National Newswatch
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Ex-Senate Liberal leader Cowan says Trudeau’s changes could radically transform Upper Chamber into passive advisory panel

Jan 11 2017 — Marco Vigliotti — As former Senate leader James Cowan prepares to leave the Upper Chamber, he’s warning that major reforms introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to lessen partisanship threaten to transform the legislative body into a passive advisory panel. Sen. Cowan (Nova Scotia), who will step down on Jan. 22 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age for […]

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Liberals look to edge out Conservatives in fundraising after failing to overtake Tories for most of 2016

Jan 11 2017 — Marco Vigliotti — The Liberals and NDP start 2017 looking to gain ground on the Conservatives in the race for donations, as the Tories’ well-oiled fundraising machine continues to outpace its rivals despite being relegated to the opposition ranks and lacking a permanent leader. In a year dominated by stories of high-priced, exclusive Liberal fundraisers, and allegations of […]

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Twelve cabinet ministers and PM Trudeau dipped into exclusive gift bank in Liberals’ first year

Dec 16 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould were the most frequent customers at the federal government’s high-end gift shop during the Liberals’ first year in power. Mr. Carr (Winnipeg South Centre, Man.) picked up 32 items valued at $3,567 from the official gift shop between November 2015 and […]

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If Trans Mountain decision becomes ballot box question, Vancouver-area MPs Wilkinson, Beech could be vulnerable, says pollster

Dec 7 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — It remains too early to predict how the Trudeau government’s decision to approve the expansion of the contentious Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline will affect the popularity of Liberal MPs in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, though if it does emerge as a ballot box issue, Jonathan Wilkinson and Terry Beech could be the most vulnerable […]

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Ex-PMO aide Bruce Carson fined $50,000 for illegal lobbying

Nov 4 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — Bruce Carson, a former adviser to prime minister Stephen Harper, has been fined $50,000 for illegal lobbying. Justice Catherine Kehoe with the Ontario Court of Justice delivered the ruling in an Ottawa courthouse Friday morning. Mr. Carson, who served in the prime minister’s office from 2006 to 2008, and briefly in 2009, was found guilty […]

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Hecklers aside, Trudeau remains popular with younger votes, say pollsters, strategist

Nov 2 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to attract strong support from large stretches of the Canadian electorate, including younger voters, despite encountering a boisterous protest during a youth workers forum last week in Ottawa, pollsters say. “Leaving the incidents aside, his current approval level is solid across the demographics and he actually does better with younger […]

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Lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd won’t seek another term

Nov 2 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — Lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd is stepping down after more than eight years in office. Ms. Shepherd told The Hill Times on Oct. 27 that she would not seek reappointment when her current term expires at the end of December. She made the remarks following a presentation to the House Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics […]

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Minister’s response to Translation Bureau study irks Liberal, opposition MPs

Oct 26 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — Liberal committee chair, and NDP and Conservative members say the minister’s response was lacking. Governing Liberal and opposition MPs say they’re unimpressed by Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote’s response to their committee study on the federal Translation Bureau. Liberal MP Denis Paradis (Brome-Missisquoi, Que.), chair of the House Official Languages Committee, which conducted […]

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Committee photo-op goes haywire after opposition refuses to let parliamentary secretary join

Oct 12 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — A planned photo of members of the House Public Accounts Committee erupted in controversy after opposition MPs objected to the presence of a Liberal parliamentary secretary, drawing renewed accusations of executive overreach into committee business. The permanent members of the committee gathered on the stairs below the House of Commons foyer on Sept. 20 after […]

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Liberal committee meddling breaks campaign promise, say Conservatives

Sep 28 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — The Liberal government is breaking a campaign promise by meddling in the affairs of parliamentary committees, say Conservative MPs. Public comments from ministers and departmental staff asking House committees to study issues on certain timelines amount to interference in the work of those committees, and don’t line up with Liberal campaign promises to give the […]

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Pollsters starting to see uptick in government work

Aug 24 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — The Trudeau government is reinvesting in public opinion research after it was virtually abandoned in the final years of the last Conservative government, though spending remains far below historical averages, according to veteran pollster Frank Graves. “They’ve committed to doing more and more work…but it’s certainly nowhere near the levels it was historically both with […]

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Trudeau must be clear with voters about peacekeeping rationale or risk losing support: observers

Aug 17 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to be “realistic” with Canadians if he hopes to sell the public on the merits of accepting a dangerous peacekeeping mission in Africa, says pollster Nik Nanos. While generally supportive of peacekeeping, Canadians are “skeptical” about its effectiveness and want honest answers from political leaders about what can reasonably be […]

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HR department still suspending policy requiring long-term contract workers to become permanent

Aug 3 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — At least one government department is continuing to opt out of a federal policy requiring contract (or term) workers to become permanent employees after three consecutive years of work, despite the apparent end of Harper-era cost-cutting initiatives. A spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada confirmed that the department doesn’t “automatically make term employees permanent,” […]

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NDP slams Liberals for stalling on measures to tame hot housing markets

Jul 20 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — he NDP is calling on the Trudeau government to take decisive action to help residents struggling in overheated housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver, though the Liberals are cautioning against rolling out any policy remedies that could impact the broader national housing picture before extensive study. NDP MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, B.C.) accused the […]

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As exemption requests grow, critics call for lobbying-ban changes

Jun 15 2016 — Marco Vigliotti — As the lobbying commissioner sees a surge in requests from ex-public office holders for lobbying-ban exemptions, the Liberal government is fielding growing calls to reform associated legislation. Critics argue the current rules are overly burdensome and excessively broad. Some are calling for a sliding-scale system that would take into account a person’s position and connections. […]