Weekly Round-Up: April 17, 2015

April 17th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Provincial election campaigns continue

The second week of campaigning in Alberta and Prince Edward Island is almost over, but the races are starting to heat up with less than three weeks remaining until voters head to the polls.

Nominations close today for both elections, and students will have an opportunity to vote on their local candidates through Student Vote programs in both provinces. There’s still time for teachers to register for the free election materials!

Budget day preview

The federal budget will be tabled on Tuesday, and Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa will present his provincial budget on Thursday.

We don’t know what Joe Oliver will include in his budget, but we do know what more than 5,500 students from across Canada will want to see. We surveyed high school students in every province and territory about their budget priorities as part of this year’s Student Budget Consultation and the results will be released on Monday. Stay tuned for more details!

Democracy Bootcamp Ontario

More than 200 educators from across Ontario have assembled in Toronto for Democracy Bootcamp! The two-day professional learning conference is intended to improve the interest, knowledge and instructional capacity of classroom teachers to teach democracy and citizenship in the lead-up to this fall’s federal election (and the Student Vote). Learn more here.

MPs visit classrooms across Canada

Spring break is almost over for MPs, but not all of them have been taking it easy. Eighteen MPs have visited schools in their ridings as part of our Rep Day program over the past two weeks, with more visits to come before the end of the school year.

The program aims to help students develop a better understanding and sense of trust in the people and institutions within our democracy. You can read a great blog recap of Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas’ Rep Day visit to Dayna Hart’s Grade 8/9 classroom to learn more about what makes the experience so valuable.

Great opportunities for students and educators

There is still time for educators to apply for the 2016 Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy and Grade 7 students can apply now for the Ontario Legislative Page Program. We recommend both!

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: April 10, 2015

April 10th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Election dates

After months of speculation, Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice visited their respective lieutenant governors and asked for provincial election calls. PEI will head to the polls on Monday, May 4 and Alberta will follow on Tuesday, May 5.

Who’s running in your riding? Dave Cournoyer has put together a handy Twitter list of Alberta election candidates, and The Guardian has a great interactive map showing PEI candidates. Elementary and high school students in both provinces will have an opportunity to cast ballots for their local candidates through our Student Vote program. Educators can register now.

Other election news

The recent election news has not been limited to just Alberta and PEI. In Nova Scotia, Premier Stephen McNeil rejected a recommendation to implement fixed-election dates, despite a previous promise otherwise. Nova Scotia is currently the only province without fixed election date legislation.

The Northwest Territories election date was officially moved last week to avoid an overlap with the upcoming federal election. The territory was initially set to cast ballots on October 5, just two weeks before the federal vote. NWT voters will now head to the polls on November 23.

Retirements and resignations

On Good Friday, federal cabinet ministers Shelly Glover and Christian Paradis announced that they would not run for re-election this fall. Both will remain in cabinet and stay on as MPs until the election.

The federal Conservative caucus also lost Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney, who resigned to defend his religious beliefs.

Veteran Nova Scotia NDP MLAs Gordie Gosse and Frank Corbett announced last week that they would be leaving politics immediately.

The Ontario PC leadership race is down to just two candidates as Monte McNaughton dropped out and threw his support to Patrick Brown. The party’s new leader will be chosen in May.

The federal budget

Finance Minister Joe Oliver will table the federal budget on April 21, and legislation to ensure balanced budgets will follow shortly thereafter.

For the third year in a row, our Student Budget Consultation program allowed Canadian high school students to share their input on the federal budget. More than 5,500 students representing every province and territory took part this year, and a group of participating students from Brampton and Ottawa discussed the preliminary results with Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson yesterday. Stay tuned for the full results next week!

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: March 27, 2015

March 27th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Provincial election speculation

Despite a fixed date next spring, the Alberta government has reportedly been “ramping up” before a snap election call. Premier Jim Prentice addressed the province on Tuesday in advance of yesterday’s provincial budget, the “most radical“Alberta budget since 1994 . The Calgary Herald‘s Don Braid reports that the expected election could be delayed “delayed for a week or more,” and a court challenge has been filed arguing that the premier has no right to call an early vote.

