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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.

How much to spend to create one job? Kenney’s benchmark different than Goodyear’s

- December 1st, 2014


Last week in the House of Commons, Employment Minister Jason Kenney was asked why his department did not renew funding for a Halifax agency that helps at-risk young people find and hold on to jobs. The program had been in operation for a decade and, as CBC News reported, had followed all the rules to qualify for the $191,105 it was seeking this time around.

It did not get the money. Read more…

The NDP looks to 2015: “We’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done”

- November 24th, 2014

On Saturday, in the western Prince Edward Island riding of Egmont, 1,500 local Liberals showed up to vote in a four-way nomination race. For those not in politics, let me assure that 1,500 at just about any nomination anywhere is a helluva good turnout but this is a rding where, in 2011, there were just 5,997 who voted Liberal. So when you’ve got one in four of voters in a general election showing up for a nomination meeting, that’s pretty incredible.

In Digby, N.S. that same afternoon, local reporters figured that there was about 1,000 — including Nova Scotia Premier Stephen MacNeil and Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine — who attended the Liberal nomination in West Nova. Again: That’s a heckuva turnout.

But if you asked political organizers from most parties, those kinds of barn-burner turnouts are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to party nomination meetings. They’re usually much more subdued, though no less important affairs.

For a good sense of the typical nomination meeting, click on the video link above and listen to Andrew Cash, the NDP MP from the downtown Toronto riding of Davenport, speak at the nomination meeting over the weekend of Fayaz Karim, who won, by acclamation, the NDP nomination in the suburban Toronto riding of Mississauga East-Cooksville.

The NDP should have no hope in this part of the world. The riding was held by a solid right-of-centre Liberal, Albina Guarneri, from 2004 until her retirement in 2011. Her successor is Conservative Wladyslaw Lizon. Since 2004, the NDP has finished third with usually around 5,000 votes. The Orange Wave of 2011 helped boost that to about 8,000 votes — but they still finished third.

To which Cash, in a speech to this riding association now girding up for battle in 2015 says: Forget about all that. “We’re not just up against poll numbers, from perceived momentum from the Liberals. We’re not just up against a Conservative party that can out-fundraise us,” Cash says in this video above put up on YouTube by the local NDP riding association. “Fundamentally, we’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done.”

Here’s some other excerpts from Cash’s speech on Saturday:

“What we need to do .. on a fundamental level is we need to elect more New Democrats. For a lot of the time, for us in the movement, we like to talk about values. But while we’re talking about that stuff other people are organizing to win seats and to form government. And so what we need to do is win more seats. If we’re not building support in places like here (Mississauga), then we’re not going to form government.
And we can form government.
We have never been closer.
Right now we need about 60 seats. If we hold what we’ve got, we need about 60 more.
The Liberals on the other hand,need about 130 more.
This is something people don’t realize.

Never in the history of Canada has a third party with 37 seats won the next election and formed the government.

So if the choice is — we’ve really got to get rid of Harper, we have to change the direction of this country, then there is only one choice right now.

I know there’s polling numbers out there that suggest otherwise.

[Cash then reflects on his own experience, in Davenport, before the 2011 election]

Davenport has been a Liberal riding since God rested on the seventh day … [with, as Cash notes, a couple of Progressive Conservative blips in the 1960s)

When I got the nomination, we had 30 seats in the House of Commons. And our poll numbers were around 12 per cent. But I didn’t care about that. ….

I knew that the representative of the riding I wanted to win was lazy. [Liberal Mario Silva was MP from 2004 until he was defeated by Cash in 2011] I knew that that person took his seat for granted. I knew that that person took the voters he represented for granted and consequently didn’t do the work, didn’t show up, didn’t find the issues his constituents cared about and didn’t push those issues in the House of Commons. So I knew there was a possibility there.

I can’t tell how many people told me I would not win. Just about every day someone told me that. And not just our opponents. Members of our dear party told me that as well. This just underlines what we’re up against.

We’re not just up against poll numbers, from perceived momentum from the Liberals. We’re not just up against a Conservative party that can out-fundraise us. Fundamentally, we’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done.

What we’re trying to do here is essentially steal a seat here. We can do it.

We in this room believe that our values are Canada’s values, that our ideas are the best way forward for Canada.

What are you scared of? Canadians polled on security threats

- November 22nd, 2014

CFB PETAWAWA, Ont. – A graduating student of the 2014 Patrol Pathfinder course holds a position as a CH-147F Chinook helicopter departs Garrison Petawawa on November 10, 2014. (Cpl Mark Schombs, 4 CDSB Petawawa Imaging)

Ipsos Reid polled citizens of 26 countries about security threats and released the results at the Halifax security conference on this weekend. Here’s the Canada-only results from that poll: Read more…

Voter preference by household income: Parties of the rich and poor

- November 14th, 2014


The Liberals have just released a new online video (see below) arguing against the Harper government’s income splitting plan. Liberal Justin Trudeau has vowed to roll back income splitting for parents if he’s elected PM.  Thomas Mulcair this week has vowed the NDP will fight the plan thought he was a bit more cagey about what he’d do if he became PM and income splitting was still in place. Given these arguments, I wondered about how income levels matched up to political preference. David Coletto, CEO of pollster Abacus Data, sent me this data set, Read more…

The nasty Vancouver election! An incumbent apologizes!

- November 13th, 2014

Left-leaning, progressive Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has twice won at the polls but this time, it appears he’s in tough against challenger Kirk LaPointe, the former journalist (who was my boss at not one, not two, but three different news organizations in my career) who is the candidate in this race for the Non-Partisan Association. Check out the latest accusation from Robertson against LaPointe.  Some — but not me, of course — might say this sounds like a desperate accusation from an incumbent feeling the heat from a challenger. Here it is, as reported on Twitter by former CTV journalist Kai Nagata


That “DPinBC” is Dimitri Pantazopoulos, the pollster who was instrumental in Christy Clark’s big “upset” win — a win which defied all public pollsters predications. And, yes, Dimitri has been a “Harper advisor” at some points. But here’s what “DPinBC” tweeted in response to Nagata’s tweet:

Meanwhile, as we reported on my program, Battleground, on Sun News Network tonight (above), Robertson is now apologizing to voters for not getting it done the first time they elected him mayor and the second time they elected him mayor. But he promises that if he gets a third chance, by golly, he’ll make it all right.