barely survived. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

    Canadian premiers are losing public support with three of the least popular leaders representing Manitoba, New Brunswick and British Columbia, a new poll finds.

    Even Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, who holds onto the mantle of Canada’s most popular premier, hit a four-year low, according to an an Angus Reid survey released Monday.

    “For a lot of these premiers, the honeymoon is truly well and over,” Angus Reid senior vice-president Shachi Kurl said. “And so you do get a bit of the mid-term doldrums.”

    Wall, who is heading into an election in 2016, has the support of 61 per cent in the province, down from 64 per cent in March and 68 per cent in September.

    “Wall has hit a four-year lull,” Kurl said. “He’s dealing with the effects of changing economy and lower oil prices.”

    He’s not the only premier taking a hit. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil’s approval has dropped six percentage points in the last three months to 37 per cent from 43 per cent. One-third of Ontarians support Premier

    Read More »from Canadian premiers’ approval ratings take hit, poll finds
  • Senator Don Meredith referred to ethics officer after reports of affair with teen. (CBC)Senator Don Meredith referred to ethics officer after reports of affair with teen. (CBC)

    The troubling Senate spending report released by Canada’s auditor general this month and Wednesday’s shocking allegations about the conduct of Senator Don Meredith come at a time when Canadians’ trust of politicians is estimated to be at an all-time low.

    It’s hard to gauge whether scandals in Canada’s Upper Chamber affect how Canadians view leaders in the House of Commons or other levels of government. Jane Hilderman, incoming executive director of non-profit Samara, said the news of Meredith’s personal conduct isn’t likely to strengthen trust in political leaders.

    “It may confirm what Canadians already have as a dominant opinion, which is that generally those elected to office aren’t very well trusted,” Jane Hilderman said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    “That’s going to be a very hard thing to shift over time.”

    Meredith was booted from the Conservative caucus after news broke that he had been in an inappropriate relationship with a young woman that began when she was 16. The

    Read More »from Senate scandals may reaffirm Canadian distrust in political leaders
  • Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s broad policy announcement Tuesday is music to the ears of electoral reform advocates and for those who believe the first-past-the-post voting system is an unfair way for Canadians to cast votes.

    Kelly Carmichael, executive director of Fair Vote Canada, told Yahoo Canada News that the organization is very encouraged by the Liberal Party’s plans to end first-past-the-post at the federal level.

    The current system badly distorts voters’ choices, allowing a party to win the majority of seats in the House of Commons with less than 40 per cent of the vote, and delivering wildly different seat counts to parties that win similar shares.

    Trudeau announced that the party would strike a special all-party parliamentary committee to study other electoral systems and make recommendations to Parliament, bringing in electoral reform legislation within 18 months of forming a government.

    Fair Vote Canada is a national, multi-partisan campaign to change the way Canadians

    Read More »from Trudeau’s open government initiative encouraging: electoral reform advocate
  • Keith Vickers, a longtime Liberal supporter who some considered a shoo-in to be the federal candidate in his home of Miramichi, N.B., says he’s mulling over an independent run after a split with his party.

    Vickers is the cousin of former sergeant-at-arms and current ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers, who was hailed a hero following the attacks on Parliament Hill last fall.

    Keith Vickers has been connected to the Liberal Party for years, and spent some 14 years working in the office of Charles Hubbard, a Liberal MP who represented Miramichi from 1993 to 2008.

    Vickers told Yahoo Canada News that he had over 40 per cent of the votes locked in for the Liberal nomination in the riding of Miramichi-Grand Lake for the upcoming federal election. But a controversy over photocopied membership sign-up forms that banned 372 members from voting ended in a loss for the New Brunswick native, and a win for rival Pat Finnigan.

    Vickers had won the nomination four years ago and ran unsuccessfully

    Read More »from Kevin Vickers’ cousin mulling independent run in N.B. after Liberal Party fallout

    The House of Commons could very soon adopt a code of conduct to deal with sexual harassment between MPs, set to be in place when the House returns after the fall election.

