Weekly Round-Up: January 30, 2015

January 30th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Parliament returns

The Second Session of the 41st Parliament resumed on Monday as MPs returned to Ottawa after the winter break.

What’s on the House of Commons agenda? The Globe and Mail has a list of “five issues to watch”, and our friends at Samara have put together a very handy “legislative lowdown” with more on what to expect.

By-election breakdown

The Sudbury provincial by-election is less than a week away! Voters in the Nickel City will vote to replace Joe Cimino, who resigned as MPP in November after less than six months on the job. The latest poll shows that Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault is ahead by “a healthy margin.”

The Nunavut riding of Uqqummiut is also in the midst of a by-election. After a complaint about his eligibility, candidate Sandy Kautuq was removed from the ballot. Three candidates remain, and the winner will be determined on February 9.

Alberta election speculation

Will Alberta head to the polls this spring? Premier Jim Prentice has hinted at a snap election call, and blogger Dave Cournoyer predicts the could will fall in mid-April or mid-May. A number of Progressive Conservative MLAs have announced their retirements, putting pressure on the governing party to nominate a full slate of candidates.

Two of Alberta’s top parties, however, will be without leaders if the writ drops this spring. The opposition Wildrose don’t elect a new leader until June 6 and the Liberals will be without a leader after Raj Sherman’s resignation. Both parties insist that they will be ready this spring, if necessary.

Leadership races

Outgoing MP Rob Anders may not be allowed in the race for Wildrose leader, but former Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Derek Fildebrandt is considering a run.

The Progressive Conservative leadership race is now less than a month away. The race will have three candidates: Darlene Compton, James Aylward and Rob Lantz

In other news, Jean-François Lisée has withdrawn from the Parti Quebecois leadership race, BC Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver will seek the party’s leadership, the Manitoba NDP will allow mail-in ballots during their leadership vote (where Steve Ashton is reportedly the “one to beat“) and the Ontario PC held their second leadership debate in London.

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

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Weekly Round-Up: January 23, 2015

January 23rd, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Election speculation

It may be hard to believe, but it has been nine years since the 39th General Election (and the second federal Student Vote). Stephen Harper won a minority government in 2006, and later this year he will run for his fourth term as prime minister.

When will Canadians head to the polls? The election is scheduled for October 19th, but Elections Canada will be ready if the writ drops early. Whenever the vote is held, many expect the campaign to be one of the “longest and most expensive” in Canadian history.

PEI’s premier-in-waiting

It’s now official: the next premier of Prince Edward Island will be Wade MacLauchlan as no other candidate entered the race by Tuesday’s deadline. MacLauchlan will take over as Liberal leader and premier next month, replacing the outgoing Robert Ghiz.

MacLauchlan’s first challenge will likely be to determine an election date. Many believe that the province could head to the polls this spring.

Leadership races

PEI’s Progressive Conservatives are also in the midst of a leadership race. Darlene Compton is the most recent entrant to the race. Compton is not currently an MLA, but lost her 2011 bid for election by just eight votes.

Manitoba’s NDP are holding a leadership vote in March. The party will “re-think” their decision requiring all delegates to cast ballots in person this weekend after criticism from northern party members.

Democratic awards

On Wednesday, our friends at Springtide Collective held their first annual ‘Better Politics Awards’ to recognize individuals who have had a positive influence on Nova Scotia politics.

The MLA winners were Chris d’Entremont for Legislator of the Year, Maureen MacDonald for Most Knowledgeable MLA, Geoff MacLellan for Most Open MLA, Sterling Belliveau for Most Collaborative and John Lohr for Rookie of the Year. There were also three Public Interest Champion winners.

Job opportunities

The fine people at Samara are hiring an Assistant to the Directors. Applications are due on February 4.

Elections Alberta is recruiting Returning Officers and Election Clerks for the next provincial election. Learn more here.

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

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Weekly Round-Up: January 16, 2015

January 16th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Upcoming elections

Most election prognostication is focused on this year’s federal vote, but several provinces could also be headed to the polls in the near future.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis must call an election this year, and this week he conducted a review of the number of seats in the legislature. Davis will present legislation to reduce the number of seats by 10, bringing the total to 38. Davis is also planning for a fall election, likely in October or November.

