- April 30, 2009 5:39 PM
Heritage Minister James Moore is frank about the fact that he hardly has any time any more to watch or listen to his favourite radio and TV programs.
So, instead, he downloads them to his iPod.
And while many opposition MPs have publically doubted his government's commitment to the CBC, Moore is fast becoming the best known promoter of the corporation's podcasts.
This week, in fact, Moore was very direct about what he enjoys about the public broadcaster.
During a heritage committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Moore said, "I almost never watch Don Newman's show Politics but I always listen to it because it's available on audio podcast."
On Thursday, while walking through the foyer of the House of Commons, he pulled out his iPod from his jacket pocket and said that he watches the video podcast of Q, CBC Radio's daily arts magazine.
The minister was in a hurry, so we didn't get a chance to ask him what he thought about actor Billy Bob Thornton's strange appearance on the show earlier this month. But at least we know how to get his attention.
— Chris Rands
- April 29, 2009 5:08 PM
Thursday is a big day for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
He turns 50.
When he was asked about the momentous occasion, he said he was trying not to think about it, until tomorrow. But the Conservative caucus had other plans.
They had a birthday cake at their weekly meeting today.
No one knows, of course, whether the prime minister made a wish as he blew out the candles. (You're not allowed to tell, are you? Or the wish doesn't come true.)
But given that the Liberals have been rising in the opinion polls of late, Harper's wish may well have been for the return of Stéphane Dion.
— Susan Lunn
- April 23, 2009 10:21 AM
Well, it's finally happened. Inquiry groupies have begun to show up at the judicial probe into the relationship between former PM Brian Mulroney and lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber.
In this case, two gentlemen travelled from Toronto just to be here in Ottawa for some of the testimony today.
Said one, "This is an important part of Canadian history."
Said the other, "We've been waiting for this day since the '80s."
When I asked them if they were groupies, they said that would be a good way to describe themselves. And they seemed to be getting their money's worth.
In fact, the two men spent most of the morning before the inquiry started chatting with Schreiber.
But, they said, they're interested in all sides of the story.
— Rosemary Barton
- April 22, 2009 10:38 AM
Today is Earth Day and to mark its occasion a Liberal MP has tabled a motion to limit the amount of paper that floats around Parliament Hill on a daily basis.
B.C. Liberal Keith Martin is asking the Speaker's office to curtail the amount of paper that is used in the House of Commons by allowing MPs to opt out of receiving all the automatic reports that are sent their way.
MPs tend to get inundated with bulky reports of committee meetings and proposed motions and rule changes, especially when Parliament is in session.
Martin suggest there is no need for all this paper delivery, particularly now that everything is available online.
— Susan Lunn
- April 21, 2009 9:55 PM
When preparing his budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took economic forecasts, and predicted reality would be even worse. Given what the Bank of Canada just announced on Tuesday, Flaherty's decision to be a pessimist was wise.
- April 18, 2009 10:34 AM
There’s not a lot of hotel space in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. It’s a small city of 150,000 (give or take). So delegates and media attending the Summit of the Americas are lodged in two luxury cruise ships docked in the harbour.
The carnival décor and amenities that usually characterize such an environment make a cheesy backdrop for business folk, summit delegates and self-important members of the fourth estate.
It all seems to work and it had better. Port of Spain is counting on the same arrangement when the Commonwealth heads of Government meet here in the fall. The Queen may regret giving up her own boat, Britannia, in the 1990s.
- Keith Boag
- April 17, 2009 3:47 PM
It has become a fad of late to sell video games and computer games to keep the aging brain functioning well and memory from fading.
Well, here's a free way to keep the brain limber. Tune into the Oliphant Commission examining the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.
- April 17, 2009 12:51 PM
Ed Byrne never held federal office, but he certainly had a national profile.
Byrne was leader of Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservatives during their darkest days, when Liberal Premier Brian Tobin ruled the roost in the late 1990s. One of his great achievements was paving the way for Danny Williams to take over the PC party and ultimately the government.
As government House leader, Byrne sat next to Williams and was widely considered to have an excellent chance of replacing him one day in the premier's chair.
