• Quebec Premier Pauline Marois (CP file photo)Believe it or not, it seems that the stars are aligning for the Parti Quebecois to force an election before the end of the year.

    Over the past couple of months, rumours abounded that Quebec Premier Pauline Marois was contemplating pulling the plug on her minority government.

    Granted, the polls don't indicate that Marois can win a majority: the latest Crop poll — released on Tuesday — had the Liberals at 38 per cent and the PQ at 34 per cent.

    Here's the Montreal Gazette's Don Macpherson's overview and analysis of the poll:

    In the CROP poll, conducted Thursday through Monday, the PQ led the Liberals in popularity among the French-speaking voters who decide Quebec elections, and in the regions outside of Montreal where they’re usually decided.

    And for “best premier,” Marois was about as popular as Liberal leader Philippe Couillard among all voters, meaning she was more popular among French-speaking ones.

    The problem for Marois and the PQ, however, is that they weren’t popular enough to overcome

    Read More »from Can the Parti Quebecois win a majority government in a December election?
  • Senator Mike Duffy is the victim — at least that's what he'd like us to believe.

    On Monday, Duffy's lawyer Donald Bayne publicly claimed that his client did nothing wrong — that the Prime Minister's office and Senate leadership told him it was okay to designate his PEI home as his primary residence even though he lived in Ottawa most of the time.

    He alleged that it was staff at the PMO who concocted a plan to have Nigel Wright give him money to repay Senate expenses and forced him to cooperate under threat of expulsion.

    On Tuesday, it was Duffy's turn to defend himself. Duffy defended himself in the Senate telling his colleagues that Prime Minister Stephen Harper told him: "Do what we want — or else."

    Audio Credit: iPolitics

    [ Read the text: Full transcript of Duffy's speech to the Senate ]

    Perhaps we, the Canadian public, got it all wrong.

    Maybe the vitriol directed at Duffy over the past several months was uncalled for or at least premature?

    At Yahoo Canada News, comment sections on stories

    Read More »from Do we, the Canadian public, owe Sen. Mike Duffy an apology?
  • This is one of the stories that's probably going to get lost in all the Senate scandal news this week.

    But boy oh boy — any other week, this would be pure link bait.

    Kudos to Postmedia News' Glen McGregor for finding and posting this video of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird screaming at an off-camera loud noise during a press conference on Monday.

    Baird, of course, is the animated gentleman on the far right.

    Here is McGregor's description of the video:

    The spectacular wipe-out heard was a Radio-Canada reporter crashing into a glass display case full of metal statues. You can’t make folly like that. Fortunately, no injuries, no property damage. Baird’s “Dean Scream” has been the source of much amusement in his office and, apparently, to him, too.

    Baird took to Twitter on Tuesday to laugh off the...ahem..controversy.

    Read More »from Twittersphere reacts to hilarious video of John Baird screaming
  • Sen. Mike Duffy is questioned by media as he arrives on Parliament Hill. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

    Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau were all in attendance in the upper chamber on Tuesday as debate began on Conservative party motions to suspend the trio without pay for "gross negligence" of their Parliamentary budgets.

    It was pre-dubbed an epic political show-down, and the Senators didn't disappoint.

    After lengthy preambles by Conservative Senate leader Claude Carignan and Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan, Mike Duffy stood up to defend himself suggesting as his lawyer did at a press conference on Monday that he did nothing wrong.

    Earlier this year, Duffy was forced to repay $90,000 in what has been characterized as an improperly claimed living allowance the $90,000 he used to repay the Senate came from Prime Minister Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright. Duffy claims that scheme was concocted by the Prime Minister's Office by threat of expulsion.

    [ Related: Mike Duffy’s lawyer launches explosive allegations against PMO, Senate leadership ]

    Here's some

    Read More »from Mike Duffy says he was strong-armed over spending by Harper, PMO in explosive speech
  • Cartoon by Fleg

    Independent Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau were all in attendance in the upper chamber on Tuesday, as debate began on Conservative party motions to suspend them without pay for "gross negligence" of their Parliamentary budgets.

    [ Related: Pamela Wallin's lawyer threatens legal action against possible Senate suspension ]

    As of 4:30 pm (EST), none of the three maligned politicians had yet had the opportunity to address their colleagues.

    Last week, Wallin's lawyer Terrence O'Sullivan indicated that they would indeed fight the motion.

    "It is backroom politics at its transparent worst and it's designed to create the impression of a clean slate for the Tory convention in Calgary next week," he told the Canadian Press.

    "It's a fundamental affront to Canadian democracy."

    And, on Monday, Duffy's lawyer told reporters that they too would consider legal action if the senator from PEI was suspended.

    "At my insistence, Senator Duffy and his wife Heather have maintained silence in

    Read More »from Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin in Senate as debate on their suspensions begins
  • There were no surprises in Monday's civic election in Calgary.

