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Results in Quebec seem to prove, if you throw money into a Province, you will get votes but also indicate a reluctance to vote NDP that is perhaps based on their new Leader. The result in Edmonton was not unexpected but some of the positions taken by the Conservative candidate are not exactly mainstream, at least to Conservatives in Southern Alberta.

Federal byelections: Liberals pull off upset in Quebec, Conservatives hold on in Edmonton

By Joan Bryden The Canadian Press

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have pulled off a stunning byelection upset, snatching the federal riding of Lac-Saint-Jean away from the Conservatives.

A Liberal victory in Quebec’s nationalist heartland — where the party hasn’t won since 1980 and where it posted its worst result in the province in 2015 — would have been remarkable at any time.

But it was particularly sweet for the prime minister on Monday, coming at time when his government has been mired for weeks in controversy over small business tax reform proposals, the personal finances and ethics of his finance minister and a new cultural policy that’s been especially panned in Quebec.

The Conservatives held onto another long-time Tory riding, however. Dane Lloyd, a 26-year-old with a history of posting controversial views in social media, easily retained the Edmonton riding of Sturgeon River-Parkland with 77 per cent of the vote.

Among other things, Lloyd has referred to women’s advocates as “Feminazis” and started a Facebook campaign to create a Canadian chapter of the National Rifle Association.

He succeeds Rona Ambrose, the respected former cabinet minister and interim Conservative leader, who quit as the riding’s MP last spring to join a Washington-based think-tank.

Lac-Saint-Jean had been held since 2007 by former Conservative minister Denis Lebel until his retirement last spring. Prior to that, it was a Bloc Quebecois stronghold, the home base of sovereigntist champion and Bloc founder Lucien Bouchard who went on to become premier of Quebec.

Richard Hebert, former mayor of Dolbeau-Mistassini, won the riding Monday for the Liberals, taking 38 per cent of the vote — more than double the party’s vote share in 2015. He was some 14 percentage points ahead of the Conservative candidate, who was just slightly ahead of the Bloc contender.

Richard Hebert, Liberal candidate for the byelection in the Lac-Saint-Jean riding, right, cheers with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a Liberal party rally in Dolbeau-Mistassini, Que, on Thursday, October 19, 2017.

The NDP’s Gisele Dallaire, who was a close second behind Lebel in 2015, finished a distant fourth Monday with just 12 per cent of the vote.

Voter turnout in the riding was 41 per cent — surprisingly high for a byelection and a sign of just how vigorously it was contested. The four main party leaders all campaigned in the riding.

By contrast, turnout in Sturgeon River-Parkland was just 23.7 per cent, more typical for a byelection.

The Quebec win bodes well for the Liberals, who won a surprising 40 of the province’s 78 seats in 2015. They are hoping to do even better in the province in the 2019 election to make up for potential losses in suburban Toronto and Vancouver ridings, where they fear newly minted NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh could make gains among new Canadian voters.

As much as Hebert’s upset was a coup for Trudeau, it was a blow to Singh and new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, both of whom were facing their first electoral test.

Scheer lost a crucial seat in a province that is likely to determine the outcome of the next election. He can take some small consolation in hanging onto the Edmonton seat, where his party’s share of the vote actually increased by seven points over 2015.

The results arguably bode even worse for Singh. He watched the NDP — which swept Quebec in 2011 and has been struggling to regain that momentum since Jack Layton’s untimely death a few months later — sink into the role of bystander in Lac-Saint-Jean.

His party’s share of the vote in Sturgeon River-Parkland, meanwhile, dropped about three points, as did the Liberals’ share.

Jagmeet Singh listens to a speech before the announcement he won the first ballot in the NDP leadership race to be elected the leader of the federal New Democrats in Toronto on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

The fact that Singh is a practising Sikh has also been something of an issue in Quebec, with one poll suggesting one in two Quebecers wouldn’t vote for a leader who wears a turban.

Dallaire said she doesn’t know how much that factored into Monday’s result. She suggested the Liberal victory had more to do with voters’ choosing to side with the party in government.

“The belief is you get more when you’re on the good side,” she told The Canadian Press.

Dallaire conceded that Singh, who was elected leader just a month ago, isn’t well known in Quebec.

“There’s still a lot of work to do to make sure that people know him more than just for his physical aspect,” she said.

For his part, Hebert said the result proves voters believe the government is going in the right direction, regardless of what all the critics may say.

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Sad news out of Quebec, would have thought they were brighter :(

I have no doubt Trudeau is riding on the popularity of Philippe Couillard with his burka ban. He is a hero right now.

