By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
It was just two weeks ago, asked about Alberta’s carbon tax, that Peter Kent was moved to muse aloud about a contentious and contested topic. “There hasn’t,” he ventured, “been a great deal of subtlety in talking about carbon pricing.”
Perhaps this lack of subtlety is something like the root cause of our current impasse. Or perhaps this is no time for nuance.
The foreign press is now referring to Joe Oliver as the Canadian “oil minister, which is terribly unfair to the trees and rocks and water he is also responsible for making use of. Of a year-old op-ed, Mr. Oliver is accusing a NASA scientist of “crying wolf” and suggesting that James Hansen ”should be chaining himself to a mannequin in Rodeo Drive,” which would be pointless unless the mannequin was itself nailed down. And now another scientist is likening Mr. Oliver to “a Shetland pony in the Kentucky Derby,” who is “making Canada look like a country full of jerks,” which is terribly unfair to at least the three or four of us who aren’t.
It was on something like this note that Mr. Mulcair stood to harangue the government side this afternoon. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM - 0 Comments
In being the last of the major parties never to have formed a federal government, the NDP has won something almost nearly as satisfying: the right to pronounce shame on the Senate. Perhaps the meek shall one day inherit the earth, but first those unencumbered by never having had to do anything about the Senate shall inherit the righteous indignation about the chamber’s continued existence.
“Mr. Speaker, in the Senate, the more things change, the more they stay the same,” Thomas Mulcair sighed this afternoon. “Senator Pamela Wallin claimed more than $300,000 in travel expenses over the last three years alone. Less than ten percent of these costs were used for her movements in Saskatchewan. This is taxpayers’ money that Senator Wallin used to walk across the country to star in fundraising for the Conservatives. Does the Prime Minister think it is acceptable for taxpayers’ money to be used to raise funds for his political party?”
It is unclear how much of Mr. Mulcair’s aspersion here can be precisely substantiated—specifically how much of Senator Wallin’s travel expenses could be said to have resulted from partisan activities. Suffice it to say, the Prime Minister “regretted” the opposition leader’s “characterization.”
“In terms of Senator Wallin, I have looked at the numbers,” Mr. Harper reported.
Stand down, Deloitte.
“Her travel costs are comparable to any parliamentarian travelling from that particular area of the country over that period of time. For instance, last year Senator Wallin spent almost half of her time in the province she represents in the Senate. The costs are obviously to travel to and from that province, as any similar parliamentarian would do.”
Mr. Mulcair was not quite reassured. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM - 0 Comments
Mitchel Raphael celebrates the season with the Opposition
The NDP held their annual holiday party in the Hall of Honour. Great lighting, booze bars, an oyster bar and food stations were spread over the Hall and and adjoining meeting rooms. It was one of the best parties held on the Hill.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM - 0 Comments
Acquisitions of Nexen and Progress Energy will go through
The Harper government has approved both CNOOC Limited’s $15.1-billion acquisition of Nexen Inc. and Petronas’ $5.2-billion acquisition of Progress Energy Resources Corp., while announcing new guidelines for foreign investment in Canada.
In separate statements released after North American markets closed on Friday, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said he was satisfied that the acquisitions by Malaysia’s Petronas and China’s CNOOC were likely to be of net benefit to Canada. Paradis said both companies had “made significant commitments to Canada in the areas of: governance, including commitments on transparency and disclosure; commercial orientation, including an adherence to Canadian laws and practices as well as free market principles” and “employment and capital investments, which demonstrate a long-term commitment to the development of the Canadian economy.” Initially, Malaysia’s Petronas $6-billion bid for Progress Energy was rejected by the federal government and the company later revised its proposal.
“Our statements today will not satisfy everybody,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said shortly after the announcements were made. “Some believe you are either ‘for’ foreign investment under all circumstances, or that you must be ‘against’ foreign investment under any circumstance. Practical government rarely permits such simplicity.”
