Category: Federal Politics

Election interference: Leakers, the Conservatives and the media turn a molehill into a menacing mountain

I’m far removed from Parliament Hill where the beat goes on with what has become known as the “Chinese election interference scandal.” Bearing in mind that a scandal is in the eye of the beholder, and posting one day before the much anticipated committee testimony by the Prime minister’s top staffer, I would venture optimistically that the efforts of the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois to make damaging political hay out of the issue are flagging. One reason for the cooling off is the grudging concession by Katie Telford, Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, to put in an appearance...

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Audit of pandemic relief programs raises more doubts about CEWS

Massive sums of COVID-19 economic benefits going astray was in the news last week, with Canada’s Auditor-General raising the possibility that as much as 15 percent of $210 billion in federal pandemic relief was misdirected. Much of the media attention turned to CERB – the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit – designed to give $500 a week to individuals who lost work or hours as a result of the pandemic. CERB and related programs for individuals paid out a total of $110 billion to over eight million Canadians between March 2020 and October 2021. Although they were buried in the...

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Premiers muddle their message on health transfers

The issue of federal health transfers to provincial governments is back in the news. and politics around it are as convoluted as ever. Even as the health care system faces mounting problems, the country’s political leaders have been digging in for a renewed fight over money. Provincial Health ministers met last week with their federal counterpart to consider a federal offer to increase transfers, with conditions. At the behest of the Premiers, the ministers turned that down, and punted the issue to their bosses who are raring to take up the issue with the Prime Minister, mano a mano....

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2021 Election reflection:Atlantic Canada leads move to the right

Elections Canada was still busy counting mail-in ballots into the weekend, so analyzing the fine detail of the mostly status quo federal election is a work in progress. However, aside from the disappointment probably being felt by many partisans of the three major parties – it seems they all hoped to do better – the most ominous development was at the political margins. The Green vote collapsed and the anti-vax, anti-immigrant and pro-gun PPC saw its vote total triple. In 2019 the Greens attracted 1,189,607 votes, 6.5 percent of the total. The PPC, on the ballot for the first...

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Pandemic Election 3:Fourth wave fails to swamp Liberals

The Trudeau Liberals are a lucky bunch. Calling an unnecessary election during a pandemic that was gaining in intensity could have turned out very badly. Now that the numbers are in, the last five weeks may one day be described by chroniclers of this political moment as “disaster averted.” The Liberals came back with a minority government and the pandemic remained under control in most of the country. As reported here when the election was called on August 15, active cases totaled 17,025, up 65 percent from the previous week. Had cases continued to grow at that rate for...

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On health transfers, Houston needs to lead ‘Anybody but Conservative’ campaign

We’ve seen this play out in previous federal election campaigns. The provinces, constitutionally responsible for health services, unite to demand more federal help in this endeavour. The party in power at the federal level rejects the ask, while the opposition parties initially embrace it. But when the writ is dropped and one of the major opposition parties starts to waffle in its support the provinces fail to react. They put party loyalty ahead of the their populations’ need for adequate federal support for health care. When we observed this in the 2015 campaign and its aftermath it was mainly...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, a former radio and TV producer and weekly newspaper editor, and the author of three non-fiction books. Starr has lived in Dartmouth for more than 30 years.

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