• Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath (CP)The minimum wage debate continues to rage on both sides of the border.

    Those in favour of a wage increase argue that there are too many working individuals living in poverty. Opponents claim that small businesses just can't afford any type of wage boost.

    Well, here's a compromise from, perhaps, an unlikely group.

    Ontario's New Democrats are proposing a trade off: they're suggesting an increase in the minimum wage in exchange for small business tax cuts.

    The plan, introduced by party leader Andrea Horwath on Tuesday, would see the minimum wage rise to $12 by June 2016 (from the current $10.25). It's coupled with a cut in the small business tax rate from 4.5 per cent to 4 per cent this June, followed by a 0.5 per cent cut annually for the next two years.

    "We need a balanced approach where families get a raise while ensuring small businesses grow and thrive to create more jobs," the NDP's small business critic Wayne Gates said in the legislature, according to the Bullet News.


    Read More »from Introduce tax cuts in exchange for a $12 minimum wage: Ontario NDP
  • Senator James Cowan.This a good news / bad news story.

    The good news is that former Liberal senators have finally made good on a promise to proactively disclose their travel expenses. The bad news is that it really doesn't provide much detail at all.

    One of the blatant omissions is that their disclosures — unlike the Conservative senator disclosures — don't include spousal travel.

    A CBC report from last week, analyzing Conservative expenses noted that a number of Tory senators routinely charged taxpayers to bring spouses with them on trips to Ottawa.

    Paul Calendra, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, says that he's a little perplexed as to why the Liberals didn't disclose that information.

    "We understood that Canadians wanted more openness with respect to expenses and that is why we [made] sure that spouses were also included in this," he told Yahoo Canada News.

    "It's still taxpayer money, whether it's the MP or spouse or..children. It's all in the same vein as...this fakeness we're

    Read More »from Ex-Liberal senators’ expense disclosures come up short, taxpayer watchdog says
  • Liberal leader Justin Trudeau addresses delegates at the Liberal convention in MontrealJustin Trudeau has finally apologized for an unpopular remark he made last week about the deadly conflict in Ukraine.

    In an interview with Radio Canada taped last Thursdayafter violent clashes that killed dozens in Ukraine — the Liberal leader said this: "It is very worrisome, particularly since Russia lost in hockey, they will be in a bad mood and we fear Russian involvement in the Ukraine."

    On Tuesday afternoon, he tweeted out a message explaining that he had apologized to Paul Grod, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

    The apology comes after 24 hours of criticism from the Conservatives, the NDP, the media and even

    Read More »from Justin Trudeau apologizes for his quip about Ukraine
  • It's good enough for the Oscars and the NHL year-end awards — maybe it makes sense for Ontario cities.

    Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has confirmed that Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter will table a private member’s bill that would allow the province's municipalities to use a ranked-ballot system in future civic elections.

    “I think it is an interesting idea. I think these ideas need to be discussed,” the premier said according to the Toronto Star.

    “There is a private member’s bill that will be introduced into the legislature, and I really look forward to the debate.

    “I don’t think we can just assume that the systems that have been in place for decades are the systems that necessarily have to stay in place. But I have to look at the merits.”

    A ranked ballot voting system — also known as Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) — allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference on their electoral ballots. If a candidate fails to earn at least 50 per cent of the vote after the first ballot, then

    Read More »from Ontario government considering ranked-ballots for municipal elections
  • Oops, he did it again.

    Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has opened the door to a full-fledged attack from the Conservatives and New Democrats.

    In an interview late last week, with Radio Canada, Trudeau is reported to have said this — as a joke — when talking about the situation in Ukraine:

    "It is very worrisome, particularly since Russia lost in hockey, they will be in a bad mood and we fear Russian involvement in the Ukraine."

    For the bilingual, among us, here's a snippet from the interview:

    Of course, what happened last week in Ukraine is no laughing matter.

    As reported by the Canadian Press, the violence spiked on Tuesday, with 25 people killed and hundreds injured in clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police.

    On Monday, Tory MPs quickly took to Twitter to attack the Liberal leader.

    Read More »from Justin Trudeau attacked for making a joke about hockey, Russia and Ukraine
  • Liberal leader Justin Trudeau addresses delegates at the Liberal convention in MontrealHe has billed himself as someone who is accessible, transparent and open.

    He's consistently slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper for dodging questions.

    Well, Justin Trudeau is the one getting slammed today for his aloofness.

    That's because the Liberal leader did not make himself available to a media scrum at the conclusion of the party's weekend policy convention — as is usually the norm for opposition party leaders.

