Jim Prentice

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Posted by motoman 03/03/2009 @ 16:14

Tags : jim prentice, cabinet, politics, canada, world

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Oilsands at risk of losing "centre" of world energy supply distinction - 660 News
Jim Burkhard, the study's director, tells 660News the oilsands have made Canada the number one foreign supplier of oil to the United States, but that could change if Alberta doesn't improving efficiency to reduce emissions....
Canada to follow Obama on vehicle-emission reductions - Canada.com
Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Ottawa would ensure regulations here closely mimic what Obama proposes. Canada's government intends to largely fall in line with the tough automobile-emission standards US President Barack Obama...
Canada wants North American standard on fuel efficiency for auto ... - Calgary Herald
TORONTO -- Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Monday Canada aspires to be part of a stringent North American standard on fuel efficiency for the continent's heavily integrated auto industry. "At this point in the United States, it would appear as...
$270M paves way for city transit projects - CBC.ca
Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice speaks at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday. (CBC) Calgary's C-Train system is getting a $270-million injection from the municipal, provincial and federal governments to improve travel times and build...
Government of Canada Recognizes the National Historical ... - Market Wire (press release)
SAINTE-MARIE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 19, 2009) - On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Maxime Bernier, Member of Parliament for Beauce, today unveiled a Historic Sites and...
Government Appoints New Members to the National Round Table on the ... - SYS-CON Media (press release)
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 05/19/09 -- Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice, today announced appointments to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE). The appointments of Ms. Dianne Cunningham,...
Harper gov't gives $1B for Carbon Capture - iNews880.com
It's the first piece that will be part of Environment minister Jim Prentice's talks with the Obama administration's plans for setting up a cap and trade system. "If you take a look at the continental GHG emissions, 90% are coming from the United States...
New paths unveiled for national park - 660 News
Environment Minister Jim Prentice tells 660News the $7-million "Legacy Trail" is a project he feels strongly about, as it will improve safety for those who want to bicycle through the park. He says he also anticipates it will attract tourists to the...
Parks Canada announces national fee freeze and upgrades at Rogers ... - Revelstoke Times Review
Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada Jim Prentice announced the freeze on May 9. Fees for individuals will stay pegged at 2008 levels until April 1, 2011. For the travel trade, 2009 rates currently in effect will be frozen...

Jim Prentice

Jim Prentice

James "Jim" Prentice, PC, MP (born July 20, 1956, in South Porcupine, Ontario near Timmins) is a Canadian lawyer, and politician. In the 2004 federal election he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as a candidate of the Conservative Party of Canada. He was re-elected in the 2006 federal election and appointed to the cabinet as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. Prentice was appointed Minister of Industry on August 14, 2007, succeeding Maxime Bernier. , and after the 2008 election became Minister of Environment on October 30, 2008, succeeding John Baird.

Prentice was born to a large, blue-collar family in northern Ontario. The family then eventually moved to Alberta. His father Eric Prentice was a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) in the 1940s. Prentice was educated at the University of Alberta (where he became a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity) and Dalhousie University. He paid for his tuition by working as a coal miner in the summer months for seven years.

As a lawyer, he has specialized in physical property rights including relocations, environmental protection suits, and cases arising from restricted development areas. He also served as a Law Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission of Canada.

Prentice served for seven years on the Board of Directors at the Calgary Winter Club, including stints as President and Chairman. He is an active member and volunteer leader in the Grace Presbyterian Church.

Prentice joined the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1976, and has been active in Tory circles ever since. In the 1986 Alberta Provincial Election, Prentice ran for the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary Mountain View, being defeated by NDP candidate Bob Hawkesworth. He was the youngest Tory candidate in that election.

During the early 1990s, Prentice served as the governing federal PC Party's Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer (1990-93). Prentice first ran for Parliament as the nominated Progressive Conservative candidate in a spring 2002 by-election in the riding of Calgary Southwest that followed the retirement of Preston Manning as the riding's Member of Parliament (MP). When newly elected Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper replaced nominated CA candidate Ezra Levant in the by-election, Prentice withdrew from the race as a gesture of compromise.