Prince Edward Island is also on the verge of a provincial vote that could be called within days. What direction are P.E.I. voters looking? The Guardian speculates in an editorial and details nominated candidates on their interactive map. Speaking of the coming election, registration is open for the next P.E.I. Student Vote program!

A new LG for MB

Last week, David Johnston had his term as governor general extended by two years. This week, Janice Filmon was appointed as Manitoba’s new lieutenant governor.

Filmon is the wife of former premier Gary Filmon and is only the province’s second female lieutenant governor. Filmon will replace Philip S. Lee, who served as LG since 2009.

By-election breakdown

In other Manitoba news, it was announced last weekend that Manitoba’s The Pas riding would head to the polls on April 21 for a provincial by-election. The seat has been vacant since Frank Whitehead’s resignation in May 2014.

Montreal has a new city councillor! Voters in Outrement elected Marie Potvin to replace councillor Lucie Cardyn, who resigned in December.

By-elections could be triggered for two BC MLAs being targeted as potential recall candidates. A recall campaign has 60 days to collect signatures from 40 per cent of registered voters in the riding who were also registered in the last election.

Grading Canada’s democracy

Our friends at Samara released Democracy 360 this week, a report card on the state of Canadian democracy. Did Canada make the grade? The report gives Canada’s democracy a “C”, and warns that the political process now repels more citizens than it attracts – particularly young Canadians. You can read the full report here.

Could the next president be a Canadian?

Ted Cruz became the first Republican to declare himself a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election. Although he has since renounced his Canadian citizenship, Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1970.

Does that disqualify Cruz from making a bid for the White House? His mother was born in the United States, allowing him to still qualify as a natural born Citizen.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: March 20, 2015

March 20th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Vice-regal renewal

On Monday, the Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson suggested that Stephen Harper extend David Johnston‘s post as governor general with an election on the horizon. Canada’s head of state traditionally serves a five-year term and Johnston was slated to end his in early October, just ahead of the scheduled federal vote.

The prime minister listened. On Tuesday, it was announced that Johnston would stay on for two more years as his constitutional expertise might be required following an election that could result in a minority government. You can learn more about the role of the GG by watching our video.

Premier popularity

According to the latest quarterly survey from Angus Reid Global, Canada’s most popular premiers are Brad Wall (with 64 per cent approval) followed Jim Prentice and Stephen McNeil (tied with 43 per cent approval). Greg Selinger, who survived a leadership challenge earlier in the month, is at the bottom of the list with just 22 per cent approval.

Provincial election speculation

Speaking of Premier Prentice, many pundits are expecting “an early provincial election to be called later this month with a 28-day campaign ending with a vote in late April.” Unfortunately, Edmonton Sun columnist Lorne Gunter thinks the imminent Alberta campaign “will be a snoozer.”

New P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan has been “on the hot seat” for his first three weeks in office, and recently the debate has focused on including non-MLAs on legislature committees and the state of the economy. An election call is expected at any time and, like Alberta, the province could be casting ballots this spring.

Leadership race updates

Ontario Progressive Conservatives will elect a new leader in May, and the campaign has “taken a nasty turn” with allegations that candidate Patrick Brown ‘shortchanged’ the party by underreporting his fundraising numbers.

Alberta’s Wildrose Party will select a new leader later this month, and the three candidates “fought over floor-crossings and robocalls” at a radio debate on Tuesday.

In memoriam

Canada lost Nova Scotia MLA Allan Rowe and former Newfoundland and Labrador MHA Melvin Woodward this week. Rowe had represented the Dartmouth South riding since 2013, and was previously known as an anchor on Global TV. Woodward had served as Minister of Labrador Affairs, director for the Bank of Canada and was a founding member and head of the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce.

Registration is open for Student Vote Alberta

Want to bring the upcoming Alberta provincial election to your classroom? Registration is open for the next Alberta Student Vote program! The project is made possible due to financial support received from Elections Alberta and Alberta Education.

This will be the seventh Student Vote project conducted in the province. In the last provincial election, more than 85,000 students cast ballots from 761 schools. You can watch a video recap of the 2012 program here.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: March 13, 2015

March 13th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Leadership races

It was confirmed on Sunday that embattled Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger would remain on as Manitoba NDP leader. In a tight leadership race, Selinger defeated former ministers Steve Ashton and Theresa Oswald during the second round of voting.

