• The Harper government’s new no-parole legislation, announced Wednesday afternoon and to be introduced next week when MPs return from some time back in their ridings, is, as it turns out, an opportunity to fall down the rabbit hole of ancient Crown prerogatives.

    The legislation will include a provision allowing cabinet to decide on the release of some killers, which caused a bit of a tizzy on Twitter after the prime minister announced the pending bill. Could the Conservative cabinet use this power to its advantage, for political gain, somehow? Is it not troubling for ideological politicians to be given this kind of legal power? Yes, possibly, but to be sure this isn’t anything new.

    Basics on the bill

    The government is planning to table legislation in the House of Commons that, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, would ensure Canada’s “most heinous criminals” stay in jail for life, without chance of parole.

    "Next week, our government will introduce legislation to ensure that for the most

    Read More »from Cabinet ministers granting clemency? Harper's new no-parole law reminds us they can
  • Protesters take part in a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, October 4, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand</span>
    On the heels of last week’s national roundtable on missing and murdered indigenous women in Ottawa, both main opposition parties in the House of Commons are promising to make the issue a priority in the upcoming federal election.

    NDP aboriginal affairs critic Niki Ashton and Liberal aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett told Yahoo Canada News they will be pushing for a national inquiry over the coming election campaign.

    “Absolutely,” Ashton said. “There is real need for political leadership for this issue.”

    The Conservative government has been resolute in its position against holding a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in December that “it isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest.” He has called the issue a crime problem, and not a sociological one.

    Aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt and Minister for the Status of Women Kellie Leitch held a separate press conference from the rest of the participants —

    Read More »from NDP, Liberals vow to make missing and murdered aboriginal women an election issue
  • Screengrab of Conservative Party of Canada support sign-up page, linked from Uppal's email.Screengrab of Conservative Party of Canada support sign-up page, linked from Uppal's email.

    If the Conservative Party’s latest email to supporters were to be taken literally, Canadians should be shaking in their salt-stained Sorel winter boots: Canada is, according to the CPC, a war zone.

    In an email sent out on March 2, Tim Uppal, MP for Edmonton-Sherwood Park, suggested Canada is being targeted by terrorists and that the government’s anti-terror bill, the controversial Bill C-51 that has received plenty of criticism from security experts, will keep Canadians safe.

    “Jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada,” Uppal wrote.

    “They hate us for our values. They hate us because we love freedom and tolerance.”  

    Near the end of February, media outlets reported that the Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab, the same group that attacked a mall in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, had posted a video online encouraging supporters to attack public shopping spaces, including the West Edmonton Mall.

    This, according to Uppal, is a reason why Canadians should get behind C-51.

    "This hit home for

    Read More »from Latest Tory pitch for support: ‘Jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada’
  • Getting a medical assessment for your private insurance? There'll soon be a tax for that

    Fears that amendments could reduce accessibility of some mental health care

    The Canadian Psychological Association is raising alarm bells over potential changes to federal tax laws, which CPA representatives say will place additional barriers in front of anyone seeking mental health services in Canada.

    Draft policy changes to Canada’s Excise Tax Act, published at the end of 2014, could subject interactions with private insurers to GST and HST. This, says Dr. Karen Cohen, CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association, is worrisome.

    “One in five Canadians have a mental health problem in a given year. And there are great barriers to access and care, and we don’t want to see those barriers be increased,” she told Yahoo Canada News

    Amendments proposed by the Canada Revenue Agency add what’s called a “qualifying health-care supply” to Canada’s Excise Tax Act.

    Health services that fall under this definition are exempt from taxation, but the CRA draft policy notes that some services “performed by health-care professionals may be taxable or exempt depending on their

    Read More »from Getting a medical assessment for your private insurance? There'll soon be a tax for that
  • Lt.-Gen. Jonathan Vance arrives for a technical briefing, Monday January 19, 2015 in Ottawa. (CP)Lt.-Gen. Jonathan Vance arrives for a technical briefing, Monday January 19, 2015 in Ottawa. (CP)

    We probably shouldn’t have been surprised that Canadian soldiers would end up exchanging fire with Islamic State fighters in Iraq.

    The question is, was the government being naive or disingenuous when it said last fall that Canada’s mission there would not put them in danger on the front line (except, of course, the pilots flying CF-18s on bombing missions)?

    It’s not a minor question since the Conservatives are likely to make Canada’s security against terrorism a central component of its re-election campaign this year and it’s identified the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL) as a major threat to that security. It committed a half-dozen CF-18 fighter jets and dozens of soldiers to an international effort to defend Iraq against ISIS forces surging through the country from Syrian strongholds. 

    About 70 special forces troops have been working with the Kurdish peshmerga fighters for the last few months. The Conservative government initially told Parliament the troops’ duties would be

    Read More »from Conservatives guilty of bad communication, not mission creep in Iraq, military experts say
  • Prime Minister Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Jan. 27, 2015. (Reuters)Prime Minister Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Jan. 27, 2015. (Reuters)

    The debate in the House of Commons resumed this week for Parliament’s final leg before the next election, and the single word that echoed louder than any other was “economy.”

