Althia Raj
Althia Raj is The Huffington Post Canada's Ottawa Bureau Chief. Based in Ottawa, Althia was previously a national political reporter for Postmedia News. She has covered Parliament Hill on and off since 2006, writing for QMI Agency and producing for CTV and for CBC Radio's The House. She is an occasional contributor to CBC The National's At Issue panel. She can be found on Twitter under @althiaraj
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Entries by Althia Raj

Harper Dismisses Legal Concerns Over Syrian Airstrikes

(247) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 4:50 PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper laughed off concerns Wednesday that Canada is about to flout international law by launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.

Harper announced Tuesday that the government would extend Canada’s mission against ISIL, which so far has been limited to Iraq. The Tories intend...

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Canada's Plan For Airstrikes Against ISIL In Syria Has Dubious Legal Basis, NDP Charges

(169) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 7:12 PM

OTTAWA — Canada is about to skirt international law, the NDP suggested Tuesday after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would begin bombing missions in Syria without President Bashar al-Assad’s invitation.

Speaking in the Commons, Harper said the government has decided not to seek the express consent of the...

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Harper To Make Case For ISIS Mission Extension In Iraq And Syria Tuesday

(175) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 8:12 PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will present a motion to the House of Commons on Tuesday seeking a one-year extension of the current mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as well as the authorization to expand airstrikes into Syria, The Huffington Post has learned.

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Leaders Target B.C. To Gain Seats In 2015 Federal Election

(177) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 3:27 PM

NANAIMO, B.C. — It’s a Tuesday night in early March, and 300 New Democrats, community leaders and curious onlookers have packed a hotel hall in downtown Nanaimo to hear Thomas Mulcair.

After a brief introduction by local Vancouver Island candidates, the NDP leader emerges from the back of the room....

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Mulcair Making Up Coalition Discussion, Liberals Say

(171) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 11:22 PM

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s office says NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is lying about a discussion he claims the two leaders had last year about forming a coalition.

Trudeau, who has ruled out forming a coalition with the NDP, says a meeting that Mulcair says happened at the Irish...

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Alexandre Boulerice, Quebec NDP MP, Says His Party Is Against The Niqab

(226) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 5:01 PM

OTTAWA — The NDP is opposed to the wearing of the niqab, Quebec NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice told a French-language television program Thursday, contradicting a position party leader Thomas Mulcair had articulated as recently as two weeks ago in English.

Boulerice, the party’s Quebec lieutenant, told TVA his party is...

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Diane Finley, PMO Under Fire For $1-Million Violation Of Conflict-Of-Interest Rules

(129) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 8:19 PM

OTTAWA — Opposition parties demanded to know Wednesday why the Prime Minister’s Office influenced a $1 million funding decision that the ethics watchdog said broke conflict-of-interest rules.

“What was Nigel Wright doing in the approval process?” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Commons.


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Liberals Are Supporting Bill C-51 So Tories Can't Make 'Political Hay,' Trudeau Says

(284) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 6:59 PM

VANCOUVER — Federal Liberals are supporting the Conservatives’ controversial anti-terrorism bill because they don’t want the government to make “political hay” of national security issues in an election year, party leader Justin Trudeau suggested last week.

Speaking at the University of British Columbia Wednesday, Trudeau encountered a student audience that...

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NDP MP Jack Harris: Government Misled Canadians 'All Along The Way' About Iraq Mission

(66) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 1:15 PM

OTTAWA — What were Canadian soldiers doing close to the front lines in Iraq after the Conservative government promised they would not be engaged in combat?

That’s what NDP MP Jack Harris demanded to know Sunday after a Kurdish news agency reported that Canadians special forces members were mistaken...

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Rob Nicholson Says Canada's Commitment To Iraq Will Be Similar To Afghanistan

(74) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 2:38 PM

OTTAWA — Canada could be active in Iraq for the next decade as the war against ISIL continues and the region needs rebuilding, Canada’s foreign affairs minister suggested Thursday.

