National Newswatch

The Senate has spent $66K on ‘ushers’ to hold doors open in its inaccessible building

May 30 2019 — John Paul Tasker — ‘This is a serious problem. This should not have happened,’ Tory senator says of sole-source contract. Senate bureaucrats approved a sole-source contract — now worth as much as $95,000 — to hire people to hold doors open in the Senate’s new building because there aren’t enough automatic door-openers in place, the internal economy committee heard […]

Coastal First Nations slam senators, say upper house doesn’t have ‘legitimacy’ to kill tanker ban

May 28 2019 — John Paul Tasker — With some in the Senate angling to the end the federal Liberal government’s B.C. oil tanker ban bill, some coastal First Nations are slamming “unelected” senators for even thinking about killing legislation that was promised by the prime minister in the last election. Historically, the upper house has shown some deference to legislation that implements […]

In major reversal, Jason Kenney now says Alberta can live with amended C-69 environmental assessment bill

May 23 2019 — John Paul Tasker — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the leaders of the three other provincial parties are offering an olive branch to the Trudeau government on C-69, saying they’re now prepared to accept the controversial overhaul of Canada’s environmental assessment process — as long as the Senate’s amendments are part of it. In a joint letter to Prime […]

Independent senator under fire for $15K poll on Liberal reforms to the upper house

May 12 2019 — John Paul Tasker — The Senate’s internal economy committee is probing Independent Sen. Donna Dasko’s decision to bill taxpayers for a $15,000 poll of Canadians’ opinions regarding the Liberal government’s changes to the upper house. Conservative members of the committee — which examines expense claims and office budgets, among its other responsibilities — argued strenuously that Dasko’s poll, conducted […]

In first major foreign policy speech, Scheer takes aim at ‘disastrous’ Trudeau

May 7 2019 — John Paul Tasker — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer delivered a hard-hitting speech Tuesday that sought to outline his foreign policy priorities while laying Canada’s perceived failures on the file squarely at the prime minister’s feet. Scheer said Justin Trudeau has demonstrated “a fundamental unseriousness and misunderstanding” of global issues during his time in power. He also attacked the government’s […]

Ottawa will exempt some oilsands projects from environmental assessments – if Alberta keeps its emissions cap

May 1 2019 — John Paul Tasker — Facing criticism from industry over its controversial overhaul of the environmental assessment process, the federal Liberal government released new details Wednesday about which projects will be subjected to greater scrutiny by Ottawa’s regulators. Ottawa is vowing to exempt certain non-mining projects that use steam to extract crude from deep under the earth — known as […]

Trudeau’s Senate point man withdraws motion condemned by Tories as ‘time allocation on steroids’

Apr 4 2019 — John Paul Tasker — Peter Harder, the federal Liberal government’s representative in the Senate, has withdrawn a controversial ‘programming motion’ that had the Conservative opposition up in arms. There are roughly eight weeks left in the current session before Parliament is scheduled to rise for its summer recess. This is also the last sitting before an expected fall federal […]

Bill Blair coy about handgun ban as time for legislative action runs down

Apr 4 2019 — John Paul Tasker — Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair was non-committal Wednesday about delivering a government-commissioned report on a handgun ban during this parliamentary session. Blair also suggested the Liberals could revisit this issue if the government is re-elected in the fall. “Canadians expect us to take the time to do it right and I’ve […]