Harper gets questions. Two of them. Here’s how they were picked.

- February 10th, 2015
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PMO handout photo

Last night at about 7:30 pm on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement to reporters and then allowed us to ask a couple of questions.

The PMO restricted the Canadian reporters present — about 15 of us — to a total of two questions, one of which would be put to him in French and one in English. No follow-ups. For years now, this has been the standard operating procedure for “media avails” when this PM hosts a foreign leader. Two questions. No followups. Read more…

Grits on the rise in Western Manitoba?

- February 1st, 2015
Trudeau and Dinsdale

BRANDON, Man. – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (left) campaigns in a November, 2013 byelection with his party’s candidate Rolf Tinsdale. Tinsdale would lose a squeaker to Conservative Larry Maguire in a race that should have been an easy win for the Tories. (This photo was taken by Shaun Cameron and can be found at Justin Trudeau’s Flickr Feed: flickr.com/justintrudeau)

By all accounts, the November, 2013 byelection in the southwestern Manitoba riding of Brandon-Souris should never have been as close as it was. And yet, there was a punk rocker who’d spent a good chunk of his life in Toronto leading late in some polls in a riding where the Conservatives had been absolutely dominant for decades. In the end, Conservative Larry Maguire won with 44.16% of the vote compared to Liberal Rolf Dinsdale’s 42.75%.

Was that an aberration?

Maybe not.  Read more…

Text of Bill C-51: Ant-terrorism Act, 2015

- January 30th, 2015

Just tabled today in the House of Commons:

 

Bill C-51: Anti-terrorism, 2015

Chrétien endorses former NDP MP now running for Wynne’s Liberals in Sudbury

- January 28th, 2015
Jean Chretien

Canada’s former Prime Minister Jean Chretien laughs during an interview with Reuters in Ottawa November 15, 2011. Chretien today endorsed the New Democrat who beat one of his former ministers in Sudbury as the Ontario Liberal candidate in a provincial beyelection. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his wife Aline today endorsed Glenn Thibeault, running for the Ontario Liberals in the provincial byelection in Sudbury. Thibeault deserted Thomas Mulcair’s NDP caucus to run for Wynne’s Liberals. Chrétien provided the endorsement even though it was Thibeault who knocked off former Chrétien cabinet minister Diane Marleau in the 2008 general election, becoming the first New Democrat to win in Sudbury since 1968.

Meanwhile, the United Steelworkers are running a radio ad in Sudbury, endorsing the NDP and taking direct aim at the “dirty politics” of Thibeault.

 

Here’s the release from the Ontario Liberals about the Chrétien endorsement: Read more…

Harper versus Nicholson: Advise, assist — and accompany — in Iraq

- January 26th, 2015
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A member of the Force Protection team participates in a weapons handling drill in Kuwait, during Operation IMPACT on January 18, 2015. (Photo: OP Impact, DND)

During Question Period in the House of Commons on Sept. 30, Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair wanted some precision from Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the extent of the mission of Canadian Forces Special Operations Forces (CF SOF) who would be on the ground in northern Iraq.

Speaking in French, Mulcair asked: “ Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the rules of engagement are to advise and assist the Iraqis, but the question is, assist them how? For instance, are Canadian soldiers currently going on patrols with Iraqis or Kurds?” (This English translation I’m using here is the one that is published in Hansard, FYI)

The Prime Minister began his reply in French — “Mr. Speaker, I said ‘advise and assist the Iraqis’ ” — but then he switched to his first language, English, to finish the answer.  The emphasis here is mine: “If I could just use the terminology in English, it is quite precise. It is to advise and to assist. It is not to accompany. I think that was laid out before the parliamentary committee.” Read more…