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Another Conservative MP comes to defence of muzzled backbencher

Another backbench Conservative MP has defended a caucus colleague’s right to make a statement in the House of Commons on any matter of his choosing – even if the Prime Minister objects.

Kyle Seeback, Member of Parliament for Brampton West, stood in the House on Thursday to argue that the parliamentary privilege of British Columbia MP Mark Warawa was breached last week when party leaders refused to allow him to deliver a member’s statement on a topic they did not like.

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Conservative MP says Mark Warawa and ‘rogue’ backbenchers must ‘suffer the consequences’ for anti-abortion stance

The Conservatives admit they have “rogues” within their party as one MP said his colleagues “must suffer the consequences” for their anti-abortion stance amid the most open show of rebellion under Prime Minister Stephen Harper to date.

Ontario Tory MP Jay Aspin told reporters on his way to a highly anticipated caucus meeting Wednesday that it is fellow Conservative MP Mark Warawa’s own problem that he thinks he is being muzzled because he wants to speak contrary to party policy.

“If these rogue members want to do what they want to do, they have to suffer the consequences and that’s all I have to say,” Aspin said.

“[Warawa] is a rogue member for this particular issue.”

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Women on top of Ontario Liberal leadership race

TORONTO - Women were on top after a weekend of Ontario Liberal leadership delegate elections.

Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne confirmed their frontrunner status, emerging with about 1/4 of the total percentage of delegates.

Pupatello was in front with 27.44%, Wynne earned 25.20% and in order following them were Gerard Kennedy at 13.99%, Harinder Takhar at 13.28%, Charles Sousa at 10.78% and Eric Hoskins at 5.66%.

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Three changes feds should — but won’t — make

We've got the climate for small government action. And in some corners we've even got the desire. But few onlookers actually think we're going to see it come Thursday's budget announcement.

Sure, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will toss a few token gestures in the right direction, but he likely won't balance the budget earlier via deeper cuts, the likes of which the C.D. Howe Institute is saying is very viable.

The climate? Well, look no further than hitting our record $600-billion debt mark. There are people in all corners who will rationalize this figure for various reasons. But staving off the fixes just brings you one step closer to Greece. Or Cyprus, which proposed lifting money out of people's savings to deal with their budgetary woes (until the people rebelled and politicians rejected the plan Tuesday). I cringed reading this, really hoping it wouldn't give big government fans in Canada any ideas. I mean, if you're looking to stave off the inevitable cuts, that's one way to do it.

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Kelly McParland: Washington proves the value of a strong Harper

There’s a constituency that argues Canada needs a more representative electoral system to dilute the power the present system gives to parties with limited voter support. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won less than 38% of the vote in 2011, yet have four years to run things however Harper sees fit, without fear of defeat.

The argument is that a more representative government would make for a purer democracy, which more accurately reflects the multiplicity of views and interests that make up the nation. It might also stanch the authoritarian instincts that seem to overcome prime ministers secure in the knowledge they can’t be easily overruled.

It’s a great theory. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like socialism: brilliant in concept, disappointing in practice. As it happens, some of the worst-run countries in the world right now were produced by variations on more representative government. Think Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Greece. Belgium tries so hard to ensure representative government that it took 18 months or arguing to form an administration after the last election. The problem is that they’re all plagued by weak parties, in which nobody is strong enough to make a decision. Instead you get compromises, half-measures and negotiated settlements, which do little to resolve serious problems.

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Evangelicals are un-Canadian: Mulcair

OTTAWA - NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair lashed out at evangelical Christian groups Monday, accusing them of going "completely against" Canadian values and law with their beliefs about homosexuality.

Mulcair's anger spilled over when reporters asked about Crossroads Relief and Development - a group that's received $389,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to build wells and provide clean water to 11,000 people Uganda.

Crossroads has called homosexuality a sin, a belief the NDP connects to anti-gay violence in Uganda and a stalled Ugandan bill to prohibit gay rights promotion.

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Michael Den Tandt: Prepare for an onslaught of Harper the Reasonable

Would Stephen Harper have preferred a Romney victory? He’ll never say. But it’s safe to assume so. Former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is Harper’s philosophical twin. Obama is the unruly cousin with whom he’s forced to share a room on summer break. They’re cordial, but ideology precludes them ever crooning “Irish Eyes” together, as Brian Mulroney famously did with Ronald Reagan.

That said, Obama’s re-election is not a setback for Harper, as some of his critics have assumed. In fact the opposite is true.

Consider where Harper is now, as he faces his eighth year as prime minister: In all, he’s not bad off. Despite a steady onslaught from a determined, competent Tom Mulcair, despite Justin Trudeau’s arrival in a shower of confetti and to the sound of golden trumpets, Harper has stubbornly clung to his traditionally high levels of support in the core economic files.

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Decision on whether Rob Ford will keep his job will be released 10:30 Friday morning

Toronto will learn the fate of Mayor Rob Ford Friday morning when the Divisional Court rules on whether to toss him from office.

The panel of three judges that deliberated over Mr. Ford’s appeal hearing earlier this month announced Wednesday that their decision will be released at 10:30 a.m. Lawyers for each side will receive a copy an hour earlier, but have agreed not to disclose it in advance.

If the appeal court upholds Justice Charles Hackland’s ruling that Mr. Ford broke the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, he will be forced out. If a majority of the judges disagree with the finding, or deem that one of the saving provisions apply, the mayor can keep his job.

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Rob Ford to remain Toronto’s mayor as court overturns ruling ordering him out

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been spared his job by a panel of Divisional Court judges that overturned a ruling he should be tossed out of office over a breach of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

Regional Senior Justice Edward Then, Justice Katherine Swinton and Justice Lynne Leitch disagreed with a lower court decision that Mr. Ford broke the law designed to keep elected officials from exerting influence on decisions that could benefit them financially.

Mr. Ford’s transgression occurred almost a year ago, when he voted to rescind a council resolution requiring him to repay $3,150 in donations to his football foundation, after the integrity commissioner found he improperly used city resources to solicit funds.

‘The mayor was the mayor. It’s one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe’: Resigning Toronto budget chief Mike Del Grande on Rob Ford

Councillor Mike Del Grande resigned as budget chief Wednesday after city council passed its 2013 budget, added $12-million in spending along the way. He spoke to the Post‘s Natalie Alcoba about the turning point, accomplishments and unsolved mysteries of the universe.

Q Was there a moment in which you decided, time to go?

Del Grande There were two moments, one way before the budget process in the 22 to 22 vote to remove my name from the Toronto Police Services Board. I was not happy with that. I thought after all the hard work, I was deserving of that posting to deal with the largest budget we had and 22 said no. I said that motion 1D [about transparency of the budget process] was personal, I spoke to that, and to a money motion and I said to them, basically, don’t do this. Compared to [Councillor Joe] Mihevc and the gang in the previous administration, I had more transparency than they could ever dream of. So, the hell with it. I’m dealing in a milieu of being in a minority government, I didn’t have the privilege of David Miller having the solid 23 votes to push anything I wanted. Every single thing I wanted to do was a constant fight and in spite of all that, the right things were done. Then they come out and they discount it. No credit at all. Then to be vilified along the way, what’s the point? I’m leaving on a high. I’ve given up a lot birthdays, holidays, my mother’s ill.

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