Mia Rabson

  • 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.
  • Ottawa must respond to anti-Muslim prejudice

    OTTAWA -- The government's leader in the Senate was left Monday to defend herself and her party against allegations they are promoting hatred towards Muslims. A who's who of Ottawa women gathered at a downtown hotel to celebrate the fact the three major national political parties will all have women at the helm of their war rooms during the next campaign.
  • If women could only count

    OTTAWA -- There I was last week, sipping a coffee at my desk while trying not to go cross-eyed from reading the fine print of the government's anti-terror legislation when an email popped up on my screen. "Four reasons women should cut their credit cards today," screamed the headline.
  • Canada must embrace Muslim minority

    OTTAWA -- For the most part, Canada's commitment to multiculturalism and its protections of fundamental freedoms are sound. But there are times in our history when Canada has shamefully turned on certain people because of who they are or where they came from.
  • Parties, not taxes, should pay for ads

    OTTAWA -- In April 2013, Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin's office was inundated with phone calls and letters from constituents who were mad as heck. Although Martin's colourful antics -- like Thursday's excuse that cheap, too-tight underwear caused him to leave his seat during a vote -- often make people irate, it was not him they took issue with this time.
  • Satellite party offices cost NDP

    OTTAWA -- A secretive House of Commons committee this week issued bills totalling $2.75 million to 68 NDP MPs to repay what it decided were unlawful expenses for satellite party offices in Quebec and Ontario. It is the latest twist in a dispute over how MPs can use their office budgets, as the grey area between partisan activities and the work of individual MPs on behalf of their constituents grows ever larger.
  • Manitoba reserves the worst in Canada

    OTTAWA -- Last week Maclean's magazine ruffled a lot of feathers when it boldly proclaimed Winnipeg was ground zero for a racism problem in Canada that eclipses the issue in the United States. This week, The Canadian Press is reporting on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada documents that declare the quality of life on Manitoba reserves is worse than anywhere else in the country.
  • Manitoba Senate seats sit empty

    OTTAWA -- If a Manitoba senator retires in Ottawa, does anyone take notice? For five months now, since the resignation of Conservative JoAnne Buth in August, Manitoba has had just half its usual complement of senators sitting in the upper chamber in Parliament.
  • First ministers meeting without first minister

    OTTAWA -- Two weeks from today, Canada's first ministers will get together for their first meeting of 2015, at a hotel six blocks from Parliament Hill. Despite the location, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined his invitation.
  • Veterans critical for 2015 win

    OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper started off 2015 with an election-year bang, replacing his much maligned veterans affairs minister and one-time star candidate in a clear attempt at damage control with veterans. Julian Fantino, the former head of the Ontario Provincial Police, was shuffled out of Veterans Affairs and back into a role as an associate minister of defence. He was replaced by Erin O'Toole, an Ontario MP, veteran officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force and one-time Bay Street lawyer who helped start a foundation that raises money for veterans.

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