National Newswatch

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 […]

NDP delegates protest ‘watered down’ Palestine policy

Feb 17 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — In the waning hours of the NDP policy convention’s second day dozens of delegates stood in silence with hands raised holding posters proclaiming “Free Palestine” as they protested what some called a “watered down” resolution on Israel-Palestine relations during a tense and lengthy stand-off that involved more procedural wrangling than discussion. It was the only […]

Why this backbench MP is lobbied more than most ministers

Jan 31 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — Canada’s most-lobbied backbench MP in 2017, Francis Drouin, is a “rising star” who’s developed a reputation as a rural champion, say lobbyists. Mr. Drouin’s 136 communications posted to the lobbyist registry in 2017 are connected to agriculture, tied to his work on the House Agriculture Committee and the interests of his Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Ont., constituents. A […]

Lobbying spikes in ‘wild card’ Senate as groups target new Independents

Jan 24 2018 — Samantha Wright Allen — Lobbyists meeting Senators at record rates say it’s due to the Upper Chamber’s independence, openness to amendments, and numerous newly appointed unknown Senators. This explains an unprecedented spike in communications in 2017, an uptick so high it triples historic averages and doubles last year’s already elevated lobbying numbers. In 2017, lobbyists logged 1,443 communications with […]

Department leaves veterans in ‘financial limbo,’ behind on half its targets

Dec 13 2017 — Samantha Wright Allen — Canada’s Veterans Affairs Department is behind on half of its performance targets, department results released last month reveal, which opposition MPs call unacceptable and a “horrible performance” built off systemic problems. Veterans Affairs missed 14 of 26 targets for the 2016-17 year, filing 54 per cent under “attention required,” leading to delayed decisions on veteran […]

Deep bench bolsters NAFTA trade team facing ‘unworkable’ U.S. demands

Dec 6 2017 — Samantha Wright Allen — As Canada rejects what its chief NAFTA negotiator calls “entirely unworkable” U.S. proposals, a deep bench is working around the clock to keep the tripartite agreement alive. After appearing before the House Trade Committee Monday, Steve Verheul said Canada has yet to offer a counterproposal on American demands some consider “poison pills”—among them attacking supply […]