The Newfoundland and Labrador NDP also elected a new leader last weekend. On Saturday, Earle McCurdy beat out Mike Goosney and Chris Bruce for the party’s top job. The province will hold a provincial election this fall.

In anticipation of an April provincial election, Alberta’s Wildrose Party will elect a new leader on March 28. Rules for the race were confirmed this week, as were the three candidates: Drew Barnes, Linda Osinchuk and Brian Jean. You can learn more about the candidates here.

Elections and by-elections

The Alberta legislature resumed this week for the first time since the mass defection of Wildrose MLAs in December, but many expect the session to be cut short by an election call. The decision to issue the writs will ultimately fall to Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell and he was interviewed this week about the possibility of an early vote.

Many believe that Prince Edward Island could also be headed towards a spring election and The Guardian has a handy map of candidate nominations.

Quebec’s Richelieu riding went to the polls on Monday and Parti Quebécois candidate Sylvain Rochon came out on top with 36 per cent of the vote.

Explaining transfer payments

Have you always been too embarrassed to ask about transfer payments? Thankfully, the Mowat Centre has an explainer on why the payments exist, how they work, and why they matter. You can also learn more about transfer payments through our Student Budget Consultation video on ‘Expenditures’ with Finance Minister Joe Oliver.

Elections office updates

Elections Ontario released their post-election report on Tuesday. The report makes several recommendations for future elections, and also highlights the Student Vote program we ran in nearly 1,700 schools across the province.

After significant delays and inaccurate data on election night, Elections New Brunswick announced last week that they would be scrapping electronic vote-counting software for future elections.

Welcome to the team, Amélie!

We are very excited to welcome Amélie Laurin-Gravel to the CIVIX team as Communications Coordinator.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: March 6, 2015

March 6th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Leadership races

Two provincial political parties are holding leadership conventions this weekend: the Manitoba NDP and the NL NDP. Manitoba premier Greg Selinger faces off against challengers Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Chris Bruce, Mike Goosney and Earle McCurdy are in the running for the party’s top job.

The Ontario PC Party is in the midst of their own leadership race and Patrick Brown has reportedly sold more party memberships than opponents Christine Elliott and Monte McNaughton. “This isn’t your old-fashioned convention,” and the National Post details how the process will play out.

The PEI PC chose Rob Lantz as their new leader last weekend over James Aylward and Darlene Compton. The final tally has been kept secret, but the vote reportedly went to a second round.

Elections and by-elections

Next on the agenda in Prince Edward Island is a provincial election that many expect will be called this spring by new Premier Wade MacLauchlan. The latest polls show the Liberals have “maintained their lead” over the PC. It was also announced this week that the Island Party will be running candidates.

There is also election speculation running throughout the province of Alberta, and Premier Jim Prentice expects that the upcoming budget “will be so radical it will likely trigger an election.”

Voters in Quebec’s Richelieu riding head to the polls on Monday for a provincial by-election to replace Parti Québécois MNA Élaine Zakaïb.

Democracy Bootcamp BC

We gathered 130 British Columbia educators in Vancouver last week for Democracy Bootcamp! The two-day was designed to improve the interest, knowledge and instructional capacity of teachers to teach democracy and citizenship in the lead-up to the 2015 federal election and the Student Vote program.

Looking for a recap of the great panels, presentations and discussions? Attending teachers blogged about their experiences herehere and here.

What else we’ve been up to

We partnered with the Toronto Foundation to bring the Vital Signs® Report into Student Vote classrooms across the city last fall. Students learned about issues affecting their city in more detail, and encouraged discussion about how different candidates would address those questions.

Last week, we released our video recap of Toronto Foundation President & CEO Rahul Bhardwaj’s visit to a Grade 9 class at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute. You can watch it here:

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: February 27, 2015

February 27th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

PEI’s new premier

Wade MacLauchlan was acclaimed as PEI Liberal leader last weekend and was sworn-in as premier on Monday. MacLauchlan will also serve as finance minister, replacing Wes Sheridan (who “quietly resigned” as MLA on Tuesday).

