Darryl Sutter supports Keystone XL pipeline

The LA Kings are heading to the White House today to receive congratulations from President Barack Obama for being the 2012 Stanley Cup champions.

The Globe and Mail writes,

Darryl Sutter – who is also the owner of a 3,000-acre ranch near Viking, Alta. – plans to weigh in on the pipeline debate when Barack Obama plays host to the reigning Stanley Cup champions on Tuesday.
“I’m gonna ask him about it – damn rights I am,” said Mr. Sutter.

Mr. Sutter might just be the first to use the Stanley Cup as a means of voicing his opinion.
For the record, the Alberta-born Mr. Sutter is in favour of the pipeline.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s 20 feet underground. How can we not want to keep North America [energy self-sufficient]? Why does the border have to separate that? It doesn’t make sense. For sure, I’m going to ask him.”

Sutter isn’t the first Stanley Cup champion to weigh in on pipeline politics. Last May, from the Globe and Mail:

His time on the ice yielded four Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, and a reputation as a champion. Now Scott Niedermayer is hoping his winning ways will carry over into a different arena – environmental activism.
Mr. Niedermayer, who retired from the National Hockey League in June, 2010, after 18 seasons, has joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund and Coastal First Nations to oppose Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway project.

For their part, the Prime Minister’s Office is pleased by this morning’s reports of Darryl Sutter raising the issue with Obama. They wasted no time in firing off some talking points to their MPs and to journalists,

Darryl Sutter Shows Thomas Mulcair How to Represent Canada on the World Stage
When Stanley Cup champion Darryl Sutter takes his Los Angeles Kings to meet President Obama today, he has vowed to deliver a message to the President – approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Darryl Sutter said he “absolutely” supports the Keystone XL Pipeline and that opposition to it “doesn’t make sense”.
Darryl Sutter’s decision to stand up for Canada when meeting with President Obama later today stands in sharp contrast to the actions of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair who recently attacked the pro-Canadian Keystone XL Pipeline and Canada’s national interest on a trip to Washington D.C.
Thomas Mulcair’s betrayal of Canada’s national interests on the world stage drew fire from Canadian leaders including Premier Wall, Premier Redford, and media from coast to coast.
Our Conservative Government applauds and thanks Darryl Sutter for his efforts to promote Canada’s national interests and Canadian jobs on the world stage. We can only hope that NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is paying attention.
When it comes to the Keystone XL Pipeline, Thomas Mulcair needs to start listening to Darryl Sutter and stop listening to Daryl Hannah.

Reaction to the 2013 federal budget

National Citizens Coalition:

Last year, the government took on entitlement spending reform in addressing Old Age Security,” says Stephen Taylor, Director of the National Citizens Coalition. “This budget misses similar opportunities to restructure entitlement disbursement. For example, the government has largely backed off Employment Insurance reform and has reversed itself on many reform initiatives since last year. The current trend on entitlement spending remains unsustainable

Canadian Taxpayers Federation

[CTF] applauds the government’s plans to overhaul job training and keep a lid on spending … It’s good to see Ottawa getting training money directly in the hands of young workers so they can land a good-paying job.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“Overall, this is a good budget for small business. Minister Flaherty has done a solid job by remaining on course to eliminate the deficit while announcing some important measures for Canada’s entrepreneurs. We’re particularly pleased the government publicly acknowledged taking some of these measures – such as the expansion of the EI Hiring Credit – at the recommendation of CFIB’s 109,000 members.”

Merit Canada:

“We welcome the government’s emphasis on the promotion of skilled trades, and their commitment to addressing the troubling gap in our economy’s labour force needs” said Terrance Oakey, President of Merit Canada. “As the centrepiece of today’s budget, initiatives like the Canada Job Grant respond to the needs of both employers and employees alike and will help Canada’s economy grow by ensuring Canadians have the appropriate skills to fill a growing number of trade positions,” continued Oakey.

Funeral Service Association of Canada

Today the Funeral Service Association of Canada (FSAC) congratulates the Federal Government on their decision to increase support for the Last Post Fund. The new budget proposes $65 million over two years to enhance the Funeral and Burial Program and by more than doubling the current funeral services compensation rate from $3,600 to $7,376.

The Forest Products Association of Canada

The “Jobs, Growth and Prosperity” budget from the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, includes an additional $92 million over two years to support innovation and expanding markets. “We applaud the government for its continuing support for the forest products sector even at a time when tough measures are needed to reduce the deficit.” says the President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. “This is a strategic future-oriented decision that demonstrates ongoing commitment to the transformation of the industry.”

