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Politics 204 for January 5


Quote of the Day

  • "Whether you’re talking about a household or a government, when you take on debt, you have to pay interest. For governments, that leaves less money for other priorities such as health care, education or even tax relief," said Charles Lammam, the Fraser Institute’s director of fiscal studies and co-author of the The Cost of Government Debt in Canada

Provincial happenings

  • Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger (MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Files)

    Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger

    Debt damage: Manitoba is in the middle of the provincial pack when it comes to the amount of money it spends annually on interest payments on its debt, according to a new Fraser Institute study. The Vancouver-based think tank said today Manitoba expects to spend $842 million on debt interest payments in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31. That’s fifth highest among the 10 provinces.
  • Education spending: Education Minister James Allum announces one of the largest increases in public school funding in NDP's 16 years --- but schools will only be sure of seeing the money if the NDP is re-elected
  • Lean Greens: With left-leaning voters looking for a place to park their support, why aren’t they turning to the Greens? The party has a bit of national momentum, a young lawyer for a leader who impressed in 2011 and a chance to finally hoover up some disaffected New Democrats. So why are the provincial Greens stuck at six per cent in the polls? Mary Agnes Welch looks for an answer.

Today's editorial preview:

  • On Track: Premier Selinger’s musings about the value of a one-metre road rule between bikes and cars is nice, but the province should get involved to promote cycling as a commute in an serious way, such as dedicated infrastructure funding and a rework of the Highway Traffic Act to protect cyclists.

Sunny ways for city?

  • City savings: The head of the largest civic union at city hall said he’s hopeful talks with administration will lead to improved services and reduced cost for taxpayers. Members of the public works committee voted 3-1 Tuesday, to instruct the public works department to meet with union representatives to discuss a November report. The report purported to show significant savings can be found by reducing the city’s reliance on private contractors for snow-clearing and street maintenance on a year-round basis.
  • Calendar: Wednesday, Jan. 6, 9 a.m. Executive policy committee

Across the border

  • President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in 2015.  (Saul Loeb / The Associated Press)

    President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in 2015.

    Gun control: The Obama administration is announcing a series of executive steps aimed at curbing gun violence, including broader background checks and the hiring of additional specialists to process those checks. Read the highlights here:

In case you missed it

  • NDP MP Niki Ashton asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES / Sean Kilpatrick)

    NDP MP Niki Ashton asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

    Ashton cries foul: Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton has lodged an official complaint with Elections Canada alleging possible voting irregularities in her Churchill-Keewatinook Aski riding during October’s federal election.
  • Form or function: An online article by The Guardian criticized Centre Village, the modernist, orange-accented complex on Balmoral Street near Cumberland Avenue, saying the build valued form over function. In response, the province says it is doing a safety review of an affordable-housing project.
  • Secretive treatment: A new mayor and a new CAO has not ended the culture of secrecy that still persists within some departments at city hall, said the chairman of a civic committee. Coun. Brian Mayes, chairman of the water and waste committee, said members of council continue to be left in the dark on major issues when administrators refuse to brief them on what’s going on, adding there is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the structural and design problems at a water treatment plant and a sewage treatment plant.

Today in History

  • Jan. 5, 2009: Justice Thomas Cromwell, a bilingual, 11-year veteran of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal is sworn in as justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Harper government appointed Cromwell in 2008 to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada, cutting off the work of an advisory panel that had been vetting a list of contenders. Harper had promised that his candidates for the Supreme Court would be vetted through a public hearing.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009.

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