• Should the federal government be doing more to close the gender gap in Canada?

    On Tuesday, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released it’s 2014 gender equality report, an annual analysis that captures the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world. 

    Canada ranked 19th out of 142 countries, and has actually improved in the rankings over the past few years.

    "Canada moves up one spot to 19th place, having closed 75 per cent of its overall gender gap, up from 74 per cent in 2013," notes the report.

    Looking further back to 2006, Canada has closed 4 per cent more of the gender gap than it had in 2006.”

    There are, however, some areas of concern. 

    Particularly, Canada ranks 27th in the world when it comes wage equality for similar work and 40th with regard to the percentage of female legislators, corporate executives and general managers. 

    According to a spokesperson for Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women Kellie Leitch, the government has made significant

    Read More »from Gender inequality: Canada ranks 19th of 142 countries around the globe
  • John Tory speaks to supporters after being elected as mayor in Toronto, October 27, 2014. (Reuters)John Tory speaks to supporters after being elected as mayor in Toronto, October 27, 2014. (Reuters)

    In politics, pundits and analysts like to give elected officials arbitrary milestones. 

    Sometimes, during an election campaign, politicians will promise change within 100 days; often the media will put out report cards at the end of that period.

    So, what can Toronto mayor-elect John Tory accomplish in his first 100 days in office? 

    In a victory speech on Monday, after beating out Doug Ford and Olivia Chow to earn the right to be the 65th mayor of Canada’s largest city, John Tory foreshadowed some of his first steps.  

    "Tonight, voters have sent a message that is abundantly clear. Voters want their elected officials to get down to work on the priorities that matter most to them," he said.

    "Better transit, more jobs, an end to the gridlock that is choking our streets.

    "And the electorate has spoken on one other issue: Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed city hall in the last few years."


    Full Coverage: Toronto Election 2014

    What went wrong for

    Read More »from What to expect from John Tory's first 100 days in office
  • Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow concedes defeat Monday night.Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow concedes defeat Monday night.

    It wasn’t suppose to happen this way for Olivia Chow. 

    On Monday, Chow placed third in Toronto’s mayoral election finishing with just 23 per cent support. 

    That’s certainly not what Chow expected when she resigned as an NDP Member of Parliament back in March, and instantly became the front-runner in this race.  

    For much of the early spring, she was ahead in the opinion polls as the anti-Rob Ford candidate and the one who was supposed to appeal to the average, blue-collar worker. 

    There doesn’t seem to be a single reason – a consensus, if you will – on why Torontonians soured on Chow. There are, however, several theories. 

    Chow’s ‘weak’ communication skills

    There are some in the media who have openly suggested that Chow’s speaking style played a key role in her electoral demise. 

    Essentially, some pundits suggest that Chow isn’t a strong communicator.

    Chow is campaigning in her second language. She came to Canada from Hong Kong when she was 13. She still speaks English with an

    Read More »from What went wrong for Olivia Chow?
  • image

    Human rights and refugee advocates in Canada are gearing up for another battle with the Harper government. 

    This time they’re angry at the Tories’ attempts to deny social assistance for refugee claimants. 

    Currently  under federal transfer payment regulations  provinces are not allowed to impose residency requirements for their welfare programs. 

    Last week, the House was scheduled to debate Bill C-585, Tory MP Corneliu Chisu’s private member bill, which if passed would amend those rules and allow provinces to bar asylum seekers from receiving benefits such as housing or other support services. 

    Now, according to the Canadian Press, text of Chisu’s bill has effectively found its way into the Tories’ omnibus budget bill, introduced in the House of Commons on Thursday. 

    Barring any major surprises, the bill will likely become law before Christmas. 

    [ Related: Should Canada accept more refugees?

    Even before the Tories’ decision to include Chisu’s bill in their omnibus budget bill,

    Read More »from New Harper government measure could restrict social assistance for asylum seekers
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper hugs the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Justin Trudeau. (AP)Prime Minister Stephen Harper hugs the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Justin Trudeau. (AP)

    The hug fest Thursday in the House of Commons, one day after a lone gunman stormed the Centre Block, probably marked a kumbaya high point in the normally fractious chamber.

    It was a perfectly natural emotional release. The MPs, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, had a close shave the day before as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau ran past their full caucus rooms before being cornered and killed outside the Commons library by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. They came together in their relief at being spared.

    But how long will it take before the attack, which claimed the life of a reservist guarding the nearby National War Memorial, becomes fodder for the parties’ campaign machinery heading into next October’s federal election?

    Veterans organizers of past national campaigns tell Yahoo Canada News it’s far too soon for anyone to exploit the incident to score political points.