    Veteran Toronto Star reporter Susan Delacourt tweeted that, after 30 years of attending Liberal Party conventions, this was the first time there was "no closing media [availability] from the leader."

    [ Related: Conservative, NDP attacks fail to land as Liberals convene in Montreal ]

    In his defence, Trudeau did speak to CBC News, Global News and CTV News individually over the weekend. He also gave not one, but two speeches at the convention.

    Nevertheless, annoyed journos took to Twitter and the weekend political panels to voice their displeasure.

    "I think he really has to

    Read More »from Justin Trudeau slammed for not holding post-convention press conference
  • Justin Trudeau at the Liberal Party convention in MontrealFor those waiting for some meaty policy ideas, keep waiting.

    Justin Trudeau delivered his keynote express at the Liberal Party convention in Montreal on Saturday afternoon.

    To be fair, he did speak a little about policy: he talked about having a national target of 70 per cent post secondary education attainment; he talked about hoping to invest in infrastructure; he talked about building a "true partnership" with First Nations; and he hinted at his support for loosening rules around doctor-assisted suicide.

    But, for the most part, he spoke in generalities.

    That's not to say the speech wasn't effective. In fact, Trudeau seemed poised and controlled in what turned-out to be a very quotable speech.

    Here are some of the best quotes from his 40 minute address.

    1. About the Senate expense scandal:

    "As a candidate [Stephen Harper] promised that he would never appoint a Senator. Not a single one. Then, after he got elected, he appointed 57 of them.

    "And by the way, anyone who puts Pamela

    Read More »from Top five quotes from Justin Trudeau’s keynote address at the Liberal convention
  • Courtesy of Conservative Party Facebook PageCall me a nut, if you will, but I'm a big fan of political strategy.

    I enjoy watching parties try to gain a political advantage over each other, whether its through policy development, public relations or even negative attacks. So, I have to say, I'm a little disappointed at what's happened this week so far at the Liberal Party convention.

    A couple of weeks ago, the Toronto Star reported that the Tories were planning some shenanigans for the Liberal Party convention.

    The report, which cited a leaked Conservative Party memo, suggested that the party's goal was "to disrupt Liberal communications, highlight disunity in the ranks and question his leadership abilities."

    "[The] Conservatives are planning a concerted communications strategy using dedicated websites, online ads, online videos, daily email updates to the Conservative supporters and social media, using 'pre-canned' messages," noted the report.

    The Star even suggested that the Tories might come up with some gimmicky tactics:

    Read More »from Conservative, NDP attacks fail to land as Liberals convene in Montreal
  • The battle between the Conservative Party and retired general Andrew Leslie has, so far, overshadowed day two of the Liberal policy convention in Montreal.

    Leslie, of course, has been the subject of Tory attacks since last weekend, when CTV News reported that the man who once led Canada's mission in Afghanistan charged taxpayers $72,000 in 2012 for the cost  of moving four minutes away.

    In a Friday afternoon keynote address, the retired general fought back, hinting that before becoming a senior adviser to Justin Trudeau in 2013, he had spoken to other parties.

    "I had conversations with several political parties on potential ways that I could best serve Canada," he said.

    "Last year, I made my decision. I wanted to join a team motivated to serve Canadians through hope and hard work. I wanted a leader that I could follow heart and soul.

    "One of the other political parties doesn't seem to be taking the news too well. I want to tell them, look, it wasn't you, it was me. You know what,

    Read More »from Retired general Andrew Leslie defends $72K expense, hints that Tories are bitter because he chose Liberals
  • Justin Trudeau addresses delegates on Feb. 20, 2014. (CP)Justin Trudeau welcomed delegates to Montreal on Thursday evening for the Liberal Party’s biennial convention.

    In a 20-minute partisan speech, he spoke about his love of Montreal, talked about his desire to help the middle class and then took aim at Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    "You see, we have a real problem. The middle class is in trouble. People haven’t had a real raise in 30 years, while inequality has increased and household debt has exploded," he said to a packed Montreal Convention Centre, adding that this weekend was about finding ways to give every Canadian a fair chance at success.

    "Those who practice the politics of division see in this an opportunity to exploit. An opportunity to sow fear and mistrust. To point fingers and lay blame.

    "In a growing economy, the Parti Quebecois’ divisive plan would not only be unrealistic, it would be unthinkable. But in the absence of a real and fair chance, fear and division

    Read More »from Trudeau addresses Liberal faithful: was it ‘Clinton-esque’ or more vagueness?


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