• PM Harper rises in the House of Commons to vote for an air combat mission against ISIS on Tuesday. (CP)PM Harper rises in the House of Commons to vote for an air combat mission against ISIS on Tuesday. (CP)

    The official House of Commons debate over Canada’s mission to Iraq ended on Tuesday evening with the Conservative majority voting to join the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS. 

    The NDP voted against the motion citing a lack of clarity and no U.N or NATO resolution backing the mission. The Liberals, like the NDP, touted a more humanitarian role. 

    The question now turns to how those two parties should proceed. 

    [ Related: Airstrikes against IS force them to withdraw from parts of Syrian town ]

    The fact that Parliament is divided about going to war is a rarity in Canadian history.

    According to Duncan Cameron, the President of the left-wing online newspaper Rabble.ca, “Canada has not sent military into a war zone without support from the Official Opposition party in the House of Commons” ever before.

    "In World Wars I and II, Korea, all UN missions, the first Iraq war (1993), Afghanistan, and Libya," he wrote, "Canadian military action had bipartisan support. " 

    Internationally, there’s an

    Read More »from House of Commons division over ISIS mission a rarity in Canadian politics
  • Anti-abortion protesters place signs in a pile during the National March for Life on Parliament Hill. (Reuters)Anti-abortion protesters place signs in a pile during the National March for Life on Parliament Hill. (Reuters)

    An Alberta-based anti-abortion group is making no apologies for once again distributing graphic flyers in Calgary that were apparently seen and handled by young children.

    According to Metro News, some residents of a Calgary neighbourhood are fuming after some of their sons and daughters  including a large number at a daycare centre  picked up the postcard which included a Photoshopped image of Tory MP Michelle Rempel smiling over a gruesome image of a bloody fetus.

    "Politician Michelle Rempel supports abortion," notes the card produced and hand-delivered by the Canadian Centre for Bio Ethical Reform (CCBR).

    "And she wants to be your MP."

    We’re showing people what abortion looks like so they realize that what we’re talking about is a real human being that is being victimized. We’ve seen a tremendous response in that regard.
    —Jonathon Van Maren, Canadian Centre for Bio Ethical Reform

    The CCBR’s Jonathon Van Maren is adamant that his group, which has distributed over 300,000 of

    Read More »from Anti-abortion group defends itself over latest 'graphic' flyer featuring Tory MP
  • A man casts his vote for the 2011 federal election in Toronto in this May 2, 2011 photo. (Canadian Press)A man casts his vote for the 2011 federal election in Toronto in this May 2, 2011 photo. (Canadian Press)

    It won’t help decide the heated race in the upcoming Toronto election  but it could in 2018.

    The Ontario Liberals are making good on a campaign promise to give municipalities some new tools to supposedly enhance local democracy. 

    A spokesperson for Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin confirms that the Kathleen Wynne government will amend current legislation to give city governments the option of ranked ballots in future elections. 

    "As the Premier indicated in our ministry’s mandate letter, in the course of reviewing the Municipal Elections Act, we will provide municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections as an alternative to the first-past-the-post system, starting in 2018," Mark Cripps told Yahoo Canada News

    "This work will get underway following the elections on October 27."

    [Ranked ballot voting] means that no one has to vote strategically – you can vote with your heart each time. Runoff voting strongly discourages negative campaigning
    Read More »from Ranked ballot option coming to Ontario municipalities
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    Politicians usually have announcements to ... well ... actually announce something new, such as a run for public office. 

    Maybe that’s why former Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla’s weekend event is causing so much confusion. 

    On Saturday, Dhalla posted this note on to her Facebook page: 

    "Dear Friends and supporters … I would like to personally invite you for a special announcement I will be making tomorrow Sunday October 5, 2014 at 2pm sharp at Pearson Convention Center (boardrooms) located at Airport and Steeles. Please feel free to invite family and friends and pass this invite along to fellow team members! Your support is appreciated. I look forward to seeing you. Best Dr. Ruby Dhalla and team"

    According to CTV News, about 60 people showed up on Sunday for the event, only to hear Dhalla announce that she wouldn’t be running in the next federal election.

    "As she spoke, Dhalla was surrounded by posters which had the Liberal Party name blacked out," noted the CTV report.

    "When Dhalla

    Read More »from Ruby Dhalla says Liberals didn't tell her not to run in the next federal election
  • Earlier this year, a political pundit opined that Justin Trudeau was the leader that ‘Canadians wanted to date but weren’t sure if they wanted to marry.’

    In other words, they like him  as the opinion polls suggest  but have some reservations about handing him the keys to 24 Sussex Drive in 2015.

    If he's going to convince them to commit to a long-term relationship, this week could prove crucial.

    The House of Commons is debating whether Canada should send CF-18’s to to join the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS in Iraq, and to date, Trudeau’s performance on this file doesn’t instill much confidence.

    The biggest problem has been the flip-flops. Over the past several weeks  as clearly illustrated by the NDP here  the Liberals haven’t had a clear message about their position on airstrikes.

    Last week they said they couldn’t support a combat mission without a fulsome debate in the House of Commons. But then on Friday, Trudeau said outright that the Grits would not support airstrikes,

    Read More »from Debate over Canada's role in ISIS fight may prove a litmus test of Trudeau's leadership
  • Canada's Auditor General Michael Ferguson takes part in a news conference Nov. 26, 2013. (Reuters)Canada's Auditor General Michael Ferguson takes part in a news conference Nov. 26, 2013. (Reuters)

    Another attempt to open up the books of our members of parliament, and we hit another brick wall. 

