• Stephen Harper and Christy Clark at a Sikh temple (CP file photo)

    Is Stephen Harper afraid of "real journalists"?

    That's a question that the editor of Vancouver's oldest Indo-Canadian newspaper is asking after being excluded from a Harper ethnic media round-table event two weeks ago.

    At the 45 minute exclusive 'gathering,' each journalist was allowed to ask Harper one question and then had the opportunity to have their photo taken with the PM.

    The LINK newspaper's Paul Dhillon says he wasn't invited.

    "Prime Minister Stephen Harper is running scared these days following his many scandals in 2013 that has threatened to undo his leadership and send him packing, so he avoided the mainstream media last week while he was in Vancouver," Dhillon wrote in an op-ed published in his newspaper.

    "But he did hold a secret meeting with a select few members of the ethnic media, with only two South Asian media outlets.

    "So why weren't all the outlets, especially the bigger known ones from both the South Asian as well as the Chinese-Canadian community, invited to

    Read More »from Stephen Harper, Christy Clark ‘ethnic media’ events rile ‘mainstream media’
  • The relationship between Canada and the United states has had its share of ebbs and flows, twists and turns and ups and downs.

    A new report by the Fraser Institute released on Thursday suggests that there is a growing rift between the two countries. A rift that, in some ways, negatively affects Canada.

    The report titled 'The State of Canada-US Relations 2014' does a good job of highlighting recent U.S. government measures that have hurt our economy:

    The main sector in US-bound trade showing growth in the last decade, crude oil products, is also the one facing most political interference from US decision makers.

    The six-year delay in the international permit for [the Keystone XL pipeline] to cross the Canada-USA border is without precedent in our bilateral relations. At the same time, the US mandatory country-of-origin labeling rule, which took effect in 2009, has severely damaged the decades-old and deeply integrated supply chain in beef and pork, costing Canadian producers some $1 billion

    Read More »from Growing rift between Canada and U.S. affecting our economy, foreign policy
  • Editorial cartoon by Aislin

    Every once in a while, former Reform Party leader Preston Manning resurfaces on the national scene with something interesting to say.

    On Wednesday morning, at the National Press Gallery in Ottawa, he didn't disappoint.

    Manning — joined by former Alberta cabinet minster Ted Morton — launched his conservative think-tank's new website, reformorabolish.ca, as a means to engage the public and to inspire the Harper government on this hot button issue.

    The Manning Centre is asking Canadians to visit the website and to vote for two of six options to reform or abolish the Senate

    The options — aptly named after what one might do to a run-down house — include:

    - tear it down

    - major reno

    - minor reno

    - status quo

    - deferred demolition

    - housekeeping

    The website is really well-done.

    It's the culmination of an October 2013 blue ribbon symposium — organized by the Manning Centre — which included senators, academics, activists and politicians, all putting forward their ideas about the future of the

    Read More »from Preston Manning launches new Senate reform initiative
  • After several tumultuous months of caucus defections, a slide in the polls and intense criticism of how she handled the most recent weather crisis, Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale has called it quits.

    Cutting her Florida vacation short, Dunderdale returned to the legislature on Wednesday morning to explain her decision to her Tory caucus.

    She then delivered a prepared statement to the media.

    "Ancient Hebrew scriptures teach us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. I have discovered that this also applies to public service. Just as you know when it's time to step up, you also know when it is time to step back and that time for me is now," Dunderdale said noting that she will officially step down as of this Friday.

    "As the first woman to serve as premier, I hope I have stoked the fire of imagination of young girls in our province and have inspired them to consider running for public office."

    [ More Politics: Stephen Harper rocks out in

    Read More »from Embattled Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale announces her retirement
  • Stephen Harper, of course, is not shy about sharing his musical stylings.

    He's performed at a Tory Christmas party and most recently at the Conservative Party convention in Calgary.

    This, however, has to be his most prominent international gig.

    On Tuesday evening, Harper took to the stage in Israel, as part of his first official visit to the Jewish state.

    [ Related: Tory MP asks to be included in the 'million-dollar shot' during Mideast stop ]

    Here's another clip, posted to YouTube yesterday.

    Harper's performance is getting some mixed reviews.

    Here is how the Jerusalem Post described it.

    "On the eve of his last full day in Israel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to the stage at the state dinner at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem on Tuesday evening to show off his singing talents and his love for the Beatles.

    Harper courageously performed "Hey Jude" in front of the audience, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara gleefully sitting near the stage humming along."

    Read More »from Stephen Harper rocks out in Israel with Beatles tunes
  • There are those cynics among us who think Stephen Harper's trip to Israel is nothing but politics; that the Conservative Party's staunch support for the Jewish state is somehow a covert action to win votes in the Jewish-Canadian community.

