National Newswatch

Liberals use convention to energize troops, grow volunteer base for next election

Apr 19 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Thousands of federal Liberals are descending on Halifax for what's being billed as the unofficial launch of the ruling party's re-election campaign. The party expects about 3,000 supporters will have registered by the time its national convention kicks off tonight, making it one of the largest, non-leadership conventions in its history. And it says […]

Guide to legalization predicts home-grown pot will be biggest municipal headache

Apr 16 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Municipalities will have to grapple with a host of thorny issues once recreational cannabis is legalized in Canada — but it's the matter of home-grown marijuana plants that's expected to cause them the biggest headaches. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has developed a guide to legalization, released Monday, to help identify the challenges and regulatory options […]

Harder accuses Tories of sabotaging move to independent, less partisan Senate

Apr 12 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The government representative in the Senate is accusing Conservative senators of deliberately trying to sabotage Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's efforts to turn the upper house into a less partisan, independent chamber of sober second thought. Sen. Peter Harder says the previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper "swung a partisan wrecking ball" at the Senate, turning it […]

Senators fear legal pot will hike number of Canadians barred entry to U.S.

Apr 5 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Meetings with American officials have done nothing to calm the fears of Conservative senators that legalization of marijuana could exponentially increase the number of Canadians barred for life from entering the United States. Indeed, Sen. Claude Carignan says the meetings have confirmed their suspicion that the Trudeau government has been playing down the potential impact of […]

Canadians see possible signal U.S. ready to accept NAFTA compromise

Mar 18 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — American trade officials are showing newfound interest in a Canadian proposal for revamping NAFTA's automotive provisions as the U.S. seeks to swiftly conclude renegotiations of the continental free trade pact. And that's being taken in some quarters as a sign that the U.S. may realize it will have to settle for making only modest progress on a handful of American demands if there's […]

India denies ‘baseless’ claim of role in Atwal affair; Trudeau defends official

Feb 28 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau doubled down Wednesday on his support for a senior government official who suggested factions in the Indian government sabotaged the prime minister's trip to India last week — despite a flat denial from India's external affairs ministry which labelled the theory "baseless and unacceptable." And he got some back up from a leading Sikh politician in India, who alleged that […]

Senate deal to vote on pot bill on June 7 means no actual sales before August

Feb 15 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canadians will have to wait until at least early August — and maybe as late as early September — to legally purchase recreational marijuana. That's the bottom line now that senators have struck a deal to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation that will usher in the legal cannabis regime. As recently as […]

Tory senators not inclined to rush debate on bill to legalize cannabis

Feb 14 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Conservative senators are balking at an attempt to speed up consideration of a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which the Trudeau government hopes to have in place this July. Sen. Larry Smith, who leads the Conservative caucus in the Senate, indicated Wednesday that his senators need more time than the government wants to allow to […]

Government threatens to cut off Senate debate on pot as July deadline looms

Feb 14 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is moving to ensure the Senate doesn't hold up its plans to legalize recreational marijuana in July. The government's representative in the upper house, Sen. Peter Harder, served notice Tuesday that he wants second reading debate on Bill C-45 wrapped up by March 1, after which it would go to committee for detailed […]

After 5-year struggle, PBO to get data needed to measure cost of tax avoidance

Feb 13 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — After a five-year battle with the Canada Revenue Agency, the parliamentary budget office is finally being promised the data needed to evaluate the amount of revenue Ottawa loses each year due to offshore tax havens and other tax avoidance schemes. The budget office has been demanding the data since December 2017 and has even threatened court […]

Front-of-package symbols proposed for foods high in sodium, sugar, saturated fat

Feb 9 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The federal government wants to make it easier for consumers to choose healthy foods with front-of-package warnings on items that contain high levels of sodium, sugar or saturated fat — ingredients linked to chronic health problems like obesity, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Currently, consumers must check the nutrition facts table on the back of packages […]

Legal pot on track for July but actual retail sales may take longer

Feb 7 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government insists it's on track to legalize recreational pot in July — but whether that means it will actually be on sale by then is uncertain. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told senators Tuesday that provinces and territories have indicated once Bill C-45, the legislation setting up a legal cannabis regime, is given royal assent, they'll […]