“We're in this for the longer term to make sure that we do what we can to help," Rob Nicholson told...

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Tories Likely To Ask Supreme Court For Extension On Right-To-Die Ruling If Re-Elected

(37) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 8:52 PM

OTTAWA — The Conservative government may ask the Supreme Court for an extension to comply with its physician-assisted suicide ruling – if it wins the next election, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.

The country’s top court unanimously ruled earlier this month that clearly consenting adults enduring intolerable physical...

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Muslims Being Vilified In Canada's Political Debates: NDP

(136) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 5:20 PM

OTTAWA — Muslims are often the scapegoats in political debates, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said Wednesday.

“There is a vilification that is happening," Mulcair told reporters. "I have been doing federal politics for years, and for years I have seen that Muslims are often the scapegoats in political debates. And...

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Green Party Could Be Excluded From Upcoming Election Debates

(292) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 3:06 PM

OTTAWA — The Green party, the Bloc Québécois and upstart Forces et Démocratie party could be frozen out of the upcoming federal election debates, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.

The Conservatives and the NDP want many debates, but sources in both parties say they also want to limit the...

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Do Tories Want To Ban Headscarves At Citizenship Ceremonies Now?

(307) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 3:37 PM

OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Chris Alexander suggested Wednesday that he does not want Muslim women to wear traditional headscarves during citizenship ceremonies.

“Niqab, hejab, burqa, wedding veil – face coverings have no place in cit[izenship] oath-taking!” the minister tweeted.

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Peter Stoffer, NDP MP, Calls For End To Omnibus Bills That 'Nobody Reads'

(46) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 5:44 PM

OTTAWA — MPs are failing to do their jobs and standing by as taxpayer dollars are spent without proper review, an NDP MP said Wednesday.

Nova Scotia NDP MP Peter Stoffer said the Conservative government’s overuse of omnibus bills means “billions of dollars fly out these doors with very...

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Joe Oliver Broke Government's Own Rules With Speeches Contract: Liberals

(41) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 1:43 PM

OTTAWA — The Conservative government broke its own rules by awarding a $9,200 untendered contract to the prime minister’s former chief of staff, Guy Giorno, Liberals charged Wednesday.

Giorno, Harper’s chief of staff from 2008 to 2010 and the Tories’ current election campaign chair, was paid $5,650 for a speech...

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Rookie Tory MP Pat Perkins Accused Of Skirting House Rules

(52) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 7:50 PM

OTTAWA — A new Conservative MP is skirting House of Commons rules by hiring her daughter’s live-in fiancé, critics charged Tuesday.

Whitby–Oshawa MP Pat Perkins hired James Beattie, her daughter Laura’s fiancé, to work in her constituency office after her byelection win last November.

The hiring doesn’t explicitly flout the...

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Tories Could Also Be On Hook For Taxpayer-Funded Mailouts

(61) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 8:20 AM

OTTAWA — Nine Conservative MPs could find themselves having to pay back thousands of dollars for partisan mailings — if their Tory colleagues decide to fine them.

Last month, public servants working for the Board of Internal Economy recommended their political masters direct them to dig deeper to find out...

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Jason MacDonald, Harper's Top Spokesperson, To Quit

(120) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 2:56 PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s top spokesman, Jason MacDonald, is quitting and heading to the private sector.

The news comes just a week after a high-profile cabinet resignation and days after a Tory MP crossed the floor.

Rob Nicol, who was director of communications for Mike Harris when...

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Eve Adams Confirms She Aims To Run Against Joe Oliver, Will Move To Toronto

(29) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 9:17 AM

OTTAWA — New Liberal MP Eve Adams has confirmed she plans to run against Finance Minister Joe Oliver and move to the Toronto riding of Eglinton—Lawrence.

“It’s critical to reach out and take back riding after riding that has now gone Conservative and bring them back into the red fold,”...

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