By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Conservatives gathered Monday night to mourn the passing of a key architect in their rise to power — and to brace for the toughest test Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has faced since taking office on a promise to clean up politics in the national capital.
A who’s-who of Tories had few words for the handful of assembled journalists at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, where a memorial service was being held for Conservative senator and party stalwart Doug Finley, who died earlier this month.
Solemn-looking cabinet ministers, senators, aides and strategists declined to speak to reporters about a burgeoning Senate scandal which is likely to receive continued attention this week.
By The Associated Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Apple Inc. employs a group of affiliate companies located outside the United States to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes, a Senate investigation has found.
The world’s most valuable company is holding overseas some $102 billion of its $145 billion in cash, and an Irish subsidiary that earned $22 billion in 2011 paid only $10 million in taxes, according to the report issued Monday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
The strategies Apple uses are legal, and many other multinational corporations use similar tax techniques to avoid paying U.S. income taxes on profits they reap overseas. But Apple uses a unique twist, the report found. The company’s tactics raise questions about loopholes in the U.S. tax code, lawmakers say.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 4:59 PM - 0 Comments
WINNIPEG – Hundreds of people lined up inside the Manitoba legislature Monday to pay their respects to Elijah Harper, the aboriginal politician whose quiet but firm resistance to the Meech Lake constitutional accord became a symbolic moment for indigenous rights.
“He gave us all inspiration to know that it’s OK to say no sometimes,” Derek Nepinak, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said before taking his turn to walk by Harper’s casket.
“I think the legacy that he left will continue to inspire us and keep us on a good path.”
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Police in Edmonton have laid numerous impaired driving charges after a toddler was killed by an SUV that smashed through a restaurant patio.
Investigators say a family was dining at an outdoor table at a restaurant in southwest Edmonton on Sunday evening when an Acura MDX crashed into them, pinning a two-year-old boy to a wall.
Paramedics rushed the child, along with his family, to hospital where the two-year-old boy died.
His father suffered rib and back injuries, and his mother and one-year-old sibling suffered minor injuries.
Police arrested a 62-year-old man at the scene.
Richard Suter faces charges of impaired operation causing death, refusing to provide a breath sample and two counts of impaired operation causing bodily harm.
He is being held in custody until his first court appearance on Tuesday morning.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 12:33 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – For decades visitors to the D-Day beaches on the northwest coast of France have looked out at the English Channel, taking in the journey made by Allied troops that marked a turning point in the Second World War.
The view from some of those sites — including Juno Beach where 359 Canadians died — could soon change if a plan succeeds to build an army of wind turbines some 10 kilometres offshore.
Canadians now have a chance to voice their opinions on that plan as a French commission holds public consultations on the project.
By The Associated Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 12:02 PM - 0 Comments
TRIPOLI, Libya – A Libyan gas company official says militiamen have attacked a natural gas complex in the country’s west, injuring two guards and stealing weapons and military vehicles.
The official says the attack took place early Monday and targeted the Mellitah Oil and Gas complex near Zwara, about 110 kilometres (70 miles) from the capital, Tripoli. The complex is a joint venture between Libya’s National Oil Corp. and Italy’s largest energy company, Eni SpA. The militiamen fled the site briefly after seizing weapons and equipment from the guards.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
A military official told Libya’s official news agency that military helicopters are searching for the attackers.
Over a year after toppling Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, Libya is plagued by lawlessness.
By The Associated Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:32 AM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo is buying online blogging forum Tumblr for $1.1 billion as CEO Marissa Mayer tries to rejuvenate an Internet icon that had fallen behind the times.
The deal announced Monday represents Mayer’s boldest move yet since she left Google 10 months ago to lead Yahoo’s latest comeback attempt. It marks Yahoo’s most expensive acquisition since the Sunnyvale, Calif., company bought online search engine Overture a decade ago for $1.3 billion in cash and stock.
Yahoo is paying all cash for Tumblr, dipping into some of its remaining stash from a $7.6 billion windfall reaped last year from selling about half of its stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba Holdings Group. Taking over Tumblr will devour about one-fifth of the $5.4 billion in cash that Yahoo had in its accounts at the end of March.
By macleans.ca - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:23 AM - 0 Comments
Politicians and pundits weigh in on Nigel Wright’s resignation and what comes next:
The Toronto Star
“Mike Duffy is radioactive. The one-time Conservative cheerleader is now the poster boy for the filth which envelops the party brand. The man holed up on Friendly Lane in Cavendish, P.E.I., has brought down one of the most powerful men in Canada, shaken the Stephen Harper government to its core and blown a hole in the confidence the increasingly skeptical Conservative base has in the party.”
