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Danielle Smith defends floor crossing as 'a victory' for Wildrose Party

Written By doni icha on Minggu, 21 Desember 2014 | 21.16

Danielle Smith is defending her decision to cross the floor to Alberta's Progressive Conservatives, calling it a "victory" for the Wildrose Party, in an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House

Smith took a calculated risk, in a stunning move this week, when she defected to Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives taking with her eight members of the Wildrose Party.

"I look at it that we won. We took down two administrations — the [Ed] Stelmach administration and the [Alison] Redford administration — that were leading the province in the exact wrong direction," Smith told host Evan Solomon.

"To me, it's declaring victory and uniting conservatives under the leadership of one person so that we can deal with some very significant challenges ahead."

Smith said a merger was proposed to her last May, but she rejected it outright because she thought it was "too soon."

This week's decision, she said, was precipitated by a series of events beginning with the loss of four byelections, which left her wondering whether the party could be "a spoiler" in urban ridings.

Those losses were compounded by the defeat of an anti-discrimination policy at the party's annual general meeting followed by the defection of two MLAs at the end of November.

Smith dismissed calls from current Wildrose MLAs to run in a byelection, but said she would conduct some polling and listen to what her constituents have to say.

"The reaction that I've had so far is people are confused, some are angry, some are frustrated but I'm also getting supportive calls as well."

Smith said she asked Prentice for a cabinet position but doesn't know if Prentice will give it to her.

Members of the Wildrose caucus had already started talking about unifying small-c conservatives when Smith criticized two members of the Alberta Legislature for crossing the floor to the Progressive Conservatives at the end of November.

In a separate interview that aired Friday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Smith said that when Wildrose MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan crossed the floor on Nov. 24, she felt she had an obligation to see whether some common ground existed between the two parties.

"I felt like I owed it to our membership and to Conservatives and Albertans to at least hear whether or not Mr. Prentice and I had common ground on policy."

"There had been some back-and-forth discussions between some of our caucus members who had already started talking about if we were to come together as a merged entity — a unification of conservatives — what policies, principles and values would we base that on," Smith said in an interview with guest host Rosemary Barton on Friday.​

Smith had publicly criticized the two MLAs for being "seduced by the perks of power."

'[Jim Prentice] and I didn't start the civil war that we have among conservatives in Alberta.'— Danielle Smith, former leader of the Wildrose Party

Barton asked Smith how it was that she could claim on Nov. 26 to lead one of the "strongest" opposition parties when discussions were already underway about a possible merger.

The former Wildrose leader did not deny that discussions had already begun, saying "I had to hear it out, as I say. I was intending all the way through to make sure that they knew that I was prepared to continue being a strong opposition leader."

Smith, who sat down for a face-to-face meeting with Prentice last week, defended her actions, saying it became apparent to her the Wildrose Party and the PCs had more interests in common than they had differences.

"Having sat down with Mr. Prentice … it seemed to me we got two conservative parties fighting with each other over exactly the same plan for implementation."

Smith said there is a history in the conservative movement of butting heads for a while before merging together.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Russia facing more Canadian sanctions over Ukraine

Just one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Western sanctions for his country's current economic woes, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has announced that Canada will impose additional sanctions over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

During a year-end press conference on Friday afternoon, Baird said Canada would add 11 Russian and 9 Ukrainian individuals to the current sanction list, as well as new measures targeting Russia's oil and mining sectors. 

"The ruble's cliff dive should be enough to give President Putin and his backers pause," Baird told reporters.

"If he wants to turn his economy around, he must pull out of Ukraine, he must return Crimea, and he must respect the international order that makes us a family of nations."

Canada 'will not accept illegal occupation of Crimea': PM

In a written statement, Prime Minister Harper confirmed that Canada "will not accept the illegal occupation of Crimea and persistent, provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine."

"Since the onset of the conflict, the Putin regime has continuously violated the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," he said.

"The sanctions we have taken to date, in close collaboration with our allies and partners, are putting real economic pressure on Russia to cease militarism in Ukrainian territory."

Canada "stands ready to take further promised measures with our allies and partners if required," he added.

Harper also spoke directly with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko earlier today, according to spokesman Jason MacDonald.

According to a note released by his office, the two leaders discussed the current situation in Ukraine, as well as a recent agreement on defence cooperation.

They also "expressed a commitment" to complete free trade negotiations between the two countries "as quickly as possible."

NDP questions 'inexplicable' omissions

New Democrat deputy foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière questioned why the new sanctions don't target some Russian entities and tycoons with reportedly significant business ties to both Canada and Putin.

