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Andrew Coyne: The forces of inertia gather to halt a concrete plan for repairing our damaged democracy

Can't be done. Too risky. Goes too far. Doesn't go far enough. Whenever and wherever someone actually makes some concrete proposal to repair our damaged democracy, the forces of inertia almost instantly gather to ensure it never happens. Of course, everyone agrees that something should be done. Just not, you know, this.

So it is with the Reform Act, on which Conservative MP Michael Chong has been toiling for most of the past 15 years. Before the bill was unveiled Tuesday, a flourish of pundits had written its epitaph - even as they complained of others "rushing to judgment" in advance of a final text.

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Tories could topple Wynne: Poll

Ontario would be led by a Progressive Conservative minority government if a provincial election were held today, a new Forum Research Inc. poll suggests.

PC Leader Tim Hudak would hold 47 seats compared to 44 for Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals, creating a "hung legislature," the poll says.

Andrea Horwath's New Democrat Party would retain 16 seats, the poll projects.

Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said negative developments in the province, including the $1-billion gas plant cancellation controversy and the well-publicized departure of significant businesses, have eroded support for the Wynne government.

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Wynne at the beck and call of unions

TORONTO - A powerful union boss told Premier Kathleen Wynne to jump this week.

She asked, "How high?" - and meekly did just that.

Ironically, it all fit with the message PC leader Tim Hudak was trying to get out about third-party advertising during elections.

Big unions have poured millions of dollars into attack ads by the union-backed Working Families Coalition. The WFC has targeted Conservative leaders since Ernie Eves. Hudak, naturally, would like that to end.

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Rob Ford? No. Ford’s agenda? Yes

In next year's municipal election, we'll be looking for a mayor who can deliver Rob Ford's agenda of fiscal conservatism minus Ford's personal demons.

While Ford has discredited himself with his outrageous conduct and rightly been stripped of his mayoral powers, that doesn't mean Torontonians want to go back to the bad old days of taxing-and-spending during the David Miller era at City Hall.

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PM announces strengthened measures to combat child exploitation

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced additional new legislation that will be introduced this fall to better protect children against child sexual exploitation in Canada and abroad. The Prime Minister was joined by Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors).

“Our Government is taking strong action to keep our streets and communities safe for families, and above all, for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Prime Minister Harper. “We will ensure that Canada’s justice system is on the side of victims, and take further action to protect our own children, as well as those in other countries, from sex offenders.”

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Ford's follies hogging criticism for Wynne

TORONTO - Come, let us annoy Kathleen Wynne.

The leader of the biggest province in Canada has never had her claim to be premier tested by the electorate, but she presses on regardless.

All rictus grin over outstretched arms, forever seeking to have yet another conversation (sigh) with voters, Wynne also happens to oversee the biggest budget and deepest debt this side of the Ottawa treasury benches.

The same person who recently entertained OPP officers investigating the destruction of gas plant e-mails in her office to help them "familiarize themselves with the operation."

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Peter Shurman fired as PC finance critic after billing Ontario taxpayers $20,719 for second home

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he has removed Peter Shurman from his position as finance critic.

Hudak said in a statement Sunday evening that he met with Shurman to discuss his accommodation expense claims.

It was revealed last week that Shurman, a Toronto-area member, billed the maximum $20,719 last year after moving to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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Tory MP Woodworth will table new motion to recognize 'equal dignity of every human being'

OTTAWA, November 20, 2013 ( - Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth will introduce a new motion in Canada's Parliament to promote respect for the unborn in Canadian law.

His office sent out a media advisory Tuesday stating that the motion will "focus on legal recognition of the equal worth and dignity of every human being."

The MP will provide details on the motion at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon.

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Tory transportation critic Frank Klees vows to pry open Metrolinx sponsorship file

TORONTO - Tory transportation critic Frank Klees says he will use every tool available to dig into troubled Metrolinx sponsorship programs and “pry the file back open.”

Klees made the comments a day after Transportation Minister Glen Murray told the Toronto Sun he saw no need for an auditor general’s probe and considered the file closed.

As revealed in the Sun, the deals saw the agency spend $30,000 of taxpayer cash to sponsor the Toronto International Film Festival and score some staff exclusive tickets to galas, parties and film screenings. Another deal saw Metrolinx receive 100 tickets from Rogers Centre for a Buffalo Bills game. Those tickets were given to some staffers for free while others were sold at a steeply cut rate to agency employees.

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Wynne's revenue tools panel not impressing us with busywork

TORONTO - It has been two months since Premier Kathleen Wynne named her $105,000 revenue tools panel - and I'm just as convinced as I was in September that this exercise is merely another attempt to ram transit taxes down our throats, not to mention a complete waste of our money.

After all, the Ontario government-created Metrolinx already proposed in June - after five years of study - a 1% hike in the HST, a five-cent regional gas tax, a business parking levy, and increased development charges to fund their $50-billion Big Move plan.

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MPP Doug Holyday throws support behind Peter Leon for Etobicoke Centre

The line-up to be appointed to be the next councillor for Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre has already started.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Doug Holyday came out Monday endorsing Etobicoke resident Peter Leon to replace him on city council. But Leon isn’t the only one offering to be appointed to the job, Chris Stockwell - an Etobicoke resident and former Progressive Conservative provincial cabinet minister - along with former councillor and ex-Liberal MP John Nunziata have also put their names forward.

