Showing posts from June, 2015

NDP leads polls ahead of 2015 federal election

Just four months from an expected federal election in October, the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) is widening its lead over the Conservatives and Liberals, according to a new Forum poll. + Add Image Led by Thomas Mulcair, the NDP now leads in three electorally important provinces of B.C at 54 percent, Ontario, 34 percent, and Quebec, 36 percent. In the poll the NDP had 36 percent support nationally to 28 percent each for the Liberals and Conservatives. The Bloc Quebecois, a separatist party based solely in Quebec, has five percent support , while Elizabeth May’s Green Party , managed only two percent of the vote. The NDP has a quite significant lead but then much can change in four months. Back near the end of May an EKOS poll gave the NDP 29.6 per cent of the vote, versus 29.1 for Harper's Conservatives, and 26.1 per cent for Justin Trudeau's Liberals. The situation looks particularly unpromising for the ruling Conservatives, as only nine percent have them as their s…

Former Conservative MP Del Mastro jailed for election overspending

Former Canadian Conservative Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro has been sentenced to one month in prison and then four more under house arrest after he was found guilty of overspending during the 2008 federal election. + Add Image 1 of 2  Del Mastro was a former parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The sentence was handed down by Justice Lisa Cameron in Lindsay, Ontario on June 25. Del Mastro was accused of exceeding the campaign spending limits. Among the accusations are that he failed to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his campaign and that he knowingly submitted a falsified document. Cameron described the offences as an affront to the principles of Canadian democracy and said: "This type of cheating and lying will result in serious sanctions. … Custody is required to reflect the need for denunciation and deterrence." Cameron claimed that Del Mastro was not only prepared to break the rules but to be deceitful about doing so. Del Mastro ha…

Quebec wants to reunite jailed Saudi blogger with his family in Quebec

The Canadian province Quebec is offering imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi an immigration selection certificate. The certificates are issued in exceptional circumstances to foreigners in need of protection, Quebec's Immigration Minister said. + Add Image 1 of 2  Badawi received a 10-year jail sentence, 1,000 lashes, and a large fine of $266,600 for promoting liberal ideas such as introducing more democracy in the Saudi kingdom, but also for being critical of Islam. He received his first 50 lashes of 20 planned sessions in January. Subsequent floggings have been postponed perhaps because of the international outcry or for health reasons. He was imprisoned in 2012 and sentenced two years later. Just last week the Saudi Supreme Court upheld the ruling. His flogging was scheduled to resume on Friday June 12 but did not take place. The sentence can now only be overturned by a pardon from the country's new King Salman. Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, and his three children alread…

Bill C-24 creates group of second class Canadian citizens

Although Bill C-24 was passed a year ago, provisions that create two types of citizenship, those Canadians who can have their citizenship taken away and those who cannot, have just come into effect. + Add Image 1 of 2  As is common with the Harper government, the legislation plays upon Canadians' desire for security and fears of terrorism. Before this law was passed all Canadians, whether born in Canada, immigrants who have become Canadian citizens or dual citizens, were treated the same under the judicial system. Statistics showthat foreign-born Canadian citizens are no more likely than citizens born in Canada to commit crimes, in fact some data suggests they are less so. Under the new law, only those born in Canada and are not eligible for or do not have another nationality as well will retain their citizenship no matter what crime they commit. The government invokes the threat of jihadism in defending these new rules and claims that Canadians will be safer: Also officially in fo…

Victims of Communism monument in Ottawa has many critics

Within weeks, construction is slated to start on a huge Victims of Communism memorial that will be situated on a prime site near the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. + Add Image Even if one thinks that a monument to the victims of communist regimes actions is appropriate, the site for the monument does not appear to be so. The Supreme Court of Canada chief justice has questioned the project. As well, Ottawa city council has rejected it along with a number of architects. The original plan for the site until 2012 was to build a new Federal Court Building that would complete a triad of buildings, with the other two buildings being the Supreme Court and the Justice Department.
Don Martin, Power Play host for CTV thinks that the memorial should commemorate victims in this country such as those of the residential school system: Prime Minister Stephen Harper should dedicate the site to the victims and survivors of Canada’s residential schools.This was our national shame, with tens of thousa…

OECD reduces GDP growth forecast for Canada

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has lowered its forecast for growth in Canada and also globally as new investment remains sluggish, unemployment high, and consumers reluctant to spend. + Add Image The OECD gave the global economy just a B-minus in its report on the global economy released just today. Although OECD chief economist Catherine Mann predicted a global growth rate of 3.8 per cent by 2016 this would still be below the average growth rate before the 2008 financial crisis. The OECD represents 34 developed countries. The growth rate for Canada this year has been downgraded from 2.2 per cent just this March to 1.5 per cent now. Last November the OECD forecast Canadian growth at 2.5 per cent. With this weaker growth rate, the OECD now predicts that the Bank of Canada will not raise interest rates until early next year rather than the middle of this year as it had earlier predicted. The high personal debt of Canadians could depress consumption and also le…

Harper Conservative government has close connections with oil industry lobbyists

Natural Resources Minister in the Canadian federal government, Greg Rickford was recruited by an oil industry lobby group to both give a pep talk and strategic planning advice to 40 to 50 oil industry executives. + Add Image 1 of 2  The secret, closed door meeting was held last October at the luxurious Banff Springs Hotel in the Rocky Mountains. The meeting was the annual strategy session of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producters (Capp). Rickford's speech was never made public but a copy was obtained by the Greenpeace campaign under the Freedom of Information Act and made available to the Guardian newspaper.The speech makes no mention of climate change or studies that show the effects of development of the tar sands on global warming. Rickford describes the debate on the side of those scientists and other campaigners against development of the tar sands as being governed by myth and emotion that "crowded out the real facts." The Harper government has been accuse…