Speculation mounts” that Alberta Premier Jim Prentice will call a spring election, and his Progressive Conservatives are quickly moving to nominate as many candidates as possible. The party doesn’t have to hold the election until the spring of 2016.

The next PEI election is also scheduled for 2016, but many expect the party to drop the writ soon after a new leader is chosen in February.

Leadership races

Alberta’s Wildrose Party needs a new leader and outgoing MP Rob Anders is said to be interested in the job.

In Prince Edward Island, Keith Kennedy is trying to obtain enough signatures to join the Liberal leadership race. Wade MacLaughlin is the only official candidate so far. Also in PEI, the Progressive Conservatives will be using mail-in ballots for their leadership vote. Both parties elect new leaders next month.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s NDP will choose its new leader in March. Earle McCurdy is the only candidate so far.

By-election breakdown

The provincial by-election in Sudbury, Ontario will take place on February 5. There will be six candidates in the race, including John Turmel. Turmel holds the world record for being a political candidate, and this will be his 85th run for office.

Nunavut’s Uqqummiut by-election is set for February 9. Elections Nunavut has confirmed that four candidates are running to fill the vacant seat.

Federal budget delayed

Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced that the federal budget would not be released “until at least April” to allow more time to assess the impact of oil prices on the economy.

Want to share your input on this year’s budget? There’s still time for Canadian youth to take part in the Student Budget Consultation. The program allows students learn about government and public policy and watch videos from Oliver, Thomas MulcairJustin Trudeau and Elizabeth May. Educators can sign up here.

Great opportunities

Want to take part in the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme? Apply now for this great opportunity.

Do you know an awesome Ontario teacher worthy of recognition? Nominate them for an Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) Teaching Award.

Registration for the Ontario’s Legislative Assembly Teacher’s Forum is open! Educators can sign up here.

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

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Weekly Round-Up: January 9, 2015

January 9th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Cabinet shuffle

The year in Canadian politics got off to a busy start with Monday’s federal cabinet shuffle. Erin O’Toole replaces Julian Fantino as Veterans Affairs minister, and Fantino becomes the Associate Minister of Defence. The current government now has 40 ministers, tying it for the largest federal cabinet in Canadian history.

Election speculation

We’re now officially in an election year! October 19 is the fixed date for this year’s federal vote, but there is a some speculation that the election could be called early. The 30 new ridings to be added this year will also “add another layer of unpredictability”.

There’s no need to wonder about the date of Manitoba’s provincial election. To avoid conflict with the federal election, Manitoba voters will now head to the polls on April 19, 2016. The election was originally set for October 6.

By-election breakdown

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has called the provincial by-election in Sudbury for February 5.  Wynne had said that the riding should have a new MPP by the time the legislature resumes on February 17.

Voters in Nunavut’s Uqqummiut riding will vote in the territorial by-election set for February 9. The seat has sat vacant since October, when MLAs voted unanimously to expel Samuel Nuqingaq from the legislature.

Leadership races

Lorraine Michael announced this week that she would be stepping down as Newfoundland and Labrador NDP leader. A leadership vote is expected in March.

In Manitoba, deadline day for the NDP leadership race has “come and gone”. There are three candidates in the race: current Premier Greg Selinger, Theresa Oswald and Steve Ashton.

There is some other party leadership news to recap from over the holidays: Heather Forsyth was named interim Wildrose leader, the PEI Liberals are poised for a “coronation” of Wade MacLauchlan as party leader and premier, PEI PC leadership candidates have pledged to also run for MLA, and Conservative MPs have begun to “take sides” in the Ontario PC leadership race.

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

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Weekly Round-Up: December 19, 2014

December 19th, 2014 by Dan Allan

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

A ‘Wild’ week in Alberta politics

The last week before the holidays is usually light on political news but 2014 has proved to be the exception. Alberta has already had a busy political year – Jim Prentice is the province’s third premier in nine months – and the past week has only made things more interesting.