He ran in the 2003 Progressive Conservative leadership election to support the "United Alternative" proposal to merge the PC party with the Canadian Alliance. He was seen by many as an alternative to the "status quo" candidate and front runner Peter MacKay. A basic platform of Prentice's campaign was that "no one has ever defeated the Liberals with a divided conservative family." Prentice entered the 2003 convention day with some momentum after delivering a passionate speech to the assembled delegates that encouraged Tories to be proud of their accomplishments despite recent setbacks and that recalled the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele. He also unexpectedly received the support of fellow leadership challenger Craig Chandler, who withdrew early. Prentice ultimately emerged in second-place on the fourth ballot to the eventual winner MacKay. Some political pundits noted that while Prentice was ultimately defeated in the final ballot, he had the ability to draw support from both the social conservative and Red Tory candidates who contested the race, after they were officially knocked off in the first and second ballots respectively. Consistent with his positions during the leadership race, Prentice was a supporter of the merger endorsed by both the CA and PC parties in December 2003 that formed the new Conservative Party of Canada.

Prentice was the first declared candidate for the leadership of the new Conservative Party, announcing his run on December 7, 2003, the day after the new party was ratified by members of the PC Party. Prentice began his campaign in Calgary and toured parts of Ontario, specifically visiting Kingston, Ontario, the hometown of the first Canadian Conservative Leader Sir John A. Macdonald and also the city where one of his daughters attends Queen's University. However, he withdrew from the race on January 12, 2004, citing difficulty in raising new funds less than a year after his unsuccessful first leadership bid.

Prentice ran in the riding of Calgary Centre-North in the 2004 election for the new Conservative Party, and won the seat.

After being sworn in as the MP for Calgary Centre North on July 16, Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper named Prentice to the Shadow Cabinet as the Official Opposition Critic for Indian and Northern Affairs. In that role Prentice opposed the Tli Cho land claim agreement, which he says will make Canadian law secondary to Tlicho local law. Prentice is also a strong supporter of the proposed and controversial Mackenzie Valley pipeline. He criticized the Liberal government for its treatment of aboriginal women, and its alleged costs of administering the Residential School Claims program for aboriginal victims of abuse.

Prentice is one of the higher-profile Red Tories in the Conservative Party, by his own admission. For example, Prentice surprised many observers when he voted in favour of Bill C-38 supporting same-sex marriage. While the Conservative Party advocated a free vote, this put him at odds with many of his conservative constituents as well as conservative groups such as Concerned Christians Canada Inc. who have even advocated his removal as an MP. In February 2005, Craig Chandler, the CEO of Concerned Christians Canada Inc. suggested on CBC Newsworld that he would be campaigning for the Conservative Party nomination in the next 2006 federal election in Prentice's riding of Calgary North Centre, because of Prentice's pro-choice stance on abortion and his support of same-sex marriage. The March CPC Policy Convention in Montreal voted in favour of allowing sitting Tory MPs to gain their nominations uncontested in minority government scenarios where elections are less predictable.

Prentice had been assigned the Indian and Northern Affairs portfolio in the Conservative government, and was sworn in to this role on February 6, 2006 until August 13, 2007. One of his main challenges as Minister was to implement the "The Nunavut Project," a 2006 report authored by Thomas Berger, to show tangible, measurable results to increase Inuit representation in the Nunavut public service.

In the fall of 2006, Phil Fontaine, National chief of the Assembly of First Nations, expressed disappointment over the Conservative government's refusal to honour the Kelowna Accord, endorsed by 14 jurisdictions (the federal government, 10 provinces, and three territories). Fontaine previously described the federal government's point person on Kelowna, Jim Prentice, as an "honourable" person sensitive to native concerns. Prior to January 2006 election, Fontaine and two vice-chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations had a meeting with Prentice. "Prentice acknowledged all the hard work that went into Kelowna and (said) that the Conservative party would not put this aside," says Fontaine. "We took him at his word." Prentice does not recall saying that: "I've always been very, very careful about what I've said about Kelowna," According to Fontaine, in their first meeting after the 2006 election, "(Prentice) wanted to apply a very focused approach to his responsibilities." In the federal budget of May 2006, Fontaine and other native leaders got a glimpse of what "focused" meant: just $450 million (over two years) was committed to implementing Kelowna, not the $1.64 billion for the first two years that Paul Martin had agreed to.