Under the new guidelines, the acquisition of oil sands companies by foreign state-owned enterprises will only be found to constitute a new benefit for Canada in “exceptional circumstances.” And, despite today’s decision on Nexen, the prime minister seemed eager to draw a line on such investments, saying these decisions marked “not the beginning of a trend, but rather the end of a trend.”
“To be blunt, Canadians have not spent years reducing the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments, only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead. That was never the purpose of the Investment Canada Act. It is not an outcome that Canadians would ever support. It is not an outcome any responsible government of Canada could ever allow to happen,” the Prime Minister explained.
Beyond the oil sands, acquisitions by state-owned companies will be reviewed to consider the control or influence to be exerted on the Canadian business, the control or influence likely to be exerted on the larger industry and the control or influence likely to be exerted by the foreign government over the state-owned company.
“In light of growing trends, and following the decisions made today, the government of Canada has determined that foreign state control of oil sands development has reached the point at which further such foreign state control would not be of net benefit to Canada,” Harper said. “When we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments.”
The Conservative government’s decisions drew mixed reviews.
David Detomasi, a professor of international business at Queen’s University, said the two deals forced Ottawa to clarify the Investment Canada Act’s “net benefit” test, which was used to quash the takeover of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan two years ago. “I think the Harper government was caught a little bit flat-footed when these bids were made,” he says. “I think they realized that whatever precedent they set was going to be something they were going to have to live with. And that’s because there are likely other deals in the offing.”
Even so, it will be a tough balance for Ottawa to strike, according to Detomasi. Recovering crude from the oil sands is a massively capital-intensive business and there aren’t enough deep-pocketed Canadian companies capable of making the necessary investments. And many foreign companies—particularly those in China—are state-owned. “Unfortunately, they’re the ones with the cash.”
The opposition New Democrats declared themselves “profoundly disappointed” with the Nexen deal, suggesting that proper public consultation did not occur before the decision was made. “Canadians should be very apprehensive about the long-term economic and environmental consequences,” Peter Julian, the NDP’s natural resources critic, said in a release. “In the past, these kinds of takeovers have resulted in job losses. In October, the NDP called for the government to reject the CNOOC acquisition.
While saying that the Liberals welcome investment—”we do need investment in the oilsands and in other industries”—Liberal trade critic Wayne Easter also expressed concerns. “There’s still really no clarity. We still don’t know the details. We have no idea what those rules really are,” he said. “Are all state-owned enterprises being handled the same, whether it’s China or any other country? Should there be different criteria, given the strategic planning of some countries versus others? Is there reciprocity here? I’m led to believe there’s not. There should be reciprocity in terms of how Canadian investment in China is handled in a similar way to Chinese investment in Canada.”
Alberta Premier Alison Redford said her government was “pleased” with the Harper government’s decisions, but that Alberta would be seeking clarity on how “exceptional circumstances” will be defined.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Thomas Mulcair charged into the afternoon with a litany of concerns.
“Mr. Speaker, last quarter, Canadian economic growth slowed to a rate of just six-tenths of one per cent,” he reported. “Conservatives have now missed their own economic growth targets three quarters in a row. They have had to downgrade their economic growth forecast for 2012 by nearly a third and it is now widely expected that the Bank of Canada will have to downgrade its own economic forecast as well. The Minister of Finance announced new economic numbers just three weeks ago. Does the minister still stand by those numbers today, or will we have to downgrade his economic projections yet again?”
The Minister of Finance was not in the House, so John Baird stood to handle this one. But first, a nod to the expectant royal couple.
“Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not first stand up and extend our congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the announcement coming from Burn’s House earlier today,” enthused the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Conservatives duly applauded.
At the far end of the room, Bob Rae leaned forward and put his head in his hands. Ralph Goodale patted him on the shoulder.
