By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 2 Comments
The United Nations found evidence of torture in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister demurred in regards to the Ontario election. Lisa Raitt mused vaguely of amending the Labour Code and blocked a strike at Air Canada. Tony Clement promised open government. Newfoundland and the Yukon stuck with their incumbents. Bruce Carson left behind some bills. And Canadian conservatives fell just short of a symbolic majority. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 8:45 AM - 9 Comments
Lisa Raitt explains her decision to refer Air Canada’s dispute with its flight attendants to the Industrial Relations Board, thus preventing a planned strike.
“Our government received a strong mandate to protect the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs, so we have been closely following the negotiations between Air Canada and CUPE,” said Minister Raitt. “I have asked the CIRB to review the situation at Air Canada to ensure that the health and safety of the public will not be impacted, and to determine how best to maintain and secure industrial peace and promote conditions that are favourable to the settlement of industrial disputes.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 10:36 AM - 37 Comments
The government once again threatens back-to-work legislation and this time the Labour Minister muses vaguely of amending the Canadian Labour Code.
There’s something wrong in this case, and does that mean there’s something wrong in the code?” she said. “And if there is, what do we do about it? But the beginning part is analyzing the facts at hand to see if it’s a one-off … or is it a case where the code, which is 100 years old, has to be taken a look at.” Raitt said there are no changes planned, but that she is starting a process to see whether adjustments might be needed in the future.
“If we do have a problem and maybe it is a flaw in the system, we should discover it now and if we need to make changes we can make changes,” the minister said.
See previously: The right to strike
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 10:55 AM - 43 Comments
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt is promising back-to-work legislation if Air Canada and the union representing flight attendants are unable to reach a deal before Wednesday. This would be the fourth time the Harper government has introduced such legislation. Yvon Godin, the NDP labour critic, is unimpressed.
I know she said that she will vote to protect the Canadian economy. At the same time she is voting against the union’s right to have a strike. In this country we still have the right to have free bargaining and have the right to have a strike. The strike is even not started yet and she`s already telling Canadians in this country under the Conservative government there’s no strike. They’ve done it in the spring. They’re doing it again and I think it takes away the freedom of the negotiations, free negotiations by doing it.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 10:43 AM - 67 Comments
Before and during last week’s filibuster, it seems there was nearly a deal.
Last Friday, talks involving a federal mediator appear to have brought Canada Post and the union close to a settlement. The union wanted final offer selection replaced by mediation-arbitration which attempts to find middle ground in contract disputes.
Comartin and Godin met with Raitt. There was agreement that if the company and the union could agree on this, the back-to-work legislation would be withdrawn. By Friday evening, both Canada Post and the union had a tentative settlement that outlined agreement on some key issues such as wage rate, according to a source. Other outstanding issues would be sent to arbitration.
But after midnight came word that Raitt’s office had apparently turned down the deal, a source said. As the filibuster continued in the Commons, Harper crossed the aisle to speak with NDP Leader Jack Layton. During their conversation, Layton questioned whether there had been “political interference.” Harper denied it.
Postal workers are now preparing to challenge the back-to-work legislation in court.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM - 6 Comments
The 31st annual Genie Awards were held at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Below, Industry…
The 31st annual Genie Awards were held at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Below, Industry Minister Tony Clement.
Shannon Tweed and the boys!
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 9:05 AM - 12 Comments
Tories turned out at the Hard Rock Cafe for a party in honour of…
Tories turned out at the Hard Rock Cafe for a party in honour of staying in power for five years. (L-R) Val Day, Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, Laureen Harper.
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, February 11, 2011 at 11:36 AM - 5 Comments
For a second year, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) presented A Taste of the Arctic:…
For a second year, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) presented A Taste of the Arctic: A Celebration of Inuit Culture. This time the event was held in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Canada. Below, Evan Solomon, host of CBC’s Power & Politics (left), signs ITK president Mary Simon’s cast.
