• NDP MP Peter Stoffer

    MPs in our nation's capital held their version of the Oscars on Tuesday night, at the seventh annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards.

    The event, which recognizes members for parliamentary excellence, is presented annually by Maclean's Magazine — this year's event was held at the Ottawa Convention Centre with a large contingent of MPs and cabinet ministers on hand.

    The top award — the aptly named 'Parliamentarian of the Year' award — went to veteran NDP MP Peter Stoffer.

    "No matter how many years I’ve been here, how many MPs and senators I’ve met, I’ve yet to meet one I wouldn’t want to have as my neighbour," Stoffer told the crowd, during his acceptance speech, according to the Chronicle Herald.

    "Even though we may disagree politically, we’re all here for the right reasons."

    Elizabeth May, who won that award last year, didn't go home empty-handed. The Green Party leader won the Hardest Working MP award, in absentia — May is currently is Warsaw at a UN climate change conference.

    Read More »from Peter Stoffer, Elizabeth May honoured at Parliamentarians of the Year gala event
  • Canada's opposition parties are spending some energy trying to tie the Rob Ford affair to the Harper Conservatives.

    Over the weekend, according to the Canadian Press, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair actually suggested that the Ford fiasco would affect Stephen Harper's popularity.

    Mulcair says the long-standing Tory-Ford ties are souring voters’ opinion of Harper, and will play a role in the 2015 federal election.

    Harper and Ford have had a cosy relationship over the years, culminating with the pair enjoying a fishing trip together at Harrington Lake, Que., shortly after the Tories won re-election in 2011.

    “The Conservatives have been saying for years that Rob Ford’s their guy,” Mulcair said Sunday during a surprise stop in Toronto to support his party’s candidate in the coming federal byelection.

    “They’re going to have to wear it now,” he said.

    On Tuesday, in the House of Commons, the Liberals got involved.

    Justin Trudeau even got in on the act.

    "I'll take no lessons on accountability from a man

    Read More »from Opposition parties try to tie Rob Ford to Harper Conservatives
  • Immigration Minister Chris Alexander speaks to new immigrants in CalgaryIn January, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be re-opening the controversial Parent and Grandparent (PGP) immigration program to new applications.

    The program was put on a temporary moratorium in 2011 because of a huge backlog. To clear that queue, Canada welcomed 25,000 parents and grandparents in each of 2012 and 2013. In 2014 we'll welcome an additional 20,000.

    The new rules are stricter than before: only 5,000 applicants will be approved every year and sponsors will have to take on a greater burden: Specifically, Canadians sponsoring their parents will have to prove a higher income threshold and ensure that their immigrating relative doesn't seek social assistance from the government for a full 20 years.

    Despite the new rules, the Fraser Institute says that getting through that backlog could still cost taxpayers between $21 billion and $40 billion.

    "While the government’s package is designed both to assuage sponsors of parents and grand parents, particularly those in the

    Read More »from New immigration rules could cost taxpayers $21B: Fraser Institute
  • Over the past couple of weeks, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack, drinking and driving and purchasing illegal drugs at some point in the last two years. He's also used vulgar language on live television.

    This week (remember it's only Monday) he knocked down a city councillor on the council floor as he was angrily running towards someone or something in the public gallery.

    [ Related: Ontario PC Leader says he would support provincial intervention in Rob Ford crisis ]

    Despite all that, there are still people who support him.

    According to a poll that came out last Thursday, between 20 to 22 per cent of Torontonians said that they would vote for the Mayor in a civic election.

    Just who is that 20 per cent and why the heck are they still supporting Ford?

    [ Related: 'You attacked Kuwait,' Mayor Rob Ford says as council strips away key powers ]

    CBC personality Rick Mercer gives us his take on Tuesday's Rick Mercer Report.

    Here's a sneak preview:

    Are you a politics junkie?

    Read More »from Rick Mercer explains why some people still support Rob Ford
  • Elizabeth May - Afghanistan

    No, she hasn't emigrated to Afghanistan.

    But Green Party leader Elizabeth May is now part of the Afghan delegation at a UN climate conference currently taking place in Warsaw.

    The full-fledged Canadian isn't part of her own country's delegation because she wasn't invited to be.

    "The Harper administration continues its outrageous practice of sending delegations to international meetings, not representing Canada, but representing the Conservative Party of Canada," May wrote in a blog post.

    "Only Jim Prentice as environment minister did what all previous governments have done and include opposition MPs in the delegation."

    "I am here with my way paid by the Green Party of Canada and I will receive my UN credentials through my membership in the Global Greens."

    [ Related: Environmentalists use Philippines typhoon to urge Canada to act on climate change ]

    So why is she joining Afghanistan of all countries?

    Being part of a national delegation — rather than going simply as an observer — allows May to

    Read More »from Elizabeth May joins Afghanistan delegation at climate change conference
  • The CTF's Gregory Thomas (Canadian Press file photo)

    Canada's employment insurance system is a mess.