A mostly—particularly—dull and witless afternoon proceeded with little or no progress to report on much of anything. There was though at least one reasonable question. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister does not often bother with any questions beyond the initial opposition leaders’ rounds. Today though, after Bob Rae had finished his three questions, Mr. Harper stood to respond to a query from the NDP’s Peter Julian. But he did so not just to respond to the official opposition (emphasis mine).
Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, today Canadians found out through anonymous leaks that CNOOC has agreed to meet the federal government’s request. What request? This is the first time Canadians have heard of any request coming from the federal government on CNOOC. The government refuses to be transparent, refuses to be accountable, refuses to have respect for Canadians, so what is the government respecting of CNOOC and why is it doing it in secret? Why is it doing it behind closed doors?
Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, let me just address that very briefly. The Minister of Industry has been very clear. The government’s policy on these matters, while we welcome foreign investment, is to scrutinize every individual foreign investment to make sure they are in the bests interests of this country. On the one hand, the position of the NDP, as we know, is to be against all of these investments. The position of the Liberal Party, as reiterated yesterday, is to rubber-stamp every single one of them. We think Canadians expect us to examine these investments carefully and make sure they are in the best interests of Canada.
See previously: ‘It is in Canada’s interest’
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 3, 2012 at 1:58 PM - 0 Comments
“This project will not survive scrutiny unless Enbridge takes far more seriously their obligation to engage the public,” he told a radio show Wednesday. Mr. Moore did not agree to an interview on Thursday.
The federal government staunchly supports Northern Gateway, and the opposition New Democratic Party said Mr. Moore’s comments may have been designed to keep B.C. voters happy. ”It’s damage control,” said NDP MP Peter Julian, who is the party’s natural resources critic and represents the B.C. riding of Burnaby-New Westminster. ”The Conservatives have been pushing this for months, and now that opinion has turned against it in B.C., they’re looking to shift the blame to Enbridge.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s C-38 votes. It was expected that voting would begin around 5:30pm, but some procedural fussing about by the Liberals seems to have delayed those votes by a few hours. Stay tuned throughout the evening (and morning?) as we follow the parliamentary festivities.
4:43pm. If you’re only now tuning in, you just missed a fascinating series of points of order, during which Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux twice asked the Speaker to clarify the rules of the House (Speaker Devolin invited Mr. Lamoureux to read the standing orders) and Bob Rae objected to the Defence Minister’s earlier use of the word “mendaciousness” (Peter MacKay duly stood and withdrew the remark). The House is now at the time reserved each day for the presenting of petitions and will soon move to the final period of report stage debate on C-38.
4:51pm. The New Democrats held a photo op this afternoon to demonstrate how they were preparing for tonight’s votes. Mostly this seems to have involved Nathan Cullen removing his jacket and writing “C-38″ on a giant white pad of paper.
5:04pm. The Liberals have chosen now to discuss Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. And now there is some discussion between the Speaker, Elizabeth May and Denis Coderre about how long one can speak when responding to a question of privilege.
5:15pm. With Mr. Lamoureux still responding to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege, Conservative MP Bob Zimmer rises on a point of order to question Mr. Lamoureux’s point of privilege. The Speaker stands and reads the rules pertaining to questions of privilege, specifically that such interventions should be “brief and concise” and that the Speaker has the right to “terminate” the discussion. Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti rises on a point of order to object to Mr. Zimmer’s point of order. Mr. Lamoureux attempts a point of order to respond to Mr. Zimmer, but the Speaker suggests he carry on with his point of privilege, but then Mr. Coderre rises on a point of order to complain about the Speaker’s desire to move things along. The Speaker asserts his impartiality and attempts to straighten this all out, but Mr. Coderre rises on another point of order to clarify his respect for the Speaker, but also to express his desire that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to give a full response to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. Mr. Pacetti rises on a point of order to add his concern that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to speak fully. The Speaker says he was merely reminding everyone of the rules and gives Mr. Lamoureux five minutes to finish and, finally, we’re now back to Mr. Lamoruex’s point of privilege.
