• Thomas Mulcair arrives at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, March 1.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch Thomas Mulcair arrives at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, March 1. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

    The NDP wants you to know that Tom Mulcair has a heart.

    The party also wants you to know that he’s a family man, that he grew up the second oldest in a household of 10 siblings and that he talks to his wife Catherine pretty much every day, about pretty much everything, either in person or on the phone. Mulcair’s team probably wouldn’t mind if you knew the NDP leader has a sense of humour, too.

    If Canadians are familiar with Mulcair, they probably see him as an effective opposition leader or as a feisty fighter in the House of Commons. But that’s not enough to him to 24 Sussex. An effective campaign to soften the NDP leader’s image is considered essential to his quest to become prime minister.

    But an extensive, behind-the-scenes look at Mulcair in an in-depth interview this past weekend with Lloyd Robertson is just one step the NDP leader needs to win hearts, minds and votes from coast to coast. The party hasn’t picked up any seats in recent byelections and have lost a number of MPs to

    Read More »from NDP introduce the real Tom Mulcair as election campaign heats up
  • Are Canada’s three major political parties trying to keep the Green Party out of election debates?

    Elizabeth May thinks they might be.

    The Green Party of Canada leader says that recent speculation over whether or not she’ll be in the upcoming federal leaders’ debates may be coming from the parties themselves in an effort to keep her from participating.

    “There’s a lot of speculation,” May told Yahoo Canada News. “I would say that maybe the Liberals, the NDP and the Conservatives are putting up some trial balloons to see whether they can figure out a way to keep me out.”

    According to media reports, May and the leaders of the smaller Bloc Québécois and Forces et Démocratie parties could be blocked from joining Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau when leaders go head to head during the 2015 federal election campaign. But May doesn’t buy this.

    "The criteria were pretty clear in the past. It’s absurd to imagine they could reinvent all
    Read More »from Elizabeth May: 'The Greens are in the debates in 2015'
  • Premiers on the final day of the Council of the Federation Friday, July 26, 2013. (CP)Premiers on the final day of the Council of the Federation Friday, July 26, 2013. (CP)

    Rewind the movie of political leadership in Canada all the way back to July 2013: It’s the Conference of the Federation in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and six provincial leaders are women. It’s a moment that many called historic, speaking of new possibilities and a shift in the old boys’ club mentality of politics.

    At the time, most of Canada was governed by women, with female premiers in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia and Nunavut.

    “It makes it historic and I’m aware of that,” Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, the host of the annual gathering of provincial leaders, told the Toronto Star at the time.

    But fast-forward back to present day and the picture is a very different one. Only Wynne and Christy Clark, B.C.’s premier, remain in power.

    What happened to that historic moment? Was 2013 a fluke?

    “What happened was politics,” said Clare Beckton, executive director of the Carleton University Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership.


    Read More »from Canada had six female premiers, and now only two remain: What happened?
  • On Thursday, Ontario's Liberal government announced a minimum wage raise to $11.25 an hour. (CBC)On Thursday, Ontario's Liberal government announced a minimum wage raise to $11.25 an hour. (CBC)

    An increase in Ontario’s minimum wage, announced by the province Thursday morning, might seem like good news for people wrestling to pay their bills and to make ends meet.

    Anti-poverty advocates, however, say the increase of 25 cents won’t do much to alleviate financial woes and will still leave poverty-stricken Ontarians in the dust.

    Ontario’s ministry of labour announced that minimum wage in the province will be moving from $11 an hour to $11.25 an hour, effective Oct. 1 this year. The increase follows the province’s announcement last year of raising the minimum wage from $10.25 to the current $11, and promising annual increases would be tied to inflation.

    Ontario will soon have the second-highest minimum wage in the country, after the Northwest Territories, but these changes aren’t going to get people — working full time and earning minimum wage — out of poverty.

    “It’s still unfortunately going to leave thousands of low wage workers struggling,” said Tom Cooper, director of the

    Read More »from Minimum wage raises in Ont., B.C., fall short of ‘living wage’ in major cities: advocates
  • Finance Minister Joe Oliver speaks to reporters during a news conference June 10, 2014. (Reuters)Finance Minister Joe Oliver speaks to reporters during a news conference June 10, 2014. (Reuters)

    While the political watchers in Ottawa await the federal government’s announcement of a 2015 budget date, a left-leaning think-tank has beat the feds to the punch by releasing their own federal budget.

    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives puts together what the organization calls an Alternative Federal Budget every year to counter the federal government’s annual plans on taxation and spending.

    A CCPA press release says the feds have a “continued obsession with austerity and balancing” and that “the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer services, and weakened job growth.”

    Regardless of what’s in either budget, there’s still the big question of when the actual one is coming.

    Many would expect that Finance Minister Joe Oliver to have announced, at the very least, a date he plans to table the federal budget. So far, mum has been the word on when exactly that will happen.