Prentice argued that there was actually $3.7 billion in spending on native peoples in the May 2006 budget, "more than the previous four budgets in total." That figure includes $2.2 billion in compensation for victims of abuse in residential schools (another deal that was worked out with the previous government) and $300 million for off-reserve housing.

On June 11, 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked Jim Prentice for his work on addressing the matter of the Indian residential schools and providing a government apology for the residential school system. Stephen Harper's thanks to Prentice came before he made the apology to former students of the schools.

In a cabinet shuffle on August 14, 2007, Prentice became Minister of Industry, succeeding Maxime Bernier.

Prentice has been headed with changing Canadian intellectual property laws akin to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States. This has been linked to pressure from the United States government and multinational media advocacy groups. allegedly Bringing "Canada into WIPO treaty compliance," has been stated as one of Prentice's goals in future copyright legislation. It has been pointed out repeatedly, however, that at the time of Prentice's statement of his rationale for introducing amendments to the Copyright Act, there was no international legal obligation to implement any provision of the World Intellectual Property Organiation (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT) or the WIPO Performances & Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) since neither had been ratified by Canada. Prentice has promised to "put consumers first." claiming in an editorial that "(C-61) allows the recording of webcasts and TV and radio programs to be enjoyed at different times" while ignoring the fact that if the files are protected by digital rights management (DRM) it is illegal to break the DRM to make the recording. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has suggested that the core desire of the draft legislation is "to satisfy U.S. pressure by enacting something very close to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act".

Prentice has been hostile to Canadians who requested to consult with him regarding the issue. Prentice refused to discuss the issue with CBC Radio Canada despite the hundreds of questions that flooded in from concerned Canadians. He also refused to talk to a group of protesters who went to his office to express their concern, stating "When Canadian Heritage Minister Josée Verner and I have reached a consensus and we're satisfied, we will introduce a bill." Prentice has also implied that he will not follow the Government's policy to table the WCT & WPPT 21 days prior to introducing copyright amendments designed to implement parts of these treaties contrary to the Government's policy on treaty implementation. Industry Canada announced on June 11, 2008, that Prentice "will deliver brief statements and answer media inquiries shortly after the tabling of a bill to amend the Copyright Act ... Thursday, June 12, 2008". After less than two hours, hundreds of Canadians and critics panned the new Bill C-61 as nothing more than pandering to US interests at the expense of Canadians.. As of July 14, 2008 more than 87000 Canadians have joined an ever-growing Facebook group to protest the proposed legislation, Bill C-61. This represents nearly 3000 additional people protesting C-61 on Facebook for each day since the legislation was introduced.

Prentice has also been unwilling to candidly respond to questions from the public. On a 10 minute interview with the CBC's Search Engine radio program he dismissed any question related to digital rights management as "extremely technical" and claimed that the market will take care of copy protected CD's. Prentice then hung up mid question and refused to continue the interview at a later time. Jim Prentice’s abbreviated interview and inability to provide coherent answers places the power and direction of the bill into question. Most notably, Jim Prentice hung up before answering Jesse Brown’s final question about who, under this bill, would have the power to investigate potential copyright violations.

During the period of May 27, 2008 to June 4, 2008, edits originating from an IP address belonging to Industry Canada were made to the Jim Prentice article on Wikipedia. The edits included the removal of references to new copyright legislation (claiming that it did not exist) and the addition of two passages about Prentice's recent accomplishments as Minister of Industry. Specifically, information about the copyright controversy was deleted from Prentice's biography by someone using an Industry Canada IP address.

In a February 29, 2008 speech to the Toronto Board of Trade Prentice rejected the concept of direct subsidies to the auto industry, insisting that setting up a strong economic foundation is a better route to strengthen the business. Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says the Conservatives are refusing to recognize the economic challenges facing Canada despite the planned shutdown of the GM truck plant in Oshawa, Ont.