5:30pm. The Speaker stands and calls an end to Mr. Lamoureux’s remarks and attempts to move to the last hour of report stage debate on C-38, but now Mauril Belanger is up on a separate point of privilege.
5:32pm. The Speaker cuts off Mr. Belanger to move to deferred votes on two opposition motions and one private member’s bill. MPs have 30 minutes to report to the chamber.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 5:39 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The Honourable Thomas Edward Siddon, our 36th minister of fisheries, he haunts us still.
“Mr. Speaker, former Conservative fisheries minister Thomas Siddon is again sounding the alarm on the Conservatives’ Trojan Horse bill,” the NDP’s Nathan Cullen reported this afternoon. “Last night he testified that he deplored this attack on environmental protection and that rushing these changes through is ‘not becoming of a Conservative government.’ His message to the Prime Minister was clear, ‘Take your time, get it right.’ Will the Prime Minister take the advice of his Conservative colleague? Will he split this reckless bill and allow for proper study?”
The government would eventually take to quoting something Mr. Siddon had said in 1986 in an attempt to cancel out what Mr. Siddon said last night, but the Prime Minister opted here to boast only of his own government’s magnanimousness. “Mr. Speaker, in fact, the particular set of changes in the economic action plan will have more committee study than any budget bill in recent history by quite a magnitude,” Mr. Harper claimed.
This much would likely not have satisfied the a certain former Reform MP and it did not seem to satisfy the current New Democrat MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley. ”Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat ironic for New Democrats to have to defend the environmental record of a former Mulroney Conservative government against this very new and different breed of Conservatives,” Mr. Cullen sighed while wagging his finger at the government side. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 10:48 AM - 0 Comments
Starting around 9:30pm last night, the House of Commons spent four hours considering the government’s environmental policy in committee of the whole. The transcript starts here.
Peter Julian: I will move on now to the accusations made about Canadian environmental charities. The minister made a claim around criminal activities because that is what money laundering is. He made the claim on April 28, repeated it on May 1 and again on May 3 in this House. Tonight he has responded that he simply does not have any proof of criminal activity. Would the minister retract the term and retract the claims that he made on three occasions in the House of Commons?
Peter Kent: The short answer, Mr. Chair, is no. Our government appreciates the great service that charities across the spectrum provide in adding and supplementing in areas where government cannot necessarily provide services. Charities provide great support in areas of culture, the arts and, indeed, in health care and academia. My points were referenced and included the environmental non-governmental organizations. My remarks reflected our government’s concern about a small number of agencies in Canada with charitable status which, as evidence accumulates almost by the day, were putting their charitable status at risk by behaviour and by actions that were in violation of CRA regulation.
Peter Julian: Mr. Chair, we simply need to ask the minister even understands the definition of money laundering. That, of course, is a criminal activity. What he has said tonight is that he has no proof of any criminal activity from these environmental charities…
Peter Kent: First, Mr. Chair, the term that I used was a figure of speech. I could have used greenwashing. I could have used whitewashing and, as I have said in this House, I could have used shell game or three card monte, which is also an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code. However, these are only offences if criminal proceeds are involved. It is a figure of speech. I am delighted that it caught the attention of those charities that may have been compromising their status. I am glad if it has caught the attention of the opposition and I am glad it has caught the attention of the Canadian public. I would hope that those charitable organization, which do have the benefit of charitable status, will conform with CRA regulation.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 14, 2012 at 6:56 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Thomas Mulcair challenged the government side to live up to the principles Stephen Harper once championed and so John Baird stood and claimed a different high road altogether.
“Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister, this Minister of Finance and this government are focused like a laser on the economy,” he assured the House. “They are focused on economic growth, job creation and not on partisan games.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister proceeded then to lament that the NDP’s Peter Julian had spoken for too long in response to the Finance Minister’s budget speech.