    There are others that believe Harper's approach to Israel is just and principled.

    The real truth, as with most things in politics, is probably somewhere in the middle.

    [ Related: Sarah Palin, Aljazeera weigh-in on Stephen Harper’s Israeli stance ]

    A new video, however, — published on YouTube by the Globe and Mail — gives some credence to the cynics' beliefs.

    In the video, as explained by the Globe and Mail's Campbell Clark, Conservative MP Mark Adler is asking Harper-aide Jeremy Hunt if he can can be included in a photo with the prime minister at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

    “Jeremy! Jeremy! Can I get in?” Mr. Adler said.

    “No,” Mr. Hunt replied.

    “It’s the re-election! This is the million-dollar shot.”

    Here's the video:

    Adler, as explained by

    Read More »from Tory MP asks to be included in the 'million-dollar shot' during Mideast stop
  • Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (Reuters file photo)Stephen Harper's Middle Eastern tour is getting a lot of media coverage, not only in Canada, but around the world.

    The attention shouldn't be a surprise: Stephen Harper — a leader of a G-8 country — has positioned himself as the one of the world's most staunch supporter of the Israeli regime in the very divisive conflict with Palestine.

    On Monday, he became the first ever Canadian prime minister to address the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, speaking of the bond between the two countries and explaining his unflinching support for the Jewish state.

    "We either stand up for our values and our interests here in Israel, stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state, or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin," Harper said to great applause.

    His stance has won some high profile bouquets and beefs.

    On Tuesday morning, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took to social media to laud Harper for his "exemplary

    Read More »from Sarah Palin, Aljazeera and the Jerusalem Post weigh-in on Stephen Harper’s Israeli stance
  • Justice Minister Peter MacKay appears at a committee meeting on Parliament Hill.

    Despite Stephen Harper's insistence that he will lead the Conservative Party in the 2015 election, chatter about his future continues.

    In that regard, a new poll by Forum Research is very interesting.

    As reported by the Hill Times, Forum recently asked Canadians to register their approval of several high-profile Tories. (The list didn't include Stephen Harper).

    On top of the approval rating rankings is none other than Peter MacKay:

    - Among leaning or decided Conservative supporters:

    Justice Minister Peter MacKay: 53 per cent

    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird: 45 per cent

    Labour Minister Jason Kenney: 37 per cent

    Treasury Board President Tony Clement: 34 per cent

    Saskatchewan Premier: Brad Wall: 26 per cent

    Former cabinet minister: Jim Prentice: 23 per cent

    Industry Minister James Moore: 16 per cent

    Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier: 16 per cent

    The full Hill Times article can be seen here.

    [ Related: Political analysts try to predict Stephen Harper’s 2014 ]

    For some time, the

    Read More »from Tories view Peter MacKay as likely successor to Stephen Harper
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen visit Mount of Olives in Israel on SundayMost political watchers in Canada have probably heard of The Onion — the U.S.-based satire news website that features, sometimes, witty reports on politics, pop culture and international headlines.

    What they might not know, however, is that Canada has its own version of it called The Beaverton.

    Its latest story is a good one.

    The online publication has satirized Stephen Harper's trip to Israel and his unflinching support of the Jewish nation.

    Here are some excerpts of the piece titled: Israeli Prime Minister Stephen Harper returns after long visit in Canada:

    After nine long years travelling in Canada to promote his country, Israel’s prime minister Stephen Harper is finally back in his homeland.

    “From what I have learned, Canada is a beautiful and proud country,” announced Harper after his arrival at Ben Gurion airport was greeted by deputy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and throngs of admirers. “I persuaded the Canadian government to become a strong supporter of Israel. After all,

    Read More »from Satirists mock Stephen Harper’s trip to Israel
  • Quebec Premier Pauline Marois (Canadian Press file photo)You might be getting a little dizzy watching the polling numbers in the province of Quebec — from month to month, they're all over the place.

    There is however, one consistent thing about them: It seems that whenever the values charter is a hot topic in the media, the separatist Parti Quebecois go up in the polls.

    The latest Leger study certainly points to a direct correlation.

    According to the poll, released Monday, 36 per cent of Quebecers surveyed would vote for the PQ while 33 per cent would vote Liberal. Because of the geographic distribution of votes, that would be enough for Pauline Marois' government to earn a majority.

    "This is the first time that the PQ is mathematically in position to win a majority government since their election in fall 2012," Leger vice-president Christian Bourque said, according to QMI Agency.

    [ Related: PQ secure in putting its political future at risk over controversial values charter ]

    In May 2013, a Leger Marketing poll, conducted exclusively for QMI,

    Read More »from Is Quebec's values charter the PQ's ticket to a majority?


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