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How Ontario voters view ‘corporate welfare’

It may be complicating his search for campaign photo-ops, but Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak can be expected to keep railing against “corporate welfare” – government support for individual companies – which he argues is an ineffective way of picking winners and losers.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne, meanwhile, can be expected to keep defending such expenditures as well-targeted efforts to attract companies to Ontario, or encourage businesses to expand their operations.

It stands to be one of the more interesting debates during this campaign, because both leaders seem to be fired up for it and there are decent arguments to be made on either side.

But where does the electorate come down on it?

A poll taken in March by Innovative Research Group offers a bit of insight. It asked a weighted sample of 1,000 Ontarians: “Thinking about the role of the provincial government when it comes to the economy, which statement is closest to your point of view?”

Of the two options they were given, 48 per cent agreed that “Government needs to be an active partner to help Ontario businesses compete in the world with incentives to create research and development, training programs and other initiatives to support high-potential industries.” Only 36 per cent, meanwhile, went with “Government helps business the best by reducing taxes and red tape and staying out of the way, not by trying to pick winners with taxpayer money.” (16 per cent didn’t know.)

Those numbers would seem to augur well for Ms. Wynne’s Liberals. But more interesting, as it pertains to the dynamics of this campaign, is when the poll is broken down by party, including core supporters of each one and swing voters:

Role of government in the Ontario economy

1,000 Ontarians were asked whether they supported government as an active partner in helping businesses compete.

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Now, it needs to be said that the samples get fairly small for each group, so there’s a decent margin for error. But it’s fairly telling among all the groups, including Liberal-PC swing voters, the only one that comes down against subsidies is “core Tories” – and that it does so by a very strong margin.

The poll, in other words, would suggest Mr. Hudak’s position on this issue plays very well with his base, and not especially well with anyone else. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s another indication that more so than the other parties, the Tories’ campaign is about motivation rather than persuasion.


Prime target: How serial killers prey on indigenous women

This story is part of an ongoing Globe and Mail investigation into the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada

Indigenous women in Canada are roughly seven times more likely than non-indigenous women to die at the hands of serial killers, according to a Globe and Mail analysis that found at least 18 aboriginal females were victims of convicted serial killers since 1980.

The majority of those women were slain in or near cities, and most were killed by non-indigenous men. The cases were prosecuted in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with the cities of Vancouver, Prince George, Saskatoon and Winnipeg most commonly listed as the woman’s last place of residence. Eight serial killers, who were convicted in a total of 25 homicides, were responsible for the women’s deaths.

Aboriginal women are being killed and disappearing across the country at an alarming rate. The RCMP have said 70 per cent of the indigenous women slain in Canada meet their fate at the hands of an indigenous person. In a report earlier this year, the federal force stated that indigenous women knew the offender in all solved homicides over the previous two years. It also emphasized the “strong nexus to family violence.”


Filed under: News

Canadian military accused of civilian casualties in airstrike in Iraq

The Canadian military is facing accusations that a recent airstrike by CF-18 pilots in northern Iraq ended up killing at least five civilians and injuring more than one dozen. Canadian warplanes are still bombing Islamic State targets despite Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign pledge to end these airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

The airstrike in question, on November 19, one month after Mr. Trudeau won power, was intended to destroy what the Canadian military said was an Islamic State bomb-making factory in Mosul.

But local Iraq media reports, which included video and photographic evidence of collateral damage, say the attack on the bomb plant ended up damaging a dairy factory next door, killing between five and 13 people and injuring more than a dozen.

Airwars.org, a project aimed at tracking the international air strikes against Islamic State militants, has collected local media reports on the alleged civilian deaths from outlets such as Nineveh Reporters Network, Mosul News, and Nineveh News.

According to the local Nineveh Reporters’ Network, the attack “killed all elements of the organization [Islamic State] who were inside the booby-trapping plant, but also damaged a large dairy building next door, killing approximately five civilian workers and injuring 13 others.”

CF-18s have launched at least 16 strikes since the Oct. 19 election and 193 in the region since last fall.

Mr. Trudeau has not set a firm date for withdrawing Canada’s fighters. He has only said they would be recalled by March 31, 2016.

Canada’s Department of National Defence did not have an immediate response when asked about the allegations.

This is not the first allegation against the Canadian military’s airstrikes.

In January this year, an English-speaking Kurdish Peshmerga fighter told the U.S. military that as many as 27 civilians died during aerial bombardment by Canadian pilot.

The Canadian military kept this under wraps for seven months before disclosing the allegation in August. It has not investigated the January 2015 incident because it says there was insufficient evidence.

The Canadian Armed Forces has refused to discuss the details of January’s alleged civilian casualties and plays down the matter, saying that “the source of this allegation had himself heard of these potential casualties through a second-hand account” and that nobody could corroborate it.

FIFA ethics judge opens cases against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini

FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert has formally opened cases against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini and hopes to give verdicts in December.

A spokesman Eckert for says Blatter and Platini “will be invited to submit positions including any evidence” and can request hearings.

The FIFA and UEFA presidents, currently suspended for 90 days, face bans of at least several years for alleged financial wrongdoing.

The investigations chamber of the FIFA ethics committee said Saturday it submitted final case reports and asked for sanctions against both officials. Details were not given.

The case centres on $2 million of FIFA money Blatter approved for Platini in 2011 as backdated salary.

Both deny wrongdoing and say they had a verbal contract to pay Platini for work as Blatter’s presidential adviser from 1998-2002.

Swiss federal prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Blatter in September for alleged criminal mismanagement, over the Platini deal and an undervalued sale of Caribbean TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Blatter was suspended on Oct. 8 by the FIFA ethics committee.

In excerpts released Monday from a television interview, Blatter, without specifying his illness, said he was near death when hospitalized for stress-related problems this month.

Blatter insisted to RTS in his first television interview since leaving the hospital on Nov. 12 that Platini, his former protege, is “an honest man” who should be cleared of wrongdoing.

“If he comes back, he will be elected,” Blatter said. “And then if he comes back, I’m coming back also.”

The suspended FIFA president was “between the angels singing and the devil’s fire.

“But it was the angels which sang,” Blatter said, adding “happily I never lost consciousness” during the 48 hours when most ill.

Parts of the interview were released ahead Wednesday’s full broadcast.

The French-language broadcaster said in a news report late Sunday that the 79-year-old Blatter was treated in intensive care for several days.

Blatter acknowledged he had been under “enormous pressure,” with personal legal problems arising from the $2 million payment and feels regret at not deciding to step down after a successful 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Two days before the May 2015 election in Zurich, American and Swiss federal prosecutors revealed their investigations of bribery and corruption implicating FIFA and senior officials.

Filed under: NewsSports

Trudeau to meet with British PM Cameron in London on first full bilateral visit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron in his first full bilateral visit to the head of a foreign government – and he can expect a welcome for his new climate-change policies.

Although Mr. Trudeau has already begun a whirlwind of travel to international summits, the first head-to-head visit is usually considered symbolic, and Canadian prime ministers often like to make it a sojourn to the White House.

But Mr. Trudeau will make Britain his first stop for a leader-to-leader visit when he meets Mr. Cameron in London on Wednesday – the same day he will have an audience with the Queen.

“This is the first bilateral visit for Mr. Trudeau as Prime Minister, and it’s to the U.K. And that’s unusual – it’s usually down south,” British High Commissioner Howard Drake said. “I think it testifies to how much the two countries matter to each other.”


Filed under: News
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