With 2 years to go a lot could go south for the Quebec Liberals ...especially if the separation movement out west gains momentum  because of the perceived unfairness of the equilization scheme.

With the expected Conservative victory in Alberta under Kenny (hopefully), after the next election things will settle down.

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I'm surprised as well. I didn't think the local populations were all that impressed with the huge numbers of migrants Trudeau let in, and now being supported by the public purse.

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On 29/06/2017 at 8:53 AM, DEFCON said:

"That debate was sparked anew this month with word that a sniper from Canada’s elite Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit, supporting Iraqi forces, killed an ISIL fighter from 3,540 metres away, a world record."

Two thumbs up for the guy that made that shot!


 

I think his / her actions were exemplary but our involvement there is soon to be ended:

CTVNews.ca Staff 
 Published Friday, October 27, 2017 5:06PM EDT  
 Last Updated Friday, October 27, 2017 5:24PM EDT  


CTV News has learned Canada is suspending its special forces advise and assist mission in Operation Impact, the U.S.-led multinational coalition fighting ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

The mission includes air operations, training and advising to Iraqi forces and regional capacity building. Canadian troops on the ground are involved in training, advising and assisting coalition forces in developing their military skills.

Other non-special forces contributions are expected to continue.
 

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More BS.

Baloney Meter: How much is the government going to collect from tax cheats?

Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with the media as he makes his way to caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on November 1, 2017. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)


Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 16, 2017 9:07AM EST

OTTAWA -- "Our investments have already yielded results. We are on track to recuperate $25 billion from our efforts against tax avoidance and tax evasion." -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.-------

There are two certainties in life, and one of them the government doesn't want you cheating on.

The depth of Canada's tax evasion and avoidance problem erupted in overwhelming detail last week with the release of a trove of documents about offshore accounts and trusts, dubbed the Paradise Papers, that delivered a broadside to the prime minister's oft-repeated mantra of creating a fairer tax system for the middle class and its hard-working aspirants.

Trudeau responded with a haymaker of his own: The government had identified and was on track to collect $25 billion in unpaid taxes over the last two years. His intended message was clear: Canada won't turn a blind eye to those who cheat on -- or otherwise go to extreme lengths to avoid paying -- their taxes.

But did the government cheat on its numbers?

Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of "no baloney" to "full of baloney" (complete methodology below).

This one earns a rating of "a lot of baloney." Here's why.

THE FACTS

The prime minister made two statements on Nov. 6, the first day that the fallout from the Paradise Papers hit the House of Commons. During question period, Trudeau first said the government had "identified $25 billion in unreported income." A few minutes later, he said the government was "on track to recuperate $25 billion from our efforts against tax avoidance and tax evasion."

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, which ended March 31, the agency targeted $8 billion in forgone taxes from large businesses, including about $1.8 billion flagged as stemming from tax avoidance or evasion. There was also $2.6 billion identified as unpaid GST and HST, and a further $1.6 billion in possible unpaid taxes from small businesses.

The combined value was $12.2 billion. The agency's annual report from the previous fiscal year noted virtually identical figures in each category, and a similar total: $12.2 billion, for a two-year total of $24.4 billion -- nearly all of the $25 billion cited by Trudeau.

The figure represents the extra revenue the government should have collected, said Ted Gallivan, assistant commissioner of international, large businesses, and criminal investigations branch. It usually crosses multiple tax years and can be calculated upon existing taxpayer balances, he said.

For really high-value balances, the CRA may make accommodations to collect the balance over time so a business doesn't go bankrupt, meaning the debt lasts for a while, Gallivan added.

The figures for the last two fiscal years are not out of line with the preceding two-year period. Agency reports show auditors identified $20.5 billion in unreported tax between April 2013 and March 2015.

In their 2016 budget, the Liberals gave the Canada Revenue Agency $444.4 million over five years to go after tax cheats, expecting it to result in the collection of $2.6 billion in previously unpaid taxes. This year's budget added $523.9 million over five years, aimed at recouping $2.5 billion in revenues.

The net result: the government expected to come out of all that spending $4.13 billion ahead.

THE EXPERTS

When the government cites the $25-billion figure, they're referring to how much auditors have identified as problematic -- not how much officials will collect in the end, said Dennis Howlett, CEO of the advocacy group Canadians for Tax Fairness.

It includes years of unpaid taxes that were only recently identified. What's more, the final figure can change, since the government can settle out of court and discount any penalties without making the details public.

Hussein Warsame, an accounting professor and the CPA Fellow in Taxation at the University of Calgary, said the government will likely collect about half of what it expects, or even less once the cost of employee time, legal fees and other expenses are factored in.