"Sergey Chemezov runs military corporation Rostec, Igor Sechin is CEO of oil company Rosneft and Vladimir Yakunin is the president of Russian Railways," she pointed out.  

"Companies like Rosneft, Lukoil, Surgutneftgas, Gazprom and Transneft have also inexplicably been left off Canada's sanctions list" — despite, she said, having been sanctioned by other countries, including the United States and the EU.

The crisis in Ukraine last spring prompted a round of sanctions against Russia from Western countries, including Canada. The ruble is now plummeting, as sanctions take hold in the wake of a stubborn determination on Putin's part not to relent.

This week, the European Union prohibited investment in the recently-annexed Crimea region. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier Friday that any ramping up of American sanctions could damage relations "for a long time."

'If it's Sony today, who will it be tomorrow?'

Baird was also asked about Sony's decision to pull its controversial comedy film "The Interview" from theatres following a cyberattack that the FBI has blamed on North Korea.

"Obviously, cybersecurity is a tremendously emerging issue for governments around the world, for private sector and human freedom around the world to confront," Baird noted.

"The implied threats that we've seen are not to be taken lightly. I'll leave it for others to analyze Sony's decisions. It may be a moot point when the four big distributors are refusing to put it in their theatres."  

The implications for freedom of expression have raised serious concerns, he said.

"If it's Sony today, who will it be tomorrow?" he wondered.

"This is a huge issue of freedom of expression.

Now that this has happened once,  he said, "the fear that I have is, what next?"

"The international community will have to work to address this."

Other topics covered during Baird's press conference included Canada's relationship with the United States, particularly in light of President Barack Obama's most recent comments on the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as efforts to combat ISIS militants in Northern Iraq and Canada's plans for resettling Syrian refugees.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Sir John A. Macdonald toonie to celebrate 1st PM's 200th birthday

It's hard enough to know what to buy your own father for his birthday. So what do you do to celebrate the 200th birthday of a Father of Confederation?

The government of Canada has an idea: give him a place on the toonie opposite the Queen.

Cabinet last week approved a $2 coin featuring Sir John A. Macdonald's portrait "against a map of Canada in the background" and a banner bearing his name, according to a notice posted online Friday.

The coin's outer ring is to include four images of a maple leaf — two at the top and two at the bottom — with the years 1815 and 2015 inscribed. 

There's little information available in the notice, and a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mint declined to provide details before the coin is unveiled early in the new year.

Macdonald was a reluctant convert to the need to merge what was once the province of Canada with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, but eventually he worked with Sir George-Étienne Cartier and other Fathers of Confederation to create the country of Canada.

He became Canada's first prime minister in 1867 and spent more than six years in the role before the then Liberal-Conservatives were defeated. Macdonald returned to office in 1878 and remained prime minister until he died in 1891.

The reverse side of the toonie usually features the iconic polar bear, although the Mint produced a variation to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Quebec City in 2008. That $2 coin featured a design by Quebec artist Geneviève Bertrand with the dates 1608 and 2008.

The Mint's website says only six million Quebec City anniversary coins circulated, while it produced more than 17 million of the regular toonies.

The artist's initials, GG, are to be imprinted on the Macdonald coin. That could indicate the portrait of Macdonald is to be done by Glen Green, a Vancouver artist who designed five of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic quarters, including the hockey and curling quarters.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bob Dechert's income-splitting comments spark Twitter backlash

Mississauga MP suggested that newcomer families 'used to' having mothers stay home

CBC News Posted: Dec 19, 2014 3:52 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 19, 2014 3:52 PM ET

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  • John Baird discusses Russia, North Korea and ISIS Dec. 20, 2014 2:01 PM This week on The House, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird discusses ongoing tensions with Russia, the North Korean cyber threat and the fight against ISIS. Then, former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith explains her stunning decision to cross the floor and join Alberta's PC government.

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Elwin Hermanson says wheat quality not down since end of monopoly

The chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission says there's no evidence that the quality of Canadian wheat exports has decreased since the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing monopoly in 2012.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that international buyers had experienced problems ever since the Harper government introduced what it called "marketing freedom" for wheat and barley.

In addition to allowing farmers to sell their crop however they want, other changes rolled out for the grain industry in 2012 affected how the crop is inspected and handled on its way to market.

In an interview with CBC News, Elwin Hermanson said Canada has the best crop inspectors in the world.

"Over the last three years the number of cargo complaints has decreased," he said, adding that none of the complaints received were found to be justified. "That's because we do a good job."