Vern White, Conservative Senator and former Ottawa police chief
Interview in the Ottawa Citizen
“Loyalty can never override integrity. And I hope everyone else in the Senate starts to get their head around that. Now, some have that, but I hope everybody starts understanding that integrity’s all we have, that loyalty can’t be more important than integrity.”
The Chronicle Herald
“I’m almost ashamed to admit this now, but I once considered Mike Duffy a friend.”
Tim Powers, VP Summa Strategies
Interview in the Hill Times
“I think there are Senators who make immense contributions, whether it be on the mental health front like Marjory LeBreton, or Hugh Segal, and Romeo Dallaire, when it comes to advocacy around combat issues and child soldiers All of that is obscured by the actions and behaviour of a few—but it is not just obscuring, it’s almost becoming an eclipse.”
The Ottawa Citizen
“The loss of Nigel Wright is also Canada’s loss. As I mentioned in a Citizen op-ed last September when he was being attacked by opposition parties for his business connections, “his firm commitment to public service — in this case, politics — has never been a mystery.” Very few people of his stature and experience would ever take a significant pay cut and come to Ottawa. Sure, his position at Onex was always secure — and my guess is he’ll go back there. But the fact still remains that he didn’t have to come, and he was never forced to stay. Unfortunately, Wright made a huge tactical error and paid the ultimate price.”
Norman Spector, former chief of staff to Brian Mulroney
Interview in the Hill Times
“There are a lot less consequential matters that a chief of staff would seek direction on or inform the Prime Minister about. I can’t imagine doing anything of this consequence without informing the Prime Minister, and I can’t imagine doing anything like cutting a cheque when I was a chief of staff—a personal cheque at a time when a Senator is being investigated.”
“The chief of staff’s resignation means that the Senate scandal registers high on the Richter Scale — the highest since Harper almost lost his government in the 2008 coalition crisis over a fumbled budget statement. It has now reached “gate” status. It is now Duffygate.”
Michael Den Tandt
“These are the questions facing the prime minister Tuesday, as he sits down with 163 Conservative MPs (there are 164 in total, including him) whose collective reputations have been tarnished to an as-yet unknown degree by this affair: How much did you know? If you knew, what on Earth were you thinking?”
“Surely the wrong man has quit!”
A sampling of what’s being said on Twitter:
I really feel for Nigel Wright. It was the right thing to do.
— Joan Crockatt MP (@Crockatteer) May 19, 2013
— Phil vonFinckenstein (@PhilvF) May 19, 2013
I’ve known Nigel Wright since the mid-1980s. I can think of nobody in politics in the US, UK and Canada whom I admire more.
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) May 19, 2013
By The Associated Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:42 AM - 0 Comments
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – “Star Trek: Into Darkness” has warped its way to a $70.6 million domestic launch from Friday to Sunday, though it’s not setting any light-speed records with a debut that’s lower than the studio’s expectations.
The latest voyage of the starship Enterprise fell short of its predecessor, 2009′s “Star Trek,” which opened with $75.2 million.
Since premiering Wednesday in huge-screen IMAX theatres and expanding Thursday to general cinemas, “Into Darkness” has pulled in $84.1 million, well below distributor Paramount’s initial forecast of $100 million. The film added $40 million overseas, pushing its total to $80.5 million since it began rolling out internationally a week earlier.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:39 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is standing in line at a bustling Toronto coffee shop, summing up a speech he’s set to deliver later in the day on the future of television, when he spies an example of his vision that’s so perfect it almost seems planted by his PR team.
Smiling, he points to a young couple oblivious to their surroundings in the crowded, noisy cafe. They’re snuggled together behind a laptop, sharing a pair of earbud headphones, and engrossed in a video they’re streaming via the in-house WiFi.
“People look to Netflix when they have some time to relax, some time to kill and want some stimulation, and that’s not limited to the living room at 8 p.m.,” Hastings later says in an interview.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:31 AM - 0 Comments
A group that includes some prominent Canadian actors, writers and politicians is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to change the name of Victoria Day.
Author Margaret Atwood, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and actor Gordon Pinsent are among those behind an online petition to rename the public holiday, which is celebrated on Monday, as “Victoria and First Peoples Day.”