That's not likely anymore. On Friday, Byrne was sentenced to two years less a day in jail, after having pled guilty to defrauding taxpayers.
He is the first person to be sent to a cell in Newfoundland's legislative spending scandal.
What did Byrne do wrong? Political junkies may interested in reading the agreed statement of facts in the case, which lays out the forged documents, faked signatures and other instances of cheating the system over a six-year period.
— John Gushue
- April 16, 2009 8:59 PM
The invitation came to a handful of Canadian journalists.
Thirty minutes, on the record, with Jane Holl Lute - the number two official in the United States Department of Homeland Security - while she was Ottawa this week to discuss U-S perspectives on the border with Canada.
She's someone in a position to offer meaningful insights into how the Obama administration will treat cross-border issues and how it will handle Canadians who go back and forth through what American politicians still love to call the world's longest undefended border.
— Chris Hall
- April 16, 2009 9:24 AM
Liberals say they're serious about it this time. Serious, that is, about party renewal.
Anyone who has followed the internal machinations of the party will remember all the promises for re-invigoration made at the December 2006 leadership convention, the one that elected Stéphane Dion to the top job.
Anyone paying attention now knows those promises bore little fruit.
But now the party is mulling over the work of its special committee on party renewal whose report is entitled "Every Voter Counts: the 308 Riding Strategy." That report is pretty blunt about the Liberal chances for success without change.
— Alison Crawford
- April 15, 2009 2:05 PM
For those of you watching at home, there really is an exceedingly large pile of documents here at the judicial inquiry into the business dealings between former prime minister Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber.
As well as documents that have been tabled in relation to other witnesses, Schreiber's testimony comes with seven full binders. Three of them are those extra large binders, filled with hundreds of pages.
To give you an idea, there are tabs ranging from one all the way up to 150 or more. And some of those tabs have sub-tabs with every letter of the alphabet.
For example, commission counsel will refer to Book 3, Tab 146-K, page 17, paragraph 5.
- April 8, 2009 10:49 PM
Brian Mulroney's membership to the Conservative Party has been called into question, much to the shock of the former prime minister. But Mulroney's spokesman says it's not wise to push Mulroney.
It's been six weeks since President Barack Obama arrived in Canada where he wowed crowds, bought baked goods for the kids, supped on a mouth-watering lunch and met Prime Minister Harper, several cabinet ministers and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.
All the events were well-staffed and went smoothly. The security was tight, the flowers beautiful and from all accounts the meal delicious.
But being a good host has its price.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been doing a series of interviews with foreign media while in Europe. The point, say his officials, is to promote Canada's agenda. But the coverage after the G20 is not about Harper's positions during the summit.
Rather its about how Canada's prime minister missed the first G20 family portrait.
— Susan Lunn
As of April 1st, reporters can now use their BlackBerrys and laptops in the Senate chamber.
This change removes perhaps the greatest irritant for reporters who cover the upper chamber.
Senate security would require reporters to leave their BlackBerrys outside the chamber, before they went in.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed the official photo shoot of the G20 leaders this morning. The Family Photo has been reshot with lots of leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, patting Harper on the back, shaking his hand and congratulating him for showing this time.
Unfortunately, it seems Italy's Silvio Berlusconi missed it this time.
— Keith Boag
The G20 leaders are going to reshoot their traditional family photo here in London because the first photo was taken while Stephen Harper was out of the room and therefore "out of the picture." There are conflicting reports about the reason for his absence.
— Keith Boag
This just in: Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets to be part of the G-20 family after all.
— Susan Lunn
Is it really a family photo, if one member of the family isn't there?
— Susan Lunn
Questions continue to swirl around Parliament Hill as to whether former prime minister Brian Mulroney is a card-carrying member of the Conservative party.
Senior officials in the prime minister's office say he isn't.
The man himself, currently the subject of a judicial inquiry, says he is — and will "remain so until the day I die."
At one point, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was asked if he knew whether Mulroney is or is not a member of their party.
His response: "I'm the minister of citizenship and I know he's a citizen."
From the grumbling heard within Conservative ranks these days, some party members would have been thrilled if Kenny had added to that response "for now..."
— James Fitz-Morris