"That $25 billion is not what the government is going to get," Warsame said.

Well over 90 per cent of the approximately 80,000 appeals of Canada Revenue Agency audits filed each year are settled before they ever go to court, said Geoffrey Loomer, a tax law professor from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Most of the $25 billion in question would likely be wrapped up in those appeals, he said. Of that amount, overseas tax evaders are a small percentage; most are people like restaurant owners who neglect to collect GST, or contractors who fudge their income on their tax returns, Loomer said

THE VERDICT

The government is no doubt recouping some of its losses from tax cheats and avoiders who hide their money offshore. But are they going to collect all $25 billion? Unlikely, say experts.

"There is definitely some truth to what they're claiming, but they're prone to exaggerating a bit and they are fuzzy about different terms," Howlett said.

That's why this statement receives a rating of "a lot of baloney" -- the $25-billion number might be accurate, but the chances the government will recoup all of it are remote at best, contrary to Trudeau's claim the government is "on track" to recover all of it.

The prime minister was largely correct when he characterized the $25 billion as "unreported income," but he overreached moments later by declaring the government was planning to recover the same sum.

METHODOLOGY

The Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:

No baloney -- the statement is completely accurate

A little baloney -- the statement is mostly accurate but more information is required

Some baloney -- the statement is partly accurate but important details are missing

A lot of baloney -- the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truth

Full of baloney -- the statement is completely inaccurate

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Trudeau government sets new record for vacant appointments

From judges to board members, hundreds of positions waiting to be filled

By Elizabeth Thompson, CBC News Posted: Dec 01, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 01, 2017 9:07 AM ET

The number of appointments that are vacant or past their end date has been rising since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

 

Photo of Elizabeth Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson
Senior Reporter

Award-winning reporter Elizabeth Thompson covers Parliament Hill. A veteran of the Montreal Gazette, Sun Media and iPolitics, she currently works with the CBC's Ottawa bureau, specializing in investigative reporting and data journalism. She can be reached at: elizabeth.thompson@cbc.ca.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has set a new record for the number of unfilled government appointments, with 585 jobs currently vacant or occupied by someone whose appointment is past its expiry date, according to an analysis by CBC News.

A year after the Liberals assured Canadians their new open, merit-based appointment system was in place and would fix the problem, the government's ability to make appointments is still plagued by backlogs and bureaucracy.

The mandates of several key watchdogs including the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, and the information commissioner who oversees Canada's access to information system, are scheduled to expire in coming weeks. The position of chief electoral officer, who runs Canada's elections, has been vacant since Marc Mayrand stepped down at the end of 2016.

The hunt is also on for a new RCMP commissioner to replace Bob Paulson, who left June 30, and for a federal ombudsman for victims of crime.

Thursday, Trudeau announced Nancy Bélanger is Canada's next lobbying commissioner and Raymond Théberge will be the official languages commissioner.

Nominees for officer of Parliament positions normally go through committee hearings and a vote of both the House of Commons and the Senate. With two weeks to go before Parliament is to rise for the Christmas break, candidates for the other impending vacancies have yet to be announced.

Conservative MP Rob Nicholson, says he can't understand the problems making appointments.

"This is very surprising to me. There are obviously many qualified Canadians to handle these different roles and the government has been slow right from the start."

A successor has yet to be named for Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson whose mandate has already been extended three times. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The number of vacant positions has been rising since Trudeau came to power in November 2015.

An analysis by CBC News found that 518 positions appointed by cabinet, known as governor in council positions, were vacant or occupied by someone whose appointment was past its expiry date. Governor in council positions can range from six-figure jobs heading government bodies or Crown corporations, to part-time appointments with modest per diems on boards of directors.

Added to that are 54 vacant judgeships across the country, down slightly from the 61 vacancies a year ago, that prompted concerns about growing backlogs in criminal trials.

Currently, 13 of the Senate's 105 seats are unoccupied.

Altogether, 585 appointments are waiting to be made. In March 2017, it was 575 — up sharply from the backlog of more than 300 appointments a year ago. Currently, 421 jobs are completely vacant. Another 164 positions are occupied by someone overdue to be renewed or replaced.

The problem isn't confined to a handful of agencies. A third of federal government bodies analyzed had more than half of their positions waiting for appointments.

In its dying days, the Conservative government went on an appointment spree, filling every available position and making 49 "future appointments." 

Initially, Trudeau's government blamed the vacancies on its plan to overhaul the appointments process to make it open, merit-based and nonpartisan.

The number of citizenship judges across the country has been dropping and is now down to six. (Craig Edwards/CBC)

Paul Duchesne, spokesman for the Privy Council Office, said "significant progress" is being made.