Peter Keleghan, an actor and spokesman for the group, says the new name would give Canadians a chance to honour both the Crown and the indigenous peoples of Canada.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:29 AM - 0 Comments
Get ready to break out the sunscreen Canada, but don’t worry about sizzling all season.
Meteorologists at AccuWeather.com say the majority of Canadians can look forward to a more “typical” summer this year, when hot spells will be interspersed with cooler periods.
“The biggest takeaway from this forecast is it’s not going to resemble last year’s summer, which was the warmest summer on record for Canada,” Brett Anderson, lead forecaster for Canada, told The Canadian Press.
“We’re going to see much more changeable weather. Yes, we will have spells of heat, we will have spells of very dry weather but we do not expect patterns where it’s going to lock in for weeks on end of hot dry weather.”
By Aaron Hutchins - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 12:09 AM - 0 Comments
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 9:44 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – A look at the life and career of Ray Novak, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new chief of staff:
Born: March 30, 1977
Education: Honours degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario, studied political science at the University of Calgary.
Private career: Worked as a researcher for the right-leaning National Citizens Coalition when it was led by Harper.
Political career: Active in student politics at the University of Western Ontario. Interned in former Reform leader Preston Manning’s office and later for then-Reform MP Rob Anders. Finalist in Magna’s “If I Were Prime Minister” essay contest in 2000. Became Harper’s executive assistant when he returned to federal politics in 2001 to lead the Canadian Alliance party. Named principal secretary in 2008. The longest-serving member of Harper’s inner circle.
Personal: Known as a monarchist. Once lived in a one-bedroom apartment over the garage at Stornoway when Harper was Opposition leader.
For the record: “Ray is really good, and trusted. He’s quiet and handles lots of tough issues. And yes, he stays out of the limelight.” — Jason Lietaer, former head of the Conservative Resource Group
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version wrongly said Novak’s birthday was May 30, 1977 and that he had completed a master’s degree in political science.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 6:28 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Emerging from a dramatic week that has seen him lose two senators and his chief of staff, Stephen Harper will focus now on calming down his anxious caucus and righting a listing Conservative ship.
Tory MPs have been hearing from upset constituents about the Senate expenses controversy that has become one of the most serious challenges for the prime minister’s administration.
The situation has the potential to further weaken Harper’s hold on caucus, where MPs had already been agitating for more autonomy from his office in the Commons. The Tories have also lost ground recently in the polls.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Here is a timeline of the Senate audits controversy.
June 13, 2012: Auditor General Michael Ferguson releases a study of Senate expense claims; in some cases Senate administration didn’t have the right documents to support claims travel and living expenses.
Nov. 21, 2012: Senate committee asked to examine housing allowance for Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau, who lists a home in Maniwaki, Que., as his primary residence despite appearing to live full-time within a 100 kilometre radius of Ottawa.
Dec. 3, 2012: Similar questions raised about Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy, who claims a primary residence in P.E.I. despite being a longtime Ottawa resident.
Dec. 6, 2012: The Senate widens its audit of housing expenses to include Liberal Sen. Mac Harb, who claims a home near Pembroke, Ont., as his primary residence, and begins examining residence claims of all senators, who are constitutionally bound to live in the provinces they represent.
Feb. 5: Reports emerge that Duffy applied for a P.E.I. health card in December 2012 and that he does not receive a resident tax credit for his home on the island.
Feb. 8: Senate hires external auditing firm to review Brazeau, Duffy and Harb’s claims.
Feb. 22: Claiming confusion with the rules, Duffy pledges to pay back claimed housing expenses. “My wife and I discussed it and we decided that in order to turn the page to put all of this behind us, we are going to voluntarily pay back my living expenses related to the house we have in Ottawa.”
Feb. 27: Prime Minister Stephen Harper says all senators meet the requirement that they live in the area they were appointed to represent.
Feb. 28: Senate audit fails to turn up any questionable housing allowance claims beyond those of Brazeau, Harb and Duffy.
Apr. 19: Duffy confirms he has repaid more than $90,000 in Senate housing expenses. “I have always said that I am a man of my word. In keeping with the commitment I made to Canadians, I can confirm that I repaid these expenses in March 2013.”
May 9: Senate releases report into housing claims, along with Deloitte audit. Deloitte says a three senators live in Ottawa area, but that the rules and guidelines are unclear, making it difficult to say categorically that anyone broke the rules. Harb and Brazeau are ordered to repay $51,000 and $48,000, respectively. Harb says he will fight the decision.
