In The News This Week – August 28, 2016

It was an interesting week in Canadian politics dominated by expense scandals and Stephen Harper’s official resignation. Catch up on the latest stories below and stay tuned this week as we follow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his first official trip to China!

1. Liberal spending dominates the headlines: The spending habits of the Liberal Party and Liberal cabinet ministers made multiple headlines this week, following the controversial travel expenses of Health Minister Jane Philpott and pricey photographer bills for Catherine McKenna and her staff. Here’s some quick background: 

  • Health Minister Jane Philpott paid $3,700 to Executive Sedan Livery Service Inc. for travel around Toronto and to Hamilton and Niagara Falls on March 31 and July 12 — an amount she’s promised to reimburse. Controversy surrounding her travel expenses grew on Monday as evidence surfaced that the federal Liberal health minister billed taxpayers $520 for access to Air Canada’s executive airport lounges in North America and Europe. Late Monday, the minister promised to repay the money after the Opposition Conservatives used the Access to Information Act to obtain the receipt for the one-year “Maple Leaf Club North America Plus” membership. (Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail)
  • We also learned that the federal environment department paid a French photojournalist $6,662 to take pictures of its minister, Catherine McKenna, and her staff during the COP21 conference on climate change in Paris last year. According to reports, more than $17,000 has been spent photographing Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna and her staff since the Liberals took office less than 10 months ago. (CTV)

2. Elizabeth May will stay: On Monday, Elizabeth May made public her decision to stay on as leader of the Green Party following weeks of debate about remaining in this role after her party  voted in favour of a resolution supporting sanctions against Israel. Despite strongly opposing the resolution, Elizabeth May has said “I’m pleased with [my] decision and I’m very happy to have the support of the Federal Executive Council of the Green Party.” (The Globe and Mail)

3. Stephen Harper steps down: Our former Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his official resignation from politics this past Friday, resigning his seat as a Calgary MP. Mr. Harper’s announcement first appeared online,  where he tweeted: “Thank you to Calgarians and Canadians for having given me the honour of serving the best country in the world.” (CBC)

  • FYEI (For Your Extra Information): To mark the 25th anniversary of Ukraine independence, Stephen Harper was awarded one of the country’s top honours this week – the Order of Liberty. (CTV)

4. 2016 Public Report On The Terrorist Threat To Canada: On Thursday, the government of Canada released the 2016 public report on the terrorist threat to Canada. Following Washington’s lead, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the government will be referring to the so-called Islamic State as “Daesh” from here on. (iPolitics)

5. The RCMP allow hijabs: Female members of the RCMP are now allowed to wear a hijab head scarf as part of their uniform, as the Mounties look to encourage more Muslim women to join their ranks. According to law, members must still seek approval from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson for any faith-based accommodation, and there has yet to be a formal request to wear the hijab while on duty. (The Globe and Mail)

  • FYEI (For Your Extra Information): The “burkini” also made international headlines this week following a French court decision that ruled against the burkini ban. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and other some other conservative candidates in France want a national law banning burkinis. (iPolitics)
Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper announced his official resignation from politics on Friday. Source: Henry Romero/Reuters
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