MacLauchlan is the province’s 32nd premier, replacing the outgoing Robert Ghiz. A provincial election call is expected soon, and The Guardian says a spring vote is “a virtual certainty.”

Leadership races

Prince Edward Island’s Progressive Conservatives (the province’s official opposition) are also about to elect a new leader. The party gathers in Charlottetown tomorrow and will choose between James Aylward, Darlene Compton and Rob Lantz. A record number of votes have already been cast in advance polls.

Alberta’s Wildrose party met in Calgary last weekend to “plot their election strategy.” The party had initially planned to elect a new leader in June but have decided to move up their leadership vote so a leader is in the place in case there is a spring election. Former MP Brian Jean became the first candidate to enter the race on Wednesday.

In the Ontario PC race, Patrick Brown received an endorsement from the Great One, Wayne Gretzky himself.

Both the Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba NDP also are in the midst of leadership races that culminate next month.

Early election calls?

In addition to possible early elections in PEI and Alberta, there is still speculation that Prime Minister Stephen Harper might call an election this spring. The federal NDP has told riding associations to be ready for a snap vote by April 1, just in case.

“Changes are ahead for the federal election,” regardless of when it takes place, according to an interesting Q & A with Elections Canada’s chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand. It is also being reported that the Green Party could be excluded from leaders’ debates for the upcoming election.

Democracy Bootcamp BC

More than 125 educators from across British Columbia have assembled in Vancouver for Democracy Bootcamp! The professional learning conference is intended to improve the interest, knowledge and instructional capacity of classroom teachers to teach democracy and citizenship in the lead-up to the 2015 federal election and the Student Vote parallel election program.

Democracy Bootcamp BC 2015 is made possible with support from Elections Canada, Elections BC and the Vancouver FoundationVancity and the Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue. Learn more here.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: February 20, 2015

February 20th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Leadership race updates

The PEI Liberal leadership convention kicks off this evening in Charlottetown! Wade MacLauchlan has been acclaimed as the new party leader and will replace the outgoing Robert Ghiz as premier. Many believe the the province could head to the polls this spring.

Manitoba’s NDP leadership race will be decided in two weeks. Premier Greg Selinger has become the front-runner after picking up more delegates last weekend than rivals Steve Ashton and Theresa Oswald. Who will come out on top? The Winnipeg Free Press has “weighed the odds.”

On March 7, members of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP will gather in St. John’s for a leadership convention. The race has reportedly “hit the home stretch” with Earle McCurdy seen as the presumptive favourite.

Preparing for the federal campaign

There will be a federal election this year and for the first time in Canadian history there will be “three wise women” running the Conservative, NDP and Liberal campaigns: Jenni Byrne, Anne McGrath and Katie Telford, respectively.

Jason MacDonald, Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s director of communications is stepping away after 18 months on the job and will be replaced by Rob Nicol. What does the job entail? Andrew MacDougall describes a “day in the life” for the PM’s spokesman.

MPPs go back to work

Members of Provincial Parliament returned to Queen’s Park on Tuesday for the first time in 2015. There was a new face on the Liberal benches as Sudbury’s Glenn Thibeault was sworn-in after winning a by-election earlier this month. It was a “raucous first day” for Thibeault, as he faced heckling during his first provincial Question Period.

Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod left the Ontario PC leadership race earlier this month to reportedly run for John Baird’s vacant seat in the House of Commons. However, MacLeod announced this week that she would not run federally and would finish her term at Queen’s Park.

Alberta election speculation

It looks more and more every day that Alberta could head to the polls this spring. In preparation, the Alberta Party offered not to run candidates in five Liberal-held ridings in a non-aggression pact that was ultimately rejected by the Liberals.

In another sign, long-time Calgary-Fort MLA Wayne Cao won’t be running for re-election, joining several of his other Progressive Conservative colleagues. Cao has represented the riding since it was created 18 years ago.

Budget day in BC

Tuesday was Budget Day in BC! Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled a budget that featured a budget surplus of $879 million. As per tradition, de Jong wore a new pair of shoes.

