• Canada’s privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says the government’s proposed anti-terror bill C-51 will stretch the resources of his office and limit its ability fulfill the entire scope of its duties.

    “Given the breadth of information-sharing contemplated by this bill, and my other responsibilities under the privacy act, and PIPEDA, the private sector privacy legislation, my office’s review may not be fully effective with its current level of resources,” Therrien told the Senate committee on national defence Thursday afternoon.

    “We will try to adjust our work priorities as much as possible, but directing my review powers towards activities related to Bill C-51 will come at the expense of reviewing other important programs and initiatives, both in the public and private sector.”

    Among many provisions, Bill C-51 allows for information-sharing across 17 federal institutions, with the intention of detecting and identifying terrorist threats to national security. Privacy advocates have

    Read More »from Bill C-51 will strain my office's resources: privacy commissioner
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper accompanies Finance Minister Joe Oliver as he makes his way to deliver the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickPrime Minister Stephen Harper accompanies Finance Minister Joe Oliver as he makes his way to deliver the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick


    The government’s focus on retail politics and catering to target demographics, in the lead up to the next federal election, may add some complications for opposition parties as they try to jockey for votes. 

    In Joe Oliver’s first budget as Canada’s finance minister, tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday, the government put forward a message of fiscal discipline, relishing that the Conservatives kept their promise of a balanced budget while producing a modest surplus.

    The Conservatives also treated various segments of the population with specific inducements, “a kind of retail politics approach to specific segments where they have to shore up support,” says Frank Graves, CEO of EKOS Research. Segments such as families with kids, seniors and small business owners.

    This may present a challenge to the opposition that doesn’t want to — and nobody wants to do this — draw any ire from those types of voters.

    “Seniors, in our research, are absolutely critical to this government’s success,”

    Read More »from Government kicks off unofficial election campaign with retail politics budget
  • New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Chris WattieNew Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
    The Conservative government is patting itself on the back for living up to its promise of balancing this year’s federal budget, but opposition parties say this year’s fiscal document does nothing for Canadians who need help the most.

    “A promise made, a promise kept, Mr. Speaker, this budget is written in black ink,” Joe Oliver said when he delivered his first budget speech as finance minister in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon.

    The budget, coming in at over 500 pages, marks the first Conservative government surplus in eight years, at $1.4 billion projected this year, and includes many measures that were already expected or already announced.

    The budget is viewed by many as an obvious road to the 2015 election, with a focus on putting money back into the pockets of consumers and a drop in direct program expenditures.

    After the document was tabled in the House at 4 p.m. Tuesday, NDP leader Tom Mulcair responded to questions from reporters on Parliament Hill. He said the budget

    Read More »from Opposition says budget leaves too many Canadians behind

  • Most Canadians are in favour of two or more parties working in cooperation to govern if a single party doesn’t win a majority in the House of Commons in this year’s federal election, according to a recent pollfrom Forum Research.

    When asked about the appropriateness of a coalition, the majority of the 1365 people polled – about 6 in 10 – were in favour of parties forming a coalition if there’s no majority in Parliament. A similar number, 54 per cent of respondents, said it would be appropriate if two or more parties agreed on an informal arrangement to govern the House of Commons.

    There’s been plenty of talk of coalitions of late, leading up to the election that’s expected on Oct. 19, with many anticipating a minority government of some sort.

    Last week Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said he is “unequivocally opposed” to a coalition between his party and the NDP, led by Tom Mulcair. Trudeau was clarifying his stance on coalitions from the day before, when he noted in an interview with

    Read More »from Canadians in favour of coalition government: poll
  • Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver tries on his new budget shoes with the assistance of Bruce Dinan, president of Town Shoes, during a photo op in Toronto on Monday, April 20, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank GunnFederal Finance Minister Joe Oliver tries on his new budget shoes with the assistance of Bruce Dinan, president of Town Shoes, during a photo op in Toronto on Monday, April 20, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn


    If Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s choice for budget day shoes are any indication, the Conservatives will table a document Tuesday that will be a centrepiece in their federal election campaign this year.

    For the annual tradition, in which Canada’s finance minister selects a pair of shoes for budget day, Oliver chose to don blue New Balance runners, reflecting the expectation that the budget will be more about campaigning for the next federal election — the promise of a balanced budget and tax incentives for Canadian families — than about creating a sound economic roadmap for the country.

    “Budgets are always about appeasing voters,” says David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “I mean, that’s not something that’s new … But certainly this budget will be going to voters in a much more direct way than most, in the sense that this will be an election budget.”

    Tuesday’s document is expected to reveal a number of measures, including doubling of the

    Read More »from 'Budgets are always about appeasing voters’: economist
  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks with the media following caucus in Ottawa on March 25, 2015. Tom Mulcair says an NDP government would take tax benefits from those who need them least and give them to those who need them most. The NDP leader is promising to scrap a tax loophole enjoyed by corporate executives on stock options, worth more than $700 million each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldNDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks with the media following caucus in Ottawa on March 25, 2015. Tom Mulcair says an NDP government would take tax benefits from those who need them least and give them to those who need them most. The NDP leader is promising to scrap a tax loophole enjoyed by corporate executives on stock options, worth more than $700 million each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

    The NDP is making a big push against the government’s anti-terror legislation just ahead of Parliament’s return from a two week break when the House of Commons is set to bring its attention back to the controversial bill.

