77 votes to become pope: Scola, Scherer, Ouellet leading the pack?

It’s election day — e-day – at the Vatican! The 115 cardinal-electors will enter the Conclave in the Sistine Chapel at 4:30  pm Rome time/1130 am Toronto time where — if they choose to — they will hold their first round of voting for pope. I say, “if they choose to” because they do have the option of putting off the first vote until Wednesday morning. Some here think it’s a possibility though an unlikely one.

Assuming there is a vote — and there will be only one round balloting today — the smoke signals announcing the result will likely waft to the heavens at about 8 pm Rome time/3 pm Eastern. Now, that’s the expectation for the timing of the first smoke signal but there is no hard-and-fast schedule. I will be on “smoke watch” here in Rome from about 5:30 pm (Rome time) onwards. Continue reading 77 votes to become pope: Scola, Scherer, Ouellet leading the pack?

A Pope from Toronto? Sizing up conclave politics

Cardinal Thomas Collins
ROME – Cardinal Thomas Collins laughs with Canadian reporters outside his church in Rome, San Patrizio on Sunday, March 10. Collins is one of three Canadian cardinals who will enter the conclave Tuesday at the Vatican to select a new pope. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)

The Maple Leafs, Rob Ford and – the Pope?

Don’t look now, but the city Canadians love to hate has an outside chance to be the hometown of the Holy Father to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Granted, Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, 66, is a long-shot to win the two-thirds majority of his 115 fellow cardinals when they enter the conclave here Tuesday to begin the process to select a successor to Benedict XVI. But he has attracted some notice among the international press here who have him in the second-tier group of potential popes.

As for the man himself, he’s just happy to be a witness to one of the most historic papal elections ever. Continue reading A Pope from Toronto? Sizing up conclave politics

Stompin' Tom Connors: Icon of Canada, dead at 77

Stompin’ Tom Connors has passed away at the age of 77 in Peterborough, Ont. I just got off the phoen with Brian Edwards, Tom’s promoter of 25 years. Brian says Tom passed on at about 5 pm ET today, surrounded by family and friends. There was no precipitating illness at the end. “He just wore out,” said Edwards. On March 13, a memorial is scheduled at the Peterborough Memorial Centre, the same place where the Peterborough Petes play “that good ol’ hockey game”, but Edwards says it’ll be more of a celebration of life than anything else. “It’s very rare you can work with someone who’s got fans from 4 to 104,” Edwards said. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Lena, his 2 sons, 2 daughters and his grandchildren. God bless.

You can read Stompin’ Tom’s dying letter to his fans and to Canada right here:

Continue reading Stompin' Tom Connors: Icon of Canada, dead at 77

PM, Official Opposition (Rabble.ca) react to Chavez death

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CARACAS, Venezuela – The hearse carrying the coffin of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez makes its way to the Military Academy amid thousands of supporters, on March 6, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/Juan Barreto)

Reaction in Ottawa to the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper in an e-mail statement: Continue reading PM, Official Opposition (Rabble.ca) react to Chavez death

Cardinal Acknowledges Sexual Misconduct

On the eve of the first meeting of the cardinals in the sede vacant, there is this:

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, acknowledged Sunday that he had been guilty of sexual misconduct … Cardinal O’Brien, the head of the church in Scotland, is the highest-ranking figure in the church’s recent history to make such an admission.

via Cardinal Keith O’Brien Acknowledges Sexual Misconduct – NYTimes.com.

and the more scathing report in London’s Daily Mail:
Gay sex rings, ‘The Filth’ corrupting the Vatican…and why the Pope REALLY quit

BC Liberals issue press release telling Clark to step down

Vikram Bajway, B.C. Liberal
B.C. Liberal Party member Vikram Bajwa (Handout photo)

Any Parliamentary Press Gallery journalist who has been around for a few years can tell you that federal Liberals can be a vicious bunch although they usually prefer sticking the knives into their opponents under the cloak of anonymity — the “senior Liberal source” you’ve no doubt read a lot about.

It’s refreshing then to see that, in B.C. politics, those who would stick the knives into members of their own party are not only not anonymous, they actually issue press releases with photos! Continue reading BC Liberals issue press release telling Clark to step down

Canadian MPs meet Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi

Parliamentarians meet Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma
(Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade / Click on picture for bigger version)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has just released some photos of a recent trip by a Canadian Parliamentary delegation to Burma and here’s a neat one, as the group meets one of the world’s most famous women, Aung San Suu Kyi.
DFAIT did not provide the names of everyone in this photo but I know a few of them so here’s my best guess at who’s who. Continue reading Canadian MPs meet Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi