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The Tories are handing out billions in tax breaks without proper oversight: Auditor General

Finance Canada is failing to properly manage billions of dollars in tax credits it offers to Canadians and, in many cases, does not know if they are relevant, effective and achieving the government's goals, says the federal auditor general.

The Finance Department also does not provide adequate information to parliamentarians on the tens of billions of dollars in so-called tax-based expenditures, Auditor General Michael Ferguson says in a stinging report released Tuesday.

Among his criticisms is the government's failure to include the projected future cost of its many tax breaks.

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Wynne drowns us in red ink

Based on Thursday's budget, Premier Kathleen Wynne continues to cling to the absurd belief the Liberals can spend Ontario rich.

Simply put, if huge deficits and record public debt created jobs, every Ontarian would have two by now.

In reality, Ontario's unemployment rate has been above the national average since January 2007.

Despite this, while Ottawa predicts a $1.4 billion surplus this year and even spendthrift Quebec is predicting a balanced budget, Ontario continues to bleed red ink - $8.5 billion this year alone.

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Forget terrorists - be terrified of Harperites: Siddiqui

The Toronto Star recently published an article comparing the Harper government to that of a terrorist regime, shame on the Toronto Star. See below for the article:

"Governor-General David Johnston's term is extended for two years by Stephen Harper. He who owes his job to the prime minister will be deciding the prime minister's fate in the event of a hung Parliament the morning after the Oct. 19 election.

Granted, extensions are not unusual. Also, a replacement would have been a Harper appointee as well. Still, there's some history here.

Johnston - a well-respected academic, former president of the University of Waterloo - was named GG in 2010 soon after he helped defuse a potential embarrassment for the ruling Conservatives. Asked to help write the terms of reference of an inquiry, he recommended against reopening the infamous Airbus affair, Air Canada's 1988 purchase of the French planes, and former prime minister Brian Mulroney's role in it. Johnston dismissed that as "well-tilled ground." That suited Harper just fine."

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Rob Ford endorses Elliott's leadership bid

Toronto Councillor Rob Ford gave PC leadership hopeful Christine Elliott the thumbs up.

The former mayor endorsed Elliott - a family friend - on Sunday as he helped her canvas on his home turf in northern Etobicoke.

Ford had previously endorsed her competitor MPP Monte McNaughton, who recently dropped out of the leadership race to support Barrie MP Patrick Brown - now Elliott's only rival in the race to lead the provincial Tories.

Flanked by the Ward 2 councillor and his brother, Doug, Elliott said she is "happy to get support whenever and wherever I can get it."

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Why a Liberal-NDP coalition is no longer such a scary concept for cautious centrists

I gather it has now been conclusively established that Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau never met at the Irish embassy. Quite why they would have was a bit of a mystery. Neutral ground? A trusted intermediary? Someone with experience of irrational sectarian warfare?

But no, it seems it was all a misunderstanding. When Mr. Mulcair said it was there, a year ago, that he had "opened [the] door" to the NDP forming a coalition government with Mr. Trudeau's Liberals after the next election, and that Mr. Trudeau, in response, had "slammed the door so hard on my fingers, it wasn't even funny," he did not mean that Mr. Trudeau was literally there, or had slammed any literal doors. He meant he gave a speech.

Still, if Mr. Mulcair's meaning was not entirely clear, geospatially - mystified Liberal officials on Tuesday denied their leader had ever set foot in the Irish embassy, though it's possible they were referring to the pub - it's as clear as day what he's up to. The NDP leader never misses an opportunity these days to talk up the possibility of coalition government, the better to suggest to wavering left-wing voters that they can vote NDP and still dispose of the hated Conservatives.

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Wynne unveils Ontario's plan to sign cap-and-trade deal

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday the province will bring in a cap-and-trade carbon-pricing system to tackle climate change, which will increase the cost of gas 2.5-3 cents per litre.

Wynne announced the plan before leaving for a premiers' meeting in Quebec City where leaders will discuss climate change initiatives.

Neither Wynne nor Climate Change Minister Glen Murray could predict how much the plan would add to the cost of home heating.

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Spring budget is Liberals' fire sale to cure 12 years of mismanagement

The deficit-plagued Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne is hanging the "For Sale" sign on government assets.

The Liberals' spring budget won't be so much a fiscally responsible financial document outlining the government's plan to prudently manage government programs as it will be a fire sale to help fund the Liberals' 12 years of mismanagement.

Suddenly, Hydro One is for sale. And the government is going to open up wine and beer sales to large grocery stores and rake in millions in franchise fees.

This all has a Nixon to China flavour to it. If a Conservative government suggests changes to liquor sales or selling off utilities, it's accused of being in the pockets of big business.

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Monte McNaughton drops out of Tory leadership race

MPP Monte McNaughton is bowing out of the Progressive Conservative leadership run, making it a two-person race between MPP Christine Elliott and Conservative MP Patrick Brown.

McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex) has thrown his support behind Brown.

"I am happy to be endorsing Patrick Brown today for leader of our party," McNaughton said in a statement issued Thursday.

"Patrick has demonstrated that he has the energy and ability to bring thousands of new members from diverse backgrounds and different points of view into our party, which is exactly what I've been saying we need."

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Being a creationist conservative in Canada 'gives your opponents a tremendous amount of ammunition'

Alberta premier Jim Prentice's hand-picked education minister Gordon Dirks told forum attendees last weekend that he was an "Old Earth guy" - a reference to a doctrine of Creationism that generally rejects biological evolution.

Mr. Dirks has declined to clarify his views. He's also declined to comment on whether or not he accepts the scientifically accepted understanding of evolution when asked directly by the Post.

"The Minister isn't going to comment on his political opponents' purposely manipulated recollections of private conversations... He supports the existing curriculum and the government ensures schools follow it," said Mr. Dirks' spokesperson, David Heyman, who added that questions about creationism were posed by members of the centre-left Alberta party in a bid to corner and embarrass the minister.

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Wynne has one idea - hike taxes

You have to wonder what Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is thinking as she announces tax hike after tax hike to keep her debt-ridden, fiscally out-of-control government afloat.

Surely, she understands removing billions of additional dollars from Ontario taxpayers every year in a shaky economy is a bad idea.

Especially when the Liberals waste them on yet another billion-dollar boondoggle, whether it's cancelled gas plants, eHealth, Ornge, so-called "green" energy, smart meters or MaRS.

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Wynne talks booze while Rome burns

By any standard, Tuesday should have been an immensely embarrassing day for the government of Kathleen Wynne.

Beset by damaging allegations of bribery from both the OPP and Elections Ontario in the Sudbury byelection and with the Ornge air ambulance probe and the deleted e-mails investigation still plodding away in the background, you'd think this would be a government on life support.

The day should have been especially uncomfortable for Wynne, as Ben Levin - a member of her transition team after she won the leadership in 2013 - admitted in court to the most shocking child pornography charges.

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James Lunney defends views on evolution in House of Commons

One day after he announced he was leaving the Conservative caucus to better defend his religious beliefs, Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney attempted to do just that from his new seat in the corner of the House of Commons reserved for independent MPs.

But despite his best efforts, he was unable to convince House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer that the "cyberbullying" and "crowd-shaming" that he claimed to have experienced after questioning the science behind evolution constituted a breach of his parliamentary privilege.

Several colleagues on both the government and opposition sides of the House supported his question of privilege.

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What were the Liberals doing approving the nomination of Nour El Kadri?

When Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised "open nominations" for local riding candidacies two years ago, he couldn't possibly have foreseen what was coming, so let's be fair. But let's be honest. Trudeau's idealistic open-door policy has bogged down in an embarrassing quagmire of lawsuits, accusations of back-alley shenanigans to benefit Trudeau's favourites and miraculous last-minute spikes in constituency membership rolls.

Still, nothing yet quite matches the conundrum the Liberal Party's "green light committee" had to grapple with late into the night this week. It had turned out that an approved contestant for the Liberal nomination in the newly created Ottawa riding of Nepean appeared to be harbouring a rather too opaque relationship with another party, one that sports its very own stylized swastika, sings an anthem to the tune of Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles and lavishly indulges a habit of suicide-bombing and assassination.

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Ontario cabinet minister pushes for transgender rights

In what appears to be a political move, the Ontario Liberals have sent letters to all the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidates to ask them to fight for an unamended Bill C-279.

Leadership candidates Christine Elliott Elliott co-sponsored Toby's Act, legislation that added transgender expression and identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code, but she and fellow candidate Monte McNaughton have no vote at the federal level.

Leadership candidate Patrick Brown, a Conservative MP, has voted against Bill C-279.

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NDP the voice of reason in shameful display at Queen's Park

So now according to our fearless leader, if you dare raise questions about the proposed new sex-ed curriculum you're "homophobic."

And if you dare disagree with this scandal-plagued government, you'll be mocked and pilloried for your views.

In a ploy to deflect attention from the disgraceful allegations about corruption in the Sudbury byelection, the Liberals put on a childish show of ridiculing a Tory MPP for his religious views.

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No, Ontario's deficit isn't really down. In fact, current projections show it's grown by $400 million

Ontario's treasurer has some good news for the debt-burdened province: its deficit is down.

Well, the projected deficit for the fiscal year ending Monday is less than what they thought it might be, down about $1.6 billion to $10.9 billion, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced Tuesday.

That's still an eye-popping figure compared to the province's total budgeted spending, about $130 billion a year. That's a shortfall of over 9%.

But the gap is smaller so that's good news, right? Yes and no.

Overall, Ontario's deficit is actually up over the 2013/14 fiscal year, which runs April 1 to March 31 of the following year. The 2013/14 final deficit figure was $10.5 billion.

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Liberals mock MPP's anti-evolution statement with magazine

Speaker Dave Levac ordered the removal of National Geographic's "War on Science" issue from the Legislature Thursday after Ontario Liberal cabinet ministers began using it as a prop to spotlight Tory MPP Rick Nicholls who does not believe in evolution.

Deputy Premier Deb Matthews waved the magazine - which takes on those who doubt evolution, vaccination, climate change, genetically modified food and the moon landing - and advised the Progressive Conservatives that they had made the cover.

Reaction from opposition leaders reacted strongly with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accusing the Liberals of using numerous diversion tactics to take public attention away from ongoing OPP investigations into the Sudbury byelection bribery scandal.

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Weak showing in new poll has some Liberals wondering if Trudeau has lost his lustre

The Liberal sense of manifest destiny has taken a hit with a new poll that suggests the party has less than 30% support - a drop of nearly 10 points in six months.

Since Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader, there has been an unflinching belief among party supporters that the mission to redeem Canada and remake the country would, inevitably, have a happy ending.

But the question some Liberals are asking now is: Has Justin lost his lustre?

The EKOS poll - which puts the Liberals at 28.5%, compared to 31.8% for the Conservatives and 23.2% for the NDP - may be an outlier. An Abacus poll that came out the same day has the Tories and Grits neck and neck, as does the party's internal polling.

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Ontario politics hits rock bottom with byelection allegations

This province hit rock bottom Thursday - the lowest of the low - when Elections Ontario Chief Greg Essensa released his report on the dirty little Sudbury byelection.

Essensa said such an alleged bribery investigation is unprecedented. No other government, no other party, has stooped this low.

"No Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario has ever conducted a regulatory investigation into allegations of bribery or ever reported an apparent contravention of the home statutes of my office to the Attorney General," he said.

Essensa said he believes two Liberal operatives - one of whom, Pat Sorbara, is now deputy chief of staff to Premier Kathleen Wynne - contravened the Elections Act.

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Compensation for Ontario public servants has skyrocketed over the last 10 years of Liberal rule

Compensation packages for Ontario public servants have risen so much during the last 10 years of Liberal rule it has outpaced inflation and new hires while adding billions to the debt and deficit, a new Fraser Institute report finds.

What the province spends on total compensation - not just wages but also benefits like pensions and extra-medical coverage - has grown 47% since the 2005/06 fiscal year, while the combined inflation rate is just 15%, according to the study set for release Wednesday.

Overall program spending (the amount Ontario spends every year after paying interest on debt and not including capital investments) rose 42% during that same period, from about $80 billion to over $115 billion, while spending on things other than compensation rose 39 per cent. And the number of government jobs increased by about 11%.

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Wynne's Liberals broke law: Election chief

There is a prima facie case that two Ontario Liberals violated the Elections Act in the Sudbury byelection job bribery scandal, Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa says in an explosive report released Thursday.

Essensa has now officially turned the matter over to the province's Attorney General for further investigation by justice officials.

"Having reviewed the evidence and findings from this regulatory investigation, I am of the opinion that the actions of Gerry Lougheed Jr. and Patricia Sorbara amount to apparent contraventions of subsection 96.1(e) of the Election Act," Essensa's report says. "Consequently, I have reported this matter to the Attorney General of Ontario in accordance with section 4.0.2 of the Election Act."

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