Mia Rabson

  • Game on: It's election time on the Hill

    The next federal election might be a year away on paper, but nobody told that to any of the major parties running in it. "For all intents and purposes, the election has already begun," NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said this week at an NDP caucus retreat in Edmonton.
  • Parliament mired in crime-bill mess

    The people in charge of process and rules in Parliament are scrambling after the Senate ended up debating the wrong version of a crime bill passed by the House of Commons. In a rare error that appears to have happened once in the last 20 years, the version of Bill C-479, the Fairness for Victims of Violent Offenders Act, which was passed by the House of Commons, was not the version that made its way to the Senate for debate.
  • The love affair with Justin Trudeau

    For readers who are already convinced Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada are getting more than their fair share of attention, the events of recent days and those to come will do nothing to dispel those thoughts. National and local stories in the past week have been dominated by Trudeau. He visited Winnipeg the previous week, so he got coverage in our paper for that. On Aug. 16, his Ottawa home was broken into while his wife and kids slept, and a menacing note was left behind. The coverage dominated national stories, it prompted the question of whether Trudeau needs his own security detail.
  • Senator sending wrong messages to the masses

    OTTAWA -- Sen. Pamela Wallin is still waiting for results of an independent audit examining the validity of her expense claims while in the Senate. She is one of four senators whose spending claims are under scrutiny in a Senate scandal that has many Canadians questioning the purpose of the Senate in Canadian democracy, but the only one audit firm Deloitte has yet to finish investigating.
  • Elections Canada needs to open up

    OTTAWA -- An MP stands accused of trying to get taxpayers to help foot the bill for haircuts and tooth whitener. Two others are engaged in a battle with Elections Canada over whether they have to claim as election ads certain ads they erected before the election.
  • Nepinak's leadership gathering steam

    OTTAWA -- Some time before lunch today, a small caravan of motorcycles will make its way through the city towards Thunderbird House. They will carry with them the hopes of thousands of indigenous Canadians, plucked from the crowds on a journey that took them 11 days, spanned more than 3,500 kilometres and saw them stop in dozens of First Nations.
  • 'Transparency' gains popularity in Ottawa

    OTTAWA -- The editorial cartoon Friday in the Halifax Chronicle Herald proposes the best way to clear a room in Ottawa. In a sketch of a hallway in the Parliament Buildings, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is standing alone waving a piece of paper and calling, "Full disclosure of expenses! Who's with me?"
  • Party leaders need to stand by their ads

    OTTAWA -- Adrian Dix. Michael Ignatieff. Hugh McFadyen. Three political leaders from three different parties with at least one thing in common.
  • Fix Senate? Sure -- question is, how?

    OTTAWA -- Canada's Senate is a pretty easy target these days. Let's face it, the upper chamber is a pretty easy target most days.
  • Census replacement costs more, gets less info

    OTTAWA -- Canadians got their first glimpse of the new National Household Survey last week. As expected, the documents were stamped with a warning this new survey is less accurate than the old long-form census.
  • Ballot-box blunders 'not unique,' review finds

    OTTAWA -- Confidence in Canada's voting system was further eroded last week when an independent review uncovered more than 165,000 instances of mistakes made ensuring voters were actually eligible to cast a ballot in the 2011 election. The review, called after allegations were raised about voting improprieties in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre, did not find evidence of actual fraud or malfeasance. What it found was the kind of clerical errors that called into question the validity of the 2011 election results in the riding were "not unique."
  • Getting to the bottom of 'root causes'

    OTTAWA -- It's not entirely clear how one might go about committing sociology, but the prime minister of Canada apparently thinks doing so is a bad thing, at least when it comes to trying to figure out what motivates terrorists to kill. "I think, though, this is not a time to commit sociology," Stephen Harper said Thursday in the wake of the Boston bombings and the arrests of two men in Canada accused of plotting to blow up a Via Rail train.
  • Governments like to bait and switch

    OTTAWA -- Many times in politics it's tough to separate the truth from fiction. No more so than when governments are trying to hide or play down something they know voters won't like.
  • NDP, Liberals create chance to get gains over Conservatives

    OTTAWA -- Most people likely spent more time on the weekend wondering if spring will ever come than thinking about politics. But in Montreal and Ottawa, the NDP and Liberals were embarking on changes that could mark a turning point in Canadian political history, with a new confidence instilled in both parties looking ahead to the 2015 election.
  • Shedding 'socialism' bad move for NDP?