Former GG Michaëlle Jean (left) and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 10:15 AM - 3 Comments
The National Arts Centre hosted Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates dinner to raise funds for…
The National Arts Centre hosted Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates dinner to raise funds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Local chefs prepared special meals and high profile Olympians attended including Alexandre Bilodeau (below), the first Canadian to win gold on Canadian soil.
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, November 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM - 5 Comments
The fourth annual What a Girl Wants charity dinner held in the Fairmont Château…
The fourth annual What a Girl Wants charity dinner held in the Fairmont Château Laurier ballroom raised money for the Canadian Liver Foundation with the help of local firefighters peeling off their uniforms, a fashion show and a performance by Ottawa drag queen Dixie Landers who lip-synced Better Midler’s cover of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Below, Landers with Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry.
Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau.
(Left to right) Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, National Post columnist Don Martin and Laureen Harper.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 6:55 AM - 0 Comments
Defense Minister Peter MacKay addressed a packed room of Navy personnel as part of…
Defense Minister Peter MacKay addressed a packed room of Navy personnel as part of Navy Appreciation Day on the Hill. The event also celebrated the service’s 100th anniversary.
NDP MP Peter Stoffer (centre).
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 10:03 AM - 0 Comments
As someone who is employed for the expressed purposes of describing—”sketching,” as they say— the words, actions, behaviours and appearances of public figures, I am a keen student of community standards as they relate to physical description. And so, of course, I have been watching with great interest the discussion that has resulted from the printing and retracting of Stephen Marche’s description of Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford as “fat.”
This description—”great deflated tires of defeat,” Mr. Marche wrote quite illustratively—has provoked a great deal of consternation and, indeed, condemnation. To the greater community, the use of the term “fat” is apparently offensive. And on those grounds, Mr. Marche has been soundly and publicly rebuked. We have, as a society, identified a line over which it is unacceptable to tread.
So be it. But we should not let this pass with that as the only result. Here, indeed, is a teachable moment—a chance to ask ourselves pseudo-intellectually serious questions about how we describe the shapes, sizes and features that constitute the human mosaic. If, indeed, we are to describe them at all. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Special Olympics Canada held a reception on the Hill. (Left to right) Olympian Mark…
Special Olympics Canada held a reception on the Hill. (Left to right) Olympian Mark Tewksbury, Government House Leader John Baird and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Democratic Reform.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 1:40 PM - 0 Comments
Minister says Spider-Man is out, No one warned Trudeau, Iggy or Chrétien about the snow, and Garage sales on the Hill
Minister says Spider-Man is out
MPs are not back in the House until Sept. 20, but many have been busy getting their kids ready to go back to school. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt says this year her two sons, J.C. Raitt, 9, and Billy Raitt, 6, wanted backpacks with wheels because their books are getting heavier and heavier. But those kinds of backpacks are plainer. No more Spider-Man or Transformers logos if the kids insist on wheels, notes the minister. On the first day of school, Raitt’s tradition is to have a picture taken with her kids on the front steps of their house. She jokes that the photos mostly show how, over the years, “my weight has fluctuated and my hair colour has changed.”
Vancouver NDP MP Don Davies says when it comes to his youngest daughter, 15, and school supplies, “We have to have a lot of pink.” Davies has been officially relieved of his duties for back-to-school clothing purchases—his wife is in charge. But he is inevitably called to the mall because, he quips, “My daughter knows I will get more expensive things.”
Meanwhile, at 24 Sussex, back-to-school preparations are pretty lacklustre for Ben Harper and Rachel Harper. “We go to Staples and fight the crowds like everyone else,” notes Laureen Harper.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:39 PM - 27 Comments
Conservatives in Simcoe-Grey are concerned the party is attempting to bigfoot them. One potential replacement candidate says she’s not a candidate. Meanwhile, two cabinet ministers are politely refusing to appear before the government operations committee to discuss their knowledge of Mr. Jaffer’s behaviour.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, April 30, 2010 at 3:47 PM - 18 Comments
The Conservatives’ Law Enforcement Officers Caucus held a special reception for the Canadian Police…
The Conservatives’ Law Enforcement Officers Caucus held a special reception for the Canadian Police Association while they were in town. Below is caucus chair Shelly Glover.