Canadian Home Builders Association

“This is a fiscally prudent, forward-looking budget,” said CHBA President Deep Shergill of Calgary. “We congratulate Minister Flaherty for setting the right priorities.” The federal government’s leadership in providing additional long-term infrastructure financing to municipalities is very welcome. “It’s an opportunity to restore fiscal integrity at the municipal level and fairness for younger generations. At present, many municipalities are financing community infrastructure by transferring the costs into the mortgages of new home buyers, amounting to more than $5 billion a year. “

Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Budget 2013 addresses the tax burden, labour shortages and red tape, which are three key concerns of restaurant operators. The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) congratulates the government for appropriately focusing fiscal evasion measures on the “underground” economy instead of the “above-ground” economy. Following Quebec’s lead to implement sales recording modules or “black boxes” on cash registers would have created a significant cost and administrative burden for restaurants and retailers. … However, CRFA is concerned about measures that will make the temporary foreign worker (TFW) program more costly, cumbersome and difficult to access.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

“The federal budget sends an important signal. It positions manufacturing and exporting at the heart of Canada’s Economic Action Plan by focusing on practical steps that will enhance competitiveness, productivity, innovation, and business growth … This is very good news for companies creating jobs in Canada, investing in our communities, and developing and selling world-class products and services around the world.”

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

“The measures announced in today’s budget are a significant step forward in the federal government’s attack on Canada’s skills challenge.”

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

“Today’s budget delivers significant gains for Canada’s cities and communities. We applaud the government for choosing to continue moving our communities forward even as it meets its immediate fiscal challenges. This is … a budget that delivers real gains for Canadians … it will spur growth and job creation while laying the foundation for a more competitive economy.”

Public Service Alliance of Canada

Folding CIDA into DFAIT commercializes international development and threatens further cuts to public service workforce.

Certified General Accountants Association of Canada

“The government delivered a responsible budget for uncertain times … We welcome this skills training initiative. In creating the Job Grant fund, the federal government has shown leadership in addressing the growing skills gap. We encourage provinces to support it. All should benefit – employers, workers and governments.”

Joyce Murray copies Marc Garneau’s #eap13 talking points

Liberal leadership candidate Joyce Murray might be lacking original thinking on the 2013 budget. She copied former leadership candidate Marc Garneau’s tweet.

#eap13: Download Jim Flaherty’s 2013 Budget

UPDATE: Lockup is over, check below for the files

Asking yourself “where can I download the budget”? You’ll be able to do that here at 4pm today after budget lockup when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty starts giving his 2013 Budget Speech from the floor of the house of Commons.

They’re giving us a USB key of all of the budget documents in lockup and I will post them here for you to download as soon as they give us back our mobile internet devices.

The #eap13 budget speech will be given from the House of Commons and will be broadcast along with SpeechPLUS which is supposedly a pop-up video style of presentation with charts and bullet points live while the Finance Minister outlines the budget.

The 2013 Budget:

Choice in Childcare hops across the pond

Email from David Cameron today:

The Guardian publishes what is of course proposed on the other side of the debate,

Beverley Hughes, children’s minister under Labour and now in the Lords, has issued an admirable “mea culpa”. She says that Labour got it wrong when it focused on putting money into the hands of parents via, for instance, tax credits rather than investing in the supply side and ensuring the stability and sustainability of providers while working to improve the qualifications of the childcare workforce. She advocates a universal free childcare offer for every child aged one to five. The [Guardian’s] Observer supports her view.

The UK announcement is reminiscent of the political history of the childcare debate in Canada. A national childcare program was proposed by the Liberals in 1993 but was not implemented. When the topic came up again in the first half of the last decade as a renewed Liberal promise to create a new entitlement program, the Tories offered up their “Choice in Childcare” program in their platform instead, allowing a $100 payment to parents per month for each child under age 6.

Peter Penashue quits the cabinet and resigns his seat

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue announced today that he will be quitting the Harper cabinet and resigning his Labrador seat in order to run in a by-election.

The move comes as Penashue is under a scandalous cloud regarding his campaign during the 2011 election as he may have breached the limit and taken a corporate donation. Penashue’s defenders in the party state that he wasn’t aware of what had happened. Penashue is likely running to clear the air and take responsibility. He has also paid back $30,000 to the Receiver General for “ineligible” donations to his last campaign.

