National Newswatch

‘Fomenting misunderstanding for partisan reasons,’ Green Leader May slams ‘horrific’ Conservative response to Khadr’s $10.5-million settlement

Jul 17 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — While the Conservatives have rallied to criticize the Liberal government’s $10.5-million settlement with former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says the Conservatives’ response has been “horrific” and that it’s “fomenting misunderstanding for partisan reasons.” “It’s horrific. There’s a complete disconnect from the reasons that the apology and some level of […]

Grit MP Fry suggests misinformation led to PM’s quick rule-out of broadband tax

Jun 26 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — Liberal MP and Canadian Heritage Committee Chair Hedy Fry has suggested that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t fully understand what the committee was recommending when he shot down the idea of new taxes on broadband distribution. That recommendation—to expand an existing five per cent levy on TV service providers, which gets put toward producing Canadian […]

Parliamentary Protective Service requests another $6.1-million in annual funding in 2017-18, wants $68.2-million total

Mar 8 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — With one new and one refurbished Parliament Hill building set to open up next year and higher visitor traffic expected for Canada’s 150th celebrations along with continuing efforts to enhance Hill security, the Parliamentary Protective Service wants a $6.1-million increase to its annual funding next year as well as almost $2.4-million in additional funding for […]

Canada’s former chief electoral officers eager for successor, laud proposed electoral legislative changes

Mar 6 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — Canada’s former chief electoral officers Marc Mayrand and Jean-Pierre Kingsley are lauding changes proposed in new legislation, including moving the elections commissioner back under the authority of Elections Canada and removing restrictions on who can apply for the job of commissioner. But they also say there are other issues to be addressed, and with only […]

PMO’s new Canada-U.S. relations ‘war room’ unit seen as ‘smart,’ considered unprecedented

Feb 6 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — The PMO’s unprecedented new Canada-U.S. relations “war room” led by Brian Clow is being lauded by observers as a smart move, created to help coordinate the Trudeau government’s quick response and strategy to U.S. President Donald Trump’s unpredictable new administration. “There’s not been a unit like this set up within the PMO to the best […]

Harper’s Conservative Party fundraising role appears unprecedented, expected to mobilize base

Jan 23 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — Former prime ministers have helped out party fundraising efforts in the past, but Stephen Harper’s role as a board member for the Conservative Party’s fundraising arm appears unprecedented in modern history, and his signature on appeals to party members is a boon to fundraising, say political insiders. “It speaks to the knowledge and connection that […]

Feds paid more than $40-million in 2016 to maintain vacant, partially vacant buildings

Dec 19 2016 — Laura Ryckewaert — Vacant and partially vacant buildings owned by the federal government in the National Capital Region cost more than $40-million in upkeep costs in 2016, including maintenance and repairs, according to documents recently obtained by The Hill Times. There were 22 vacant or partially vacant federal buildings as of November 2016 in Ottawa, listed in documents […]

Feds aim to get electoral reform bill tabled by May, despite ‘incredibly cynical’ response to committee report

Dec 12 2016 — Laura Ryckewaert — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is still “working towards” tabling legislation to change Canada’s federal voting system by May next year, Liberal MP Mark Holland, parliamentary secretary to the Democratic Institutions minister, told The Hill Times last week. The government’s online survey on democratic values is set to close at the end of this month, […]

Feds’ electoral reform in doubt, pollsters say one broken promise won’t sink Liberals, but more could spell trouble

Dec 5 2016 — Laura Ryckewaert — There are doubts the government will keep its election campaign promise to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system by 2019, but pollsters say one broken promise on electoral reform alone would unlikely sink the Liberal ship, however, more than one could be trouble down the road. “If you’re looking at this through the political cost of […]

Feds’ proposals on PBO, chief statistician roles ‘positive,’ but more details needed, say experts

Nov 14 2016 — Laura Ryckewaert — The Liberal government’s proposed changes to make the parliamentary budget officer and chief statistician more independent are important, “positive” steps, say experts, but the “devil is in the details,” and timing for legislation remains unknown. “This is something that we have been advocating [for] since day one in fact,” said Assistant Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) […]

Electoral Reform Committee report almost in works, but PM comments cast shadow

Oct 24 2016 — Laura Ryckewaert — The Electoral Reform Committee will soon begin drafting its recommendations after months of work costing more than $670,000, with a “colossal” level of input up for consideration. However, recent comments from the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have left some members questioning the fate of reform efforts. Committee members are nonetheless keeping positive about the possibility […]

‘What you’re seeing is people starting to mobilize,’ Angus, Ashton, Julian, Singh, among those expected to run in still-vacant NDP leadership race

Oct 17 2016 — Laura Ryckewaert — It’s been three months and no one has yet entered the race to become the next federal NDP leader, but prospective candidates are sizing up support and potential competitors with one or two expected to announce before year’s end. Five names of likely candidates are currently floating around, including NDP MPs Niki Ashton (Churchill-Keewatinook-Aski, Man.), […]