• Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Chief Roger Redman in 2012

    By the end of the day, the Harper government's Bill requiring greater public transparency into the finances of First Nations communities will be enacted into law.

    Bill C-27 — dubbed the First Nations Financial Transparency Act — means that band councils under the Indian Act will now have to publish their leaderships' salaries and expenses on the Internet for all to see.

    Colin Craig from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says this day was a long time coming.

    "We’re ecstatic this bill has become law as we’ve pushed hard for it over the last three years," Craig said in a statement.

    "Plain and simple, aboriginal politicians should have to disclose their pay to the public just like all other politicians in the country. The federal government deserves praise for addressing this issue.

    "This legislation will help people on reserves hold their officials accountable."

    A 2010 report by the CTF suggests there were at least 30 band chiefs in Canada who were paid more than the average premier.

    Read More »from Bill forcing First Nations chiefs to disclose salaries becomes law
  • Justin Trudeau (Reuters)During her one and only election as Tory leader, former Prime Minister Kim Campbell said that an election campaign was a bad time to discuss policy.

    She was wrong.

    Justin Trudeau, however, is right not to lay out his detailed policies prior to winning the Liberal leadership next month.

    On Wednesday, the Canadian Press reported that Trudeau was sticking to his guns.

    [Trudeau] says a leadership campaign is not a time to put forward a platform that the party would try to sell for the next two years.

    He says it’s about gathering ideas to help develop that platform in time for the next federal vote.

    Leadership races are about displaying one's leadership qualities. They're about showing party members that their candidate can engage and excite the Canadian electorate. They're about putting forward a macro-vision of the country. Trudeau has done all that — very effectively.

    [ Related: How Joyce Murray could beat Justin Trudeau in the Liberal leadership race ]

    With regard to detailed

    Read More »from Is this Justin Trudeau’s Kim Campbell moment?
  • Social media gives politicians more direct access to reporters and the public. Plus they theoretically have a way to better control their messages. But does such tight control of messaging mean the general public is missing a key element of the conversation?

    On Wednesday evening, two distinct groups of experts will weigh the influence of social media on our political discourse. Does social media help strengthen the reliability of sources used by political reporters? How are politicians' images influenced by social interaction?

    The discussion will be hosted by the Canadian Journalism Foundation and Carleton University. The political reporters will debate the issue first, followed by the politicians. The discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. Join us below for what is sure to be a lively discussion!

    List of reporters:
    Glen McGregor, national reporter, Ottawa Citizen
    Kady O’Malley, journalist, CBC.ca's Inside Politics blog
    David Reevely, City Hall reporter, Ottawa Citizen
    Joanna Smith, political

    Read More »from Live Blog: How social media is changing politics and reporting
  • Liberal caucus giving Bob Rae a standing ovation in the House of CommonsAmid glowing tributes from the other parties, Wednesday marked Bob Rae's final caucus meeting and House sitting as interim Liberal leader.

    After almost two years in the post, Rae will step aside for the new leader to be named at an event in Ottawa on April 14th.

    As premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995, most would agree that Rae had a tarnished image. To this day, many decry his economic record as the NDP premier and chide him for being a political turncoat.

    But as Liberal leader, he served the party well.

    [ Related: Bob Rae suggests MPs dress like pandas for PM's attention ]

    Do two good years as Liberal leader erase his legacy as Ontario premier?

    We went to our expert panel for their opinions on Rae. Here's what they had to say.

    Warren Kinsella, Liberal insider, Sun News columnist:

    "He's been like many last-term presidents and Prime Ministers - when they're no longer seeking another term, they end up having their greatest accomplishments.

    I opposed him, openly and loudly, as

    Read More »from What is Bob Rae’s legacy?
  • Toronto Mayor Rob FordMany of us in the media have unhesitatingly piled-on the Rob Ford-bashing bandwagon over the past couple of years.

    He is, after all, an easy target: He's a somewhat unsympathetic figure and is the definition of gaffe-prone.

    I have to admit, however, that the Toronto Star story, published yesterday, about Ford's alleged alcohol problem made me a little uncomfortable.

    [ Related: Rob Ford supporters deny he has a drinking problem ]

    His morning press conference — where he was honouring boxing legend George Chuvalo — made me cringe.

    Some of the attacks against Ford have been warranted.

    The media certainly has a responsibility to report and comment on stories that affect City business: stories about policies, about his criticisms of the City staff and his numerous court battles are all fair game.

    But it seems the media has upped the ante when it comes to Toronto's mayor.