Prentice has sidestepped the issue of Canada's net neutrality, refusing to answer questions about the government's position on internet throttling practices by national Internet Service Providers (ISPs). New Democratic Party MP Charlie Angus raised the issue to Prentice in the House of Commons and said the government's "hands off" approach was bad for Canadian innovation. Prentice claims the issue is being appropriately handled by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which has invited the general public to an open debate on net neutrality.

After initially appearing to take a stand on the issue , Prentice refused to intervene when Telus and Bell charging 15 cents for incoming SMS text messages despite widespread opposition by consumer groups. This decision was made after Prentice dialogued with senior Bell and Telus executives and suggested that consumers "seek alternatives", even in Canada's limited-competition cellular industry.

On October 30, 2008, Prentice was sworn in as Minister of the Environment in the Conservative Government.

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Conservative Party of Canada

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada (French: Parti conservateur du Canada), colloquially known as the Tories, is a major political party in Canada, formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party. The party is positioned in the center-right of the Canadian political spectrum. The party currently forms the Government of Canada, and is led by the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

The Conservative Party is political heir to a series of conservative parties that have existed in Canada, beginning with the Liberal-Conservative Party founded in 1854 by Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier. The party later became known simply as the Conservative Party after 1873. Like its historical predecessors and conservative parties in some other commonwealth nations (such as the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom), members of the present-day Conservative Party of Canada are sometimes referred to as "Tories". The modern Conservative Party of Canada is also legal heir to the heritage of the historical conservative parties by virtue of assuming the assets and liabilities of the former Progressive Conservative Party upon the merger of 2003.

The first incarnations of the Conservative Party in Canada were quite different from the Conservative Party of today, especially on economic issues. The early Conservatives were known to espouse economic protectionism and British imperialism, by emphasizing Canada's ties to the United Kingdom while vigorously opposing free trade with the United States of America; free trade being a policy which, at the time, had strong support from the ranks of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Conservatives also sparred with the Liberal Party due to its connections with French Canadian nationalists including Henri Bourassa who wanted Canada to distance itself from Britain, and demanded that Canada recognize that it had two nations, English Canada and French Canada, connected together through a common history. The Conservatives would go on with a popular slogan "one nation, one flag, one leader" and supported policies such as the assimilation of French Canadians, aboriginals, and immigrants.

The Conservative Party's popular support waned (particularly in western Canada) during difficult economic times from the 1920s to 1940s, as it was seen by many in the west as an eastern establishment party which ignored the needs of the citizens of Western Canada. Westerners of multiple political convictions including small-"c" conservatives saw the party as being uninterested in the economically-unstable Prairie regions of the west at the time and instead holding close ties with the business elite of Ontario and Quebec. As a result of western alienation both the dominant Conservative and Liberal parties were challenged in the west by the rise of a number of protest parties including the Progressive Party of Canada, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), and the Social Credit Party of Canada. The Progressives once outpaced the Conservatives, and, in 1920, became Official Opposition, though soon after, the Progressive Party folded. Former Progressive leader John Bracken became leader of the Conservative Party in 1942 subject to several conditions, one of which was that the party be renamed the Progressive Conservative Party. Meanwhile, many former supporters of the Progressive Party shifted their support to either the federal CCF or to the federal Liberals. The advancement of the provincially-popular western-based conservative Social Credit Party in federal politics was stalled, in part by the strategic selection of leaders from the west by the Progressive Conservative Party. Conservative leaders such as John Diefenbaker and Joe Clark were seen by many westerners as viable challengers to the Liberals who traditionally had relied on the electorate in Quebec and Ontario for their power base. While none of the various protest parties ever succeeded in gaining significant power federally, was damaging to the Conservative Party throughout its history, and allowed the federal Liberals to win election after election with strong urban support bases in Ontario and Quebec. This historical tendency earned the Liberals the unofficial title often given by some political pundits of being Canada's "natural governing party". Prior to 1984, Canada was seen as having a dominant-party system led by the Liberal Party while Conservative governments therefore were considered by many of these pundits as caretaker governments, doomed to fall once the collective mood of the electorate shifted and the federal Liberal Party eventually came back to power.