    Earlier this year, Senator Percy Downe tabled a motion calling on the Senate to ask Auditor General Michael Ferguson “to conduct a comprehensive audit of House of Commons expenses, including Members’ expenses.”

    The motion was probably a stunt in response to the Auditor General’s audit of senator expenses. It would not have compelled Ferguson to take any action. It would just, as Downe suggested at the time, nudge the House to address public concerns about politicians’ expenses. 

    But, according to the Hill Times Tim Naumetz, the Tories are signalling that it will oppose the motion. 

    "[Conservative] Sen. Elizabeth Marshall argued that Sen. Downe’s motion is too sweeping, and attempts to set conditions on how and when Mr. Ferguson’s office would conduct an audit, which Sen. Marshall said would infringe on the independence of the auditor general," Naumetz wrote.

    "Despite a suggestion from

    Read More »from Is it time for Canada's MPs to be audited?
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. (Reuters)Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. (Reuters)

    On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke in the House of Commons to unveil his government’s plan to send up to six CF-18 fighters, one refueling tanker and two surveillance aircrafts to join several other countries in the U.S. led airstrikes over Iraq. 

    "Today we’re bringing forward a motion asking this House to confirm its confidence for a government decision to join our allies and partners…in launching airstrikes against ISIL," Harper said.

    "Let me be clear on the objectives of this intervention. We intend to significantly degrade the capabilities of ISIL. Specifically its ability to either engage in military movements of scale or to operate bases in the open.

    "One could say that while the mission is evidently necessary, we don’t have to be the ones doing it because others will. But Mr. Speaker, throughout our history that has never been the Canadian way to do only the most easy and praiseworthy of actions and to leave the tough things for others."

    Harper added that Canada

    Read More »from Prime Minister Harper announces plans for Canada to perform airstrikes against ISIS
  • A Canadian soldier looks at a CF-18 at Camp Fortin in Trapani, Italy. (Canadian Press)A Canadian soldier looks at a CF-18 at Camp Fortin in Trapani, Italy. (Canadian Press)

    Canada will go to war against ISIS in a combat role. 

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke in the House of Commons early Friday afternoon, unveiling his government’s plan to send CF-18 fighters, one air-to-air refueling tanker and two Aurora surveillance aircraft to join six other countries in the U.S. led airstrikes over Iraq. 

    In the motion, Harper said his government would lend support to airstrikes for a period of six months. There will be no troops on the ground as part of Canada's contribution.

    He also said that the government would be extending the deployment of the up to 69 military advisors to Iraq, of which 26 are currently on the ground.

    [ Related: Trudeau makes case for non-combat role in Iraq ahead of Commons debate ]

    Likely to the relief of the government, it looks like Harper has the overwhelming support of Canadians for its decisions. 

    If we’re going to contribute to a strategy that’s bound to fail because it can’t be successful in eliminating ISIS, but we’re
    Read More »from Canadians throw support behind airstrikes as Harper unveils combat role in Iraq
  • New data released by Ekos Research this week could prove to be a double whammy for the Harper Conservatives. 

    On Wednesday, Ekos released its latest federal vote intention poll: It states that support for the Tories is at a nine-year low.

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    "Not only would the government be in no position to aspire to repeat its 2011 success, it may not even achieve leader of the opposition with these numbers. While we find this scenario unlikely, the continued flagging of Conservative Party fortunes now renders this a real possibility,” Ekos CEO Frank Graves wrote in his analysis of the survey. 

    "The Liberal ascension under Justin Trudeau is no mere blip; it is a long, slow march. Secondly, the Conservative decline is no ephemeral blip caused by some controversy or wobble. It is a steady and grim decline along a straight line of descent. If this were an ECG, the prognosis would be pretty bleak."

    [ Related: How celebrity status still wins votes in Canadian politics ]

    While other pollsters don’t have

    Read More »from Canadian opinions shifting to the left in terms of social issues, new data suggests
  • Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks at a Canada2020 event in Ottawa on Thursday. (Canadian Press)Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks at a Canada2020 event in Ottawa on Thursday. (Canadian Press)

    Justin Trudeau says that Canada can do better than “trying to whip out our CF-18’s” and show the international community “how big they are.”

    The Liberal leader used his keynote address at the Canada 2020 conference on Thursday to spell out his party’s position with regard to Canada joining the U.S., the U.K. and others countries conducting airstrikes against ISIS over Iraq. 

    "The 2003 Iraq war was waged on false pretenses and flawed intelligence. It was a mission that destabilized the region, sewed further conflict, cost our allies three trillion dollars and cost thousands of people their lives," Trudeau said, reminding Canadians that Harper supported that war in Iraq. 

    "We know the Iraq fiasco haunts the choices we have to make today. But we cannot make the wrong decision now because the wrong decision was made then. 

    "Prime Minister Harper would have you believe that Canada’s best contribution to this effort is a handful of aging warplanes. I think Canadians have a lot more in them

    Read More »from Justin Trudeau makes case for non-combat role in Iraq ahead of Commons debate

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