    To that end, on Monday the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report with some new and innovative ideas about how to fix it.

    The most interesting thing about the report, however, were some of the statistics — they're just jaw-dropping:

    • Last year, Ottawa collected $3.3 billion more in EI tax than they paid out in benefits. This year they're expected to receive a net of $4.2 billion
    • Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador collected $14 billion more than they put in, between 1981 and 2009
    • Between 2008 and 2010, 89 per cent of working-age tax filers in rural Newfoundland and Labrador reported EI income on their tax returns
    • 62 per cent of EI claimants in Newfoundland and Labrador made at least three claims in the past five years, compared to 8 per cent in Alberta
    • Workers in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. and their employers paid $103 billion more into EI than they collected in EI benefits between 1981 and 2009

    The CTF says enough is enough and are

    Read More »from Taxpayer watchdog highlights startling EI statistics, recommends sweeping change
  • Jason Kenney poses for a photograph during his visit to the Golden temple, Sikhs holiest temple, in Amritsar, India, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. It's widely believed that Employment and Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney has leadership aspirations.

    New information about his fundraising prowess lends credence to that theory.

    According to recent reports — by CBC and Postmedia News — Kenney has been aggressively fundraising within ethnic communities in southern Ontario.

    Since 2007, Kenney has raised a whopping $145,000 for his Calgary Southeast riding from the Greater Toronto Area. $45,000 of that came in just one month — in September 2012 — from two ethnic outreach events.

    While there's nothing wrong with what Kenney is doing, it's a little peculiar that he would fundraise in Ontario when Calgary Southeast is already such a bastion of conservationism.

    It makes sense, however, — as the CBC and Postmedia reports imply — that Kenney is hoping to convert Ontario contributors into leadership supporters at some point down the road.

    [ Related: Jason Kenney's fundraising power revealed ]

    Other hints about Kenney's intentions came during the

    Read More »from Is Jason Kenney preparing for a leadership race?
  • Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke with Michael Sona in 2011Thanks to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and a couple Justin Trudeau gaffes, the Harper government has successfully changed the channel on the Senate expense scandal -- at least temporarily.

    But remember that other scandal — the robocall affair?

    That may be the next channel that Canadians turn to.

    [ Related: Which political scandal upsets you the most? ]

    Over the past couple of weeks, there have been some new revelations about the alleged voter fraud, in Guelph, during the 2011 federal election:

    Media reports suggest that Jenni Byrne, who was the Conservative Party's national campaign manager, advised a key witness in the investigation to delay an interview with an Elections Canada official until she could obtain legal advice. Byrne now works at the PMO.

    We also learned that six Conservative staffers told Elections Canada investigator Allan Matthews that their colleague Michael Sona bragged about his alleged involvement in the fraudulent automated phone calls. Interestingly, we now know that

    Read More »from Michael Sona, implicated in robocall scandal was on a beach when he allegedly confessed
  • NDP leader Thomas Mulcair with Toronto Centre candidate Linda McQuaig

    The main theme of the Toronto Centre federal byelection has been helping the average Joe and Jill.

    The two front-runners — Liberal Chrystia Freeland and New Democrat Linda McQuaig — have written extensively about the struggling middle class and both claim to be advocates for that huge demographic.

    It turns out, however, that both candidates are — wait for it — relatively wealthy.

    Last month, the Ottawa Citizen reported that Freeland purchased a $1.3 million home. Now it's reporting that McQuaig's old house just re-sold with a listing price of $4,795,000.

    The beautiful Oakville, Ont., home she sold in 2000 for $1,050,000 is situated on a 1.4 acres of property.

    Details of the Lakeshore Road home she used to occupy became public recently when the current owners put it up for sale via, ahem, Sotheby’s. While it appears the home has been substantially upgraded since McQuaig lived there, the real estate listing says it now has seven bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms and five (yes, five) indoor

    Read More »from Linda McQuaig, NDP candidate in Toronto Centre, slammed for her former $5 million home
  • PEI guideThe Prince Edward Island government — as other governments do — have put out a booklet about children's sexual behaviours.

    This excerpt from the booklet's introduction explains why.

    It is normal for children under the age of 12 to behave in sexual ways. In fact, according to William Friedrich of the Mayo clinic, sexual behaviour in children peaks between the ages of three and six .

    However, some sexual behaviour in children may be an indication that there is something wrong – that the child has been sexually molested, has been exposed prematurely to adult sexual knowledge, or has begun to use sexual behaviour as a way to get emotional needs met, etc .

    This guide is intended to provide parents with information to help determine whether their child’s behaviour is normal and healthy, or a sign that something may be wrong .

    There are some, however, taking exception to the content of the booklet.

    At issue is a chart in the 'parents' guide' which classifies each 'sexual' behaviour as: 'natural and

    Read More »from PEI government’s sex-ed guide called creepy


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