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Harper on the hot seat over Senate scandal

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper trumpeted the suspensions of three of his Senate appointees Wednesday as a warning to others not to fudge expenses.

He congratulated the vast majority of Conservative senators who voted Tuesday night to kick senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau out of the upper chamber without pay until the next prorogation.

But if Harper thought cutting the trio loose for two years would signal a fresh start to champion trade deals, jobs growth and other matters the government wants to exploit, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair hid the remote.

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Kelly McParland: Harper’s hidden agenda doesn’t include retirement. (Not his, anyway)

At some point during his late-summer tour of Canada’s North, Stephen Harper was asked by a reporter whether he planned to lead the Conservatives into the next election.

“The answer to the last question is, of course, yes,” the Prime Minister said, reportedly with a bit of a smile. I’m actually disappointed you feel the need to ask that question.”

Considering how few questions Mr. Harper deigns to answer, and the growing list of restrictions he imposes, it does seem a bit curious that anyone would waste a precious query on an issue that should be so self-evident. Stephen Harper, step down as Prime Minister and let someone else lead the next election?  Might as well ask if he thinks Justin Trudeau has a better policy platform than he does. (Answer: Um, no.)

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Conservative Party rejects sex selection, euthanasia at Calgary convention

CALGARY, November 4, 2013 ( - At its national convention in Calgary on Saturday, Canada's ruling Conservative Party overwhelmingly voted to adopt a policy rejecting the targeted killing of unborn girls through abortion.

The convention delegates also voted to adopt a policy that the party "will not support any legislation to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide."

The vote to condemn gendercide, which was nearly unanimous, was proposed by the party's riding association in Langley, B.C., where Mark Warawa serves as Member of Parliament.

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More knives out for PC Leader Tim Hudak

TORONTO - PC Leader Tim Hudak’s inner circle and caucus supporters were in full damage control Tuesday as a second petition surfaced in four days calling for his head at next month’s policy convention.

This latest motion — filed with the PC party secretary — asks that the party’s constitution be amended to allow for 25% of all Ontario caucus members, PC executive and presidents in ridings without a sitting MPP to sign a petition calling for a leadership review of Hudak.

If successful — meaning the petition would need about 35 signatures — it could lead to a leadership convention.

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Man to serve rape sentence on weekends

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. - A 57-year-old man convicted of rape who has expressed no remorse and said he's the real victim and his accuser is the criminal was sentenced Friday to a 90-day sentence to be served on weekends.

James Garrett will serve his time at the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre and will be under house arrest during the rest of the week.

The Crown had asked the court to impose a two-to-three year prison term for the Oct. 24, 2010, rape, but Judge Melanie Dunn concluded a 90-day intermittent sentence, followed by two years' probation, would suffice.

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Charles Krauthammer: How socialism killed Detroit

If there’s an iron rule in economics, it is Stein’s Law (named after Herb, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Detroit, for example, can no longer go on borrowing, spending, raising taxes and dangerously cutting such essential services as street lighting and police protection. So it stops. It goes bust.

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'How dare they talk about open access': PCs mock Wynne call for transparent government

TORONTO - A Liberal government that wasted up to $1.1-billion of Ontario taxpayers money to cancel gas plants and tried to cover up their actions has no right to call for more openness and transparency, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Monday.

"How dare they talk about open access to government information when they spent years covering up the gas plant scandal," Hudak told reporters. "It made me think Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are a bunch of hypocrites."

The Opposition leader was reacting to an open letter from Premier Kathleen Wynne appealing for a more open and transparent Ontario government.

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Kathleen Wynne 'involved all along' in gas-plant cancellations, opposition says

A little more than six weeks ago at the committee hearing evidence into the gas plant scandal, Premier Kathleen Wynne denied — under oath — all involvement in the decision to cancel the plants or to delete key e-mails related to a move that could cost taxpayers as much as $1-billion.

“Those were decisions that were made by other people in other conversations and I wasn’t part of those conversations, I wasn’t in those rooms,” the premier said at the time.

At the time I was highly skeptical that she sat on the sidelines blissfully unaware of this evolving scandal considering she was co-chair of the 2011 Liberal election campaign.

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Double down on conservative values

The federal NDP routinely sends journalists "REALITY CHECK" emails. They're basically attack dog press releases.

We roll our eyes at a lot of them. As you'd expect, they're full of spin and cheap shots at the Conservatives.

But there was one the other day that caught our eye.

"Stephen Harper came to Ottawa promising to finally clean up Senate corruption. Instead, his appointees and top advisors have been involved in scandal after scandal."

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Stephen Harper names eight new members to his cabinet, moves Peter MacKay out of defence

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the biggest shakeup to his cabinet during his time in power, adding eight new faces to the cabinet table and moving longtime defence minister Peter MacKay out of the portfolio in favour of Rob Nicholson.

MacKay was shuffled into Nicholson’s old job, becoming minister of justice.

At 39 members, Harper’s new cabinet ties Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney’s as the largest in Canadian history.

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