100% of Tax-Funded Mail Outs Go to 10% of Canadians

Ten percenters are sent out through the House of Commons (i.e.: using taxpayer's dollars) and they are a mail out that is designed to allow an MP to communicate a few times a year with a mass mailing to 10 per cent of their constituents. In this day and age of technology and multimedia communications do we even need ten percenters?

Harper Admits He Saw Marijuana Once

In a candid interview with CBC's George Stroumoumbouloupoulus, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has close-up and personal knowledge of the illegal drug industry having once spotted a baggie and j...

The Timing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill Is a Play on Our Emotions

The arrest by the RCMP of two individuals who were allegedly planning out a terrorist attack on a VIA Rail train will only heighten our level of anxiety as the scare hits closer to home. Reintroducing these provisions seems nothing more than an attempt by the Conservative government to further prove its 'tough on terror' credentials. But when our laws appear to be working -- results of brave and successful law enforcement operations -- attempting to play on our fears by using emotion over reason does not do justice to the seriousness this discussion this requires.

Un-Muzzle MPs and Parliament Will Progress

Whether or not to allow more free votes in the House is an option to consider. This allows an MP more freedom to represent their constituents on key issues and gives them some freedom when moral issues such as abortion or capital punishment are raised. Why not let government MPs stand and be recognized to ask one of their own ministers a question? If Parliament is to be relevant, it must change.

On the Mortgage Debate, Mulcair KO'd Flaherty

The federal minister of Finances, Mr. Jim Flaherty, made public comments and exerted pressures for Manulife Bank to withdraw its offer for a five-year-fixed mortgage rate of 2.89 per cent. NPD leader Thomas Mulcair accused Mr. Flaherty of using his position of power inappropriately. I couldn't have said it better myself.

With Garneau Gone, the Liberal Party Is Truly Lost

My congratulations to Justin Trudeau. My condolences to the Liberal Party of Canada. With Marc Garneau's recent withdrawal from the race for the party leadership, the "battle" is all but won. Marc Garneau offered a glimmer of hope for the optimists amongst us who wished to see a Liberal who might give the Conservatives a run for their money in 2015.

Are the Conservatives Shooting Themselves in the Foot?

Finally the NDP is making Question Period interesting to watch. And they have the Conservatives to thank for handing them the issues and the ammunition. I am speaking about NDP attacks on the Senate and the financial questions. It is often said that governments defeat themselves and it is issues like these that accumulate over time and eventually ruin your brand.

When MPs Cross Party Lines

Political parties over the years have promised more freedom for MPs, more free votes etc., but little comes of it. All too often deviance from the party line by an MP becomes a media story and it plays as an embarrassment of the respective leader. It is no wonder then that party leaders react so strongly when this happens.

2012: Canadian Politics Was a Game of Tomato, Tomahto

If voters sit down and scrutinize the political and economic policy proposals put forth by each party in 2012, it becomes apparent that it is nearly impossible to tell where one party stops and another begins. So unless you sit slightly to the right -- in which case every party embodies your politics -- the next time a canvasser, pollster, government official, or public figure asks, "which political party do you support?" consider responding "none of them." Can you really be considered apathetic?

How I'd Fix the Civil Service

How can we create a workplace environment that encourages public servants to do the best job possible, while celebrating the very finest among them? Make government jobs opwn to everyone -- not just those already on the public sector payroll. And put an end to compulsory union membership and mandatory dues.

Mulcair: Like a Less Popular, Power-Hungry Layton

Mulcair has made his party and himself invisible while moving his party so far to the right in the blind pursuit of power and it is becoming impossible to distinguish it from the Harper Conservatives. I bet Jack Layton would have been disappointed. For the late beloved leader, he would have settled for continuing to be the "Conscience of the House" rather than sell the soul of the party via a short cut to power.

Your Share of Canada's Government Debt: $34,000+

The management of public finances may not have received due attention from the premiers in Halifax. But as our federal and provincial political leaders gear up for next year's budget season, they would be wise to acknowledge the seriousness of growing government debt and put forth bold plans to balance their budgets. Kicking the debt down the road simply isn't an option.

Peter Van Loan Marched to the Beat of No Drum

Everyone is agog over the supposedly big dust up in the House of Commons yesterday, where MP Peter Van Loan marched across the Commons floor to wag his finger at NDP leaders. There was no need to cross over to the NDP side as nothing would be accomplished by doing so. The Official Opposition thought they had caught the government on a technicality and wanted to force another vote which would have further delayed passage of Bill C-45. What is so exciting about that? Why was it necessary for the Conservative House Leader to cross the floor? It is perfectly legitimate for any opposition party to use the full arsenal of tactics available to them to delay or defeat government legislation.