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith led a “mass defection” of MLAs to join Prentice’s Progressive Conservative caucus this week. Joining Smith in crossing the floor are Rob Anderson, Gary Bikman, Rod Fox, Jason Hale, Bruce McAllister, Blake Pedersen, Bruce Rowe and Jeff Wilson.

It was initially reported that the two parties might even officially merge, but many in the Wildrose have “pledged to remain.” The party will begin the process of selecting a new leader in January.

Sudbury shake-up

The Nickel City also had an action-packed week. On Monday, former Ontario Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier announced that he would not run for the party’s nomination in the upcoming Sudbury provincial by-election in favour of an appointed candidate.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Sudbury NDP MP Glenn Thibeault would be leaving federal politics to run provincially for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals. Both Sudbury by-elections will take place at some point in 2015.


Thibeault was not alone in announcing their exit from federal politics. Longtime Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies will not run for re-election, and Senate Clerk Gary O’Brien will retire in February 2015.

Leadership races

The Manitoba NDP leadership campaign is now officially underway! MLA Theresa Oswald will reportedly launch her campaign later today, and current-premier Greg Selinger also plans to run.

Leadership candidates – including Selinger – will be required to pay a $2,000 entry fee and gather signatures of support. There’s more bad news for Selinger: new numbers from Angus Reid show that the premier’s approval rating is just 17 per cent.

What we’ve been up to

We’ve had a busy year! We ran Student Vote parallel election programs for the Ontario provincial electionOntario’s municipal and school board elections and British Columbia’s local government elections. We’re currently in the midst of our third federal Student Budget Consultation program.

In the past week alone we have coordinated twenty Rep Day Member of Parliament classroom visits in high schools across Canada. Participants this week included Speaker Andrew Scheer, Bal Gosal, John McCallum and Rathika Sitsabaiesan.

On behalf of all of us at CIVIX, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. We’ll see you again in 2015!

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

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The Student Budget Consultation at TD Christian High School

December 16th, 2014 by Dan Allan

Kamrin Ward is a Grade 10 student at TD Christian High School in Vaughan, Ontario. Kamrin is participating in this year’s Student Budget Consultation program. She wrote a blog for us about her experience.

Hi, I am Kamrin; a Grade 10 student that is part of an environmental program at my school. I have always been interested in politics and the social aspects and issues in Vaughan and throughout the world.

Kamrin leads a class discussion as part of the Student Budget Consultation

In civics class, I have learned so much about voting, political positions, looking at the different levels of government, what’s going on in our country, and so much more. Now, we are starting to learn more about the federal budget by participating in the Student Budget Consultation.

My part of the project is to answer everyone’s questions about the whole program and supervise the survey that will take place during class. I will also review the questions with my class in advance to make sure everyone understands the questions and we’ll discuss their different views. As part of leading my class in the consultation, myself and other classmates are using the videos, PowerPoints and handouts to teach the class and lead small group activities.

Kamrin leads a class discussion as part of the Student Budget Consultation

Another project that I was responsible for was the Student Vote. I was the deputy returning office and supervised a poll clerk and the scrutineer. The Ontario Municipal Student Vote was a great experience for me because I got to test and work on my organizational skills. I have always wanted to know about how people accomplished the voting process. I thought that being in charge of this project would be the perfect way to gain my knowledge in this topic, so, I took on the challenge.

I have learned so much about civics over these past couple months and I can’t wait to see how I am going to be able to apply it to my everyday life; whether it be during class or after I graduate high school. Having a civics program in school makes me, and other students, feel involved in what is going on in our city, province, or even around the world.

We visited Kamrin’s class at TD Christian last week and you can watch our recap video here:

You can also view photos of the Student Budget Consultation at TD Christian High School taken by student Evan Kim here.

You can learn more about the Student Budget Consultation on the project website. Educators can still register their class(es) to take part in the new year.

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Weekly Round-Up: December 12, 2014

December 12th, 2014 by Dan Allan

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

The AFN’s new national chief

The Assembly of First Nations has a new national chief. It took just one round of voting for Saskatchewan’s Perry Bellegarde to win with more than 60 per cent of ballots cast.

The AFN’s top job had been vacant since Shawn Atleo resigned in May. Bellegarde finished second to Atleo at the 2009 AFN leadership vote.

