Spirit of Radio: Ad wars pitch Conservatives versus Liberals

- December 18th, 2014


Across the country this holiday season, voters who listen to radio will be hearing pitches from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.


The Liberals have announced that they have two different radio ads ready to go. You can listen to them on their Web site but, so far at least, I have no reports that anyone has actually heard them in the wild. Read more…

Justin Trudeau’s partisan brain trust on foreign affairs

- December 17th, 2014
 Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan

Your correspondent meets Syrian child refugees at Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan while covering Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit there earlier this year. Harper’s approach to the Middle East — aligning Canada much more strongly with Israel than previous Liberal prime ministers, for example — would be one of the defining characteristics of his foreign policy. Liberals recently opposed the combat mission against ISIL in Iraq.  (Look closely to find PostMedia’s Mark Kennedy among the kids there).

Today, the Liberal Party of Canada has announced a council  of “non-partisan” experts to provide advice and be a sounding board for leader Justin Trudeau on international affairs issues, from military procurement to international aid to global security threats.  The professional qualifications and accomplishments of the members of this council are impressive but it cannot be accurate to brand this group as “non-partisan”.

Indeed,  this council is made up of 14 individuals, 11 of whom are Liberals MPs, current or former Liberal candidates, or Liberal donors.  No one should be confused: This council does not believe that the way Stephen Harper has positioned Canada on the world stage is a good thing. And eight of them – the current or hope-to-be Liberal MPs — would have voted with their leader against the current combat mission against ISIL in Iraq. Nothing wrong with that. But let’s avoid the marketing sheen of “non-partisan.” Read more…

How to give away $68 billion: Ottawa cuts cheques to the provinces

- December 15th, 2014

Today, the federal government announced how much each province and territory will get in transfer payments next year. All told, Ottawa will transfer $68 billion to provincial capitals in the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2016. As federal finance minister Joe Oliver said, for every dollar that Ottawa takes in, it sends 20 cents back out to the provinces and territories.

Drawing data from this table at the Department of Finance, we can break a few things down: Read more…

I am a traitorous self-hating Ghomeshi-like fiend for shopping in New York!

- December 11th, 2014


Earlier this week, Industry Minister James Moore announced new measures the government hopes will eliminate the cross-border price differential. I believe this initiative will do little to to close that gap and that if it was useful at all, it was useful politically to the Conservatives who hope to be seen by voters as more consumer-friendly than the alternative. I tried to connect the politics of Moore’s announcement with my recent purchase of a snow blower, a purchase I made in the United States after discovering a significant cross-border price difference, in a column published in most of our newspapers Wednesday.

For my troubles — trying to explain Conservative consumer-first politics and my snowblower purhase — readers of our newspapers are accusing me of terrible things.  For example, Barry R. from Kingston, Ont. says: Read more…

For the Record: Prentice says controversies on gay-straight alliance bill his fault

- December 5th, 2014


Statement issued Thursday by Alberta Premier Jim Prentice:

Premier Jim Prentice issued the following statement today: Read more…