National Newswatch

Despite opposition pressure, lack of ambassador to China likely hasn’t made much difference, say ex-diplomats

May 15 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — Canada’s conflict with China has been so bad that being without a Canadian ambassador since late January likely hasn’t had much impact, say former diplomats, despite opposition MPs hounding the Liberals about the appointment. While it’s always better to have a high-ranking and high-profile diplomat in place, under the present circumstances, “it’s not urgent,” said […]

Proposed federal tool to ‘blacklist a country,’ stop visa processing alarms immigration lawyers

May 1 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — The Liberals’ omnibus budget bill gives the government a political tool to stop issuing some visas or permits to people from countries it deems difficult to deal with in deportation proceedings, a measure some immigration lawyers are calling “overly broad” and a “blunt instrument” without the necessary checks and balances. One of the measures in […]

P.E.I. election another sign Liberals should be concerned about Atlantic losses, say pundits

May 1 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — The Prince Edward Island election last week creates an opening for Conservatives and Greens to capitalize on the success of their provincial counterparts, while the Liberals that own all the current federal Atlantic Canada seats should be “wary” of a growing unfriendly sentiment toward them in the region, pundits say. While the Green Party could […]

Senators work to change Ambrose’s judicial training bill, get it passed before summer break

Apr 24 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — With a private member’s bill that would improve judicial training on sexual assault stalled in the Upper Chamber, some Senators say they’re willing to sit the few extra hours needed to get the “important” bill through before Parliament rises, but it’s not clear enough Senators agree. The committee tasked with studying the bill has two […]

Liberals back off controversial central-vote approach to annual spending estimates

Apr 11 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — The government has backed away from a controversial approach to its more than $300-billion in spending estimates this year, and will now break $6-billion in budget promises into 194 separate votes, a move the parliamentary budget officer calls a “clear improvement” over last year’s first reform attempt. But opposition MPs say the Liberals’ latest revamp […]

Feds reject House committee advice to review no-ransom rule for kidnappings abroad

Apr 3 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — The government’s response to calls for consular-service reform is being panned by critics as a “middle of the road,” “status quo” approach that skirts two fundamental problems in the current system. Critics say the current rules leave Canadians open to discrimination in terms of the support they get from their government abroad, and keep families […]

Duclos’s rise to Treasury Board vice-chair shows his ‘quiet competence’: observers

Feb 6 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — Observers say that among the few changes made to cabinet committee membership last week, the prominence given to Quebec ministers is most interesting, with one former cabinet minister highlighting Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos’s new post as vice-chair of the Treasury Board as a “significant” development. Of the seven cabinet committees, the powerful Treasury Board was […]

Brison’s Nova Scotia riding ‘difficult’ for Liberals to hold: ex-Grit minister Thibault

Jan 30 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — With seven-time MP Scott Brison out of the picture in Kings-Hants, N.S., this fall, the riding is “one to watch” in Atlantic Canada and a “difficult” win for the Liberals, says a former Chrétien-era cabinet minister. A well-liked representative for the riding north of Halifax, Mr. Brison’s longevity was a credit to his personal popularity, […]

Senate lobbying up 12 per cent in 2018, Sens. Grant Mitchell, Terry Mercer lobbied most

Jan 23 2019 — Samantha Wright Allen — Lobbying of Canada’s Upper Chamber climbed 12 per cent in 2018, stretching past 2017’s already unprecedented figures. Last year, lobbyists logged 1,407 communications with the Senate, up 12.5 per cent from the 1,250 posted in 2017 and more than doubling 2016 numbers, according to monthly reports from the federal registry. It follows the trend set […]

It’s ‘vital’ feds name Conservatives to security committee soon, or it’ll ‘become problematic’: critics, experts

Dec 12 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — It’s “vital for the legitimacy” of Parliament’s National Security and Intelligence Committee that the government name Conservative MPs to sit on the body soon or the two Tory vacant seats will become “problematic,” say critics and intelligence analysts. The 11-person National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) is down two members after Conservative MP […]