Party leadership races

Does Greg Selinger have an unfair advantage in the upcoming NDP leadership vote? In a decision under fire from critics, party delegates voted to allow the premier to stay on for the duration of the race.

The PEI Progressive Conservative leadership race has its first two candidates as James Aylward and Darlene Compton have announced that they will run. The new leader will be selected on February 28, 2015.

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives and the Parti Québécois are also in the midst of leadership races. Éric Grenier from ThreeHundredEight.com has ranked the endorsements each candidate has received so far.

The New Brunswick NDP leadership race has ended before it got a chance to start. Dominic Cardy will stay on as leader after the party’s executive rejected his letter of resignation.

Analyzing MP websites

Did you know that 77 per cent of Members of Parliament websites provide details on how they spend their office budget? And that less than one-quarter of MPs share a policy about how they collect and store an individual’s personal information, like email addresses?

Our friends at Samara analyzed 299 MP websites to see if they were taking advantage of the opportunity to share information and engage their constituents online. Visit their website for more information, including a cool infographic on their findings.

Opportunities for youth

Are you Canadian, bilingual and a university student? You can apply now for the Parliamentary Guides summer program.

Want to take your class to the Ontario legislature? You can make a reservation now.

What we’ve been up to

Members of Parliament are headed home this week for the holidays, but many of them will be stopping in at local high schools. We’ve scheduled more than 15 MP classroom visits across the country over the next week. You can learn more about our Rep Day program here.

Several of these Rep Days are linked to our Student Budget Consultation program. The 2015 SBC is in full swing and there’s still time for Canadian youth can give their input on next year’s budget after learning about government and public policy and viewing videos from Joe Oliver, Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May and Andrew Saxton. Educators can sign up here.

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

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Weekly Round-Up: December 5, 2014

December 5th, 2014 by Dan Allan

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

The 2015 Student Budget Consultation

The 2015 Student Budget Consultation is underway! We’ve gathered some of Canada’s most notable politicians for this year’s project, including Finance Minister Joe Oliver and party leaders Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May, as well as representatives from several major national stakeholder organizations. You can watch the ‘Introduction’ video here:

The Student Budget Consultation is a civic education and financial literacy program for Canadian high school students. The process gives youth an opportunity to learn about government and public policy, debate varying viewpoints and offer their own opinion on the priorities of the federal budget. Nearly 200 schools have already signed up from across Canada and there is still time for educators to register their classes.

Leadership changes

Former governor general Michaëlle Jean has been named the first woman leader of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. La Francophonie is an international organization representing countries and regions where French is the first or customary language; Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick are members.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May announced the appointment of Daniel Green as the party’s second deputy leader.

The Everyday Political Citizen

The winners of Samara’s Everyday Political Citizen were announced this week. Halifax high school teacher (and Student Vote Team Leader!) Tim Halman won the top prize, while 11-year-old Nessa Deans won the youth award. CIVIX President Taylor Gunn served as a juror.

Leadership races

A new poll suggests that Christine Elliot is the “overwhelming favourite” in the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger has a “potential rival” in the upcoming NDP leadership contest as MLA Theresa Oswald is considering a run. Oswald is one of five MLAs who resigned from cabinet last month.

Prince Edward Island’s Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties are both in midst of leadership races and they both began to “take shape” as potential candidates are beginning to come forward.

Family feud

Voters in Elgin-Middlesex-London could have to choose between two members of the same family during the next federal election. Lori Baldwin-Sands has been acclaimed as the Liberal candidate and her daughter, Catharine Sloan, is running for the Conservative nomination.

New Ontario municipal governments sworn in

Ontario’s new mayors and councillors were sworn in this week, just more than a month after the municipal elections. Take a look back at the Student Vote results to see who elementary and secondary students would have elected where you live.

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

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Weekly Round-Up: November 28, 2014

November 28th, 2014 by Dan Allan

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

Leadership races

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives held their first leadership debate on Monday in Sudbury. The debate included MPPs Christine Elliott, Vic Fedeli and Lisa MacLeod, as well as MP Patrick Brown. The debate was overshadowed, however, by Toronto city councillor Doug Ford. After weeks of speculation and deliberation, Ford announced Thursday that he is not running and that he would be endorsing Elliott.