"To date, over 19,000 applications have been received and over 400 appointments made following an open, transparent and merit-based selection process, up from 100 appointments in March of this year," he wrote in an email. "Additionally, approximately 740 appointments have been made through other selection processes."

The government has appointed 86 judges through its new procedure, he added.

Duchesne said there's also more diversity. Nearly 60 per cent of those chosen were women, over 10 per cent were from visible minorities and 10 per cent are Indigenous.

Duchesne said "selection processes are underway" for officers of Parliament positions and the government is prepared to make more interim appointments, if necessary, to ensure positions don't become vacant.

But while appointments are being made, the number of vacant jobs continues to outstrip the number of people being named to fill them.

Conservative MP Rob Nicholson questions why the government is taking so long to make appointments. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Karl Salgo with the non-profit think tank the Institute on Governance, said delays in filling positions on government boards, agencies and quasi-judicial bodies can affect performance.

"Obviously, the fewer people that you have, the more vacancies you have, the more risk there is to the governing body's oversight capacity or the decision-making body's capacity to make the decisions that are required."

There are a growing number of vacancies for citizenship judges. Of the 22 judges in office when the Liberals came to power, only six are left and two of those appointments are set to expire on Dec. 20.

Cultural institutions affected

At the National Gallery of Canada, 91 per cent of the board of directors seats are vacant or due to be renewed.

At the Canadian Museum of History it is 83.3 per cent while at the Canadian Museum of Nature it is 72.7 per cent.

CBC President Hubert Lacroix's mandate expires on Dec. 31. A successor has not been named. There are four vacancies on CBC's 12-member board and three directors past their end date.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen says the appointments process is 'broken — particularly when it comes to officers of Parliament. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Vacancy rates are also high at two bodies that dole out research money. Twelve of 15 seats — 80 per cent — of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's board are empty as are 77 per cent of the board of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

New Democrat Nathan Cullen said the appointments process is "broken."

"From judges to immigration to watchdogs of Parliament, Mr. Trudeau and his government seem to have a real problem with just doing the basics of the job, which is to make sure that there are people there doing the work on behalf of Canadians."

Cullen and Nicholson both question whether Parliament is going to have enough time to ratify appointments to officer of Parliament positions before Christmas.

Nicholson is concerned by vacant judgeships in Alberta and the shrinking number of citizenship judges.

"This is an important part of what the government does which is to provide people with the opportunity to become Canadian citizens. I'm quite concerned that over the next couple of months that we're going to find that there are going to be big, huge delays because they have not moved on that."

Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at elizabeth.thompson@cbc.ca

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Canada adds 80,000 jobs in November

Dollar jumps almost a penny as jobless rate drops to lowest level since 2008

By Pete Evans, CBC News Posted: Dec 01, 2017 8:40 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 01, 2017 9:37 AM ET

Canada's economy added 80,000 jobs in November, Statistics Canada says.

Canada's economy added 80,000 jobs in November, Statistics Canada says. (CBC)

The Canadian economy added eight times more jobs than expected last month, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The data agency's monthly Labour Force Survey said Canada gained 80,000 jobs in November, while the jobless rate ticked down four tenths of a percentage point to 5.9 per cent — the lowest since February 2008.

It was also the biggest addition of jobs in a single month since April 2012, when the economy was rebounding out of recession.

All in all, Canada's economy has added 441,000 full-time jobs in the past year. Almost 30,000 of the new jobs in November were full-time. The rest were part-time.

 

CANADIAN UNEMPLOYMENT IN NOVEMBER

The Canadian dollar jumped almost a penny on the news. It was changing hands at 78.37 cents US within minutes of the release of the jobs numbers.

More than half the new jobs were in Ontario, but British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island also saw decent gains. New Brunswick lost about 2,700 jobs during the month. Everywhere else, the jobs figures basically stood still.

By sector, trade and education led the way on the service side, adding 38,800, and 20,700 new jobs, respectively. The construction industry added 16,200 jobs, and manufacturing added 30,400.

November's strong showing comes on the heels of a decent October, when the economy gained 35,000 jobs. Karl Schamotta, strategist at Cambridge Global Payments, said in a note to clients after the numbers came out that "this is the largest two-month gain in full-time employment since the early eighties (at least)."

"The Canadian economy continues to grow and add jobs at a blistering pace — seemingly putting the country's central bank on course to raise rates at least once in the early new year."