A moment later, Bob Rae stood to review the budget bill one clause at a time. “Mr. Speaker, under these proposed budget changes, the Inspector General of CSIS will be gone,” he reviewed from a piece of paper he held in front of him. “The Centre for Rights and Democracy will be gone. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy will be gone. The First Nations Statistical Institute will be gone. The Governance Institute will be gone. The National Aboriginal Health Organization will be gone. The National Council of Welfare will be gone, environmental assessment will be gutted, Parks Canada will be gutted and old age security will be gutted.”
There was some degree of mumbling and grumbling from the government side. Mr. Rae proceeded to his point. “These are basic protections for Canadians. These are basic ways in which Canadians have rights and governments do not have all the rights,” he explained. “When will the government learn it is taking the wrong path?”
The question was rather rhetorical and the answer surpassed the question in this regard. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 11:07 PM - 0 Comments
NDP gathered in Centre Block on Wednesday..
NDP gathered in Centre Block on Wednesday..
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Here again is the roster for Thomas Mulcair’s shadow cabinet. What to make of it? Here are several observations.
-First, the obviously big promotions go to Megan Leslie (who stays with environment, but becomes a deputy leader) and Nathan Cullen (who becomes House leader). Both are confident, impressive, fresh-faced MPs who are quick on their feet and under the age of 40 (Mr. Cullen’s 40th birthday is in July). Very interesting to see them put not just in prominent positions, but positions of leadership. Your premature, baseless, futile, wild-eyed “next leader of the NDP” speculation probably starts somewhere here.
-That’s a rather large number of people with titles: 78 out of a caucus of 102. Granted, the Conservative cabinet numbers 39 and the Prime Minister named another 28 parliamentary secretaries, so the sides are somewhat close to even. Put the two teams together and they represent just less than half of the House.
-The shadow ministers of finance, justice, human resources, transport, aboriginal affairs, public works, industry, immigration and the environment—nine of the top files—are women.
-All of the elected leadership candidates—Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar, Mr. Cullen, Robert Chisholm, Romeo Saganash and Peggy Nash—were placed in prominent spots. Of the 13 NDP MPs who endorsed Brian Topp, 10 of them—Charmaine Borg, Jean Crowder, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Yvon Godin, Francoise Boivin, Jinny Simms, Jasbir Sandhu, Kennedy Stewart and Alexandre Boulerice—were put in critic roles. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP finance critic officially began his response to the budget with a few remarks shortly before 5pm last Thursday. The House then adjourned.
Mr. Julian picked up again on Friday morning at 10am. He spoke for an hour, then paused for statements by members and Question Period, then resumed around 12:15pm. He spoke for three hours until the House moved on to private members’ business.
On Monday at noon, the House returned to the budget debate and Mr. Julian picked up where he’d left off. He spoke for two hours until it was time for statements by members and Question Period. He resumed speaking at 3:30pm and remained on his feet until just about 6:30pm, when the House began adjournment proceedings.
Shortly after the House opened for business this morning at 10am, Mr. Julian rose to continue with his remarks. He informed the House that, after pausing for QP, he should be done speaking sometime around 4:30pm.
As the opposition member responding to the Finance Minister, Mr. Julian is subject to no time limit. He has invited members of the public to write in their comments on the budget and has been reading them into the record as he goes. The budget debate itself is subject to a maximum of four days of debate. By the time he’s finished, he will have taken up just less than three days of that.
Thomas Mulcair was asked yesterday about Mr. Julian’s speechifying and explained as follows. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM - 0 Comments
In keeping with tradition, the Finance Minister was applauded simply for showing up. Jim Flaherty arrived two minutes after four and, upon realizing his existence, the Conservatives stood and cheered. Poor Peter Stoffer, attempting to contribute to a debate on the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, was drowned out entirely.
With Mr. Flaherty in the room, the Speaker announced that the House would be moving on to government orders. The minister stood and his Conservative colleagues treated him to a second standing ovation. He proceeded with the procedural niceties required to table the budget documents and when he was finished there was more applause.
