• NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair in the House of CommonsPresident George H.W. Bush didn't actually keep his 1988 campaign promise of "no new taxes" but it did help him win the election.

    Maybe the same thing will happen to Thomas Mulcair?

    According to The Telegram, the NDP leader was in Newfoundland on Wednesday and was asked how a NDP government would pay for the all the promises that they've been making.

    “You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he said, adding quickly that they most definitely won’t.

    “I am categorical on that,” he said. “Several provinces are now at the 50 per cent rate. Beyond that, you’re not talking taxation; you’re talking confiscation. And that is never going to be part of my policies, going after more individual taxes. Period. Full stop.”

    He said the NDP would spend money on different things, and the NDP would make cuts, but they would be better cuts.

    “Yes, you can order your priorities differently. Yes, there is enough money there,” he said. “This is the type of thing that has to be done with a scalpel. They’re

    Read More »from Despite growing list of promises, Thomas Mulcair says NDP wouldn’t raise taxes
  • John Baird giving a speech at the UNIt's difficult to get a majority of Canadians to agree on anything political these days.

    Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case with a right-leaning group's anti-gay attack against Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

    A statement released on Wednesday, by an organization called REAL Women of Canada, suggests that Baird is trying to "further his own perspective on homosexuality" for his proactive defence of gay rights on the international stage.

    "Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, has abused his position as a cabinet minister to impose his own special interests in the foreign countries of Uganda, Kenya and Russia," the statement read.

    "He awarded $200,000 of Canadian taxpayers’ money by way of the Department of Foreign Affairs to special interest groups in Uganda and Kenya to further his own perspective on homosexuality. He also insulted the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, at a meeting of the International Parliamentary Union in Quebec City when he criticized

    Read More »from Right-wing women’s group slams John Baird for gay rights stance, everyone else comes to his defence
  • In this Feb. 28, 2010, photo, Sidney Crosby leaps in the air in celebration after scoring the game-winning goal in the men's gold medal ice hockey game against the U.S.
    Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a growing chorus of voices calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi because of the Russian government's stance on homosexuality.

    The worldwide outcry is particularly in response to new laws that would allow Russian authorities to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or pro-gay.

    Some are not just calling for a boycott — there's about 66,000 people (as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday) who have signed a petition asking the International Olympics Committee to relocate the Games to Vancouver.

    To:
    Jacques Rogge, President - International Olympics Commmittee (IOC)

    Please relocate the 2014 Winter Games to Vancouver

    In 2010 they successfully held the games. The facilities are already in place and can be made, with support, ready in the limited time period to host another games.

    We appreciate your efforts in requesting Russia allow gay athletes to compete at the games, but this is not enough. The very

    Read More »from Petition to relocate 2014 Olympics to Vancouver reaches 66,000 signatures
  • Temporary foreign worker (file photo)"Cosmetic."

    That's what the NDP are calling the Harper government's latest changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), announced Wednesday.

    The new rules — which took effect July 31 — essentially require applicant companies to double the length and reach of their advertising efforts for Canadian employees before they can seek foreigners.

    They will also be restricted to identifying only English and French as a job requirement except in rare circumstances.

    Moreover, employers seeking foreign workers will have to pay $275 per application which pays for the processing cost of a federal Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

    The changes are in response to a public outcry about the program after revelations of abuses were publicized.

    Last year, it was learned that a mining company in B.C. planned to import 200 Chinese miners. And in April, a CBC story revealed Royal Bank employees were being forced to train foreign workers who were set to replace them oversees.

    [ Related: Canada growing dependent

    Read More »from NDP says new rules for Temporary Foreign Worker Program won’t curb abuses
  • Maygan Sensenberger.Here's a true but maybe crude fact: Our 'beloved' senators will continue to cost taxpayers money even long after they're gone.

    On Tuesday, we learned that 70 year old Liberal Senator Rod Zimmer is retiring from the upper chamber, effective immediately, because of health reasons.

    Not surprisingly, most stories about his retirement included significant commentary about Zimmer's wife, Maygan Sensenberger, an attractive young woman who is 46 years his junior.

    [ Related: Rod Zimmer, Liberal senator with young bride Maygan Sensenberger, resigns for health reasons ]

    Well, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation — as they are a wont to do — calculated Zimmer's pension for the public to see.

    This time they went a little further, however. They calculated Sensenberger's benefits.

    Appointed by Paul Martin in 2005, Zimmer will collect an annual, indexed to inflation pension of $31,601. The law that regulates Senator and MP pensions provides that in the event of their death, their surviving spouse will continue

    Read More »from $532,568:Taxpayer watchdog calculates pension benefit of Senator Rod Zimmer’s young wife
  • Senator Mac HarbIt's seems you can 't go more than two or three days this summer without stumbling across another shameful Senate story.

