Some things are so strange only a politician could do them:
On Tuesday, the trial heard from two witnesses whose work for Duffy, paid for by cheques signed by Donohue, sat at the extremes of things a senator might need: from $2 photo prints of Duffy with admirers to a $7,000 speech laying out Duffy’s most basic political philosophy.
The speech, called “Why I Am a Conservative” and presented on Duffy’s personal website as his own work, was ghostwritten by L. Ian MacDonald, a former Parliament Hill journalist who became a speechwriter for then-prime minister Brian Mulroney.
The funny thing is that virtually no one on Parliament Hill has the slightest idea what a conservative is, much less a former Mulroney era staffer.
But, here’s some news that might make you happier: citizens living in Cowtown are overall more satisfied with their lives than those living in 17 other cities including Winnipeg, Victoria and Edmonton.
The study found Vancouver ranks the lowest in life satisfaction, followed closely by Toronto, Windsor, Guelph and Edmonton.
The happiest Canadians are found in Saguenay, Trois-Rivières and St. John’s.
Apparently Mary Jane doesn't make you as happy as previously believed. Well I guess the poor people of the Lower Mainland will just have to keep their chins up. Among other things. Now how, some of you might be wondering, does a government agency know if people are happy? Your friends and mine at Statscan came to their conclusions by sending out surveys with the question:
Using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means “very dissatisfied” and 10 means “very satisfied,” how do you feel about your life as a whole right now?
Well "right now" I'm filling out a government questionnaire. Are negative integers allowed?
When John Cowperthwaite was serving as Financial Secretary of Hong Kong in 1960s he made it a point, almost an article of faith, to avoid collecting too much economic data. His thinking was that if bureaucrats in London, we are talking the pre-Thatcher era, were given too much information they might get it into their heads to start "improving" the Hong King miracle with various government initiatives. It is in that spirit that we regard the emergence of government happiness metrics with deep suspicion.
If governments start worrying about your happiness, begin to ponder why some places in Canada are less happy than others, questions will emerge. First these questions will be lobbed by the NDP. Why, I can hear the bearded sage Tom Mulcair ask, is there a happiness gap in Canada? What is the Harper Government doing about Happiness Inequality?
Not to be left out the Liberals, under the perpetually youthful leadership of Justin Trudeau, will call for a National Happiness Initiative. In response Chrystia Freeland will write a best selling book about the dangerous plague of Happiness Inequality and how it threatens the stability of our society.
The Tories will at first attack Happiness Inequality as a myth. Soon thereafter, being the me-tooing cowards that they are, Team Harper will switch to blaming the problem on the policies of Pierre Trudeau. If only Justin's dad hadn't been such a Pinko Jerk our fair Dominion would be much happier today. A hard proposition to argue against. Canadians are so unhappy in 2015 because of NEP and Quebec's failure to sign the constitution.
Next year our friends at Statscan, or Statistics Canada or whatever they'll be called then, will conduct a second happiness survey. To their great surprise Canadians will show themselves to be much less happy than before. Pundits will argue vigorously over what this all means. A single public policy question will dominate discourse for years to come: Why is that the more politicians talk about happiness the less happy Canadians become?
The federal and provincial governments have committed $200,000 to the continuation of the Grain Bag Recycling Pilot Project in 2015. The program collects both grain bags and twine province-wide.
The new funding will allow Simply Ag Solutions to meet the strong demand for the program. In 2014-15 Simply Ag Solutions shipped 1,871,000 pounds of plastic from their 13 collection sites.
Since its inception in 2011, the Grain Bag Recycling Pilot Project has recycled approximately 2,421,000 pounds of plastic (7,345 bags). The Ministry of Environment continues to work on the creation of regulations that will see the establishment of a permanent industry-led recycling program in the future.
The poll says nearly 60 per cent of respondents support the idea of two or more parties forming a coalition government, if no party gains a majority of seats in October’s election.
“It appears that the idea of a coalition government isn’t the bogeyman to voters that the government would like us to believe,’’ said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research.
The phrase slippery when wet comes to mind.
For those who might have forgotten: Forum Research famously called the 2013 Brandon-Souris by-election for the Liberals by 29 points. The Tories won. They have something of a reputation. Still we're in a generous mood. Mistakes happen. What doesn't just "happen" is spin. Mr Bozinoff is spinning. Very fast actually. Catch him if you can. Here is the release from Forum's site:
In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll among 1365 Canadian voters, the majority, close to 6-in-10 say it is appropriate for two or more parties to form a coalition to govern if no party gets a majority of seats in Parliament (58%) and a similar proportion also favour an informal arrangement between two or more parties to govern (54%). In each case, one third or fewer say these options are inappropriate (30% and 34%, respectively. One tenth don’t have an opinion (12% each).
So far as I can tell the pollster didn't ask which parties would be forming a coalition. Now you, me and the fellas hanging around the Press Galley know that coalition means a Faustian bargain between the NDP-Liberals. But if you're a normal person, and so likely isn't obsessed with politics, then the natural equivalence of coalition and an NDP-Liberal Coalition will not spring to mind. The survey isn't telling us that 60% want the coalition that is likely to occur, simply that 60% prefer some kind of stable government. If a coalition does the trick then so be it.
The headline says Canadians want the two parties of Big Government to join forces and defeat the party of somewhat smaller Big Government. The reality is something closer to people not wanting an election every two years. This isn't so much a vote for more government as it is for less politics.
The Government of Canada is providing $151,200 through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund to support the renovation of the Thousand Islands Playhouse Production Facilities. This project will provide the organization and its local partners with improved facilities for artistic creation and production, helping to give audiences greater access to professional theatre.
Gord Brown, Member of Parliament (Leeds–Grenville), made this announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
Sara Bucsis-Gunn's daughter died in 2013. The family owes thousands of dollars in ambulance fees.
When she discussed the issue with Greg Ottenbreit, Saskatchewan's Minister of Rural and Remote Health suggested she hold a steak night to help raise money to pay the bill.
"Her daughter Leandre was incredibly sick, they had massive ambulance bills and the only option provided by this government was to do a fundraiser and that's not acceptable," Cam Broten, the leader of the NDP, said Monday.
Nor is the case of Sara Bucsis-Gunn uncommon. A socialized health care system means you get screwed two ways: First when you pay taxes and then when you're surprised with a medical bill. The sort of bills that Tommy Douglas promised to do away with.
The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have identified the remains of a Second World War soldier found near the Maas River in the Netherlands, as those of Private Albert Laubenstein from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
DND and the CAF have since notified members of Pte Laubenstein’s family. Veterans Affairs Canada is providing the family with ongoing support as final arrangements are made. His remains will be interred at Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in Noord-Brabant, in the Netherlands, on May 6, 2015, with members of his family, and representatives from the Government of Canada and the CAF, in attendance.