National Newswatch

Liberals paid headhunters $77K to help with botched appointment of a new languages czar

Sep 22 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — As part of the much-scrutinized process that led to Madeleine Meilleur being nominated as Canada’s official languages commissioner this spring, the federal government spent almost $77,000 on a headhunting firm, part of more than $2 million spent on “executive search” services this year alone. Much-delayed ethics, lobbying and information commissioner positions are also being supported […]

Other countries, security, refugees: Here’s what Trudeau didn’t talk about at the UN

Sep 21 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech to the United Nations general assembly Thursday focused largely on domestic issues, even including his finance minister’s proposed tax reforms, but didn’t get much into geopolitics. A heavy focus on his Liberal government’s handling of Indigenous issues was expected in this, Trudeau’s second speech to the UN’s New York plenary […]

Government ‘fell short’ in protecting privacy during electoral reform consultation, privacy commissioner finds

Sep 21 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — The government “fell short” and “should have been more prudent” in preventing users’ personal information from being shared with third parties as they interacted with a much-maligned online electoral reform survey, Canada’s privacy commissioner has found. MyDemocracy.ca employed third-party scripts that could disclose users’ personal information to Facebook without their consent as soon as they […]

‘I’m not going to question’ the RCMP’s spending on vacation security, Trudeau says

Sep 13 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brushed off questions from reporters in St. John’s, Nfld. Wednesday after reports emerged the RCMP footed a bigger-than-anticipated security bill for his trip to the Aga Khan’s private island. “The RCMP provides a protective service for the prime minister and my family and does an excellent job of that,” he said. […]

Deepak Obhrai, the last Reformer, told Scheer he’s ‘not interested’ in any special caucus roles

Sep 8 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Former leadership rival Deepak Obhrai says he informed Conservative leader Andrew Scheer he’s “not interested” in any special roles within their caucus. Obhrai also told the Post he has no intention to leave parliament after finishing last on the first ballot in the May leadership election. Scheer recently announced his shadow cabinet, revealing which critics […]

Bernier won’t push Tories on supply management anymore, he says

Sep 7 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Maxime Bernier, the libertarian candidate who lost the Conservative leadership to Andrew Scheer by a hair this May, says he will no longer push his party to end agricultural supply management. Standing outside a Winnipeg hotel meeting room in which Scheer had earlier earned standing ovations from the Conservative caucus, a somewhat deflated Bernier explained […]

Canada to decide on potential free trade agreement with China this fall, with Asia seen as counterpoint to NAFTA renegotiation

Sep 6 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — While all eyes are on NAFTA, Canada is trying to move quickly on trade in the Asia-Pacific, with decisions on a China free trade agreement and an updated TPP coming this fall. Diversifying trade with market access in Asia would offer major opportunities to Canadian business, say experts, and send a signal to the United […]

Government added privacy protections to MyDemocracy.ca contract only after privacy commissioner began investigation: documents

Sep 5 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — When the Liberal government launched its MyDemocracy.ca website last December, the online survey — part of an ultimately fruitless public consultation process on electoral reform — was ridiculed. It also raised concerns about privacy. Why, observers wondered, did a survey asking people’s opinion about our “democratic values” — though not which voting system we should […]

Brad Trost, Campaign Life Coalition endorse Scheer’s team, as NDP worry about Tory stance on abortion

Aug 31 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Brad Trost, whose socially-conservative supporters helped elect Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, says he isn’t disappointed after his name was left off a list of “shadow ministers” released Wednesday. With rivals Maxime Bernier and Kellie Leitch publicly falling into line, and a pro-life group also giving their approval, Scheer has faced little criticism from his base. […]

Andrew Scheer’s ‘shadow cabinet’ reflects attempt to mend Conservative leadership race ruptures

Aug 30 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Most of the MPs who ran against Scheer for the leadership rivals have roles in his shadow cabinet, though three are excluded Conservative leader Andrew Scheer unveiled his team of “shadow ministers” Wednesday, an apparent attempt to unite factions within the party by empowering his former rivals. Months after a leadership race that included its […]

After events cancelled at Toronto campuses, Andrew Scheer says universities have right to decide who gets space

Aug 18 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — After controversial events were cancelled at two Toronto campuses this week, Conservative Party Andrew Scheer says universities have the right to determine which “outside groups” they give platforms to. In an interview Friday, the National Post asked Scheer to clarify a policy idea floated during his leadership campaign: to make federal grant money for universities […]

Liberals’ plan for gender and Indigenous chapters in NAFTA not likely to happen, experts say

Aug 15 2017 — Marie-Danielle Smith — Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s objective to include gender and Indigenous chapters in a re-jigged NAFTA is about political symbolism in Canada, experts suggest, with few convinced U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will make these a priority. Freeland floated the idea Monday alongside higher-profile asks, as North American Free Trade Agreement negotiators meet this week to […]