Foreign Minister John Baird will lead an official delegation to Ukraine later this week. As the government said, the delegation will include community leaders and Parliamentarians but, as we learned today, none of those Parliamentarians will be New Democrats or Liberals. How come, we asked Jason MacDonald, the communication director for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His answer: Continue reading PMO slams opposition on Ukraine. Slams. Really Slams.
Well, at first blush, I’d say bravo to the Independent Senate Liberal Caucus — the group of Senators, many of them lifelong torchbearers for the Liberal Party of Canada, who were told a month ago they could not longer be part of the same Parliamentary caucus as party leader Justin Trudeau and the elected Liberal parliamentarians.
This group, known as the Independent Senate Liberal Caucus, today put forward their first initiatives to try out their new freedom from the elected caucus. Now, I disagreed with Trudeau’s decision and one of the reasons I did is because senators who are members of a Parliamentary caucus are at least nominally answerable to an elected member of Parliament, i.e. the party leader, and so, if Canadians wish to hold a senator or a group of senators to account for their actions, they can, in theory, do so through that elected leader. Continue reading Independent Liberal Senators take their new freedom out for a spin
We start on February 6, where Butt rises in the House of Commons during Question Period to say he has personally witnessed what amounts to serious election fraud (my emphasis):
Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a bit about this vouching system again. I know the minister represents an urban city. I am from a semi-urban area of Mississauga, where there are many high-rise apartment buildings. On mail delivery day when the voter cards are delivered to community mailboxes in apartment buildings, many of them are discarded in the garbage can or the blue box. I have actually witnessed other people picking up the voter cards, going to the campaign office of whatever candidate they support and handing out these voter cards to other individuals, who then walk into voting stations with friends who vouch for them with no ID.
Then, a couple of hours later, also in the House of Commons, Butt rises again to say (my emphasis again): Continue reading Conservative MP Brad Butt: Makin' it up in the House of Commons
Last Thursday, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau taped an appearance on the popular television program Tout le monde en parle and that interview aired Sunday night.
You can watch the 15-minute segment here.
At around the 11-minute mark, an exchange takes place in which Trudeau is asked his views of the situation in the Ukraine. Continue reading Transcript: Trudeau's "joke" about Ukraine + apology
With just a few weeks to go until the end of Ottawa’s current fiscal year (March 31), the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s latest review of the government’s latest spending plan [pdf] concludes the federal government will spend about $259.9 billion this year or just 0.3% more than it spent in fiscal 2013.
And yet, the PBO believes that spending should have been higher as the government made, but did not follow through on, several spending commitments: Continue reading PBO: On austerity, size of the civil service, and computers
Tonight on my program, Battleground on Sun News Network, I talk to the last Liberal finance minister the country has known, Ralph Goodale about some of the issues I raise in my weekend newspaper column.
The video here was released today by the Liberal Party of Canada. It’s just over 7 minutes an in it, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau uses charts and figures to present his diagnosis of what’s wrong with Canada’s economy.
Laval University economist Stephen Gordon watched it and had these thoughts: Continue reading Trudeau on the economy. Economists on Trudeau
Was Jim Flaherty benched during Question Period after suggesting his party might back away from a 2011 platform promise on income splitting? Flaherty said next to nothing in Wednesday’s Question Period, the first one following the tabling of his budget on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the PM took an unprecedented number of questions. And the first minister to follow Harper was Employment MInister Jason Kenney, who, after Flaherty had backed away from the income splitting commitment had loudly affirmed that commitment to reporters.
Today, Flaherty was in the House answering questions — on income splitting, of course — and stuck to a very particular phrase, the same phrase Harper would stick to at an event near Toronto. (Harper was not in the House today.) Conservative sources are telling reporters, including me, that Harper and Flaherty both believe that their campaign commitment of 2011 now needs a re-think. Fine. Still don’t understand why Question Period unfolded in such an odd way yesterday.
So I looked back at all of the 10 Question Periods which immediately followed the tabling of a budget. Turns out Flaherty played a central role in them only a handful of times and in fact, missed 5 post-budget QPs. Here’s the tale of the tape: Continue reading Flaherty and his post-budget QP performance:The record
Conservatives, if you ask them, believe, above all else, in smaller government. U.S. conservative Grover Norquist once said government should be small enough you could strangle it in a bathtub, a line I’ve heard repeated by Canadian Conservatives.
But often enough, the rhetoric of these conservatives does not match what nominally conservative governments do in office. Case in point: The current Conservative Party of Canada government in Ottawa, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his finance minister Jim Flaherty.
Prime Minister Harper has overseen the worst economic growth since R.B. Bennett in the Great Depression. 1/2
— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) February 7, 2014
It may not be a fair comparison but Justin Trudeau’s tweet is at least accurate.
The country has had two prime ministers from Calgary and each man’s tenure coincided with the two worst economic recessions of the last century.