In 1984, the Progressive Conservative Party's electoral fortunes made a massive upturn under its new leader, Brian Mulroney, an anglophone Quebecker and former president of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, who mustered a large coalition of westerners aggravated over the National Energy Program of the Liberal government and Quebeckers who were angered over Quebec not having distinct status in the Constitution of Canada signed in 1982. This led to a huge landslide victory for the Progressive Conservative Party. Progressive Conservatives abandoned protectionism which the party had held strongly to in the past and which had aggravated westerners and businesses and fully espoused free trade with the United States and integrating Canada into a globalized economy. This was accomplished with the signing of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1989 and much of the key implementation process of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which added Mexico to the Canada-U.S. free trade zone.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, federal conservative politics became split by the creation of a new western-based protest party, the populist and social conservative Reform Party of Canada created by Preston Manning, son of Alberta Social Credit Premier Ernest Manning. The party was very controversial in Canadian politics. It advocated deep decentralization of government power, abolishment of official bilingualism and multiculturalism, democratization of the Canadian Senate, opposed abortion, opposed extending rights to homosexuals and suggested a potential return to capital punishment, and advocated significant privatization of public services. Despite controversial aspects of Reform, Westerners felt betrayed by the federal Conservative Party, seeing it as catering to Quebec and urban Ontario interests over theirs. In 1989, Reform made headlines in the political scene when its first MP, Deborah Grey, was elected in a by-election in Alberta, which was a shock to the PCs which had almost complete electoral dominance over the province for years. Another defining event for western conservatives was when Mulroney accepted the results of an unofficial Senate "election" held in Alberta, which resulted in the appointment of a Reformer, Stanley Waters, to the Senate.

By the 1990s, Mulroney had failed to bring about Senate reform as he had promised (appointing a number of unelected Senators in 1990). As well, social conservatives were dissatisfied with Mulroney's social progressivism. Canadians in general were furious with high unemployment, high debt and deficit, unpopular implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 1991, and the failed constitutional reforms of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. In 1993, support for the Progressive Conservative Party collapsed, and the party's representation in the House of Commons dropped from an absolute majority of seats to only two seats. The 1993 results were the worst electoral disaster in Canadian history, and the Progressive Conservatives never fully recovered.

In 1993, federal politics became divided regionally. The Liberal Party took Ontario, the Maritimes and the territories, the separatist Bloc Québécois took Quebec, while the Reform Party took Western Canada and became the dominant conservative party in Canada. The problem of the split on the right was accentuated by Canada's single member plurality electoral system, which resulted in numerous seats being lost to the Liberal Party, even when the total number of votes cast for P.C. and Reform Party candidates was substantially in excess of the total number of votes cast for the Liberal candidate.

With the right-wing vote split, the Liberal Party won three successive majority governments which led the Reform Party and elements of the Progressive Conservative Party to advocate "uniting the right" which was completed in 2003, when the Canadian Alliance (formerly the Reform Party) and Progressive Conservative parties agreed to merge into the present-day Conservative Party, with the Alliance faction conceding its populist ideals and some social conservative elements.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and many other high-profile former Progressive Conservatives, including the former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney see the Conservative Party today as a natural evolution of the conservative political movement in Canada. MacKay has suggested that the Conservative Party is a reflection of the reunification of conservative ideologies under a "big tent." MacKay has often said that fractures have been a natural part of the Canadian conservative movement's history since the 1890s and that the merger was a reconstitution of a movement that has existed since the Union of Upper and Lower Canada.

On October 15, 2003, after closed-door meetings were held by the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party, Stephen Harper (then the leader of the Canadian Alliance) and Peter MacKay (then the leader of the Progressive Conservatives) announced the "'Conservative Party Agreement-in-Principle", thereby merging their parties to create the new Conservative Party of Canada. After several months of talks between two teams of "emissaries", consisting of Don Mazankowski, Bill Davis and Loyola Hearn on behalf of the PCs and Ray Speaker Senator Gerry St. Germain and Scott Reid on behalf of the Alliance, the deal came to be.

On December 5, the Agreement-in-Principle was ratified by the membership of the Alliance by a margin of 96% to 4% in a national referendum conducted by postal ballot. On December 6 the PC Party held a series of regional conventions, at which delegates ratified the Agreement-in-Principle by a margin of 90% to 10%. On December 7, 2003, the new party was officially registered with Elections Canada. On March 20, 2004, Stephen Harper was elected leader.

