National Newswatch

Spy bill allows government security agency to collect ‘publicly available’ info on Canadians

Jun 21 2017 — Alex Boutilier — The Liberals’ new national security legislation would confirm the Communications Security Establishment’s power to collect “publicly available” information about Canadians. New language in Bill C-59 outlines CSE’s ability to obtain and analyze any information already in the public realm, including aggregate information that relates to Canadians. The spy agency is strictly prohibited from targeting Canadians […]

Despite risk of cyber attacks, political parties still handle Canadians’ data with no rules in place

Jun 19 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says it’s not the time to implement basic privacy and security rules for political parties’ collection of Canadians’ personal data, despite warning those parties are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Speaking with the Star on Friday, Gould said she decided on a voluntary approach for parties to meet and discuss vulnerabilities […]

Ottawa’s foreign policy pivot began before Liberals took office, documents show

Jun 11 2017 — Alex Boutilier — When Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined the Liberal government’s new vision for foreign policy, it was received both as a shift in Ottawa’s approach to international relations and as a direct response to the political climate in the United States. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Freeland reaffirmed the Canadian government’s commitment […]

Longtime staff members, friends drove Andrew Scheer’s dream team

Jun 4 2017 — Alex Boutilier — “Everybody’s second choice” isn’t a terribly inspiring political rallying cry, but it turns out it can be an effective one. As Conservative members made their way into the party’s leadership vote on May 27, volunteers for Andrew Scheer cheerfully handed out buttons supporting their candidate. The buttons didn’t ask anyone to make Scheer their top […]

Social conservative candidates got strong support from Toronto suburbs, leadership data says

May 30 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Conservative leadership data shows social conservatives had a strong showing in suburban Toronto ridings, where anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage candidates were the first choice of a significant percentage of party members. Social conservatives were credited with providing the final push to secure Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s victory at the party’s Etobicoke convention Saturday. According to […]

O’Leary disputes claim he didn’t want the leadership

May 27 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Kevin O’Leary is disputing an account from his former campaign chair that the television personality and businessman didn’t want to become Conservative leader. On Friday, former campaign chair Mike Coates said O’Leary asked senior staff in April if there was some way for him to come in “a close second” in the Conservative leadership race, […]

Ottawa downplays Trump intelligence sharing with Russia

May 16 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says allied countries must “properly respect” Canadian values when handling intelligence shared by Canada’s spy agencies, as the fallout from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Russian meeting continues. Goodale was repeatedly asked Tuesday if he was concerned Trump shared classified information, reportedly given to the U.S. by an ally, with the […]

Canada’s spies examining ‘vulnerabilities’ in election system

May 12 2017 — Alex Boutilier — The Communications Security Establishment has begun a promised review into the risks of foreign interference in the 2019 election, the Star has learned. CSE, Canada’s signals intelligence and cyber defence agency, is conducting a “risk assessment” into how vulnerable Canadian elections are to foreign hacking and information operations. The timeline for the review, and its […]

What Maxime Bernier’s Canada would look like

May 8 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Maxime Bernier has a dramatically different idea about how Canada should work. Bernier would get the federal government out of health care, transferring the full responsibility to provinces and paving the way for more private delivery. Bernier would tie Canada’s foreign aid to “morality,” and believes billions of it should be spent instead on tax […]

Liberals resume cabinet fundraisers under new rules

Apr 29 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Liberal cabinet ministers are once again hitting the fundraising circuit, but are promising to adhere to new rules after “cash-for-access” allegations turned into a scandal for the party. Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr hosted a fundraiser Thursday night in Calgary, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has another scheduled for Montreal in May. Unlike the cozy […]

National Research Council bought $8m in new laptops after hack

Apr 10 2017 — Alex Boutilier — A federal research agency bought $8 million worth of new laptops after a crippling cyber attack targeted its secrets in 2014, the Star has learned. Documents released to the Star show the National Research Council had to replace a number of “end-point devices”—internet-connected devices like laptops and printers – after foreign hackers targeted its networks […]

U.S. anti-Immigration policies a silver lining for Canada: Kevin O’Leary

Apr 7 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Kevin O’Leary says Canada’s “inclusive society” is an advantage for the country, one it could capitalize on as the U.S. increasingly restricts travel and immigration policies. In a Conservative leadership race that has been mired in identity politics and questions of Canadian values, he said increasing anti-immigration sentiment in the United States could work to […]

O’Leary ditches debate, appears on MSNBC from Miami

Apr 3 2017 — Alex Boutilier — Kevin O’Leary opined on Canadian politics Sunday, but unlike the 13 other Conservative leadership rivals, he did so from Miami. The reality television personality and businessman appeared on MSNBC on Sunday morning to talk about President Donald Trump’s performance and his own bid to replace Stephen Harper. O’Leary made the apparently abrupt decision to jet […]