    The Procedure and House Affairs committee tabled a report in the House of Commons Monday outlining a code of conduct on sexual harassment — which would be the first of its kind in the world — with formal steps and mechanisms to deal with issues that aren’t of criminal nature between members of parliament.

    A special committee of MPs had spent months studying the matter and hearing from witnesses, including former law clerks, lawyers and professors, behind closed doors.

    The study was spurred on by incidents last fall involving two Liberal MPs — Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti — who were accused of sexually harassing female NDP MPs. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau subsequently booted the two MPs from caucus and rejected their nomination papers to run as Liberal candidates in the next election.

    While pundits and

    Read More »from Sexual harassment code of conduct ready for adoption by the House of Commons
  • Fifty three new Canadians are sworn in during a citizenship ceremony. (CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)Fifty three new Canadians are sworn in during a citizenship ceremony. (CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)

    It was 800 years ago this week that an unpopular king sat down with England’s barons to draft up the Magna Carta. For just as long, that document has served as the backbone of democracy, informing Canada and many countries in the Commonwealth’s most important rights and freedoms.

    So it’s with some degree of irony, says Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, that the federal government’s controversial Bill C-24 – which gives the government expanded rights to revoke citizenship – also came into full effect this week.

    “It’s a huge step back,” Paterson said to Yahoo Canada. “England, 800 years ago, banned exile and eight centuries later, here we are bringing it back. Exile is something that was practiced back in medieval times when they didn’t have proper criminal justice systems and the rule of law – we don’t think that that’s appropriate, we think that if people are committing various offences it should be enough to deal with them through our Canadian

    Read More »from Newly-instated Bill C-24 puts citizenship for some Canadian-born residents at risk
  • Evan Solomon's firing discussed by CBC president Hubert LacroixEvan Solomon's firing discussed by CBC president Hubert Lacroix

    The news of CBC TV host Evan Solomon’s art dealings took many of Ottawa’s insiders by surprise. What came as a shock, however, was how promptly he was dismissed by the national broadcaster.

    Political circles in Ottawa were a chatter after the Toronto Star broke the story, with news that Solomon had been collecting a handsome commission from art sales to people he dealt with as the host of CBC’s Power and Politics and The House on CBC radio. The CBC quickly cut ties with the journalist on the same day the story broke, despite having been employed by the corporation for about two decades.

    The CBC is no stranger to hosts and personalities being caught up in scandals or  conflicts of interest. Over the past year, Jian Ghomeshi, Peter Mansbridge, Rex Murphy and Amanda Lang have made headlines over various

    Read More »from Solomon’s dismissal sends shock waves thru political circles
  • Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s report on Senate expenses highlighted a number of problems with the way spending is tracked by members of the Red Chamber. And while it’s unlikely many senators - if any - will end up on the same path into a courtroom as former colleague Mike Duffy, it’s clear that the P.E.I. senator wasn’t alone in maintaining less-than-perfect attention to regulations around expenses.

    “A number of senators simply felt they didn’t have to account for, or they didn’t have to be transparent, with their spending,” Ferguson said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. 

    Twenty-one cases have been referred to the Senate Internal Economy Committee, while 9 cases have been flagged for questionable housing claims — with some similarities to the cases of Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy — and have been referred to the RCMP for investigation.

    Here are some of the more egregious claims:

    • Former Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella, who retired from his duties last
    Read More »from 10 worst expense claims in AG Senate audit
  • Few could have predicted that months before the expected Oct. 19 election the three main political parties would be practically neck and neck in support across the country. But recent polls — poll after poll, after poll — are showing that this trend isn’t slowing down, and point to the most likely scenario of a Conservative minority government this fall.

    Forum Research released a poll Monday putting voting intention for the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals within four percentage points of each other.

    According to Forum, the Conservatives sit at 31 per cent, the NDP at 28 per cent — a slight dip from the company’s last survey — and the Liberals at 32 per cent. The sampling of public opinion of 1156 Canadians is very similar to results from the company’s previous survey released mid-May.

    Transposing these numbers onto a 338 seat House of Commons, the Conservatives would have a minority on their hands with 19 fewer seats than they have now, given how their votes are spread across the

    Read More »from Tories and Liberals tied, NDP down slightly in new poll


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