The merger was the culmination of the Canadian "Unite the Right" movement, driven by the desire to present an effective right-wing opposition to the Liberal Party of Canada, to create a new party that would draw support from all parts of Canada and would not split the right-wing vote. The splitting of the right-wing vote contributed to Liberal victories in the 1993 federal election, 1997 federal election and the 2000 election.

The merger process was controversial. David Orchard had a written agreement from Peter MacKay at the 2003 Progressive Conservative Leadership convention excluding any such merger and led an unsuccessful legal challenge to it. Orchard (under the Progressive Conservative party leadership election rules) is still owed at least $70,000 by the newly merged Conservative Party. This debt has been recognized as legitimate by the Conservative Party lawyers; however, its reimbursement is on hold pending the outcome of legal matters between the party and Orchard.

At the time of the merger four sitting Progressive Conservative Members of Parliament — André Bachand, John Herron, former Tory leadership candidate Scott Brison, and former Prime Minister Joe Clark — decided not to join the new Conservative Party caucus, as did retiring PC Party president Bruck Easton. Clark and Brison argued that the party's merger with the Canadian Alliance drove it too far to the right, and away from its historical position in Canadian politics. Brison, at first, voted for and supported the ratification of the Alliance-Tory merger, then crossed the floor to the Liberals . Soon afterward, he was made a parliamentary secretary in Paul Martin's Liberal government, and became a full cabinet minister after the 2004 federal election. Herron also ran as a Liberal candidate in the election, but did not join the Liberal caucus prior to the election. He lost his seat to the new Conservative Party's candidate Rob Moore. Bachand and Clark both retired from Parliament at the end of the session.

One former Alliance MP, former Alliance leadership candidate Keith Martin, also left the party on January 14. He retained his seat in the 2004 election, running under the Liberal banner. In the 38th Parliament (2004-2005), Martin served as parliamentary secretary to Bill Graham, Canada's minister of defence. He was reelected a second time in the 2006 general election.

Additionally, three senators, the late William Doody, Norman Atkins, and Lowell Murray, declined to join the new party and continue to sit in the upper house as a rump caucus of Progressive Conservatives. The Martin Liberals exacerbated the Tory split in the Senate by appointing, in February 2005, provincial Progressive Conservatives Nancy Ruth and Elaine McCoy as senators and additional members of the rump PC Senate caucus. Ms. Ruth, however, later did join the new Conservative party in March 2006.

In the early months of the Conservatives' existence two Conservative MPs also became publicly disgruntled with the leadership, policy, and procedures of the new party. Former Progressive Conservative MP Rick Borotsik became openly critical of the new party's leadership during its initial months of existence and officially retired from politics at the end of the parliamentary session of spring 2004.

Former Canadian Alliance MP Chuck Cadman rejected the new party's riding nomination procedures in March after losing his local riding's Conservative nomination to an outside challenger. His membership in the Conservative party was revoked in late May. Cadman ran as an independent candidate in the federal election of June 2004. He was re-elected as the only independent in the new parliament but died of cancer in July 2005.

Additionally, after the 2004 federal election, Tory Senator Jean-Claude Rivest left the Conservatives to sit as an independent member of the Senate, citing his concerns that the new party was too right-wing and insensitive to Quebec needs and interests.

With 17,296 votes and 56.23% party support, Stephen Harper was chosen as leader of the new party in the March 20, 2004 leadership election, defeating former Ontario provincial PC Cabinet minister Tony Clement (2,887 votes, 9.4%) and former Magna International CEO Belinda Stronach (10,613 votes, 34.54%) on the first ballot.

Some Conservative activists had hoped to recruit former Ontario Premier Mike Harris for the leadership but he declined, as did New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein. Outgoing Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay also announced he would not seek the leadership of the new party as did former Democratic Representative Caucus leader and Canadian Alliance Member of Parliament (MP) Chuck Strahl. Jim Prentice, who had been a candidate in the 2003 PC leadership contest, entered the Conservative leadership race in mid-December but dropped out in mid-January due to an inability to raise funds so soon after his earlier leadership bid.