    OTTAWA -- For the third time in as many policy conventions, NDP party brass are pushing to change the NDP constitution to tone down references to socialism and open the door to modern policies on resource development. It is, inevitably, giving rise yet again to questions about whether the NDP is abandoning its roots, walking away from the core beliefs of supporters, in order to become a more palatable, less-lefty option for voters in Canada, the majority of whom sit in the mushy political middle.
  • Freedom of thought? Not on Harper's watch

    OTTAWA -- If ever one needed more proof of just how tight the reins are on individual MPs, one need look no further than the events of last week. B.C. Conservative MP Mark Warawa was spitting mad from having a House of Commons committee deem a motion he introduced to condemn sex-selective abortion out of order. Warawa's motion, which would be non-binding, called on Parliament to condemn the practice.
  • Federal budget finally buries asbestos industry

    OTTAWA -- If the asbestos industry in Canada was on life-support, last week's federal budget finally pulled the plug. It was hidden midway through the budget papers, amid the more flashy and noticeable cuts to the cost of baby clothes and the "largest long-term federal commitment to Canadian infrastructure in our nation's history."
  • Duelling deficits

    OTTAWA -- Six years ago the world was Canada's oyster. Fiscal prudence at home and global economic growth combined to make budget day one of promise and fortune, where the only questions to be answered were how big the surplus would be and where all the new money would be spent.
  • Put off byelection until MP's legal status is clarified

    OTTAWA -- Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue stepped down from cabinet and resigned his seat as the MP for Labrador Thursday. But while he and the party say he will run in the byelection that will be called there, a debate rages about whether he should be allowed to be on the ballot.
  • Why should women fight assault alone?

    OTTAWA -- A while back, a Facebook friend posted a graphic with a simple message. The woman in the graphic wondered why, instead of teaching women how not to be sexually assaulted, colleges didn't teach male students not to sexually assault.
  • Accessing scientific info no easy task in Canada

    OTTAWA -- A scientist discovers one of the biggest holes in the ozone layer ever found is sitting over the Arctic, but after his report is published in a respected scientific journal, the Canadian government won't let him speak and writes his responses to media questions for him. Scientists at an international conference in Montreal are shadowed by government communications staff to make sure they comply with an order not to speak publicly on the issue of polar science.
  • Expense issue symptom of what ails Senate

    OTTAWA — Sometimes, one wonders what Queen Victoria might think. Perched as she is over the Speaker’s chair in the Senate chamber, the monarch may well be glad in this case that she’s made of marble.
  • No place for politics as ridings change

    OTTAWA -- There was a whole lot of shouting last week over whether there is something nefarious at play in the redistribution of Saskatchewan's 14 federal ridings. The opposition smelled blood after the Conservatives had to admit the party was behind a robocall aimed at rousing public anger against proposed changes to Saskatchewan's ridings. The party's spokesman, Fred Delorey, and Saskatchewan MP Tom Lukiwski, denied the party was behind the calls, which claimed the changes betrayed "Saskatchewan values."
  • Criticisms of chief cross the line

    OTTAWA -- Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau is a colourful character. He tends to speak his mind and almost as often as not, he speaks with one foot jammed into his mouth.
  • Another female premier in office

    OTTAWA -- There may be a lineup for the ladies' room the next time Canada's premiers get together for a meeting. With Kathleen Wynne's victory as the new Liberal leader in Ontario Saturday, Canada now has six female premiers, responsible for governing more than 87 per cent of the population in five provinces and one territory


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