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Showing posts from October, 2014

MP Dean del Mastro found guilty of overspending in 2008 federal campaign

Judge Lisa Cameron found Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro from Peterborough Ont. guilty of overspending in the 2008 federal election and falsifying a document to cover this up.



Del Mastro now could lose his seat in the House of Commons, and face a sentence of up to three years in jail, and also $6,000 in fines. However, Del Mastro is considering an appeal of the decision. Prosecutors claimed that Del Mastro had ordered $21,000 in services from Holinshed a now-defunct company. However, his campaign realized that claiming the whole amount would put it over the spending limit and so claimed only $1,575 was spent. Del Mastro however claims that the $21,000 he paid from his personal account was for separate services from Frank Hall, Holinshed's owner, that he had never actually delivered.
The judge countered Del Mastro's claim. She said that the timing of the contract and the language it contained showed that it "is plainly a contract for election services". S…

Manitoba NDP premier faces internal political crisis

The last four elections, fifteen years, Manitoba has elected the New Democrats to rule the province. Even though during the last election Greg Selinger the leader of the party and premier won a resounding majority he is facing internal criticism.



Several senior cabinet ministers in Sellinger's government publicly spoke out about public dissatisfaction with the premier's performance. Five ministers and one former minister spoke out on Monday and Tuesday of this week: "..Justice Minister Andrew Swan, Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald, Health Minister Erin Selby, Local Government Minister Stan Struthers, Finance Minister Jennifer Howard and former labour minister Becky Barrett — suggested that Selinger should consider his future and come to a decision that is in the best interests of the government and the province. " Selinger did not take the hint and announce his resignation or even a leadership review. He announced he intends to lead the ND…

Justin Trudeau's position on Iraq and public opinion polls

Both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau who is leading in recent federal polls and Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party(NDP) voted against the bombing mission of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Iraq.


Two recent polls indicate that a majority of Canadians support Canada's Iraq mission and also Stephen Harper's judgment on the matter. Yet, as an article by Eric Grenier indicates, the results do not clearly show that Trudeau's position on Iraq has had any negative effect on support for the Liberal party.
An EKOS research survey shows that 58 per cent of Canadians strongly or somewhat support Canada's Iraq mission while only 39 per cent are opposed. As usual with such results the polls actually show that most Canadians 58 per cent favor a "non-military response such as aid and assistance to refugees" a position supported by both opposition parties. 21 per cent favored limiting the response to airstrikes where another 23 per cent wanted a "…

Gunman attacks parliament wounds guard

Ottawa - Although details are still sketchy an armed man emerged near the National War Memorial on Parliament Hill. He then shot four times wounding a guard. He then apparently was able to enter the parliament buildings. The shooter is still said to be on the loose although one MP Bernard Trottier had tweeted that the gunman was shot and killed inside the Centre Block. The area has been sealed off by police and the guard who was shot has been taken to hospital. Police locked down parliament. Tactical Ottawa police arrived pointed guns at journalists and ordered them to the ground. Reporters were in lockdown in the foyer at the front of the House of Commons.
Stephen Harper, the prime minister, is reported safe and has left the parliament buildings. One Calgary MP Michelle Rempel tweeted to her mother that she was safe but that there were shots outside the caucus room. One body was reported visible from the Library of Parliament that is about in the middle of the Cen…

Harper government to give more powers to CSIS spy agency

The Canadian Conservative government of Stephen Harper has announced that it will increase the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service(CSIS) the main spy agency in Canada.



The Minister of Public Safety Stephen Blaney said the legislation would give the CSIS more power to investigate terrorist threats outside Canada — and also to protect the identity of informants working for CSIS. Blaney referred to the advance of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq as showing the need to increase the powers of CSIS:"The events in recent months in Iraq and Syria have shown us that we cannot become complacent in the face of terrorism. Now more than ever, a motivated individual or a group of extremists with access to technology can do significant harm to Canada from thousands of miles away." Blaney claimed that the new legislation will allow CSIS to track and investigate potential terrorists when they travel outside Canada which could ultimately lead to prosecut…

Canadian studies show neonicotinoids a danger to birds and bees

New research into the longer-term effects of neonicotinoids show that the effects of these most common insecticides are raising serious questions about their use.



Nigel Raine of the University of Guelph, an expert in pollinator conservation found that neonicotinoids affect the ability of bees to find and collect food. The neonicotinoids are neurotoxins that is they adversely affect the functioning of the nervous system. Nicotine was long known to be effective as an insecticide but it is also harmful to mammals. Neonicotinoids were developed so as to avoid harmful effects on mammals. By 2008 neonicotinoids made up 24 percent of the global pesticide market. In seed treatment neonicotinoids constituted 80 per cent of the market.
 However, recent studies have raised serious question about the effects of the insecticides on bee populations and also on birds. Some bird species that depend upon insects for food are suffering in areas that make extensive use of these effectiv…

Canada will join the US-led coalition to attack the Islamic State in Iraq

Canada will join in the coalition led by the US to combat the Islamic State. The mission will involve air combat but no ground troops and will be only in Iraq not Syria and initially will be for six months.



A motion was tabled in the Canadian House of Commons today, October 3, and the text can be found here. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the contribution will include an air-to-air refueling plane, two surveillance aircraft, and also Canada is offering up to six CF-18 fighter jets. Canada will provide pilots and support personnel. For now, Harper said that Canada would attack the Islamic State only where it had the clear support of the country being bombed. This would not include Syria but Harper said also that he might expand the airstrikes if the situation changes. Canada is already providing humanitarian aid to Iraq as well as weapons for the Kurdish peshmerga.
 Canada's Conservative government had already authorized the deployment of up to 69 mi…