Why Today's Question Period Is a Snooze-Fest

It is hard to believe, but back on this day in 2005, we were all involved in an election that was forced on November 28th when the Martin government lost a confidence vote. Part of what made that election possible was the success the then opposition Conservatives had in Question Period. Today, the best you can say about Question Period is that it is pathetic and a great opportunity to take a nap.

We Lost But We've Arrived: Green Leader

OTTAWA - Three federal byelections Monday night failed to alter the party standings in the House of Commons — returning two Conservatives and a New Democrat — but the results gave a clear boost to Gre...

Are Liberals the Real Byelection Winners?

With the by-elections over, everyone will be reading the tea leaves to see what it means for the next federal election. At this point probably not all that much as we don't know who will be leading the Liberals in 2015 or for that matter if Harper will even be around to lead the Conservatives. Just the same, the parties should see some red flags from yesterday's results. For the two main parties, i.e. the Liberals and the Conservatives, it does offer a glimpse into some potential shifts down the road depending on who wins the Liberal leadership race. The good news for the Liberals is that even in Tory Alberta they can be a contender; their brand is still pretty resilient.

Tories, Grits, Dippers Close In Poll

The next federal election is years away, but new polling numbers from Nanos Research suggest national voting intentions are still in a three-way race. The pollster's latest national telephone survey...

How Cutting Taxes Actually Helps the Economy

Two aspirations for Ontario -- to be the engine of Canadian jobs again and to have world-leading public services -- are interdependent, not separate, goals. We can't have one without the other. And Ontarians deserve both. Instead of grants and handouts to the politically connected, I believe tax cuts create jobs. Tax relief creates jobs, grows the economy, and stimulates new business investments.

"Promise Made, Promise Kept"? Apparently Not For Harper

When political parties spend time on the opposition benches they often come up with ideas that look great on paper but lose their lustre once the party moves from the opposition side of the House to the government side. Such has been the case with the Conservatives and the Parliamentary Budget Office presently run by Kevin Page. Remember the chant from the Conservative backbenches, "Promise made, promise kept"? In this case that's not quite accurate.

Hey MPs, This is Question Period Not a Turf War

Anyone watching Question Period the last few days would be excused if they simply turned it off and walked away in disgust. Basically the kids in the chamber are back to their old games -- insults, evasive answers and slap downs. True it can get partisan blood going, but partisans are already committed to their own side's position. I doubt too many in the public are getting much out of the daily slug-fest. What ever happened to Michael Chong's attempt to reform Question Period? If this past week is an example, those reforms are needed more than ever.

Harper, the Museum of Civilization Ain't Broke, so Don't Fix it

Canada's most-visited museum, the Museum of Civilization, is a staple in the National Capital Region. It has garnered sustained interest from locals and foreigners alike with its exhibits showcasing the splendour of cultures and civilizations worldwide. In an abstruse move, the Harper government is announcing today that the beloved museum's mandate is being rebranded to focus solely on domestic history, while the overarching themes of military and monarchy -- sweetheart conservative subjects -- have been touted as guiding principles.

Changes to the Criminal Code: Now Easy as 1, 2, 3

This coming week, Parliament will vote on my amendments to Bill C-299, Conservative legislation that would impose a mandatory minimum sentence of five years on people who kidnap children. It would seem as though this would be just the kind of issue on which members of all parties could collaborate in good faith. Instead, however, this bill has become a prime example of how excessive haste -- and an uncooperative attitude toward parliamentary opposition -- can make for bad law and bad policy. It should be deeply troubling to Canadians that the laws governing our criminal justice system are being altered quite so nonchalantly. Surely, despite our differences on principle and policy we can at least agree that any proposed changes to the Criminal Code should be the object of serious scrutiny and debate.

Memo to Harper: Don't Micromanage the Majority

Ministers, their staff and individual MPs often find it almost impossible to get PMO to move away from a position or talking point that they have adopted. The micro-management style worked initially because in 2006 most staff and ministers were new at what they were doing. Micro-management and message control also worked because of the minority situation the government found itself in. Majority rule has changed that dynamic. All in all, there are Interesting times ahead if you sit on the backbenches of the government side.