• Stephen Harper speaks to media (CP file photo)A former Conservative staffer has written a scathing op-ed article asking the Prime Minister to come clean about the Senate expense scandal or resign as party leader.

    In the column published in the Ottawa Citizen, David Sachs — who worked for former cabinet ministers Lawrence Cannon and Peter Kent — says that Stephen Harper is putting Conservatives like him in an "ethical bind."

    The conservative mindset understands that power tends to corrupt. How far will we let it corrupt us? I have been involved in party work for more than a decade and I call on other party members to demand answers, or resignation from our leader.

    Some of the prime minister’s key people have conspired to undermine Senate investigations, to influence a third-party financial audit and ultimately to pay off a senator, all, in tragic irony, to maintain an illusion of party ethics. The prime minister has, in the kindest interpretation, hidden the full truth.

    Is that acceptable to you, as a Canadian and a Conservative?


    Read More »from Former Conservative staffer asks Stephen Harper to come clean or resign
  • Kudos to the Ottawa Citizen's Zev Singer for discovering this U.S. real estate blog about a fictitious listing for 24 Sussex — the official residence of Canada's prime minister.

    "Enjoy the natural splendor of Ottawa from this majestic manor built for a prime minister," notes the descriptor.

    "You'll have ample space for your family with 34 rooms, including formal dining room, sun room, executive office, and library."

    [ More Politics: Four troubling findings in the Auditor General’s semi-annual report ]

    The value of the residence — according to MovotoBlog — is approximately $7.5 million.

    And, while the listing is fake, it appears that the group did their homework.

    In looking for comparable properties in order to find its approximate price, I made sure to look for other huge mansions of houses with gardens, a pool, and acres of land. And you know, this wasn’t exactly difficult to do in Ottawa.

    After adding up the square feet in eight large homes in the area, many of which had pools and lots of

    Read More »from PM Stephen Harper’s residence valued at $7.5 million
  • Auditor General Michael Ferguson.

    The good news for the Conservatives is that Tuesday's report from the Auditor General could help distract voters — and the opposition parties — from the ongoing Senate expense scandal.

    The bad news for the Tories is, well, the report's startling lack of positive assessments.

    Auditor General Michael Ferguson's semi-annual report focuses on government performance in areas such as border safety, rail safety, food-recall, shipbuilding and offshore banking.

    Here are some of the highlights that Canadians might find concerning:

    Border Safety

    The Auditor-General warns that individuals who pose a risk to Canadians' safety and security have succeeded in entering the country illegally thanks to lax border controls.

    Specifically, the auditor general examined 34 cases of travellers coming into Canada in February 2013 who were flagged for secondary inspection upon arrival (also known as lookouts). The report notes that Canada Border Services Agency failed to examine five of the 34 individuals — four of

    Read More »from Four troubling findings in the Auditor General’s semi-annual report
  • The Liberals are the big winners while the Tories did better than most expected in light of the ongoing Senate expense scandal.

    That's the early narrative from four federal byelections held on Monday.

    Justin Trudeau's Liberals have won two out of the four seats and bettered their popular vote — in each riding — in comparison to the 2011 election.

    The Tories also retained their two seats but lost support in each riding.

    Bourassa (Quebec):

    - Results: Emmanuel Dubourg (LPC) 48.1 per cent; Stephane Moraille (NDP) 31.6 per cent; Daniel Mailhot (BQ) 12.9 per cent

    - Incumbent: Denis Coderre (LPC)

    - Results from 2011 election: LPC: 40.9 per cent; NDP: 32.3 per cent; BQ: 16.1 per cent; CPC: 8.8 per cent

    Toronto Centre (Ontario):

    - Results: Chrystia Freeland (LPC) 49.1 per cent; Linda McQuaig (NDP) 36.2 per cent; Geoff Pollock (CPC) 9.0 per cent

    - Incumbent: Bob Rae (LPC)

    - Results from last election: LPC: 41.0 per cent; NDP: 30.2 per cent; CPC: 22.6 per cent

    Brandon-Souris (Manitoba):

    - Results: Larry

    Read More »from Tories retain two seats but suffer big loss in voter support on byelection Monday
  • Do byelections matter?

    On Monday night — after Elections Canada announces the results of four federal byelections — we'll hear two very different answers to the question: Do byelections matter?

    The winners will tell us that they do. They'll say that they're a harbinger for a general election — a referendum on the government, if you will.

    The losers will invariably have a different spin: They'll say we should pay little attention to the results — that byelections are unique in that they give voters the opportunity to cast a protest vote and are sometimes dependent on local issues and star candidates.

    So, which narrative should we believe?

