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About "David Akin"

Gemini Award-winning journalist David Akin is the National Bureau Chief for Sun Media and is based at Sun's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has covered events as varied as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual tours through the Arctic to the uprisings in Egypt in the spring of 2011 to terror trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. Akin received a Gemini Award for his reporting while he was a correspondent for CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and he was a National Newspaper Award finalist while working as a contributing writer for The Globe and Mail. His 20-year career in journalism also includes being a member of the inaugural staff at the National Post. Akin has long been one of Canada’s journalism pioneers when it comes to exploring ways to use digital media and computer-assisted tools for newsgathering and publishing. His blog, On The Hill, is nearly a decade old and he is a frequent speaker on the use of social media in communications. Akin has been named one of the 100 most influential people on Parliament Hill. A Montrealer by birth, Akin studied history at the University of Guelph. He lives near Ottawa with his wife and two children.

Battleground Southwestern Ontario: Electoral Maps Compared

- January 19th, 2015

2011SOW

The federal Liberal caucus arrives today in London, Ont. for its two-day winter caucus retreat. As Jane Sims notes in today’s London Free Press, this part of Ontario was been a “Grit barren land” in the last general election. The electoral map, above, from J.P. Kirby’s excellent Election Atlas, illustrates that point pretty clearly. This is what happend in the 2011 general election. In fact, so far as southern Ontario goes, the Liberals now have precisely five seats west of Yonge Street, and four of those are in Toronto. The lone Liberal island otherwise in Guelph where incumbent Frank Valeriote will pass the torch this fall to a yet-to-be-nominated Liberal candidate.

But look at the same electoral map after the 2004 election, (below) Read more…

Journalism ethics: Can I get swag from a charity event?

- January 18th, 2015
My Brooks

Those are my feet and the Brooks running shoes I paid for myself — all of which I hope to put to good use as a “Celebrity Ambassador” running in a 10K run to be held this spring in Ottawa.

Last week, I got a request to help an Ottawa-based charitable organization by being one of several  ‘celebrity ambassadors’ for an event they’ll have in the spring. The event is a 10K run. The organizers asked me to raise awareness about the event through my Twitter account, Facebook page, and this blog. There was no “ask” to mention the event in any newspaper copy or on my television program.  The event’s sponsors include a national sporting goods retailer and a sporting goods manufacturer. Event Ambassadors are offered the chance to get a new pair of running shoes, a new pair shorts and socks, and a shirt from this manufacturer. There was no request to endorse either the retailer or the manufacturer.

So, given Leslie Roberts, Amanda Lang, etc. I asked my Facebook followers if they would think worse of me as a journalist if I accepted the job of “celebrity ambassador” and took the shoes, shorts, and shirt.

I was floored at the number and quality of responses.

Read more…

Harper’s new national security advisor on the threat of terrorism

- January 7th, 2015

Richard Fadden

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Richard Fadden as his new National Security Advisor, a job which, you might have guessed, is both important and influential in that you end up talking to the prime minister of a G8 country likely every day, if not more often, about, well, national security.

On Wednesday, of course, terrorists killed 12 journalists and policemen in Paris.

Later this year, we will have an election where national security and our collective response to the world’s terrorists may be an issue. I try to connect all three of those dots in a column offered up for publication in our newspapers tomorrow. [You can read it now here].
That column draws heavily on a speech Fadden — whose bio is worth reviewing — gave in 2009 just after he was appointed head of CSIS. Newspaper will only give me 625 words worth of space so I was only able to impart a small bit of what Fadden said back then. I encourage you to read all of what he said in 2009 and can report that, in my discussions with current and former Harper insiders, Fadden’s 2009 thinking would be very much in keeping with the prime minister’s thinking right now in 2015.

I’m told, though I am unlikely to be able to confirm this with Fadden himself, that he pretty much wrote this himself and rather than offer it to PCO higher-ups where the “good bits” would likely be gutted, he just went and gave the speech. The source for these remarks is here [PDF]: Read more…

Who has the most ministers? Harper or Mulroney?

- January 6th, 2015

With the elevation Monday of MP Erin O’Toole into Stephen Harper’s cabinet, where O’Toole will serve as the minister for veterans affairs, the size of Harper’s current ministry is now at 40 members. A “ministry” is made up of all of those MPs who are, to use the Parliamentary language, styled as Ministers or as Ministers of State. Each of these individuals gets a significant salary boost, a car, a driver, and some extra political staff.

A ministry of 40 is pretty big. Some would say you could cut the size in half and no one would notice. Some complain about such a bloated cabinet. In fact, for a time yesterday, I thought that Harper — the leader of what some have been sold as the “Small-government Government” — had actually set the all-time record for the size of a ministry.

Why did I (and some others) come to that conclusion? Well, we did what we usually do when we need some numbers for historical perspective looked it up at the Parliamentary Web Site — parl.gc.ca — where you can find a page that lists “Size of Ministries”, a page compiled by the smart folks at the Library of Parliament, that goes all the way back to Macdonald.

If you look at that page, you’ll see that both Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin had ministries of 39 individuals. With Harper hitting 40 ministers, it was easy enough to say Harper was now the proud owner of the biggest minister of all time.

Not so fast, a friend e-mailed me.  Read more…

Dalhousie prof: Kenney’s ideological rhetoric on failed refugees obscures truth

- January 2nd, 2015

Carrie Dawson, DalhousieCarrie Dawson, (left)an English professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was watching and reading how Jason Kenney talked about the problem of failed refugee claimants who land on our shores while he was minister of citizenship and immigration. She has a few issues with the language Kenney and other Conservative government ministers used over the last several years on this topic. Dawson has a piece in the current issue of the University of Toronto Quarterly with the title “Refugee Hotels: The Discourse of Hospitality and the Rise of Immigration Detention in Canada.” I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by cutting straight to her conclusion:

Read more…