So what happened? Hermanson admits there may be a difference between a formal complaint filed with and investigated by his agency, and informal grumbling among industry players. 

"Lots of things can happen after loading a vessel," he said, pointing out some things are beyond Canadian inspectors' control. "If you talk to our customers, they'll say Canada is among the best if not the best at... quality assurance."

Losing market share?

Reuters suggested the quality assurance problems threatened Canada's market share of global wheat exports, currently at about 14 per cent compared to over 20 per cent in the early nineties.

"Canadian farmers are growing other crops. That's why the share is down," he said, describing a decrease in Canada's dependence on wheat.

"Diversification is a good thing. It gives producers more marketing options. They have to decide what to grow."

​Hermanson is a former Reform MP and leader of the provincial Saskatchewan party. In 2008, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz appointed him to lead the grain commission, the government agency responsible for inspection and crop quality under the Canada Grains Act.

Changes he oversaw in 2012 increased the user fees for crop testing — fees that had been frozen since 1991, resulting in taxpayers footing half the bill for grain companies' samples.

The CGC also ended "inward inspection" for grain, when a crop was weighed and graded when first delivered to a grain terminal.

These services amounted to a government subsidy to grain companies, Hermanson said.

The $20 million in "unnecessary costs" were ultimately borne by farmers, the Harper government's press release said at the time.

"Outward inspection [before export] ... is what matters to the brand," Hermanson said. "That's what we can't leave up to companies."

While the end of inward inspection services meant a reduction in the commission's workforce, outward inspection "hasn't been touched," he said.

Commission inspectors never missed a shift despite all of last year's shipping problems and unpredictable delays, he said.

Brand challenges?

Reuters talked to a European grain trader who said that buying Canadian wheat was less complicated under the monopoly system.

But Hermanson said the impact of the former Canadian Wheat Board was overstated when it comes to Canada's international reputation. Quality issues aren't about who is marketing the crop.

"The Canadian Wheat Board was not responsible for the brand [quality], the Canadian Grain Commission was," he said.

The wheat board was the marketing "mouthpiece," but it could say how great it was because of the commission's work, he said.

"A new voice needs to be found," he says, now that Canadian wheat is marketed by multinational corporations, not one central organization. His organization is working on that.

The industry "can learn from what happened in the past," Helmanson said, as it continues to adapt to an open market.

2014 quality varies

The 2013 crop year was full of challenges. Transportation backlogs and other market access issues hurt farmers' bottom line despite an otherwise bumper crop.

Environmental factors — or put simply, the weather — have hurt the gluten strength and protein levels in recent years, but those were better in 2014, he said.

This year's crop has "quite a variance in quality," presenting challenges for inspectors and marketers. He'll be relieved when it's all moved through the system, he said.

Some of the confusion among customers abroad is being resolved with better communication, he said.

"We can't control the weather, we can't control exchange rates," he said. "But what we can control, we can do better."

"There will always be challenges," he says. "That's what makes this industry so interesting and exciting."


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Canada buys additional military cargo jet as C-17 production wraps up

Written By doni icha on Sabtu, 20 Desember 2014 | 21.16

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson has formally announced that the air force will get a fifth C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift transport plane.

The federal cabinet recently signed off on the proposal, which the military has been pushing for, calling it a uniquely time-sensitive opportunity because Boeing aircraft, the U.S. manufacturer, has closed the assembly line.

Nicholson made the announcement Friday at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., the home of the current C-17 fleet, and said that the mammoth jets have given the Canadian military a lot of flexibility to be able to move a huge amount of cargo for both itself and allies.

He underscored their use in humanitarian operations, as well as support to French troops fighting in the west African country of Mali in 2013.

"It's no exaggeration to say that the C-17 fleet has revolutionized the way the Canadian Forces operate," he said. "Without these aircraft we would be forced to contract air services, or hitch rides with our allies."

The big jets are currently being used to ferry supplies to not only the country's CF-18 air task force, operating out of Kuwait, but they're also carrying weapons from allies to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.

Nicholson says the addition of the fifth aircraft eases the burden on the other four and actually gives them an extra seven and a half years more of operational life.

Earlier this week, The Canadian Press reported that National Defence believed it could afford the estimated US $169-million price tag because it had not spent all of the funds made available for the initial purchase of four C-17s.

That figure is just the cost of the plane without any spares, training, maintenance — or loading equipment. When the first C-17s were purchased special loaders were required along with infrastructure improvements at Trenton, the country's largest military air base.

A defence department backgrounder, released Friday, said the overall project cost, will be $415 million when all the necessary costs are factored in. There will also be $30 million spent on long-term maintenance.