    Naheed Nenshi has been re-elected as mayor for a second term in a landslide victory. As of 11:30pm (MDT), the incumbent had 73.7 per cent of the popular vote; finishing a very distant second was Jon Lord with 21.3 per cent support.

    "The secret of our success in this community is very simple. We’ve learned a basic truth that evades so many in this broken world," Nenshi said during his victory speech.

    "We’re all in it together. Our neighbour’s pain is our pain, our neighbour’s success is our success."

    For Nenshi, a primary issue during the campaign became his desire to increase population density in the downtown core versus a well-funded home builder lobby profiting handsomely from building suburban homes.

    Nenshi won that battle in the mayoralty race and, as of press time, it looked as if the pro-density Nenshi-friendly councillors — except for Gael MacLeod in Ward 4 — were poised to be re-elected as well.

    [ Related: Calgary

    Read More »from Naheed Nenshi wins second term as Calgary mayor in landslide victory
  • Mike Duffy's lawyer, Donald BayneSenator Mike Duffy — through his lawyer — has come out swinging at the Prime Minister's Office and the Senate leadership.

    In what can only be described as an explosive press conference, Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, launched damning allegation after damning allegation in a staunch defence of his client.

    The press conference in Ottawa, comes ahead of Tuesday's Senate debate on a motion to suspend Duffy — along with Senator Pamela Wallin and Senator Patrick Brazeau — without pay for his part in the ongoing Senate expense scandal.

    "At my insistence, Senator Duffy and his wife Heather have maintained silence in the face of allegations made concerning Senator Duffy's senate living allowance and expense claims," Bayne started.

    "Now, however, the Senate or at least the Conservative majority whipped by their leader intends to act like a mob to sentence Senator Duffy without a hearing. Without knowing the evidence and without strangely waiting for the very RCMP investigation which they called for."

    Read More »from Duffy’s lawyer suggests PMO pressured senator into taking repayment deal
  • Liberal leader Justin Trudeau with his star candidate for Toronto Centre Chrystia FreelandWhen it comes to byelections, there are generally two schools of thought.

    The first one is that they are a harbinger for a general election; a referendum — if you will — on the government.

    The second theory suggests that pundits should pay little attention to byelections — that they are a different beast dependent on local issues and star candidates.

    So, which narrative should we believe?

    As with most things, the answer probably lies in the middle.

    [ Related: Stephen Harper calls four byelections for November ]

    On Monday, Forum Research released their first poll on the four federal byelections — in Bourassa (Quebec), in Toronto Centre (Ontario), in Provencher (Manitoba), and in Brandon Souris (Manitoba) — now slated for November 25th.

    If you believe the first theory — that byelections are a sign of things to come —then the poll is great news for the Liberals and bad news for the Tories and NDP.

    Forum suggests that Justin Trudeau's party is poised to win three out of the four ridings for a net

    Read More »from 'Justin factor' helps to buoy Liberals in byelection opinion polls
  • Brandon Souris Liberal candidate Rolf Dinsdale with Justin TrudeauVoters in four currently unrepresented ridings will be going to the polls next month.

    The Prime Minister's Office has announced byelections in Bourassa (Quebec), Provencher (Manitoba), Brandon-Souris (Manitoba) and Toronto Centre (Ontario) for Nov. 25.

    "With Conservative-appointed Senators [Mike] Duffy, [Pamela] Wallin and [Patrick] Brazeau now on suspension from the Senate, a Canada-Europe trade agreement (CETA) initialed, and all four government party candidates in place, the Prime Minister may not have a better time to pull the plug than now," Alice Funke — who provides excellent analysis on all things election related — wrote on her Pundits' Guide website.

    Here's a breakdown of each of the ridings:

    1. Bourassa (Quebec):

    - Incumbent: Denis Coderre (LPC)

    - Results from last election: LPC: 40.9 per cent; NDP: 32.3 per cent; BQ: 16.1 per cent; CPC: 8.8 per cent

    - Analysis:

    The two front runners in the battle for Bourassa are former Liberal MNA Emmanuel Dubourg and the NDP Stéphane Moraille.


    Read More »from Stephen Harper calls four byelections for November
  • Green Party leader Elizabeth May (CP)Last summer, I was one of the few reporters to attend the Green Party national convention on Vancouver Island.

    What was striking was how much May was revered — not just respected but truly admired — by the party faithful. She was, after all, the party's first ever elected MP and a leader who continues to punch well above her weight when it comes to media attention.

    Outside Green circles, however, it appears that May has some work to do to appeal to the masses.

    [ Related: Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque steps down as Green Party candidate, deputy leader ]

    On Friday, the National Post editorial board published a scathing article questioning May's leadership.

    The impetus of the column seems to have been this Twitter exchange between May and Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney during the throne speech when it was re-announced that Canada would be building a monument to victims of communism.

    Read More »from Is Elizabeth May’s leadership hurting her party’s future prospects?


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