May 10: Conservative House leader Peter Van Loan on Duffy: “He showed the kind of leadership that we would like to see from Liberal Sen. Mac Harb, who instead is taking up arms against the Senate, saying that he should not have to pay back inappropriate funds.”
May 12: RCMP says it will examine Senate expense claims.
May 14: Brazeau says he also broke no rules and is exploring all options to overturn an order to pay the money back.
May 15: The Prime Minister’s Office confirms that Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, personally footed the bill for Duffy’s housing expenses because Duffy couldn’t make a timely payment.
May 16: Duffy resigns from Conservative caucus.
May 17: Sen. Pamela Wallin also announces she’s leaving the Conservative caucus. Her travel expenses, which totalled more than $321,000 since September 2010, have been the subject of an external audit since December.
May 19: Wright announces his resignation as the prime minister’s chief of staff, a move Harper says he accepts with “great regret.” Wright is replaced in the chief of staff’s role by Ray Novak, who has been by Harper’s side since 2001.
(The Canadian Press)
By The Associated Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 9:39 AM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – A top White House adviser insisted President Barack Obama learned the Internal Revenue Service had targeted tea party groups only “when it came out in the news” while Republicans continued to press the administration for answers on Sunday.
Trying to move past a challenging week that put the White House on the defensive, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer was scheduled to appear on five Sunday news shows to repeat the administration’s position that no senior officials were involved in the decision to give tea party groups extra scrutiny. Pfeiffer’s appearances were unlike to quiet GOP critics, who have seized on the revelations as proof that Obama used the IRS to go after his political enemies.
By macleans.ca - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 8:45 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The prime minister’s chief of staff announced his resignation early Sunday, saying he left his post in light of the controversy around his personal handling of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expense payments.
Nigel Wright stepped down after a phone conversation with Stephen Harper, signalling a recognition that he — and not Duffy’s improper expense claims — had become the story.
Ray Novak, who has been by Harper’s side since 2001, will be the prime minister’s new chief of staff. Novak is thought to represent stability and is well known by all the federal ministers.
The Prime Minister’s Office said earlier this week that Wright personally paid off $90,000 in inappropriately claimed housing expenses for Duffy, prompting critics to complain that the bailout violated ethics rules that prohibit senators from accepting gifts.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 8:02 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Harper government is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising a program that does not yet exist.
Prime-time ads began airing this week during NHL playoff games — currently the priciest advertising real estate on the dial — that tout a new federal Canada Jobs Grant for training workers.
The trouble is, the freshly announced program is at present little more than a concept that has yet to be negotiated with provincial governments, and requires buy-in from employers as well.
Peter Van Loan, the Conservative government House leader, described the Canada Jobs Grant last week as a “proposal that needs to be fleshed out and developed fully.”
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 7:14 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided against hosting his weekly radio show this weekend after explosive allegations that he was recorded on a video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
CFRB program director Mike Bendixen has tweeted that Ford and his brother Doug, a city councillor, won’t be behind the microphones this Sunday for their two-hour talk show “The City” on the Toronto station.
Bendixen says the Ford brothers told the station on Friday the show would not go ahead as scheduled, but expected it would be back on the air next weekend.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 5:27 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – A spectator has been killed after a Jeep demonstration at an Edmonton fundraising event went disastrously wrong.
The event was called “Jeeps Go Topless” and was being held in the parking lot of a shopping centre to raise funds for the Edmonton Food Bank.
Police say it appears one of the Jeeps was involved in a climbing demonstration when it lost control and struck a woman.
Paramedics provided CPR to the woman but she was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital, police say.
Police say the driver of the Jeep was also taken to hospital with unknown injuries.
No one from the food bank could be immediately reached for comment.
By macleans.ca - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 7:13 AM - 0 Comments
By Ivor Tossell - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 6:47 PM - 0 Comments
The international coverage of Rob Ford’s latest scandal is like a splash of cold water to the face after a long, depressive funk. It’s amazing how easy it is to get used to a terrible situation, until outside perspective intervenes.
Within Toronto, the story has an almost time-worn feel: Yet another bizarre allegation against the mayor has surfaced, but since there’s no absolutely indisputable video record on-hand and the mayor denies everything, who’s to say what happened? Things muddle on; stay tuned for another totally futile debate about casinos or something next week.
From the outside the view is clearer: Two news organizations say they’ve seen video of the Mayor of Toronto allegedly smoking crack and making an assortment of bigoted remarks. Holy hell!