As the briefings pointed out, the cost is already found within the budget of the existing program. Defence officials under-spent the initial C-17 purchase by over $400 million.

The C-17 is costly to operate, according to U.S. Air Force comptroller. Estimates produced by the Pentagon show the cost per flying hour is US $23,279.

Since closing its production line last summer, Boeing was left with 10 unsold Globemasters, some of which were recently spoken for by Australia.

The purchase of another C-17 was not listed in the government's defence acquisition guide, released last June. But it initially was championed by former chief of defence staff, retired general Walt Natynczyk, according to briefing documents obtained by The Canadian Press.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Danielle Smith defends floor crossing as 'a victory' for Wildrose Party

Danielle Smith is defending her decision to cross the floor to Alberta's Progressive Conservatives, calling it a "victory" for the Wildrose Party, in an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House

Smith took a calculated risk, in a stunning move this week, when she defected to Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives taking with her eight members of the Wildrose Party.

"I look at it that we won. We took down two administrations — the [Ed] Stelmach administration and the [Alison] Redford administration — that were leading the province in the exact wrong direction," Smith told host Evan Solomon.

"To me, it's declaring victory and uniting conservatives under the leadership of one person so that we can deal with some very significant challenges ahead."

Smith said the a merger was proposed to her last May, but she rejected it outright because she thought it was "too soon."

This week's decision, she said, was precipitated by a series of events beginning with the loss of two byelections, which left her wondering whether the party could be "a spoiler" in urban ridings.

Those losses were compounded by the defeat of an anti-discrimination policy at the party's annual general meeting followed by the defection of two MLAs at the end of November.

Smith dismissed calls from current Wildrose MLAs to run in a byelection, but said she would conduct some polling and listen to what her constituents have to say.

"The reaction that I've had so far is people are confused, some are angry, some are frustrated but I'm also getting supportive calls as well."

Smith said she asked Prentice for a cabinet position but doesn't know if Prentice will give it to her.

Members of the Wildrose caucus had already started talking about unifying small-c conservatives when Smith criticized two members of the Alberta Legislature for crossing the floor to the Progressive Conservatives at the end of November.

In a separate interview that aired Friday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Smith said that when Wildrose MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan crossed the floor on Nov. 24, she felt she had an obligation to see whether some common ground existed between the two parties.

"I felt like I owed it to our membership and to Conservatives and Albertans to at least hear whether or not Mr. Prentice and I had common ground on policy."

"There had been some back-and-forth discussions between some of our caucus members who had already started talking about if we were to come together as a merged entity — a unification of conservatives — what policies, principles and values would we base that on," Smith said in an interview with guest host Rosemary Barton on Friday.​

Smith had publicly criticized the two MLAs for being "seduced by the perks of power."

'[Jim Prentice] and I didn't start the civil war that we have among conservatives in Alberta.'— Danielle Smith, former leader of the Wildrose Party

Barton asked Smith how it was that she could claim on Nov. 26 to lead one of the "strongest" opposition parties when discussions were already underway about a possible merger.

The former Wildrose leader did not deny that discussions had already begun, saying "I had to hear it out, as I say. I was intending all the way through to make sure that they knew that I was prepared to continue being a strong opposition leader."

Smith, who sat down for a face-to-face meeting with Prentice last week, defended her actions, saying it became apparent to her the Wildrose Party and the PCs had more interests in common than they had differences.

"Having sat down with Mr. Prentice … it seemed to me we got two conservative parties fighting with each other over exactly the same plan for implementation."

Smith said there is a history in the conservative movement of butting heads for a while before merging together.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Russia facing more Canadian sanctions over Ukraine

Just one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Western sanctions for his country's current economic woes, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has announced that Canada will impose additional sanctions over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

During a year-end press conference on Friday afternoon, Baird said Canada would add 11 Russian and 9 Ukrainian individuals to the current sanction list, as well as new measures targeting Russia's oil and mining sectors. 

"The ruble's cliff dive should be enough to give President Putin and his backers pause," Baird told reporters.

"If he wants to turn his economy around, he must pull out of Ukraine, he must return Crimea, and he must respect the international order that makes us a family of nations."

Canada 'will not accept illegal occupation of Crimea': PM

In a written statement, Prime Minister Harper confirmed that Canada "will not accept the illegal occupation of Crimea and persistent, provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine."

"Since the onset of the conflict, the Putin regime has continuously violated the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," he said.

"The sanctions we have taken to date, in close collaboration with our allies and partners, are putting real economic pressure on Russia to cease militarism in Ukrainian territory."

