National Newswatch

Departments dodging MP query on Facebook meetings, say critics

Jul 11 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — Some departments are “dodging” an MP’s question on government meetings with Facebook, revealing loopholes in the Lobbying Act that opposition critics say need fixing. Last month, in response to an Order Paper query about their meetings with Facebook, about half of the 50-plus government departments and agencies surveyed didn’t answer and instead deferred to the […]

‘Extraordinary’ Canada-U.S. trade spat brings lobbyists ‘out of the woodwork’

Jul 4 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — The growing trade war between Canada and the United States prompted almost three-dozen new filings in the federal lobbyist registry over the last two months as Canada plotted its response to U.S.-imposed steel and aluminum tariffs. Even with Canada’s retaliatory tariffs kicking in July 1, lobbyists are predicting the uptick will continue in Ottawa as […]

Tory, NDP leadership candidates still owe thousands in campaign debts

Jun 6 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — A dozen former Conservative and NDP leadership contenders still owe money from their campaigns, according to Elections Canada, while the group’s biggest debtor, Tory competitor Kevin O’Leary, calls the rules around repayment “outrageous,” “unfair,” and “unCanadian.” The TV personality and businessman said he has paid off about $139,00 of the $529,00 he was reported as […]

Liberals risk new-Canadian vote with border-crossing response, say pollsters

May 16 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — The Liberals have switched to more hardline messaging around asylum seekers, say pollsters and observers, as the government’s response has left it open to attack in the face of increasing irregular border crossings and charges from the Conservatives that the Grits are soft on border security. Politically, the challenge and vulnerability for the Liberals is […]

Conservatives’ top first quarter fundraising reveals strong base, tap into frustration, backlash against Liberal gaffes, say strategists

May 7 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — The Conservatives pounced on message misfires by the Trudeau Liberals this last financial quarter, and crafting quick responses that resonated alongside strong donor microtargeting to pull in a whopping $6-million, nearly double the Grits’ haul for 2018’s first quarter, say Conservative strategists.

Brison’s $7-billion budget vote weakens parliamentary scrutiny of spending: current, ex-PBO

May 2 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — The Liberal government’s effort to align the budget with the main estimates has weakened an already broken system by creating a “massive central vote” that hands $7-billion to the Treasury Board with no scrutiny and nothing to compel promised spending, say Canada’s current and former parliamentary budget officers. Critics have said the “budget implementation vote” […]

Liberals’ policy convention a ‘litmus test’ of Grit membership, a time for leadership to listen, say Libs

Apr 16 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — When more than 2,500 Liberals sweep into Halifax for their last national policy convention before the 2019 election, Grits say the party’s senior leadership should look to the gathering to gauge, engage, and mobilize the base for the next general campaign. They also say the party’s top brass has to listen. While not likely to […]

Feds shelled out $73K to find new investment agency CEO, an ex-Liberal Party exec

Apr 11 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — The federal government is spending $158,200 on headhunters to help it staff up Canada’s new foreign investment promotion agency, part of $1.1-million spent on executive searches last year that opposition MPs say raises questions about the effectiveness and cost of what the Liberals say is a merit-based process when it leads to appointees with Liberal […]