• 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
  • Freshly-brewed coffee sits on a hot plate in a Tim Hortons outlet in Oakville, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungFreshly-brewed coffee sits on a hot plate in a Tim Hortons outlet in Oakville, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

    Conservative politicians had a few things to say Thursday afternoon and took to Twitter to do so after Tim Hortons announced it would no longer be showing Enbridge ads on TimsTV, the company’s in-restaurant channel.

    Tim Hortons announced it wouldn’t be airing Enbridge advertisements any longer after facing complaints and backlash from customers. An online petition from SumOfUs, which received about 28,000 signatures, was a catalyst for the coffee company’s announcement.

    “Enbridge’s ad campaign uses attractive actors, cute kids and high production values to hide the real truth – its tar sands project will put ecosystems, salmon and wildlife in danger, create virtually no local jobs, and accelerate climate change. And when oil spills happen, local communities won’t simply be able to board a plane elsewhere,” the petition read.

    “A public outcry will let Timmies know that it can’t get away with shilling

    Read More »from Tories say they’ll boycott Tim Hortons after company nixes Enbridge ads
  • 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

    Read More »from Métis denounce exclusion from Truth and Reconciliation Commission process
  • 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

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