“Looking ahead,” he said when he’d finally begun, “Canadians have every reason to be confident.”
Twasn’t it ever thus? Has a Finance Minister ever stood in this place and tabled anything other than a prudent, forward-thinking masterstroke that cast us ahead to a more brilliant future? Is it possible that Archibald McLelan and Edgar Nelson Rhodes or another of Mr. Flaherty’s predecessors once rose and pleaded for the House’s mercy or confessed that he was only vaguely sure of the numbers?
Likely not. Indeed, within a few paragraphs, Mr. Flaherty was referencing the hopeful words of Sir George Eulas Foster, our eighth finance minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peter Julian, head nodding and bobbing for emphasis, began with a harangue for the government’s F-35 fixation. Heritage Minister James Moore, today’s stand-in for the Prime Minister, enjoyed the opportunity to explain the difference between those who Support The Troops and those who do not.
This though was mere prelude to the matter of Old Age Security. “Everything is about choices and priorities, and the choice of F-35 is a bad choice,” Mr. Julian said by way of segue. “Another bad choice, of course, is the reduction of Old Age Security for Canadians.”
And this was mere prelude to Wayne Marston standing and reviewing, in his quiet, folksy way, the story so far. ”Mr. Speaker, first the Conservatives said that OAS was unsustainable and needed to be cut. On Friday, the Finance Minister said that changes to OAS would be delayed until 2020 or 2025. Then a government spokesperson said the finance minister is wrong,” Mr. Marston recounted.
This was merely the short version—leaving out both the Prime Minister’s triumphant speech in Davos at the start of this three-week saga and the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s rebuke this weekend. But, of course, this was mere prelude to the question that still hangs over all of this. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM - 0 Comments
Peter Julian, already speaking at a certain volume, attempted to oblige, punctuating his question with exclamation points.
“When(!) is the government going to show leadership? When is it going to work on a jobs plan so that Canadians(!) can get back to work?
The subject here was the recent closure of Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ontario—a closure notable not only for the 450 individuals it put out of work, but because the plant was once selected as an ideal scene to demonstrate the Prime Minister’s economic stewardship. And so a silly picture of Mr. Harper pretending to conduct a train is now a symbol of some kind. And so Mr. Julian was yelling this afternoon in the general direction of the Finance Minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM - 0 Comments
Will the Prime Minister be cutting Old Age Security benefits, she asked, yes or no? Will the age of eligibility be raised to 67, she wondered, yes or no?
“We want an answer,” she concluded.
In response, the Prime Minister had two answers. “Mr. Speaker, I was very clear. This government will not cut benefits for our seniors. I am very clear,” he declared. “At the same time, we will protect the system for generations to come.”
After jetting off to Switzerland and standing proudly before the global elite and bragging of his stewardship and boasting of “major transformations” to come, the Prime Minister seems suddenly shy. It is as if, having scaled the rhetorical heights, he was suddenly reminded why he generally avoids high places. And so now he is attempting to stall, perhaps even soothe, with a sleight of hand. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 6:33 PM - 0 Comments
And on that note, his second sentence. ”We have no intention,” he said, “of changing any benefits.”
Clearly. At least so far as those with no short term memory could be concerned. For the rest of those listening, there was what the government had sent up Wai Young to say no more than 90 seconds earlier. ”We will implement any changes fairly,” the dutiful backbencher reassured the House with the last intervention before Question Period, “allowing lots of time for notice and time to adjust.”
So the government has no intention of making changes. But if—for whatever reason—it should be struck with such intent sometime between now and the tabling of this spring’s budget, you are to be assured that those changes will be implemented fairly. Indeed, even with these changes existing only in the theoretical, the government presently lacking even the intent to make them, Ms. Young managed today to congratulate her side for having had the courage to change. “In fact,” she reported, “the National Post gets it with its front page headline today, ‘Tories on the right side of pension reform.’ ”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 27, 2012 at 4:59 PM - 0 Comments
The Harper government explains how its supporters and spokespeople should be explaining potential changes to Old Age Security.