    Over the past there year, there have been stories about him chasing a reporter off his property and for climbing a

    Read More »from It’s time to leave Rob Ford alone
  • Stephen HarperIs Stephen Harper losing control of his caucus?

    A handful of Conservative backbenchers are speaking-out this week about being muzzled by party leadership.

    The backlash seems to emanating from last week's apparent muting of MP Mark Warawa's non-binding motion that would have Parliament condemn the practice of babies being aborted because of their sex.

    On Tuesday, Warawa also complained to the Speaker — with the backing of two other Tory MPs — about the Conservatives not allowing him to make a 'member's statement' in the House last week.

    A CBC report claims that some Tory MPs are upset with the"heavy-handed tactics on the part of the Conservative leadership."

    "There has been predominantly informal discussion about what is, or what is not, our rights, and MPs have to decide what's wrong and what's right, and what our rights are," said one Conservative MP, who requested anonymity.

    The MPs haven't gone as far as to set out other specific actions in protest, but "there has been discussion

    Read More »from Backbench Conservative MPs ‘rebel’ against PM’s control
  • The Rob Ford camp is in defence mode after the Toronto Star published a story on Tuesday suggesting that the mayor of Canada's most populous city has a serious drinking problem.

    The newspaper chronicled a February 23rd gala dinner — celebrating Canada's military — where Ford was asked to leave because organizers were concerned he was impaired.

    Ford arrived late to the cocktail and dinner event. He was speaking in a rambling, incoherent manner that alarmed some of the guests, according to organizers, military reservists and a prominent Ottawa conservative who were interviewed for this story. Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie, a strong Ford ally, confirmed to the Star that Ford was asked to leave.

    This is second time within a month that Ford's 'state of being' at a public event has been questioned.

    Two weeks ago, former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson claimed she was groped by an "out of it" Rob Ford at a party, adding that the mayor made comments suggesting he wanted to have an affair

    Read More »from Rob Ford supporters deny that Toronto mayor has a drinking problem
  • NDP candidate Matt Toner and his dog coats

    Throughout the country, we're starting to see an increasing number of electoral ridings which primarily consist of apartments and condos.

    So how does a candidate campaign in such a riding, where he can't put up lawn signs and can't even get into the buildings to 'door-knock'?

    [ More Political Points: Cabinet minister tells student that she’ll “make a wonderful wife” ]

    Matt Toner, an NDP candidate for the upcoming provincial election in British Columbia, has a unique idea: dog signs.

    Toner, who is running in the downtown Vancouver riding of False Creek, is giving away orange dog jackets with the NDP logo and his name written on them.

    He said he came up with the idea last summer.

    "This is a riding without lawn signs. There are no lawns to put signs on. So it comes to how do you reach these people," Toner told Yahoo! Canada News.

    "I live downtown, I live in these buildings and the only time I see my neighbours is when I'm out walking my dog."

    False Creek and especially the trendy

    Read More »from B.C. election campaign going to the dogs: candidate introduces dog signs
  • Conservative MP Keith AshfieldA Conservative cabinet minister made what some are suggesting was a sexist comment, last Friday, when he told a high school student that she'll "make a wonderful wife for somebody."

    Here's a description of the event as chronicled by CBC News:

    In Fredericton, MP and federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, invited the media to a staged family conversation about the budget with Roland and Gina Moreno and their two daughters.

    It was an opportunity to highlight the government's emphasis on training young people for jobs the economy needs, but things went awkwardly off-script at the start as Ashfield sampled baked goods and chatted with eldest daughter Grace Moreno, a local high school student leader.

    "Grace, you're a great cook," Ashfield said. "You're going to make a wonderful wife for somebody."

    Political analyst Lisa Kirbie was the first to call-out Ashfield on Sunday evening on her website.

    "In what universe is it acceptable to tell a young woman that she’s going to make someone a

    Read More »from Conservative cabinet minister tells high school student that she’ll “make a wonderful wife”
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks at one of two Panda bears that arrived at Pearson International airport in Toronto March 25, 2013.
    It seems to be silly season in Canada today.

    The country is going gaga over panda bears while anti-Conservatives are using it as an excuse to chide Stephen Harper.

    On Monday morning, the PMO made a huge spectacle of the prime minister and his wife welcoming the delivery of two panda bears on loan to Canada from China in an apparent show of diplomacy.

    [ Related: Roll out the red carpet: Giant pandas touchdown in Toronto ]

    Some took to Twitter to somehow connect 'panda day' with Harper not meeting with the premiers since 2009 — despite requests from the first ministers.

    It's simply illogical.

    Read More »from Is Stephen Harper choosing pandas over premiers?

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