    In particular, the party is targeting Liberal MPs in an effort to persuade them to vote against C-51, using the Twitter hashtag #VoteAgainstC51.

    A number of Liberal MPs, according to an NDP press release, have concerns about the bill, as do former party leaders Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and Bob Rae. Liberal members in the House of Commons, however, are expected to vote in favour of the bill, despite their misgivings.

    The NDP launched a “Tell a Liberal” campaign website Friday to drum up more online activity in their efforts to sway Liberal MPs. Typing in a postal code will take a user to

    Read More »from NDP targeting Liberal MPs to vote against C-51
  • Inuit children read an Inuktitut language book at a day care in Iqaluit. The Auditor General of Canada is in Nunavut discussing his report on education, which says Nunavut won't meet its goal of a bilingual education in English and Inuktitut by 2020.Inuit children read an Inuktitut language book at a day care in Iqaluit. The Auditor General of Canada is in Nunavut discussing his report on education, which says Nunavut won't meet its goal of a bilingual education in English and Inuktitut by 2020.

    Employment and Social Development Minister Pierre Poilievre is pleading with everyone — with you, with his colleagues in the House of Commons — to help spread the word about the lack of families lining up to claim the government’s Universal Child Care Benefit.

    Anyone who has previously applied for the child care benefit will be automatically registered for the changes, but according to Poilievre, about 200,000 unregistered families will likely miss out on the expanded program.

    Previously, families would receive $100 a month for every child under 6 years of age. Under the expanded program, parents will receive $160 per month, for a total annual benefit of $1,920 per year for each child.

    A new benefit for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 17 has also been added, offering $60 per month

    Read More »from Canadian families missing out on millions in unclaimed child care benefits: Ottawa
  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attend a panel discussion at the âiVote - jeVoteâ event in Ottawa, Tuesday March 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldNDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attend a panel discussion at the âiVote - jeVoteâ event in Ottawa, Tuesday March 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

    There may be a dark horse in the race to the Oct. 19 federal election, as Justin Trudeau appears to stumble and the Conservative brand takes a hit in national and provincial polls. The NDP is showing modest gains, according latest polling averages, with potential votes creeping from Liberal support to NDP support in dire regions.

    Eric Grenier of the blog ThreeHundredEight.com crunched some numbers and found that Trudeau’s lead in national voting intentions has slipped below the Conservatives for the first time since Trudeau has led the Liberal party.

    And while this puts the Conservatives in first place, it’s the NDP that seems to be gaining — modestly — from the decline in Liberal support.

    Grenier’s polling averages have put the Conservatives just ahead with 32 per cent support and the Liberals with 31 per cent, whereas in previous polling averages the LPC would reach about 34 per cent. The NDP currently comes in at 22 per cent, as good as they’ve been polling in the past year.

    Read More »from Polls suggest support for NDP increasing at Liberal’s expense
  • Rick StrankmanRick Strankman

    Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman is apologizing for a poster announcing a pie auction fundraiser that was deemed much too old fashioned for many people’s palates.

    The auction, dubbed a “BYWP (Bring Your Wife’s Pie)” event, was set to raise funds for Strankman’s re-election campaign.

    The event’s advertisement, though — suggesting women do the baking and men do the politics — had critics up in arms, with accusations that the party is stuck in the past.

     

    Strankman, via

    Read More »from Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman apologizes for ‘old fashioned’ pie poster
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, accompanied by Canadian Pan Am and Parapan Am athletes Elise Marcotte, second left, Marco Dispaltro, third from right, Priscilla Gagne, second from right, and Tera Van Beilen, right, waves as he departs for Panama to participate in the Summit of the Americas, in Ottawa on Friday, April 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldPrime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, accompanied by Canadian Pan Am and Parapan Am athletes Elise Marcotte, second left, Marco Dispaltro, third from right, Priscilla Gagne, second from right, and Tera Van Beilen, right, waves as he departs for Panama to participate in the Summit of the Americas, in Ottawa on Friday, April 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
    Like the best races, whether horses or honourable members of Parliament, the contenders for this year’s federal election are on the move.

    The starting gun has yet to fire but positions are shifting, along with voter intentions, and one of the latest polls puts the three main parties in a tight race on a national scale.

    A surge in Conservative support after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced strict new security measures last fall appears to have evaporated, says the poll from Ekos.

    ”The voter landscape is shifting in ways that do not appear to favour Stephen Harper’s Conservatives who now find themselves under 29 points for the first time since the security bounce from last October propelled them into a small but significant lead,” says the poll.

    “They now (insignificantly) trail Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and see less than a six-point margin over a clearly rejuvenated NDP.”

    Nationally, 30.1 per cent of those polled say they would vote Liberal, 28.7 per cent Conservative and 22.0

    Read More »from Tory support sliding but next fed election still anybody's game: poll

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