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

    [ Related: Can Justin Trudeau continue his winning ways on byelection Monday? ]

    According to the latest Forum Research byelection poll, the Tories are poised to retain their seat in Provencher (Manitoba), while the Liberals will keep their seats in Bourassa (Quebec) and Toronto Centre (Ontario). The NDP is

    Read More »from Do byelections matter?
  • You can count Canada on the list of countries that are not convinced about the efficacy of this weekend's historic nuclear deal in the Middle East.

    Early Sunday, the so-called P5 (the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and the U.K.) signed an agreement with Iran that provides that country with about $7-billion in relief from international sanctions in exchange for Iran's promise to curb expansion of its uranium enrichment program and its Arak reactor.

    It's a short-term deal: giving the two sides six months to come up with a more comprehensive solution.

    U.S. President Barack Obama called it an important first step.

    "There are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran's most likely paths to a bomb," the President said during a late Saturday night press conference.

    "[If] Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the [sanctions] relief, and ratchet up the pressure."


    Read More »from Canada 'deeply skeptical' about historic nuclear deal with Iran: John Baird
  • Justin Trudeau in the boxing ring (CP file photo)Monday is byelection day in Canada: voters in four ridings head to the polls to elect new members of Parliament.

    If the opinion polls are any indication, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's impressive winning streak will continue.

    Trudeau, as it happens, hasn't had many losses in the past couple of years.

    There was the charity boxing match in 2012 against former Conservative — now independent — Senator Patrick Brazeau. There are some who actually believe that Trudeau's victory there propelled his profile and helped to launched his successful leadership bid.

    Then there was the leadership race in 2013: although the outcome was never really in doubt, Trudeau withstood attacks from his rivals who questioned his lack of experience and shortage of concrete ideas.

    In May of this year, Trudeau helped buoy his party to a victory over the Conservatives in a byelection in Labrador. As explained by Sun News' David Akin, that was the first byelection, out of 20 by-elections since 2006, where the Tories lost

    Read More »from Can Justin Trudeau continue his winning ways on byelection Monday?
  • Dana LarsenWith just two weeks left to collect signatures in a 'decriminalize marijuana' petition drive in British Columbia, organizers say that they still have a long way to go but are remaining optimistic.

    Under B.C.'s ballot initiative system, organizers need 10 per cent of registered voters — in every single one of BC’s 85 electoral ridings — to sign the petition which would force the provincial government to call a referendum on the issue. That's 400,000 names and they only had 90 days to it.

    Sensible B.C. Lead organizer Dana Larsen told Yahoo Canada News that so far they only have approximately 150,000 names.

    "We always knew we were going to be getting most of them in the last part of the campaign. We knew this would be about building momentum. We started with only 1,400 canvassers. We've tripled that number to over 4,200 people who are registered to collect signatures," he said on Wednesday.

    "In the last seven days, we got about 50,000 signatures delivered into the office which is more than

    Read More »from B.C. marijuana petitioners face uphill battle in final two weeks of decriminalization campaign
  • Lucien Bouchard (YouTube)As a politician, Lucien Bouchard was a force to be reckoned with: the former Quebec premier was feisty, passionate and often intimidating.

    Apparently, it wasn't always that way.

    In a new YouTube video — produced by an anti-bullying organization in Quebec — Bouchard talks about being bullied as a child.

    "I’m not only speaking theoretically, I also lived it during my childhood," Bouchard says in French, according to the Canadian Press.

    "I know what it’s like to be bullied by someone much older and much stronger.

    "Bullying is a social problem. We must convince one and all that it’s an unacceptable way to act in society."

    [ Related: Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard is also against the values charter ]

    In an interview with La Presse, Bouchard went into more detail.

    "Black eyes, a bloody mouth, it was serious," he said, according to the National Post.

    "I was humiliated by those who were settling scores with the kids at the head of the class."

    The video coincides with National Anti-bullying Week

    Read More »from Former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard says he was a victim of bullying
  • Saskatchewan RoughridersWith all the political scandals happening right now — Rob Ford in Toronto, corruption in Quebec, the Senate mess in Ottawa, et cetera— it's kind of refreshing to have a politician stick-up for the Average Joe.

    On Tuesday, NDP MP Glenn Thibeault did just that introducing a private member's bill that would ban television blackouts for live sporting events held in venues that have been constructed with the help of public financing.

    The text of the bill — Bill C-552: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act — is really straightforward and succinct.

    This enactment amends the Broadcasting Act to prohibit the blackout of sports events being held in venues that have received a subsidy or tax relief from the federal government or from a provincial or municipal government.

    "Whether it’s NHL hockey or CFL football, Canadian tax dollars have been used to help construct stadiums and arenas that house professional sports franchises," Thibeault said as part of a press release.

    "It’s only fair that these

    Read More »from NDP MP introduces bill to ban TV blackouts of sporting events


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