    Well, economy or one of its many offshoots: Fiscal, budget, middle class, collapse. Oil.

    Sure, the Liberals and NDP hammered the Conservatives about the combat-mission-that’s-not-a-combat mission heartily enough on Monday. But with the federal election coming up in October, if not sooner, the economy is a point of inevitable debate.

    There is the promise of a balanced budget, an oil-dependent economy that falters as the resource dips to $50 per barrel, and a delayed fiscal update.

    And the question of whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper is still the best person to man the sails is at the root of it all. Political analyst Gerry Nicholls said the Conservatives still think so, and if it is left up to them the economy will be the focus of the election.

    "If the Conservatives have their way, it will be,” Nicholls told

    Read More »from If not Harper, then who? Conservative economic brand could hold firm in the next election
  • Jodie Emery: Liberal party dismissive of my nominationJodie Emery: Liberal party dismissive of my nomination

    You might think Jodie Emery would be welcomed as a star candidate for the Liberal party in next October’s scheduled federal election.

    The Vancouver marijuana activist is young, articulate, telegenic and her work to legalize pot is in sync with the Liberals’ policy on the issue.

    But you would be wrong. The Liberals seem to be nervous that the 30-year-old wife of Prince of Pot Marc Emery might become their candidate in Vancouver East, which normally is an NDP stronghold but may be in play with the planned retirement of longtime MP Libby Davies.

    Evidence of that nervousness seems to be manifest in an email that CBC News reported was sent to some of her supporters from a Liberal worker in Ottawa stressing the party had no affiliation with the Emerys and it did not endorse the couple’s planned cross-country speaking tour.

    [ UPDATE (Jan. 17): Jodie Emery's bid to seek the Liberal nomination in the riding of Vancouver East was officially rejected after this article ran. She received the

    Read More »from Princess of pot: Liberals may not be keen on allowing activist to run in Vancouver riding
  • Richardson says he expects to see Trudeau face some challenges in 2015. (CP)Richardson says he expects to see Trudeau face some challenges in 2015. (CP)

    As the year draws to a close, Canada’s political pundits and pollsters once again prognosticate about the New Year.

    If history is any indication, you might not want to make any wagers based on their predictions: Over the past couple of years, they haven't been very good at forecasting political outcomes.

    With that in mind, we thought we’d thought we would leave the predicting business to the professionals — the psychics. (After all, they can’t do any worse, can they?)

    We contacted psychic medium Blair Robertson – an accomplished psychic whose past predictions have been featured by news outlets across North America – for his thoughts on the big political events of 2015.

    Robertson told Yahoo Canada News that he likens his political predictions to those of a weatherman: What he predicts isn't necessarily what he wants to see happen.

    Here’s what he sees happening over the next 12 months.

    Prediction 1: The Mike Duffy Trial

    Senator Mike Duffy speaks while in his vehicle outside a pet kennel in Kensington, P.E.I. (Reuters)Senator Mike Duffy speaks while in his vehicle outside a pet kennel in Kensington, P.E.I. (Reuters)

    Background: From April to June 2015, an Ontario court will

    Read More »from Psychic offers his predictions for Canadian politics in 2015
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves to the audience after performing with his band on Dec. 9, 2014. (Reuters)Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves to the audience after performing with his band on Dec. 9, 2014. (Reuters)

    They say the only survey that matters is the one on election day, but with Canada going to the polls next year, this is one the Conservative government should at least make note of – for better or for worse.

    A new poll suggests more Canadians think the country is going in the “wrong direction” than the right one, and doubt in Prime Minister Stephen Harper is high, though it has improved from this time last year.

    The Mood of Canada survey released by Nanos Research and the Institute for Research in Public Policy on Thursday is a mixed message for Harper’s team. While the confidence measures are low, they are up from last year and actually end a two-year slide.

    According to the survey, 45 per cent of Canadians feel the government’s performance in 2014 was “very poor” or “somewhat poor,” while 48 per cent of respondents say the country is going in the wrong direction. This compared to 37 per cent who say Harper’s performance is “very good” or “somewhat good” – an 11-point rise from 2013.

    Read More »from Harper's Conservatives make slight gains in approval ahead of election year
  • Partial view of NOW Magazine cover for the week of Dec. 17, 2014.Partial view of NOW Magazine cover for the week of Dec. 17, 2014.

    NOW Magazine, a free Toronto weekly, stood alongside fellow opponents of Canada’s new prostitution laws Wednesday, and stood by its decision to run sexual service ads despite the legal grey area they now fall into.

    A coalition of sex workers and civil rights activists gathered at the Ontario legislature on Wednesday to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and protest the laws enacted earlier this month.

    Opponents of the new laws are urging provincial leaders to oppose the recently-enacted changes, which they say criminalizes sex workers and includes a crackdown on advertising those services.

    The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act makes it illegal for a third party to advertise the sale of others’ sexual services. The government notes this could extend to publishers and website administrators.


    Related stories:

    What is and is not legal under Canada's new prostitution laws

    Prostitution: Perhaps no law would be the best law

    Canadians see

    Read More »from Toronto's NOW Magazine remains defiant in opposition to new prostitution laws

Pagination

(2,715 Stories)