National Newswatch

Election reform bill passed in time for implementation in 2019 federal vote

Dec 10 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Legislation aimed at preventing foreign interference and constraining the influence of big money in Canadian elections has been approved by the Senate. Bill C-76 passed in the upper house late Monday on a vote of 54-31 and is expected to receive royal assent later this week. That means the reforms will apply during next year's […]

Little results from first ministers meeting, but at least nobody stormed out

Dec 7 2018 — Joan Bryden — MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed to keep the peace at what began as a tension-filled first ministers meeting Friday but had few concrete achievements to show for the day-long gathering. The one sour note was sounded by Ontario's Progressive Conservative premier, Doug Ford, who accused Trudeau of moving the goalposts on Canada's climate-change plans, requiring Ontario […]

First ministers meeting shaping up to be most acrimonious in years

Dec 5 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Wrangling over the agenda doesn't bode well for Friday's first ministers' meeting, which is shaping up as one of the most fractious gatherings of Canada's federal, provincial and territorial leaders in decades. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is bracing for a barrage of criticism from premiers upset about the federal approach to pipelines, carbon taxation, environmental assessments, GM's Oshawa […]

Ethics watchdog concerned that Scheer’s office advised MP to contravene code

Dec 4 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The federal ethics watchdog says he's concerned that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's office encouraged a Tory MP to violate the conflict-of-interest code for members of the House of Commons. In a written ruling Tuesday, Mario Dion says Calgary Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie contravened the code last March 29 when she posted on social media a letter […]

Conservatives hang on to safe eastern Ontario seat in easy byelection win

Dec 4 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Conservatives easily hung onto a long-time Tory fiefdom Monday, scoring a convincing victory in a federal byelection held in eastern Ontario. With all polls reporting in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Conservative candidate Michael Barrett, a municipal councillor, had racked up 57.8 per cent of the vote. Liberal contender Mary Jean McFall was second with 35.8 per cent, while the NDP […]

Lots of baloney in Singh’s claim bill ending postal strikes is most draconian

Nov 29 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — "What we would expect is the prime minister to do everything in his power to ensure that there's a free and fair negotiation. But instead what he's doing is bringing in the worst, most draconian legislation today, completely undemocratic, and what he's doing is trampling on the rights of working people." NDP Leader Jagmeet […]

Senate passes back-to-work bill, putting end to rotating postal strikes

Nov 26 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Mail service will resume all across the country at noon Tuesday after the Senate passed legislation ordering an end to five weeks of rotating strikes by postal workers. Royal assent was granted late Monday shortly after senators approved Bill C-89 by a vote of 53-25. Four senators abstained. The government had deemed passage of the bill to be […]

Bill C-76 just one tool to deter foreign election interference: Gould

Nov 21 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A bill aimed at protecting Canadians from foreign attempts to influence how they vote is facing criticism that it's too weak to do the job. But Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould defended Bill C-76 on Wednesday, arguing it's just one means of deterring foreign interference in Canadian elections. Should a foreign entity attempt something on the scale of Russia's bid to […]

Harder urges senators to embrace independent oversight of their expenses

Nov 14 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The government's representative in the Senate is urging senators to stop dragging their feet and create an independent body to oversee their expenses. Sen. Peter Harder is applying pressure six years after the Senate was engulfed by scandal over alleged improper expense claims and more than three years after the federal auditor general recommended […]

Bill won’t stop hackers from sowing election confusion: watchdogs

Nov 6 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canada's top two elections officials say a bill to modernize election laws will make it difficult to stop computer hackers from sowing chaos that confuses voters, deterring them from casting ballots and undermining confidence in the electoral system. Bill C-76, omnibus legislation to reform election laws, creates a new offence of computer interference in response to attempts […]

Ontario Proud’s arrival on federal scene renews fears about third party collusion

Nov 4 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A conservative political advocacy group that was instrumental in taking down the Liberals in Ontario is going national, aiming to do to Justin Trudeau what it did to Kathleen Wynne. But the arrival of Ontario Proud on the federal scene renews questions about when political advocacy crosses the line into collusion with a political party, enabling the party to raise and spend […]

Singh accuses Trudeau of disrespect for voters after PM leaves 3 ridings vacant

Oct 29 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh is accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of playing games with his decision to call one byelection while leaving three other ridings vacant — including the one in which the NDP leader plans to run. Singh, who intends to run for Parliament in Burnaby South, said Monday that Trudeau is showing no respect for some 300,000 voters […]

Penalty for cancelling Saudi arms contract ‘in the billions’: Trudeau

Oct 25 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The price for registering Canada's outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi went up exponentially Thursday, as Justin Trudeau revealed the penalty for cancelling a $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia would be "in the billions of dollars." The prime minister blamed Stephen Harper's previous Conservative government — which signed the contract to sell light armoured vehicles to the […]

Trudeau says Canadians expect ‘consequences’ for Khashoggi murder

Oct 24 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to be inching closer Wednesday to cancelling Canada's $15-billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, Trudeau seemed reluctant to cancel the deal, billed as the largest arms deal in Canadian history. He cited significant financial penalties — as much as $1 billion or more — built into the contract […]

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Oct 21 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Twelve months from now, Canadians will pass judgment on the Trudeau government and decide whether its first mandate should be its last or if it deserves another four years. As the one-year countdown to the next federal election on Oct. 21, 2019 starts ticking, Justin Trudeau's Liberals appear reasonably well positioned to win a second term. […]