National Newswatch

More assertive Independent senators come close to defeating government bills

Jun 24 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — In the final hours of Justin Trudeau's four-year experiment with a less-partisan Senate, Independent senators came within a whisker of biting the hand that feeds them. On Bill C-48, which follows through on the prime minister's 2015 election commitment to ban oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia, senators voted 49 to 46 to […]

Elections Canada scraps social media ‘influencers’ to encourage youth vote

Jun 20 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Elections Canada has scrapped plans to use social-media "influencers" to persuade young Canadians to register to vote in this fall's federal election. Chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault said Thursday that a final vetting of 13 people chosen for the campaign — athletes, YouTubers and other television and social-media celebrities— turned up some past activities that […]

Trudeau promises to legislate implementation of UNDRIP if re-elected

Jun 19 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising that a re-elected Liberal government will introduce legislation to ensure federal laws are harmonized with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Trudeau made the announcement Wednesday through his government's representative in the Senate, where a private member's bill on the same topic, New Democrat MP […]

Canada needs to regulate social media giants: international report

Jun 18 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — An international report says Canada has taken "commendable" steps to safeguard this fall's federal election from foreign interference. But the report says this country needs to do more to regulate social media giants and should impose "major sanctions" on those that fail to control fake news and other forms of disinformation on their platforms. The report […]

Liberal bleeding after SNC-Lavalin affair seems to have stopped: Leger Poll

Jun 14 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A new poll suggests the federal Liberals have stopped the bleeding from the beating they took in the SNC-Lavalin furor. The Leger poll suggests the Liberals have closed the gap slightly with the front-running Conservatives since April and dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government has eased a bit. More significantly, the poll also […]

Tory senators deny stalling private members’ bills on Indigenous rights

Jun 7 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Conservative senators are being blamed for running out the parliamentary clock on a number of bills, including several aimed at advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Conservatives' Senate whip says the Liberal government will have only itself to blame if the bills aren't passed before Parliament breaks for the summer and the subsequent fall […]

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations

May 26 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Tech giants will be in the hot seat this week as politicians from Canada and 10 other countries gather to consider how best to protect citizens' privacy and their democracies in the age of social media. The international grand committee on big data, privacy and democracy is meeting in Ottawa for three days, starting Monday. […]

Liberals stymie Commons defence committee inquiry into Mark Norman case

May 16 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Liberals used their majority on a House of Commons committee Thursday to block an opposition attempt to launch an inquiry into the failed prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Conservative and NDP members of the Commons defence committee forced a special meeting to debate a Tory motion that would have initiated an investigation into how the military's former […]

Sajjan says he supported chief of defence staff’s decision to suspend Norman

May 15 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he supported the chief of defence staff's decision to suspend Vice-Admiral Mark Norman in 2017, more than a year before he was charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets about military procurement. But Sajjan told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the decision was Gen. Jonathan Vance's alone. The public prosecutor abruptly […]

Social media giants ignore law, don’t take Canada seriously: MPs

May 12 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Politicians are increasingly concerned that social media giants have become so big, powerful and rich that they are effectively above the law — at least in a small country like Canada. Their concern was on display last week at a meeting of the House of Commons access to information, privacy and ethics committee, where Liberal […]

Beyak suspended from Senate over refusal to delete racist letters from website

May 9 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Lynn Beyak cast herself as a defender of free speech and a victim of political correctness moments before senators voted summarily Thursday to suspend her without pay from the Senate for refusing to delete derogatory letters about Indigenous people from her website. The suspension applies only to the remainder of the current session of Parliament; she'll be able to […]

MPs are no Einstein when it comes to misattributing famous quotes

May 7 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canadian parliamentarians love to quote Albert Einstein's definition of insanity. No one more so than Liberal Sean Casey, who's cited the famous quotation purportedly from the acclaimed physicist at least five times in the House of Commons or in parliamentary committees since he was first elected in 2011. "Albert Einstein once said, 'Insanity is doing the same […]

Dominic LeBlanc taking leave from cabinet to battle new cancer

Apr 26 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Dominic LeBlanc is stepping away temporarily from his duties as federal intergovernmental and northern affairs minister after being diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. "A few weeks ago, I consulted with my doctor for what began as flu-like symptoms," the veteran New Brunswick Liberal MP said in a joint statement Friday with Dr. […]

Online registry requirement applies only to paid political adverts

Apr 24 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A new law requiring online platforms to publish a digital registry of all political ads posted during the coming federal election campaign will apply only to paid advertisements. And that leaves lots of room for parties and advocacy groups to find other innovative ways to get their messages out to voters, without regulation. As guidelines issued […]

Faith Goldy, five others, banned from Facebook and Instagram over hate

Apr 8 2019 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Six Canadian people and groups involved in "organized hate" have been banned from having any further presence on Facebook and Instagram. Those banned include one-time Toronto mayoral candidate and far-right political commentator Faith Goldy. Also banned are the Canadian Nationalist Front and its chairman Kevin Goudreau, Aryan Strikeforce, Wolves of Odin and Soldiers of Odin (also known as Canadian Infidels). […]