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Ship strategy becoming a disaster

Procurement for defence is largely indefensible

  • Calgary Herald
  • 7 Dec 2017
  • ANDREW COYNE
getimage.aspx?regionKey=VsI54JIradvrXQ6j0VwRYA%3d%3d  

The National Shipbuilding Strategy, they called it: a $38 billion, multi-year plan to supply new vessels to the Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy out of shipyards in Halifax and Vancouver. Seven years later, the national part is consumed by provincial infighting, no ships have been built and God knows what’s left of the strategy.

Years behind schedule, tens of billions of dollars over budget, the program that was supposed to showcase lessons learned from previous procurement disasters — helicopters, submarines, fighter jets, you name it — is fast turning into one itself. The reason is the same as ever: because procurement in this country is never about procurement, that is, obtaining the best equipment at the lowest price. It is about regional development, and bureaucratic empire-building, and jobs for the boys. The military comes last.

The most recent, and spectacular, instalment in this long-running series of fiascos came with last week’s close of bidding on the Strategy’s largest single component, the purchase of 15 frigates to replace the Navy’s current fleet. Originally budgeted at $26 billion, the project is now estimated to cost at least $62 billion, depending on how much further it is delayed. This, even after the incoming Liberal government announced it would no longer insist on custom-designing the frigates from scratch, but would buy designs off the shelf.

At the last minute, a Franco-Italian consortium pitched a proposal directly to the defence minister, circumventing the usual bidding process. It would build the frigates for a guaranteed price of $30 billion — potentially saving the taxpayer $32 billion, as Postmedia’s David Pugliese first reported. Moreover, the consortium, involving two of the world’s largest shipbuilders, France’s Naval Group and Italy’s Fincantieri, claimed to be able to start delivery in 2019, rather than the 2021 start date currently envisaged. The catch: the first three ships would be built in Europe, then refined and replicated at Irving Shipbuilding’s yard in Halifax.

The department — not Defence, but Public Services, which took over procurement from Defence after the F-35 debacle — was having none of it. The reason? Get this: fairness. “The submission of an unsolicited proposal at the final hour undermines the fair and competitive nature of this procurement,” the department said. “Acceptance of such a proposal would break faith with the bidders who invested time and effort to participate in the competitive process.”

This sort of rules-are-rules punctiliousness would be more believable were the department not already widely suspected of having skewed the bidding process in favour of a rival proposal from Lockheed Martin Canada and Britain’s BAE — a timeworn practice inherited from Defence. But when the potential savings are as large as that, it seems preposterous to reject the Fincantieri-Naval Group proposal out of hand, merely because the proper forms were not filled out.

The department is skeptical of the consortium’s claims, which is fair enough. But it hardly has a sterling track record itself. Virtually every other part of the Strategy is in trouble. Neither of the two supply ships commissioned under the Joint Support Ship Project, to be built by Vancouver-based Seaspan, has even begun construction, in part because the shipyard is still wrestling with the four fisheries patrol vessels it is supposed to deliver to the Coast Guard.

A navy is not much use without supply ships, so as a stopgap the government asked Quebec’s Davie Shipyard to refit a commercial vessel for the purpose. That having been accomplished, the company wants to be given the contract for another, with the increasingly vocal support of Quebec’s political class.

At a rally last week, the premier, Philippe Couillard, demanded that Davie be given a larger share of federal shipbuilding work. “We’re asking for equality,” he said. “We are asking for justice. We’re not asking for charity, we’re just asking for our fair share.” But all of the work on the National Shipbuilding Strategy was contracted to the two coastal yards (at the time, Davie was essentially bankrupt.) So either some of that work would have to be taken away from them and given to Quebec — good luck with that — or the federal government would have to come up with a reason to build still more ships.

So far the feds appear to be holding firm. “We cannot artificially create a need that does not exist,” federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau was heard to explain the other day. But of course they can, and do. If the federal government were not in the business of artificially creating procurement needs, it would not insist on building all new ships, all in Canada, rather than either refitting existing ships, as in the Davie example, or buying or even renting them from abroad: all demonstrably cheaper alternatives, and quicker, too.

But that assumes that kitting out the military is the government’s first priority, rather than keeping Canadian shipyard workers employed. It isn’t only Davie that is grumbling. Facing a bit of downtime between building the third and fourth Coast Guard vessel, Seaspan is publicly soliciting the feds to provide it with new work. Irving, likewise, is nearing completion of six Arctic offshore patrol ships (though stay tuned: the union has just voted to give its leaders a strike mandate) and has nothing else in the pipeline until the frigate project begins. Which may explain the government’s reluctance to wait for three demo models to be built overseas.

All three shipyards are warning of layoffs if Ottawa doesn’ t keep them constantly supplied with new projects, even as existing projects lag behind schedule. The military, once again, comes last.

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