    The Canadian Press is now reporting that former Liberal — now independent — Senator Mac Harb could be dealing with yet another scandal.

    CP claims that Harb borrowed $55,000 from a company owned by Brian Karam — an Ottawa-based lawyer who has done business with the federal government — to pay back a portion of his improperly claimed living expenses.

    The Criminal Code states that government officials cannot accept an “advantage or benefit” of money from someone who deals with the federal government without first getting written permission.

    That part of the Criminal Code is one of the reasons why the RCMP is investigating Harb’s Senate colleague Mike Duffy, who accepted $90,000 from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, to cover his own improper housing claims.

    According to CP, the Senate "refuses to say" whether or not Harb obtained permission

    Read More »from With Wallin audit complete, Senator Mac Harb could be in more hot water
  • 24 Sussex Drive, the offical residence of Canada's prime minister
    Remember that story from a couple of years ago about 24 Sussex — the prime minister's official residence — being in need of significant repairs?

    Well, according to Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen, things have gotten worse and will continue to worsen until the Harpers move out so improvements can be made.

    The NCC has been trying to find a suitable second home for the prime minister since 2008, when then-auditor general Sheila Fraser said renovations to the heritage property were urgently required.

    The overhaul would require “the residents,” as the NCC calls them, to move out of the home for about 18 months.

    ...the Prime Minister’s Office has consistently maintained that Harper and his family find 24 Sussex “adequate to their needs” and have no plans to vacate.

    24 Sussex sits on 3.98 acres of land and includes the 34 room residence and four other buildings. Only 20 per cent of the main building is the actual private residence.

    According to billing records obtained by McGregor, costs for

    Read More »from Harper family continues to live at 24 Sussex, stalling urgent renovations
  • Canadian Senator Rod Zimmer leaves Provincial Court in Saskatoon, Sask., Wednesday, August 29, 2012.Liberal Senator Rod Zimmer is retiring from the upper chamber effective immediately.

    According to the Canadian Press, Zimmer, 70, tendered his resignation last week on the advice of his doctor.

    Zimmer has been in and out of hospital several times this year, most recently in May with a respiratory ailment.

    Prior to being appointed to the Senate, he was diagnosed in 2003 with throat cancer, but bounced back.

    Zimmer — who was appointed to the Senate by Paul Martin in 2005 to represent Manitoba — made headlines last year for a strange story involving his 23-year-old bride Maygan Sensenberger.

    Sensenberger was arrested in late August after the crew of an Air Canada flight accused her of causing a ruckus, uttering threats against her husband and threatening to take down the plane.

    She received a 12-month suspended sentence with one-year probation for the disturbance.

    [ Related: Senator’s wife makes her film debut in bizarre online short ]

    Her husband's resignation means that the Senate now has four

    Read More »from Rod Zimmer, Liberal senator with young bride Maygan Sensenberger, resigns for health reasons
  • Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau in Fight for the Cure 2012The organizers of last year's Justin Trudeau versus Patrick Brazeau charity boxing match are planning another for 2014.

    "We are looking to do another [Fight for the Cure], but we're only at the beginning stages," FFTC's Robert Imbeault told Yahoo! Canada News in an email exchange last week.

    "We usually ramp it up in September to get the competitors trained by March-April. No one on the list yet, but well take suggestions."

    Political Points is happy to oblige. After all, last year's event — which Trudeau won — raised $230,000 for cancer research.

    We went to our expert political panel for some suggestions.

    Vancouver-based political analyst and radio host Alex Tsakumis suggests that Trudeau should defend his crown against Conservative MP Peter MacKay. And if MacKay doesn't want to fight the Liberal leader, Tsakumis says that he will.

    Right leaning political consultant Gerry Nicholls offered an all-Senate card of Senators Marc Harb and Mike Duffy as his suggestion.

    "Loser leaves town," Nicholls

    Read More »from Organizers of Brazeau/Trudeau boxing match looking for new crop of political pugilists
  • Senator Mike DuffyAnother journalist is making the jump to politics.

    Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig announced on Monday that she will be running for the nomination for the federal New Democrats in Toronto Centre, the seat vacated by Bob Rae.

    "I’ve dedicated my professional life to writing and speaking publicly about issues that I care about deeply – countering income inequality and the austerity agenda, protecting and enhancing our public programs, tackling climate change and other environmental threats, and returning Canada to a constructive role in the world," she wrote in a media release.

    "I now want to move from advocacy to action. After years as an observer and critic, I want to join a team actively fighting to build a Canada that is equal, inclusive and responsible – a Canada that is seriously under threat by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government."

    Incidentally, the battle for Toronto Centre — in a byelction that is yet to be called — could be a battle of ex-journos.

    McQuaig will initially

    Read More »from Do journalists make for good politicians?

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