National Newswatch

Tories, NDP want Liberals to outline NAFTA priorities before Commons committee

Jul 18 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Conservatives and New Democrats are joining forces in a bid to pressure the Trudeau government to reveal its priorities for the imminent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Four MPs from both parties sent a joint letter Tuesday to the clerk of the Commons international trade committee, requesting that an emergency meeting be held to […]

Senate, Trudeau government locked in test of wills over budget amendments

Jun 22 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A bid by senators to amend the Trudeau government's budget escalated Wednesday into a test of wills over which parliamentary chamber — the elected House of Commons or the appointed Senate — has the right to decide budgetary matters. Senators were incensed after the government summarily and swiftly rejected Senate amendments to its budget implementation bill, […]

Senators defy Trudeau, propose amendments to federal budget bill

Jun 21 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Senate voted Tuesday to delete a so-called escalator tax on booze from the federal government's budget, defying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's insistence that only the elected House of Commons has authority over budgetary matters. Senators voted 46-32 late Tuesday to accept the report of the Senate's national finance committee, which earlier in the day passed a […]

NDP proposes rule change to ensure federal watchdogs are non-partisan

Jun 12 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — New Democrats are proposing a change to parliamentary rules aimed at ensuring only non-partisan individuals become the independent watchdogs who oversee crucial activities such as government spending, ethics, lobbying and federal elections. The NDP will use an opposition day Tuesday to move push for a multi-party committee to give its approval to anyone nominated by the government to be an officer of Parliament. The motion, […]

Liberals waste no time branding Scheer as social conservative extremist

May 28 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Even before Conservatives began counting the ballots, the ruling Liberals set out to frame the new Opposition leader as a far-right extremist. Only trouble was, the relentless barrage of email missives from Liberal headquarters in the days and hours leading up to Saturday's vote were aimed largely at Maxime Bernier, the front-runner and presumed winner of […]

Nigel Wright broke ethics rules during Duffy affair, watchdog report says

May 26 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Former prime minister Stephen Harper's one-time chief of staff was never prosecuted for his role in Mike Duffy's Senate expenses fiasco, but now Nigel Wright is getting a belated slap on the wrist from the federal ethics watchdog. In a long-awaited report released Thursday, ethics commissioner Mary Dawson says Wright broke two sections of the Conflict of Interest […]

Strident opponent of assisted dying won’t chair advance request review

May 11 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A Toronto doctor who once likened assisted dying to the Holocaust is no longer in charge of a federally mandated process to determine whether Canadians should be able to make advance requests for medical help to end their lives. Harvey Schipper has stepped aside as chair of a working group of experts who will examine […]

Disgraced Don Meredith quits Senate rather than face expulsion vote

May 9 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Disgraced Sen. Don Meredith is resigning from the Senate rather than wait to see if his colleagues expel him for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. The Senate was poised to vote as early as Wednesday on a Senate ethics committee report, which last week concluded that Meredith is unfit to serve as a senator and recommended […]

Ethics committee calls for expulsion of Sen. Don Meredith over sex with teen

May 3 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Senate ethics committee has recommended that the upper house take the unprecedented step of expelling disgraced Sen. Don Meredith for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. It's now up to the full Senate, which has never before expelled a member, to decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation, which also calls on the chamber […]

Ethics watchdog continues investigation into Wright’s $90K payment to Mike Duffy

Mar 14 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Almost a full year after Sen. Mike Duffy was acquitted on 31 charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust, the man who paid him $90,000 remains under investigation by the federal ethics watchdog. Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson has revealed that she continues to examine the conduct of Nigel Wright, former prime minister Stephen Harper's one-time chief of […]

Liberal government poised to argue in court against bill supported by Liberals

Mar 11 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is in the bizarre position of preparing to go to the Supreme Court to argue against a federal law passed with the support of its own MPs. That's the result of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's announcement that the government intends to seek the top court's advice on the constitutionality of a bill aimed […]

Wilson-Raybould wants Supreme Court advice on genetic non-discrimination bill

Mar 9 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau's government wants the Supreme Court of Canada's advice on a bill aimed at preventing genetic discrimination after the prime minister failed to persuade his own Liberal backbenchers that it's unconstitutional. Just one day after 104 Liberals joined forces with Conservative and New Democrat MPs to give Bill S-201 final approval in the House of Commons, Justice Minister […]

Tory leadership hopefuls grant interviews to anti-Islam, pro-white ‘journalist’

Mar 9 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Some federal Conservative leadership contenders have given interviews to a self-proclaimed online journalist who regularly posts accolades to the superiority of white people, along with diatribes against immigration in general and Muslims in particular. Video of those largely anodyne interviews appear on Kevin J. Johnston's YouTube channel,, alongside more inflammatory video rants — including one in which Johnston warns Liberal […]

Justin Trudeau adds fresh faces to cabinet; Freeland up, Dion, McCallum out

Jan 11 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shook up his cabinet Tuesday in a bid to adjust to the upheaval wrought by incoming American president Donald Trump to international affairs in general and Canada's relationship with the United States in particular. He entrusted to Chrystia Freeland — a former economics journalist with extensive contacts in the United States — the crucial responsibility of navigating the […]

Trudeau aims to connect with Canadians in coffee shops, church basements

Jan 6 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is ringing in the new year with a determined effort to re-establish his connection with grassroots Canadians after closing out 2016 amid accusations of kowtowing to wealthy donors at elite Liberal fundraisers. Trudeau is planning to embark on a campaign-style tour, talking to average folks at coffee shops and church basements across the country. His communications […]