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

Nigel Wright Probe: Ethics Commissioner Has Limited Ability To Penalize

(49) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 6:27 PM

OTTAWA — The NDP will be asking the ethics commissioner Thursday to reopen a probe into Nigel Wright’s $90,000 cheque to a sitting senator, The Huffington Post Canada has learned. But even if Mary Dawson reopens her investigation into Wright’s actions, any penalty she could levy against Prime...

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Nigel Wright Won't Face Charges Over $90,000 Cheque To Mike Duffy

(241) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 5:09 PM

OTTAWA — The RCMP have dropped their investigation into Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Nigel Wright.

The Mounties alleged in court documents made public last November that they believed Wright had committed bribery, fraud and breach of trust when he gave sitting senator...

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Michael Chong Q&A On His Reform Act Bill: 'I Am Optimistic'

(20) Comments | Posted April 13, 2014 | 12:41 PM

Last week, maverick Conservative MP Michael Chong introduced a new version of his private member’s bill, the Reform Act 2014. His bill seeks to empower MPs by taking some powers away from the party leader and giving them them to the local riding associations, a provincial nomination officer...

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Trudeau Urges Free Vote On Fair Elections Act, Vows To Repeal Bill If Elected PM

(158) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 4:31 PM

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau promised Wednesday to repeal the Conservatives' controversial Fair Elections Act if he is elected prime minister in 2015.

Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair both called Wednesday for a free vote on the proposed election law, Bill C-23,...

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Fair Elections Act: Harper Pressed On Concerns From Seniors, Students

(115) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 11:55 AM

OTTAWA — Opposition parties leaped to the defence Tuesday of seniors and students who are worried the passage of the Conservatives' Fair Elections Act would leave them unable to vote in the next federal election due to a lack of adequate identification.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair...

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NDP, House Of Commons Discussed Use Of Staff In Satellite Offices

(35) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 8:39 PM

OTTAWA — The Conservative Party is demanding that the NDP pay taxpayers back for using parliamentary staff to work in party offices outside of Ottawa.

The Board of Internal Economy, the secretive all-party committee that administers the House of Commons, issued a “cease-and-desist” to the NDP on Monday. Board...

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Fair Elections Act May Hurt Plan To Increase Youth Voter Turnout, Groups Warn

(152) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 2:04 PM

OTTAWA — An Elections Canada pilot program aimed at encouraging student voting during the 2015 election could be grounded if the Fair Elections Act passes, students groups fear.

The Huffington Post Canada has learned that Elections Canada met with several student groups last summer to develop new ways...

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Justin Trudeau Slammed By Tories For Comments He Never Made On Iran, Israel

(262) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 8:33 PM

OTTAWA — The fight over which federal political party best defends the interests of the Jewish community got nasty Friday when Conservatives slammed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for comments falsely attributed to him.

Conservative MP Joyce Bateman criticized Trudeau in a press release for attacking Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s defence...

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Michael Chong Amending Reform Act To Win Tory Caucus Support

(14) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 4:00 PM

OTTAWA — Conservative MP Michael Chong will introduce a new bill Monday amending his original Reform Act as a way of trying to win support from his caucus colleagues.

His new bill, “An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (candidacy and caucus reforms),”...

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Joe Cressy's Past Criticism Of Oilsands Prompts NDP To Clarify Official Stance

(58) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 4:44 PM

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair walked away from reporters Wednesday when asked to clarify his party’s stance on the oilsands and the conflicting view of a possible NDP candidate.

Two potential NDP candidates in coming byelections in Trinity–Spadina and Fort McMurray–Athabasca appear to have very different opinions on...

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How Much Do Canadian MPs And Senators Make?

(208) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 5:03 AM

OTTAWA – Whether you think they deserve it or not, members of Parliament and senators are getting a pay raise today.

The base salary of a member of Parliament jumps to $163,700 from $160,200, a 2.2 per cent increase. Senators will receive a 2.58 per cent increase to...

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Dimitri Soudas' Love For Eve Adams Forced His Resignation From Tory Post

(80) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 4:09 PM

OTTAWA — The prime minister’s longtime aide, Dimitri Soudas, says his departure from Conservative Party headquarters resulted from his decision to side with the woman he loves, MP Eve Adams.

Soudas told The Huffington Post Canada he is "madly in love" and that the "choice was clear."

"Stand with the...

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Bill C-23, Fair Elections Act, Criticized By Professor Paul Thomas

(128) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 5:19 AM

OTTAWA — The Conservative government’s proposed changes to the election law will weaken the public’s trust in the electoral process and could lower voter turnout, a leading public policy expert says.

Paul Thomas is an emeritus professor at the University of Manitoba, a widely published expert on Canadian politics and...

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Peter MacKay Toasted At Taxpayer-Funded Party After Cabinet Shuffle

(57) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 9:44 AM

OTTAWA — A 50-person guard of honour, the Canadian Forces' Central Band and a reception with waiters serving beef wellington, lobster in filo and bacon-wrapped scallops highlighted Peter MacKay's taxpayer-funded goodbye as minister of the Department of National Defence last year.

Documents released under the Access to Information...

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Tories Defend Half A Billion Dollars In Outside Legal Costs

(28) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 5:00 AM

UPDATE, March 28: The Conservative Government tabled a revised version of their legal costs Thursday, bumping the total number spent on outside legal fees to at least $510,079,667. A senior Government official told HuffPost the previous document had been tabled in error.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government is defending...

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Harper Government Under Fire Over $482 Million In Outside Legal Fees

(177) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 1:25 PM

OTTAWA – The Conservative government has spent $482 million on outside legal fees since it came to power in 2006. And more than $447,045 to defend the Prime Minister, his staff and ministers, according to documents tabled in the House of Commons.

“It’s just a shocking number,” Liberal MP Sean...

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NDP Defends Mailings Sent Out Before 2013 Byelections

(49) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 5:12 AM

OTTAWA – The NDP is defending its use of taxpayer money to send mass mailings to hundreds of thousands of homes in advance of three byelections last year.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters Tuesday that his party was following the rules set by Elections Canada when it...

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Jean-Pierre Kingsley: Bill C-23, Fair Elections Act, Shouldn't Pass Commons As Is

(22) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 6:58 PM

OTTAWA — An elections expert who gave the Conservative government’s controversial Fair Elections Act an A- grade last month now believes the bill shouldn’t pass the Commons as is.

Former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley said he’s not ready to re-grade Bill C-23 just now. And he...

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Stephen Harper Endorsing All Tory MPs Facing Nomination Challenge

(101) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 10:58 PM

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper is endorsing every incumbent Conservative MP facing a challenge for their nomination in 2015, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.

On Monday, controversial MP Rob Anders made waves when he posted on his website an endorsement from Harper.

"Rob Anders has been a...

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Tories Chipping Away At Official Bilingualism, NDP Charge

(144) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 3:56 PM

OTTAWA — The Conservative government is chipping away at official bilingualism, the NDP charged Tuesday, pointing to the elimination of bilingual positions at the Canada Revenue Agency.

NDP official languages critic Yvon Godin wrote to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages on Monday complaining that the federal...

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