    Last year’s budget, what the federal government has taken to calling an Economic Action Plan,

    Read More »from Left-leaning think-tank beats feds to releasing a 2015 budget
  • Harper and Netanyahu during their joint news conference in Jerusalem January 21, 2014. (Reuters)Harper and Netanyahu during their joint news conference in Jerusalem January 21, 2014. (Reuters)

    A definitive win for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in Tuesday’s Israeli election ensures Canada’s “special friendship” with the nation, and its leader, will continue.

    Netanyahu’s win has been called stunning. Polls had put him behind rival Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Union last week and in a last-ditch effort to hold onto government, Netanyahu tacked hard to the right.

    He said he was abandoning the commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state and warned voters, in a video posted on Facebook on the day of the election, that Arabs were going to the polls in droves. His late in the game anti-Arab campaign seems to have worked, striking enough fear in the hearts of Jewish voters to get them to the polls and keep him in power.

    The Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has cozied up to Israel and Netanyahu more than any Canadian government in the past.

    It was expected that a win from Herzog could, perhaps, mend relations a bit between Israel and nations like the

    Read More »from Netanyahu’s victory ensures 'special friendship' with Harper will continue
  • It seems Stephen Harper likes the Governor General, a man readily praised by diplomats in Ottawa, so much he’s keeping him around.

    David Johnston will be Canada’s Governor General longer than the typical tenure. His term was set to wrap up in 2015, but on Tuesday Prime Minister Harper announced a two-year extension for the Queen’s representative in Canada.

    Since 2010, Johnston has conducted the ceremonial duties of the Governor General with aplomb, impressing new ambassadors and high commissioners as he officially welcomes them to Canada.

    Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence, is where new ambassadors present their letters of credence to the governor general — a ceremony that makes their posting as a head of mission in Canada official.

    Johnston, they say, always has an anecdote or two to share with the new ambassadors from Belgium to Indonesia or Ecuador as he shakes their hands in those credential ceremonies. Diplomats in embassies and high commissions have nary a negative

    Read More »from David Johnston, an ambassador's best friend, to stick around as Governor General
  • Demonstrators carry sings while protesting on a national day of action against Bill C-51. (CP)Demonstrators carry sings while protesting on a national day of action against Bill C-51. (CP)

    According to an analysis of social media activity centered around Bill C-51 from March 11 to March 15, May’s Twitter account was the most tweeted individual account on March 14 during cross-country protests against the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation.

    One of her posted messages about the rally in Toronto, held in Nathan Phillips Square, was retweeted 458 times — the most tweeted message in that time span— according to an analysis done by Full Duplex, a public affairs and research company based in Ottawa.

    Saturday’s cross-country rallies saw thousands come out to protest the Conservative government’s anti-terror bill. The Green Party leader was joined at Nathan Phillips Square by Toronto NDP MPs Peggy Nash, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Andrew Cash. May was one of two party leaders attending Saturday’s rallies; NDP leader Tom

    Read More »from Elizabeth May's voice rings loudest against Bill C-51 in flood of online chatter
  • Conservative MP walks through the Foyer of the House of Commons June 6, 2012. (CP)Conservative MP walks through the Foyer of the House of Commons June 6, 2012. (CP)

    A Conservative MP is having humble pie for breakfast — instead of a hearty Guinness — on this St. Patrick’s Day.

    Larry Miller, the MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, is facing significant backlash and accusations of racism from comments he made Monday on a local riding radio station about the ongoing niqab debate, and he quickly retracted (some of) his statements Tuesday morning.

    The debate stems from a federal court ruling that deemed the Conservative government’s ban on wearing a face covering during the citizenship oath unlawful, and that the ban even contravened the government’s own citizenship laws.

    But the government, and

    Read More »from Tory MP sorry for telling niqab-wearing women to ‘stay the hell where you came from’
  • (AP Photo/Daily Breeze, Chuck Bennett)(AP Photo/Daily Breeze, Chuck Bennett)

    A group of Canadian academics want the country to take heart: despite how big a project it might seem to be and despite the many years it might take to get there, tackling climate change and getting to a low-carbon economy is possible.

    Over 70 scholars from across the country will be putting forward 10 policy planks in a paper this Wednesday at an event in Montreal. They’ll make recommendations that, if implemented, they believe will have a significant impact in reducing Canada’s carbon emissions over the next few decades.

    McGill professor Catherine Potvin, the Canada Research Chair for Climate Change Mitigation and Tropical Forests, is spearheading what’s called the Sustainable Canada Dialogues. She told Yahoo Canada News that the goal — one of many, really — is to commit, as a society, to being free from fossil fuels and carbon in 35 years.

    And, she said, it’s very doable.

    “That’s a long transition that should start now, and we should plan for it,” Potvin said. “The action we will

    Read More »from Low-carbon Canadian economy attainable, but requires ‘massive change’: academics


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