Senator Nancy Ruth with the boys in blue.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM - 5 Comments
Some new face in the house when Harper is speaking, It’s that French teacher’s fault, and She’s that fabulous
SOME NEW FACES IN THE HOUSE WHEN HARPER IS SPEAKING
No longer in the Conservative caucus, Helena Guergis now sits as an independent in the back row of the House. Guergis was part of the blond troika behind Stephen Harper, picked up by the TV cameras whenever he rose in the Commons. The other two were Lisa Raitt and Diane Ablonczy. Now the three blonds in the shot have been replaced with dark-haired MPs: Minister for International Co-operation Bev Oda, Minister of State Denis Lebel, and Rona Ambrose, who took over Guergis’s status of women portfolio. Ambrose now has one of the longest titles in the government: minister of public works and government services Canada and the receiver general of Canada, minister for status of women, vice-president of the Treasury Board, and regional minister for northern Alberta. Or as one MP joked: “Minister of everything.” Ambrose got back recently from a trip to Afghanistan with Defence Minister Peter MacKay. In Kandahar, the two stopped by the Tim Hortons, where the cups are designed to look like camouﬂage and the prizes for Roll Up the Rim to Win included special edition Kandahar hats. Neither Ambrose nor MacKay won anything.
IT’S THAT FRENCH TEACHER’S FAULT
NDP MP Glenn Thibeault was recently in the House foyer going over notes for a French TV interview. The Ontario MPfor Sudbury has been trying to work on his French in an effort to become bilingual. Thibeault comes from a francophone family. When he was younger, his parents sent him to a French immersion school. One of his teachers told him he must learn “French” French and not Quebec French and his parents were so insulted they pulled him out and put him into a regular English school where he lost all his French. He’s currently taking three hours a week of French lessons. He is the youngest in his family and now gets his siblings and parents to speak only French to him—“even if I don’t understand,” he jokes.
SHE’S THAT FABULOUS
Jer’s Vision fifth anniversary gala in Ottawa celebrated those who have helped battle bullying and homophobia. The event was hosted by Global National anchor Kevin Newman, who spoke publicly for the first time about his gay son, Alex Newman. Kevin Newman was the first person to interview NDP MP Libby Davies on TV when she came out. At last year’s event, Davies won a Youth Role Model of the Year award. This time one went to Liberal MP Hedy Fry. One of the youth who nominated Fry noted in a letter that he realized he was gay and went to a Pride parade where he met the MP. “When I asked her what it was like to be gay, she said she was not gay but she was proud to stand with another individual and celebrate working toward equality. I was inspired how someone could be so fabulous, and not even be gay.”
THANKS FOR THE SHIRT, I THINK
During his visit to Ottawa, New Zealand PM John Key was presented with an Olympic Team Canada hockey jersey by Stephen Harper. In return, Key presented Harper with a very fitted New Zealand All Blacks rugby shirt. Harper quipped that the New Zealand PM would have an easier time getting into the baggy hockey jersey than he would getting into his gift.
THE VERY LAST ALL-PARY PARTY
NDP MP Peter Stoffer says April 28 will be the last All-Party Party. The bash has been held in 200 West Block for years, but now the building will be closed as of this summer for several years for renovations and asbestos removal. Stoffer says there is not a large enough space elsewhere on the Hill to accommodate MPs and Hill staff, and also that if it were held somewhere else, it would be too costly.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 4:21 PM - 15 Comments
After the Conservative government was reelected in 2008, Lisa Raitt was awarded seat #44 in the House of Commons, the spot immediately visible to TV viewers over the Prime Minister’s left shoulder—a seat previously and ably occupied by Rona Ambrose.
As Question Period began this afternoon though, Ms. Raitt was in a new seat, in the near right corner of the House. That spot, until today, was occupied by Rona Ambrose. And seat #44 was filled, once again, by Ms. Ambrose.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM - 69 Comments
The Scene. Michael Ignatieff did not seem particularly enthused about the subject matter, but as he clarified for reporters afterwards, this is his job now and this is the place where these matters are meant to be aired.
“Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Prime Minister fired a minister, kicked her out of caucus, called in the RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner, and Canadians still do not know why,” he reviewed, trying to sound as serious as possible. “There are serious allegations surrounding the conduct of this minister, but we still do not know what they are. When will the government tell Canadians the truth?”
The government turned here to John Baird, their all-purpose refuter and obfuscationist. He did not, quite surprisingly, provide a date upon which the opposition could expect the truth to be tabled.
“Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister reported to Canadians this past Friday, allegations came forth from a third party,” Mr. Baird said, solemn and sober. “Those allegations were forwarded to officials at the RCMP and with the office of the Ethics Commissioner here in Ottawa. The RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner will come to their own conclusions, as is proper on this issue.”
Unfortunately, it was unclear to which prime minister Mr. Baird was referring. His prime minister, Stephen Harper, made no reference to this third party in his official statement last Friday. Nor does it appear the Prime Minister invoked any such mysterious source in speaking with reporters Friday afternoon. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, March 19, 2010 at 11:06 AM - 5 Comments
The Girl Guides of Canada were on the Hill celebrating their 100th anniversary by…
The Girl Guides of Canada were on the Hill celebrating their 100th anniversary by handing out cookies to MPs and then holding a reception in 200 West Block. Below, Liberal MPs Mark Eyking (right) and Denis Coderre sample the goods.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 15, 2010 at 12:38 PM - 58 Comments
Anonymous senior Conservatives are apparently agitating for Helena Guergis to be swiftly dispatched to the furthest reaches of the government backbenches. Make of this what you will.
Keep in mind that, if memory serves, no minister in the Harper government has been outright fired or banished. Michael Chong resigned as minister of intergovernmental affairs in opposition to the Quebecois motion. Maxime Bernier resigned after misplacing his briefs. Various ministers perceived to be underperforming (Gordon O’Connor, Rona Ambrose, Lisa Raitt) have been moved to less-prominent portfolios, but only in the context of a cabinet shuffle. No one, if I recall correctly, has ever been outright and unambiguously fired.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, February 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 8 Comments
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and her partner Bruce Wood pet a small Siberian tiger…
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and her partner Bruce Wood pet a small Siberian tiger at this year’s Dragon Ball in Toronto. The mega gala, which celebrated the Year of the Tiger, raised money for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.
NDP leader Jack Layton and his wife, MP Olivia Chow.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, February 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 3 Comments
Layton gets more wear out of his wedding day outfit
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and her partner, Bruce Wood, got to pet a small Siberian tiger at this year’s Dragon Ball in Toronto. The mega gala, which celebrated the Year of the Tiger, raises money for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. Raitt couldn’t wait to tell her kids about the tiger because they are now a cat family: they have two twin orange felines, Mojo and Saffi. Raitt was a dog person until Laureen Harper convinced her that cats were the way to go. Because they need less attention they are ideal pets for a busy politician.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, January 29, 2010 at 11:56 AM - 8 Comments
Folks from all parties packed the Hill Helps Haiti fundraiser organized by the government…
Folks from all parties packed the Hill Helps Haiti fundraiser organized by the government relations firm Summa Strategies. The event raised over $32,000. Below, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq (left) and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea.
Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay.
Green leader Elizabeth May.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 96 Comments
Last weekend, Lisa Raitt held a town hall meeting in her riding. She brought donuts and maple leaf pins. At least a couple of her constituents were unpersuaded.
“The man (Harper) has become more of a dictator than Pierre Trudeau had ever done (sic),” said Paul Redvers, a Conservative voter in the last election. The Oakville resident said the government has broken campaign promises to cooperate more with other parties in Parliament and be more accountable to Canadians.
“Is your integrity so low you would rather stay on as a cabinet minister than confront Mr. Harper about proroguing government to avoid bad press?” Redvers asked Raitt.
Raitt denied the implication and said she has no fear of expressing local feedback to her caucus. “I will go and say these (things) are what my constituents are saying,” said Raitt, noting she had heard similar opinions at earlier town halls in Burlington and Milton Saturday.