Media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau will enter the Parti Québécois leadership race. Peladeau was first elected in last April’s provincial election. The party’s new leader will be chosen in May 2015.

The PEI Liberals have settled on a time and place for next year’s leadership convention: the successor to Premier Robert Ghiz will be selected on February 21, 2015 in Charlottetown.

Provincial by-elections

The Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals won two by-elections on Tuesday. Stelman Flynn won in Humber East (which was previously held by former Premier Tom Marshall) and Steve Crocker won in Trinity-Bay de Verde (previously held by cabinet minister Charlene Johnson). The party is 7-0 in by-elections since the 2011 provincial election.

Crossing the floor

Alberta’s Wildrose caucus is two members fewer as Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle crossed the floor on Monday to join the Progressive Conservatives.

Recall legislation

Should voters be able to ‘fire’ their elected representatives? Legislation has been tabled in PEI that would allow the electorate to remove their MLA from office, provided 40 per cent of electors in a district sign a petition. Similar legislation exists in BC but an MLA has never been recalled.

Municipal election changes

Halifax council is considering some “major changes” to municipal elections in the city. These include allowing permanent residents the ability to vote in civic elections and tightening rules surrounding campaign spending.

A recent poll of Toronto residents found strong support for changing the voting system to ranked ballots and reducing the number of wards and councillors by half.

Should Edmonton consider online voting for their 2017 municipal election? One councillor thinks so.

Canada’s now on Twitter, eh

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada launched the Twitter handle @Canada on Wednesday to be “Canada’s voice to the world.” If you’re looking for our voice to the world, you can follow us at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: November 21, 2014

November 21st, 2014 by Dan Allan

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

By-election results

Two federal by-elections were held this week, and they were both won by the Conservatives: Jim Eglinski was elected in Yellowhead and Pat Perkins was elected in Whitby-Oshawa.

Provincially, Progressive Conservative candidate Glen Savoie was elected in New Brunswick’s Saint John East by-election. Savoie lost the riding by just 9 votes in September’s general election.

More provincial by-elections are just around the corner as Newfoundland and Labrador’s Humber East and Trinity – Bay de Verde ridings head to the polls on November 25.

Resignations and floor-crossings

Ontario will soon see a provincial by-election in Sudbury. MPP Joe Cimino announced his immediate resignation on Thursday, less than six months after he was elected in June’s provincial election. 

Ahuntsic MP Maria Mourani was first elected in 2006 as a member of the Bloc Québécois. Mourani was removed from the Bloc caucus last fall and has since sat as an independent. Mourani joined the NDP this week but will continue as an independent until she wins her seat as a member of the NDP in the next election.

BC local election results

British Columbia’s municipalities and regional districts went to the polls last Saturday for local government elections. Among many notable results, Gregor Robertson was re-elected for a third term as Vancouver mayor. Robertson was also the top choice of the city’s elementary and secondary students.

In total, more than 30,000 Student Vote ballots were cast from nearly 300 schools representing 87 local governments. You can access the complete results for each local government and school district and explore some of the great media coverage we received from across the province.

Early elections?

Manitoba’s premier has been under pressure to call an election and there is speculation that there could be an early federal election. In Prince Edward Island, the provincial government has made an early election a possibility by tabling a motion to recognize the authority of the lieutenant governor to dissolve the legislature outside of the province’s fixed election date.

Democratic awards

The 2014 Parliamentarians of the Year were presented this week, and Irwin Cotler took the top honour. Also acknowledged were Elizabeth May (Best Orator), Peter Stoffer (Most Collegial), Michelle Rempel (Rising Star), Nathan Cullen (Most Knowledgeable), Jason Kenney (Hardest Working), Brent Rathgeber (Best Represents Constituents) and Flora MacDonald (Lifetime Achievement).

Samara has released the shortlist for their Everyday Political Citizen project. The list of 350 nominees was narrowed down to 14 adult finalists and 10 youth finalists. CIVIX President Taylor Gunn is a juror, and educator Neeta Kumar-Britten was his pick for the shortlist.

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

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