Penashue won Labrador for the Conservative Party beating incumbent Todd Russell with a margin of less than 1% of the popular vote. Liberals are now inevitably making the claim the seat was stolen now that Penashue has acknowledged the scandal.

Minister Denis Lebel will take over Penashue’s cabinet responsibilities as the interim intergovernmental affairs minister.

Here are the poll-by-poll breakdowns of Labrador in 2011. You can explore these results here.

Here is Penashue’s full statement:

“Due to mistakes that were made by an inexperienced volunteer in filing the Elections Canada return from the last campaign, I appointed a new Official Agent to work with Elections Canada to make any needed amendments to my campaign return.
During the examination we became aware that there were ineligible donations accepted by the former Official Agent.
Although I was unaware of the inaccuracies in the return, I believe I must be accountable to the people who elected me and therefore I am stepping down as the Member of Parliament for Labrador and will seek re-election through a by-election. I will also be stepping down as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
My record as Member of Parliament for Labrador and Minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government over the past two years is one that I am very proud of.
I have worked to secure federal support for the development of Muskrat Falls, which will lead to $1.9 billion for our economy and thousands of jobs for Labrador. I have also worked with government and private industry to increase internet speed in Labrador, and delivered federal funding to pave the Trans-Labrador Highway.
There is much more to do for the people of Labrador, including protecting our way of life. We have scrapped the long-gun registry despite the efforts of the NDP and Liberals to keep it, and now we must continue to fight to defend the seal hunt against the NDP and Liberal parliamentarians who want to ban it. I will also continue to lead the defence of the polar bear hunt, something that is very important to Labradorians.

And the statement from the Prime Minister,

“The Honourable Minister Denis Lebel, currently the Minister responsible for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, will assume responsibility for Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
“Minister Lebel is now also responsible for the overall management and coherence of relations with provincial and territorial governments and for strengthening Canadian unity.”
“I would like to thank Mr. Penashue for his service as Minister and to the people of Labrador.”

BC Poll shows Adrian Dix versus Christy Clark not over yet

Campaign Research just released some polling data on the upcoming BC election race. Here are some key findings:

– NDP 38%, LIB 33%, GRN 12%, CON 12%
– 18-34 year old demographic (+26% NDP)
– 35-54 (tie LIB/NDP)
– 55+ (+1% LIB)
– Greater Vancouver (+2% NDP)
– Rest of BC (+7% NDP)
– Men (+4% LIB)
– Women (+14% NDP)
– Right/Wrong track (35% right, 49% wrong, 15% DN)
– sample size 882 for decided voters (3.3% MOE, 95% CI)
– sample size 1,112 for right/wrong track (2.9% MOE, 95% CI)

Marc Garneau exits Liberal Leadership race, supports Justin Trudeau

Marc Garneau announced today that he’s landing his bid for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. In the end, Garneau admitted he just didn’t have the numbers to take on presumed front-runner Justin Trudeau. Garneau cited internal Liberal Party polls of 6,000 Liberals that showed Trudeau at 72% support, Garneau at 15%, Murray at 7.4%, and Hall-Findlay at 5.2%. The Murray campaign immediately disputed these numbers. Some have speculated that Garneau’s exit from the race is to prevent an embarrassing third-place finish behind Joyce Murray, when the Liberal race was billed as a two-man race by Garneau communications flacks.

Canada’s first astronaut in space threw his support behind the former substitute drama teacher saying that “Justin has risen to the occasion”.

Liberal membership registration ends tomorrow. The party had boasted 294,000 supporters but only claimed 80,000 voter registrations by Tuesday. The Liberal Party’s “National Showcase” of their leadership contenders is on April 6th, followed by a reveal of the elected leader on April 14th.

Garneau would have been the most difficult putative Liberal leader for the Conservatives and NDP to attack as his resume makes him a bit of a national icon and hero. However, the Conservatives and NDP will be repackaging Garneau’s comments about Trudeau’s thin resume and inexperience and will be doing their best to tell Canadians that being Prime Minister doesn’t have the benefit of on-the-job training.

With Garneau’s exit, this Liberal leadership contest threatens to be another coronation for the party’s top job as Michael Ignatieff ran unopposed and Paul Martin ran with about as much popular support during that leadership race that Justin Trudeau enjoys now.