    “I think everybody’s going to be extremely cautious in dealing with this in an overtly partisan way,” said Brad Zubyk,

    Read More »from After the post-attack 'kumbaya' moment, when will it be politics as usual in Ottawa?
  • Kathy Cirillo, the mother of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, reacts while following pallbearers. (Reuters)Kathy Cirillo, the mother of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, reacts while following pallbearers. (Reuters)

    What a difference a week can make. 

    Canadians now rank terrorism as the world’s most serious threat, according to a new poll released by Angus Reid on Friday. 

    The survey  conducted the same week as the deadly attacks on soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa  has 50 per cent of Canadians ranking terrorism and ISIS over other international concerns such as the Ebola outbreak, Russian aggression, climate change and the global economy.

    Question: Which of the following international issues do you yourself consider to be the most serious threats for the world today?


    Another interesting finding of the survey is that the majority of Canadians don’t have a lot of confidence in the RCMP, CSIS or local police “to prevent homegrown radicals from carrying out terrorist attacks in Canada.”

    "Slightly more than half (55 per cent) of respondents say they aren’t confident, with 41 (per cent) saying they’re ‘not very confident’ and 14 per cent saying they’re ‘not confident at all,’” notes the

    Read More »from Majority of Canadians not confident in Canada's security services ability to stop acts of terror: poll
  • Members of Parliament have a moment of silence in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014Members of Parliament have a moment of silence in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014

    'Let's bring back the War Measures Act.’

    That has been a common refrain on social media following this week's deadly attacks in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa. 

    The War Measures Act, which was first introduced during World War I, gave Canadian governments sweeping powers during times of war or insurrection. 

    It was last invoked by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1970 in reaction to two kidnappings by the terrorist group Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ). The legislation allowed authorities to suspend civil liberties and detain more than 400 people suspected of being involved in the so-called FLQ crisis.  

    The Act was repealed in 1988 and replaced by the Emergencies Act, which includes more legislative checks and balances and bars security officials from detaining or imprisoning people based on race, religion, national or ethnic origin. 

    Could something like that be used now? And more importantly, should it be?

    Related Stories:

    'You are so loved': Woman describes trying to save

    Read More »from Is it time to invoke the War Measures Act? Not so fast, say experts
  • Stephen Harper took to the airwaves on Wednesday night following the deadly shootings at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill. 

    In the televised address to the nation, the prime minister said that today’s events were a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere in the world. 

    "We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governments are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our value, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all," Harper said from an undisclosed location. 

    "But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact this will lead us to strengthen and re-double our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home. Just as it will lead us to strengthen our

    Read More »from Stephen Harper says "Canada will never be intimidated" after attack in Ottawa
  • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne increased minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne increased minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.
    The common refrain from Conservatives is that raising a minimum wage is a job killer. 

    Well, a new study pokes some pretty big holes into that theory. 

    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives  an Ottawa-based left-leaning think tank  reviewed minimum wage increases in all provinces from 1983 to 2012 and studied its affect on employment levels. 

    What they found was that, in 90 per cent of the cases, there was “no statistically significant relationship whatsoever between a higher minimum wage and labour market outcomes in Canada.”

    "In the overwhelming majority of cases, gradual increases in the minimum wage were not generative of negative labour market outcomes in Canadian provinces," notes the report. 

    "Most fundamentally, employers never purchase labour as an end to its own right. Employers hire workers in order to produce a good or service that is then sold into a product market.

    "The demand for labour is thus a derived demand, which depends entirely on the final demand for the

    Read More »from Increasing minimum wages may not lead to job losses after all, report suggests
  • Forces et Démocratie logo, via FacebookForces et Démocratie logo, via Facebook

    With so many other big stories in the news right now, one fairly important event seems to be getting brushed aside.

    While it may not seem significant today, it could have some serious ramifications for the 2015 federal election.

    On Tuesday, Quebec MPs Jean-François Fortin and Jean-François Larose have started a new political party called Forces et Démocratie.

    Fortin is a former Bloc Quebecois MP that has been sitting as an independent since last summer while Larose just defected from the NDP on Tuesday morning. 

    The FD intends to run candidates in all Quebec ridings in the next election, will push aside the sovereignty issue, will focus on grassroots politics and give party MPs much more power than the traditional parties. 

    Jean-Francois Fortin waits for the the announcement of the new Bloc Quebecois leader, on Dec. 11, 2011. (CP)Jean-Francois Fortin waits for the the announcement of the new Bloc Quebecois leader, on Dec. 11, 2011. (CP)

    For different reasons, the day’s events have to be of concern to both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP.

    The Bloc has been is disarray since Mario Beaulieu became the party’s leader last spring. Beulieu has become unpopuluar, both inside and outside his party

    Read More »from New political party Forces et Démocratie is bad news for the Bloc and NDP


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