Canada "stands ready to take further promised measures with our allies and partners if required," he added.

Harper also spoke directly with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko earlier today, according to spokesman Jason MacDonald.

According to a note released by his office, the two leaders discussed the current situation in Ukraine, as well as a recent agreement on defence cooperation.

They also "expressed a commitment" to complete free trade negotiations between the two countries "as quickly as possible."

NDP questions 'inexplicable' omissions

New Democrat deputy foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière questioned why the new sanctions don't target some Russian entities and tycoons with reportedly significant business ties to both Canada and Putin.

"Sergey Chemezov runs military corporation Rostec, Igor Sechin is CEO of oil company Rosneft and Vladimir Yakunin is the president of Russian Railways," she pointed out.  

"Companies like Rosneft, Lukoil, Surgutneftgas, Gazprom and Transneft have also inexplicably been left off Canada's sanctions list" — despite, she said, having been sanctioned by other countries, including the United States and the EU.

The crisis in Ukraine last spring prompted a round of sanctions against Russia from Western countries, including Canada. The ruble is now plummeting, as sanctions take hold in the wake of a stubborn determination on Putin's part not to relent.

This week, the European Union prohibited investment in the recently-annexed Crimea region. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier Friday that any ramping up of American sanctions could damage relations "for a long time."

'If it's Sony today, who will it be tomorrow?'

Baird was also asked about Sony's decision to pull its controversial comedy film "The Interview" from theatres following a cyberattack that the FBI has blamed on North Korea.

"Obviously, cybersecurity is a tremendously emerging issue for governments around the world, for private sector and human freedom around the world to confront," Baird noted.

"The implied threats that we've seen are not to be taken lightly. I'll leave it for others to analyze Sony's decisions. It may be a moot point when the four big distributors are refusing to put it in their theatres."  

The implications for freedom of expression have raised serious concerns, he said.

"If it's Sony today, who will it be tomorrow?" he wondered.

"This is a huge issue of freedom of expression.

Now that this has happened once,  he said, "the fear that I have is, what next?"

"The international community will have to work to address this."

Other topics covered during Baird's press conference included Canada's relationship with the United States, particularly in light of President Barack Obama's most recent comments on the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as efforts to combat ISIS militants in Northern Iraq and Canada's plans for resettling Syrian refugees.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Sir John A. Macdonald toonie to celebrate 1st PM's 200th birthday

It's hard enough to know what to buy your own father for his birthday. So what do you do to celebrate the 200th birthday of a Father of Confederation?

The government of Canada has an idea: give him a place on the toonie opposite the Queen.

Cabinet last week approved a $2 coin featuring Sir John A. Macdonald's portrait "against a map of Canada in the background" and a banner bearing his name, according to a notice posted online Friday.

The coin's outer ring is to include four images of a maple leaf — two at the top and two at the bottom — with the years 1815 and 2015 inscribed. 

There's little information available in the notice, and a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mint declined to provide details before the coin is unveiled early in the new year.

Macdonald was a reluctant convert to the need to merge what was once the province of Canada with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, but eventually he worked with Sir George-Étienne Cartier and other Fathers of Confederation to create the country of Canada.

He became Canada's first prime minister in 1867 and spent more than six years in the role before the then Liberal-Conservatives were defeated. Macdonald returned to office in 1878 and remained prime minister until he died in 1891.

The reverse side of the toonie usually features the iconic polar bear, although the Mint produced a variation to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Quebec City in 2008. That $2 coin featured a design by Quebec artist Geneviève Bertrand with the dates 1608 and 2008.

The Mint's website says only six million Quebec City anniversary coins circulated, while it produced more than 17 million of the regular toonies.

The artist's initials, GG, are to be imprinted on the Macdonald coin. That could indicate the portrait of Macdonald is to be done by Glen Green, a Vancouver artist who designed five of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic quarters, including the hockey and curling quarters.


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bob Dechert's income-splitting comments spark Twitter backlash

Mississauga MP suggested that newcomer families 'used to' having mothers stay home

CBC News Posted: Dec 19, 2014 3:52 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 19, 2014 3:52 PM ET

Stay Connected with CBC News

Advertisment

Latest Politics News Headlines

The House

  • John Baird discusses Russia, North Korea and ISIS Dec. 20, 2014 2:01 PM This week on The House, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird discusses ongoing tensions with Russia, the North Korean cyber threat and the fight against ISIS. Then, former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith explains her stunning decision to cross the floor and join Alberta's PC government.

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21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More
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