To be clear: there will be no changes to the benefits seniors currently receive. We will ensure any changes are done with substantial notice and adjustment period and in a way that does not affect current retirees or those close to retirement, and gives others plenty of time to adjust and plan for their retirement.
CBC has an interview with Ted Menzies. NDP finance critic Peter Julian says asking people to work until they are 67 years old before receiving OAS is “completely unacceptable.” The Liberals are promising a fight. And they’d like you to sign a petition.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM - 0 Comments
“Now, he’s threatening … seems to be trying to precondition us to cuts to the OAS, which is there to help the lowest income Canadians,” charged Mr. Brison. “At a time when other global leaders at Davos are addressing income inequality not only is Harper ignoring it he’s threatening to make it worse.” Mr. Brison asserted the OAS is “very important for low income seniors and one of the reasons why Canada is successful economically is because we are progressive socially and we help vulnerable people.”
Tangentially, Susan Delacourt notes that the Prime Minister was recently advised to think “big.”
And for whatever insight might be gleaned into where this is all going—or at least what the next little while is going to sound like—here are the official Conservative talking points on the Prime Minister’s speech. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:06 PM - 13 Comments
The Scene. Adherents to the faith of smaller government take note, for the Harper government has successfully identified and eliminated one of the prime inefficiencies standing between us and true freedom.
“This government cannot say how many jobs were created after having spent $47 billion of Canadians’ money,” lamented the NDP’s Peter Julian this afternoon of the government’s trademarked action plan. “The program was so badly monitored that no one knows if it was effective.”
Of this, Mr. Julian can claim the authority of the auditor general, who apparently found no attempt by the government to determine precisely how many jobs it “created” (in the messianic parlance) with its billions in bridges, roads and hockey arenas.
But just because the government can’t—indeed, won’t—add, doesn’t mean Mr. Julian can’t subtract. “We now know that 72,000 full-time jobs were lost last month thanks to the policies of this government,” he asserted with his next breath. “Now that the truth is out, when will this government put aside bogus and unsubstantiated job claims and take real and immediate action to create jobs here in Canada for Canadian families?”
Jim Flaherty would at least stand to respond to this. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 7:14 PM - 16 Comments
The Scene. It began with a rousing cheer for Nycole Turmel. The official opposition was perhaps behooved to loudly endorse their interim leader after a Conservative backbencher had used the House’s preceding minute to read aloud some scripted bit about how disgraceful Turmel had behaved on some matter or another.
“Mr. Speaker, over the past few months we have witnessed a protest movement on a scale never seen before,” she ventured. “The Occupy movement is denouncing economic disparity.”
There were grumbles and groans from the government side. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 12:13 PM - 4 Comments
A statement released just now by NDP MP Peter Julian.
Over the past few weeks I have been consulting with activists in the NDP family about the possibility of running for leadership of our Party. I left the door open to that possibility while I talked extensively with New Democrats in our federal caucus and party, the labour, social, and environmental movements and civil society.
I feel I have consulted widely and have come to the point of making a decision. I will not be a candidate for leadership at our Convention in March, 2012.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 30, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 9 Comments
“We have a chance to reach beyond those who are already onside,” he said in an exclusive interview. ”I think there is a much broader progressive movement that is more open to us than in our entire history because of Jack’s legacy, because of some things that have happened to the other parties, the door has opened in Quebec and right across the country.”
Topp, Cullen and Romeo Saganash will be joined by Paul Dewar and Nova Scotia businessman Martin Singh on Sunday. Some or all of Peter Julian, Peggy Nash, Robert Chisholm and Niki Ashton may yet join the race as well. Allowing for the possibility of another candidate or two to emerge and the field could easily total ten contenders.