National Newswatch
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Ontario Liberals under fire for ads promoting hydro rate cut

Mar 20 2017 — Robert Benzie — As the governing Liberals gear up for an all-out advertising blitz to promote a 25-per-cent reduction in hydro rates this year, they are under fire for jumping the gun with radio ads. Both the opposition Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats complain the commercials that began airing Friday are in contempt of parliament because the new […]

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Teen Tory MPP Sam Oosterhoff is being challenged for his Niagara seat

Mar 6 2017 — Robert Benzie — The youngest MPP in Ontario history is being challenged for his seat just months after being elected. Progressive Conservative Sam Oosterhoff, who won the Niagara West-Glanbrook byelection last November, faces a nomination battle Tuesday against party vice-president Tony Quirk. “I’m not sure why Tony is running quite frankly. I was surprised. He was my co-chair […]

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Ontario auditor refuses to back down in $10.7B pension feud

Feb 16 2017 — Robert Benzie — Ontario’s legislative watchdog is escalating a $10.7 billion standoff with the provincial government over taxpayer-funded pension surpluses. Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk insisted Thursday the co-sponsored Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan shouldn’t be booked as assets because the government does not have ready access to the funds. And […]

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Premier Kathleen Wynne launches charm offensive with U.S. governors

Feb 15 2017 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne is going on a charm offensive with U.S. governors to keep trade flowing stateside in the new protectionist Trump era. Wynne, who met with Canada’s ambassador to Washington David MacNaughton on Wednesday at Queen’s Park, said relations with American states are on the front-burner. The premier said she would travel to the […]

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Poll suggests Canadians more optimistic about the economy

Feb 15 2017 — Robert Benzie — Canadians remain uneasy about the nation’s overall economic prospects even as they are more optimistic about their own personal fortunes, a new survey suggests. Pollara Strategic Insights’ 22nd annual outlook poll reveals 57 per cent believe the country is in recession. But that is lower than the 76 per cent that felt that way in […]

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MPP Jagmeet Singh makes a splash in GQ

Feb 10 2017 — Robert Benzie — The most stylish MPP at Queen’s Park is making a splash with the men’s style bible, GQ. New Democrat MPP Jagmeet Singh has been profiled in the American magazine under the headline “the Incredibly Well-Dressed Rising Star in Canadian Politics.” Singh, who represents Bramalea-Gore-Malton and is the NDP’s deputy leader, is featured in an interview […]

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Hoskins wants to ban Ontario hospitals from being renamed for donors

Feb 1 2017 — Robert Benzie — Queen’s Park wants to ban hospitals from being renamed at the behest of rich donors, the Star has learned. Concerned about wealthy people and big corporations getting entire hospitals rechristened in exchange for philanthropic contributions, Health Minister Eric Hoskins is proposing that any such changes be cleared by him. Hoskins says “the new name must […]

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Wynne not worried Tories trounced Liberals in fundraising

Jan 20 2017 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne insists she has no regrets that the governing Liberals no longer enjoy a fundraising advantage over Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives. Wynne, who also trails Brown in public-opinion polls, said she is not worried the Tories raised twice as much as the Liberals in 2016, the last year before legislative reforms triggered by […]

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Ontario Tories double Liberals’ fundraising tally

Jan 18 2017 — Robert Benzie — The Progressive Conservatives raised $12.6 million last year – twice as much as the governing Liberals – by exploiting a double-dip loophole that was closed after a Star probe. According to the latest Elections Ontario data, Patrick Brown’s Conservatives outperformed Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, who collected $6 million, and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, who raised […]

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Upstart Roman Baber trounces Joe Oliver in Ontario PC battle

Jan 16 2017 — Robert Benzie — Another one bites the dust. Former finance minister Joe Oliver is the latest federal Conservative to lose a bid to run for Patrick Brown’s provincial Tories in next year’s election. Oliver, 76, was trounced Sunday in the York Centre nomination contest by upstart lawyer Roman Baber. Baber, 36, who was born in Russia and came […]

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Wynne blasts Ottawa over health funding

Jan 10 2017 — Robert Benzie — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is shortchanging Canadians on health-care funding, warns Premier Kathleen Wynne. In her first public comments since Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick inked Christmas side deals with Ottawa increasing annual health transfers by 3.9 per cent, Wynne said the current federal offer is insufficient. “There are 10 premiers and 10 […]

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Wynne ‘disappointed’ in federal Liberals on health-care funding

Dec 20 2016 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne says it’s “very worrisome” that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will not transfer as much money as provinces need to keep up with mounting health care costs. “I feel disappointed and I’m apprehensive because I don’t know what comes next. I hope that we can at some point get to a conversation […]

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Kathleen Wynne says she has no plans to resign

Dec 20 2016 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne is sending a clear signal to her political rivals — within and outside the Liberal party — that she has no plans to resign despite her unpopularity in the polls. “I’ll be walking in the snow and on the beach, but I’m not going,” Wynne told the Star in a year-end interview […]

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Trudeau urges police to ‘enforce the law’ on marijuana

Dec 3 2016 — Robert Benzie — A frustrated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants police to “enforce the law” and criminally charge illegal marijuana dispensaries — even though weed legalization is looming. “People are right now breaking the law,” Trudeau told the Star’s editorial board on Friday. “We haven’t changed the laws. We haven’t legalized it yet. Yes, we got a clear […]

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Wynne ‘worried’ about Trump threat to Ontario economy

Nov 9 2016 — Robert Benzie — A “shocked” Premier Kathleen Wynne is expressing hope that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-trade rhetoric was just campaign bluster. Speaking to the Star early Wednesday, Wynne said she is “worried” about Trump’s threat to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that is so vital to Ontario’s economy. “My biggest fear … is […]