Want to share your input on the federal budget? Second semester classes can register now for our Student Budget Consultation program. Nearly 5,000 youth have already taken part from across the country.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: February 13, 2015

February 13th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Eve Adams crosses the floor

On Monday, a flurry of political moves began with Conservative MP Eve Adams crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party. Adams has served as the MP for Mississauga-Brampton South since 2011 and will run for the Liberal nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked about the floor crossing after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Who decides what questions get asked to the PM? David Akin explains in a great blog post.

Did you know that Stewart Campbell was the first-ever Canadian MP to cross the floor in 1868? Global News has put together a “brief history of floor crossing in Ottawa.”

Federal cabinet shuffle

The prime minister also shuffled his cabinet on Monday. Jason Kenney takes charge of the defence portfolio, former defence minister Rob Nicholson takes over foreign affairs (John Baird’s old portfolio) and Pierre Poilievre takes over as minister for employment and social development.

Nunavut’s new MLA

Voters in Nunavut’s Uqqummiut riding went to the polls on Monday to elect a new MLA. Pauloosie Keyootak was victorious, defeating James Arreak and Niore Iqalukjuak. Voter turnout was 79 per cent in Qikiqtarjuaq and 65 per cent in Clyde River. Full results are available on the Elections Nunavut website.

The seat became vacant in October 2014 when Samuel Nuqingaq was expelled from the legislature for unacceptable conduct.

Leadership races

The Manitoba NDP leadership will be decided in less than a month. Either Greg Selinger will stay on as party leader and premier, or he will be replaced by rivals Theresa Oswald or Steve Ashton. Oswald and Ashton have taken the early lead in delegates for the March 8 leadership vote, but the Winnipeg Free Press argues that it is “still way too early to count Selinger out“. The next few weeks will be very interesting.

In Alberta, the Wildrose Executive Committee will not let MP Rob Anders run for the party leadership. It is also looks like the province will see a May election, as the budget has been delayed until the end of March.

Éric Grenier at ThreeHundredEight.com has updated leadership endorsement rankings for the Ontario PC and Parti Quebecois leadership races.

Job opportunities

You can still apply for our Stakeholder Relations and Fundraising Manager and Communications Coordinator positions.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: February 6, 2015

February 6th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

John Baird resigns

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced his resignation on Tuesday in an emotional House of Commons speech. In twenty years of public service Baird has served at both Queen’s Park as an MPP and in Ottawa as an MP, holding multiple ministerial portfolios at both levels of government. Independent MP Sana Hassainia and NDP MP Alexandrine Latendresse also announced this week that they would not be running for re-election.

Ontario overview

Voters in Sudbury elected Ontario Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault as the riding’s new MPP. Thibeault had previously served as the NDP MP for the federal riding of Sudbury, which has been vacant since his official resignation last month. Full by-election results are available on the Elections Ontario website.

Also in Ontario, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli dropped out of the PC leadership race on Wednesday and endorsed Christine Elliott. Lisa MacLeod will reportedly drop out of the race later today and is said to be considering a run for Baird’s soon-to-be-vacant federal seat.

More signs of a spring Alberta election

In Alberta, “a flurry of political moves” continues to point to an early election call by Premier Jim Prentice. MLAs continue to announce that they will not be running for re-election and the candidate nomination process is moving ahead at full steam.

However, columnist Lorne Gunter argues that Prentice should hold off on a writ drop due to the “little matter of democratic integrity.” The two leading opposition parties are without permanent leaders, and the province has a fixed-date election law that calls for a spring 2016 vote.

Manitoba’s NDP leadership race

The Manitoba NDP leadership convention kicks off a month from now in Winnipeg. Greg Selinger (the current premier) and MLAs Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton are competing for the job of party leader and premier.

How will the winner be selected? The Winnipeg Free Press has a great breakdown of how the “complicated leadership election system” works.

Party leaders are people too

Which federal party leader would be the best CEO, or survive in the wilderness? Abacus Data (who also helped us with this year’s Student Budget Consultation) released the results of their amusing poll intended to explore what underlying perceptions Canadian have about Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau. A new EKOS poll also shows that Harper has taken a small lead over the Liberals nationally.

CIVIX is hiring!

Interested in joining our team? We are hiring a Stakeholder Relations and Fundraising Manager and a Communications Coordinator. Apply today!

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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