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Demand for NDP-connected hires soars in competitive, niche job market

SIMON DOYLE

After NDP Leader Rachel Notley won the Alberta provincial election this spring, Ken Georgetti’s phone started ringing. The former president of the Canadian Labour Congress was getting feelers for job offers.

The semi-retired former union leader went on to a position as strategic counsel to Canadian Strategy Group, an Edmonton government relations consultancy, as many firms re-evaluate their dearth of NDP-linked talent.

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Pierre Poilievre growing into one of the Conservatives' new stars

CAMPBELL CLARK

At 36, Pierre Poilievre has built a career with a brazen approach to partisanship, and in 11 years as an MP gained a reputation for taking on hardball political tasks. But there are things he won’t do: His own party has a hard time getting him to announce government spending, because it clashes with his small-government principles.

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Home builders urge Ottawa take measures to boost sales, renovations

SIMON DOYLE

An association representing the Canadian home building industry has been meeting with the federal government and MPs to explore new measures that would spur home buying and renovations as some Canadian markets have softened.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) reported the highest number of lobbying meetings in Ottawa in May owing to a lobby day on Parliament Hill and about 60 discussions with government officials and parliamentarians, according to new data released last week from the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.

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Federal Liberals' brand unharmed by Wynne’s controversial sex-ed curriculum

JANE TABER

Justin Trudeau does not have to worry about sex-ed

An internal poll for the Ontario Liberals has big implications for Justin Trudeau and his team of federal Liberals. It shows that Kathleen Wynne’s controversial updating of the sex-education curriculum is popular among Ontarians.

Some Ontario federal Liberal candidates and MPs feared opposition to the new provincial curriculum was affecting their brand – and votes – in the upcoming election. They believe that voters would not discriminate between Ontario and federal Liberals, and that casting a vote against a Liberal in the election would be a vote against the sex-ed curriculum.

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Now is the summer of Tory infrastructure announcements

CAMPBELL CLARK

There will be a long, hot summer of election campaigning, and the Conservatives have the home-field advantage.

They can use your money, and the megaphone of government spending announcements, to be heard in ways that other parties cannot. And you will hear them. Often.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are preparing a slew of infrastructure announcements, cutting ribbons on projects across the country. There’s been a slowdown in such projects, but now the gates are opening, mere months before an election.

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Lobbyists troubled by reduced role on the campaign trail

SIMON DOYLE

Lobbyists are concerned they’re going into the 2015 election in a new ethics environment that will reduce their involvement in political campaigns to putting up lawn signs or attending a fundraiser.

Federal lobbyists, who have traditionally played volunteer roles in local and national political campaigns by providing strategic advice, helping with fundraising or working on communications, are being told by the Office of Commissioner of Lobbying that being an executive on a local electoral district association or writing a campaign speech for a political candidate could put them in a conflict of interest.

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One year after Kathleen Wynne’s re-election, so much has changed

ADRIAN MORROW

If a week is a long time in politics, a year is an eternity.

All three of Ontario’s major political parties are doing their best to prove that old adage as the province passes the first anniversary of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s majority election victory.

On that June Thursday in 2014, Ms. Wynne effectively presented herself as a left-of-centre leader – promising not to cut the size of government and tapping the support of public sector unions – with a penchant for apologizing for her party’s past sins, particularly wasting $1.1-billion to cancel two gas-fired power plants.

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Will Fantino run in 2015 or drop out like other Harper ministers?

JANE TABER

Will he or won’t he

Stephen Harper’s Tories may be losing another veteran minister: Julian Fantino, associate minister of defence, has not been nominated in the Vaughan-Woodbridge riding.

Mr. Fantino’s riding association president, Frank Domenichiello, sent an e-mail saying that Mr. Fantino is “seeking to run” in the election, but a senior Conservative official says it is still “up in the air” whether he will run again. The riding is being held open, says the official, pending Mr. Fantino’s decision.

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Ottawa’s treatment of First Nations activist is petty, disgraceful and disrespectful

ANDRÉ PICARD

Last Friday, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal awarded Cindy Blackstock, president of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, $20,000 in damages because of the crass manner in which she was treated by officials in the office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Dr. Blackstock is one of the most principled and dedicated activists in the country. Her small group has been fighting for many years to expose the inequitable funding of child welfare services on First Nations reserves. It has done so in the courts, before tribunals and in the public arena.

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Tories lobbying oil and gas industry to keep Keystone XL plans afloat

SIMON DOYLE

Energy Minister Greg Rickford arranged meetings with several energy companies in Houston in January to lobby for investment in Canadian oil and gas and shore up industry confidence in the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Following a day of meetings in mid-January, the minister and the Canadian government hosted a reception at an exclusive business venue called the Houston Club, with invitations extended to more than 40 executives, including managers from the biggest oil and gas companies in the United States, such as BG Group PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Halliburton Co.

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First step to reforming the Senate is cutting its funding

CAMPBELL CLARK

At 6:30 on Monday evening, Treasury Board President Tony Clement is scheduled to open a debate in the Commons, where he will defend $57-million in government spending on the Senate. Good luck with that, Mr. Clement.

The next day, Auditor-General Michael Ferguson’s report on the expense claims of Senators is due to be made public. Whatever we learn from some still-unleaked details, we can expect to hear that 30 senators will be found to have spent money in inappropriate ways that, at least in most cases, Canadians won’t like.

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In a three-way race, the Tories would likely still capture the most seats

Paul Fairie

Paul Fairie is a political scientist at the University of Calgary, where he studies voter behaviour.

After several years of polls suggesting that the next federal vote would be a two-party race between the Conservatives and Liberals, surveys taken since the second week in May have measured vote intention as a three-way dead heat nationwide, with the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats repeatedly polling within a hair of 30 per cent.

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How to fix end-of-life care, from those who provide it

ANDRÉ PICARD

“Access to palliative care in Canada is highly variable: It depends on where you live, how old you are and what you are dying from.”

That is the blunt conclusion of a new survey of Canadian physicians who provide end-of-life care. (The survey was done by the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network.)

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