National Newswatch

Despite ministerial parity, women still underrepresented as senior cabinet, PMO staff

Nov 22 2017 — Samantha Wright Allen — Even though the Liberal cabinet was designed with gender parity in mind, women only represent 40 per cent of the senior staff supporting those ministers’ offices. Those positions—made up of chiefs of staff and their deputies, directors of policy, communications, parliamentary affairs and senior advisers—are the gateways to ministers and the people who help shape […]

Swing ridings with high visible minority populations will tilt 2019 federal election, says politicos

Nov 20 2017 — Abbas Rana — Some 41 “swing” ridings with visible minority populations of 50 per cent or more, including five constituencies in the Greater Toronto Area that have 80 per cent or more visible minorities, will be key battlegrounds for all major parties in the 2019 election, say politicos. “These ridings will elect the next government,” said rookie Conservative […]

Ethical issues dogging Morneau could become a major credibility problem for Liberals by 2019 election, say some Grits

Nov 20 2017 — Abbas Rana — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should take proactive action to deal with the ethical issues involving Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his chief fundraiser Stephen Bronfman because it could slowly erode the Grits’ political capital and goodwill with voters and become a major credibility problem in the 2019 election, say some Liberals.

National security oversight committee seeking $4.5M to get off the ground

Nov 15 2017 — — The new government department-style entity being created to support a group of Parliamentarians charged with overseeing the country’s national security and intelligence operations is expected to cost about $4.5-million this fiscal year, with the Privy Council Office taking on half of the start-up costs. The Privy Council Office is requesting an additional $2.2-million in funding […]

Financial portfolios still ‘a man’s world’ on Parliament Hill

Nov 15 2017 — Samantha Wright Allen — Women remain underrepresented in economic and finance ministers’ offices, a political sphere that former cabinet staff say continues to be an “old boys’ club” and especially unavailable to women at the senior level. Long before and after Michele Austin worked as a chief of staff to Conservative minister Rona Ambrose, she noticed women weren’t in […]

Liberals have a ‘credibility gap,’ Bronfman, Morneau obscuring Grits’ message to fight for middle class, say pollsters, political observers

Nov 13 2017 — Peter Mazereeuw — The federal Liberals are being weighed down by a credibility problem, say pollsters and a former Liberal cabinet minister and their message of fighting for the middle class is getting undermined by a series of controversies tied to taxation and finance. The New Democrats may already be picking up the slack, with the Liberals now […]

Senate swap gives powerful Internal Economy Committee chair to Independents, sets stage for new negotiations next session

Nov 13 2017 — Peter Mazereeuw — Negotiations between the Senate’s three largest groups finally ended last week, paving the way for a major rejig of Senate committee seats, and handing committee chair positions to members of the Independent Senators Group for the first time. The deal is only good for the length of this parliamentary session, however, and there are several […]

And baby makes history: Bloc couple become first pair of sitting MPs to become parents

Nov 8 2017 — Samantha Wright Allen — New parents have enough work in a baby’s first weeks without having to represent two ridings, attend parliamentary votes, change diapers, and breastfeed between committee meetings and Commons sittings, but that’s the new world Bloc Québécois MPs Xavier Barsalou-Duval and Marilène Gill are navigating together. The couple earned a footnote in Canadian history with the […]

NDP continues court challenge against BOIE, but current, former MPs repaying money, Cleary says it ‘left a bad taste’

Nov 6 2017 — Laura Ryckewaert — The NDP’s court challenge against the powerful House Board of Internal Economy’s 2014 order to repay almost $4-million in expenses continues and in the meantime current and former NDP MPs have paid the money back or are currently doing so by having their expense reimbursements docked. “Every time I ask for reimbursement [for expense claims], […]

Senators want to run new committee to oversee their own expenses, reject AG’s call for an independent oversight body

Nov 6 2017 — — Five years after the Senate expenses scandal began, a Senate subcommittee wants to create a new, permanent committee of Senators to oversee auditing and expenses in the Upper Chamber, despite recommendations by Canada’s auditor general and the government’s representative Sen. Peter Harder that such a committee should be independent of the Senate. If accepted by […]

With second trip to Tehran, feds inch closer to re-establishing diplomatic ties with Iran

Nov 1 2017 — Samantha Wright Allen — In mid-October Canadian officials travelled to Tehran for the second set of talks with Iranian officials since Canada cut ties with the country five years ago, possibly signalling forward momentum in the fraught relationship between the two countries. But officials, advocates, and former diplomats suggest Canada is still is a long way off from re-establishing […]

Lebouthillier’s top political staff should have known about Revenue Canada’s now-nixed plans to tax employee discounts: former CRA ministers

Oct 30 2017 — — A former Jean Chrétien-era national revenue minister says Diane Lebouthillier’s top political staff should have known and warned the minister about prospective plans for the Canadian Revenue Agency to begin taxing employee discounts, a controversial proposal which has since been kiboshed by the government. David Anderson, a former long-serving Liberal MP and cabinet minister who […]