Mia Rabson

  • Rebounding Tories could be the surprise

    OTTAWA -- Close to nine weeks ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked off the longest election campaign in modern Canadian history. It has also been one of the most competitive.
  • Niqab debate distracts from actual women's issues in Canada

    OTTAWA — In many elections there is a sleeper issue that jumps up to take everyone by surprise. After weeks of a deadlocked three-way tie between the NDP, the Liberals and the Conservatives, the sleeper issue has emerged.
  • 'Truthiness' fails at election time

    OTTAWA -- Nothing brings out the lies -- and the liars who tell them -- more than political campaigns. Parties and their flacks live in a world where things don't have to be true, they just have to plausible. Or a good enough sound bite that people are likely to remember, without bothering to look up whether it's true.
  • Social-media gaffes

    OTTAWA -- Another day on the election campaign. Another candidate in trouble for saying something controversial. With the emergence of social media and their elephant-like ability to never forget anything you say, every election has seen candidates dropping right, left and centre.
  • Tory trail littered with potholes

    OTTAWA -- Stephen Harper and the Conservative party have to wonder if their election campaign slogan really should have been the "Murphy's Law Campaign." Because it seems in many ways for the incumbent government, if anything can go wrong it will.
  • Alan Kurdi's story clearly shows that Canada needs to act quickly

    OTTAWA — It is the most talked-about photograph in the world this week. I am surely not the only one who was kept awake Wednesday night by the image of the lifeless body of a tiny boy in a red shirt, lying facedown on a beach.
  • Delicate balancing act

    OTTAWA -- So let's get this straight. In the last three days, we've had Liberals accusing the NDP of planning to make big spending cuts to balance a budget, the NDP accusing the Liberals of being a tax-and-spend party and Conservatives accusing them both of having a scary agenda.
  • Is there even an election going on?

    MONTREAL — It’s campaign day 20. We are almost three weeks into the 42nd Canadian general election.
  • It's time to restrain political mailers

    OTTAWA -- Amid the flurry of press releases, emails and candidate tweets that exploded after the Aug. 2 election call, a single press release that passed over my desk caught my attention. Ottawa Liberal candidate Catherine McKenna had something she wanted to say about MPs mailings.
  • UCCB a Tory marketing ploy

    OTTAWA — Sometime before the end of this month, 24 Sussex Drive will get a special delivery. A government cheque for $360.
  • Don't vote? No road for you

    OTTAWA -- In the last decade, Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has been dispatched to every festival and feast and friendly ethnic forum he could find on a calendar. He has been the point man on a Conservative effort to micro-target specific ethnic groups and draw their votes into the blue tent.
  • Get ready for PACs

    OTTAWA -- Political action committees, welcome to Canada. I'm not sure if we hope you enjoy your stay. When Canada changed its election financing laws more than a decade ago, it was done with the idea unions and corporations can't vote, and, therefore, they shouldn't be able to get influence with their money. So their donations were banned and individual donations were capped.
  • Theatrics portend election debates

    OTTAWA -- So there I was, watching question period in the House of Commons Wednesday, with the low expectations the daily 45-minute rendition of "I know you are but what am I" usually evokes. The first few moments were typical, and my attention began to wane.
  • MPs, press gallery wrestle with harassment

    OTTAWA -- Just in case the Senate wasn't beleaguered enough last week with the public release of a damning auditor's report, there was some more bad news coming its way. This time, it's that sitting Conservative Sen. Don Meredith is under investigation for workplace harassment involving four employees.
  • Yoga a sign of healing on the Hill

    OTTAWA -- They come from all directions. They come clutching tightly rolled, brightly coloured mats under their arms.
  • Khadr's release caps rough week for Harper Conservatives

    OTTAWA -- “I’m an Ostrich,” she said sadly. “Who’s having a bad week.” This line from my son’s current favourite children’s book has been running through my head a lot in the last few days as I look at Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
  • Orange crush helps boost federal NDP

    OTTAWA -- The sudden May snowfall in Edmonton is melting. The jaws have been picked back up off the ground. Now Alberta premier-elect Rachel Notley gets to choose a cabinet from among her 54 MLAs, 50 of whom are rookies, and set up shop in the premier's office where orange drapes have never been hung before.
  • Surplus of sick day benefits

    OTTAWA -- If there were any doubt Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not afraid of a fight with Canada's labour leaders, it was eliminated in the federal budget. While picking a fight with civil servants in an election year might not immediately sound like a good idea, for Harper and company, it is exactly the kind of fight they want.
  • For Harpers, protecting kids bigger than politics

    OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spent more time in Manitoba in the last three days than he probably has in the last three years. This is not a knock on him. He’s a busy guy and he generally does make it to Manitoba two, sometimes even three times a year. (While his predecessors generally timed their visits with party fundraising dinners, Harper seems to prefer timing them to Jets games.)
  • Protecting kids good politics, but it's much deeper than that for Harpers

    OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has collectively spent more time in Manitoba in the last two days than he probably has in the last two years. This is not a knock on him. He’s a busy guy and he generally does make it to Manitoba two, sometimes even three, times a year. (While his predecessors generally timed their visits with party fundraising dinners, Harper seems to prefer timing them to Jets games.)
  • Harper scores with Jets

    OTTAWA -- If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many votes does that translate into? Prime Minister Stephen Harper surely hopes at least a few will come his way after his Wednesday night appearance at the Winnipeg Jets' playoff game.
  • Harper banking on small surplus to propel Tories to election victory

    OTTAWA -- The federal Conservatives will carry a balanced budget on their backs when they seek a fourth mandate from voters this fall. Finance Minister Joe Oliver didn't hide his grin -- or his symbolic Tory-blue (but made in China) New Balance running shoes -- as he stood in the House of Commons Tuesday, boasting the government had made good on its pledge to bring the books back into balance.
  • Death of the Canadian Wheat Board

    OTTAWA -- For many decades the Canadian Wheat Board was as symbolic of Prairie farming as the grain elevator itself. But when news broke Wednesday confirming the sale of 50.1 per cent of the CWB to a new joint venture of an American agribusiness firm and a Saudi agriculture company, it was generally greeted across this country by a collective "meh."
  • Sit down with the premiers on Senate

    OTTAWA -- Dear Prime Minister Harper. It's time.
  • Is our democracy on crutches?

    OTTAWA -- Two MPs forced to apologize within a week for racist and inappropriate comments, but with little suggestion they suffered anything more than some mild embarrassment for their words. A veteran NDP MP getting press coverage all the way to Japan after he blamed a non-existent "gitch glitch" for getting out of his seat during a vote. Humorous perhaps, but Pat Martin's antics did little to suggest Canadians should improve their perception of politicians.


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