Two months after Harper's election as national Tory leader, Liberal Party of Canada leader and Prime Minister Paul Martin called a general election for June 28, 2004. However, in the interim between the formation of the new party and the selection of its new leader, factional infighting and investigations into the Sponsorship Scandal significantly reduced the popularity of the governing Liberal Party. This allowed the Conservatives to be more prepared for the race, unlike the 2000 federal election when few predicted the early election call. For the first time since the 1993 federal election, a Liberal government would have to deal with a united conservative front. The Liberals attempted to counter this with an early election call, as this would give the Conservatives less time to consolidate their merger.

During the first half of the campaign, polls showed a rise in support for the new party, leading some pollsters to predict the election of a minority Conservative government. An unpopular provincial budget by Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty hurt the federal Liberals' numbers in Ontario, as did a weak performance from Martin in the leaders' debates. The Liberals managed to narrow the gap and eventually regain momentum by targeting the Conservatives' credibility and motives, hurting their efforts to present a reasonable, responsible and moderate alternative to the governing Liberals.

Several controversial comments were made by Conservative MPs during the campaign. Early on in the campaign, Ontario MP Scott Reid indicated his feelings as Tory language critic that the policy of official bilingualism was unrealistic and needed to be reformed. Alberta MP Rob Merrifield suggested as Tory health critic that women ought to have mandatory family counseling before they choose to have an abortion. BC MP Randy White indicated his willingness near the end of the campaign to use the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution to override the Charter of Rights on the issue of same-sex marriage, and Cheryl Gallant, another Ontario MP, compared abortion to terrorism. The party was also criticized for issuing press releases accusing both Paul Martin and Jack Layton of supporting child pornography, although both releases were recalled within a few hours.

Harper's new Conservatives emerged from the election with a larger parliamentary caucus of 99 MPs while the Liberals were reduced to a minority government of 135 MPs, requiring the Liberals to obtain support from at least twenty-three opposition MPs in order to guarantee the passage of Liberal government legislation. The Conservatives' popular vote, however, was actually lower than the combined Alliance and PC popular vote in the 2000 federal election.

In 2005, some political analysts such as former Progressive Conservative pollster Allan Gregg and Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert suggested that the then-subsequent election could result in a Conservative government if the public were to perceive the Tories as emerging from the party's founding convention (then scheduled for March 2005) with clearly defined, moderate policies with which to challenge the Liberals.

The convention provided the public with an opportunity to see the Conservative Party in a new light, appearing to have reduced the focus on its controversial social conservative agenda (although most Conservatives continue to oppose same-sex marriage). It retained its populist appeal by espousing tax cuts, smaller government, a grassroots-oriented democratic reform, and more decentralization by giving the provinces more taxing powers and decision-making authority in joint federal-provincial programs. The party's law and order package was an effort to address the perception of rising homicide rates, which had gone up 12% in 2004. Statistics Canada.

On May 17, 2005, MP Belinda Stronach surprised many when she crossed the floor from the Conservative Party to join the Liberal Party.

In late August and early September 2005, the Tories released ads through Ontario's major television broadcasters that highlighted their policies towards health care, education and child support. The ads each featured Stephen Harper discussing policy with prominent members of his Shadow Cabinet. Some analysts suggested at the time that the Tories would use similar ads in the expected 2006 federal election, instead of focusing their attacks on allegations of corruption in the Liberal government as they did earlier on.

An Ipsos-Reid Poll conducted after the fallout from the first report of the Gomery Commission on the sponsorship scandal showed the Tories practically tied for public support with the governing Liberal Party , and a poll from the Strategic Counsel suggested that the Conservatives were actually in the lead. However, polling two days later showed the Liberals had regained an 8-point lead .

On November 24, 2005, Opposition leader Stephen Harper introduced a motion of no confidence which was passed on November 28, 2005. With the confirmed backing of the other two opposition parties, this resulted in an election on January 23, 2006, following a campaign spanning the Christmas season.

The Conservatives started off the first month of the campaign by making a series of policy-per-day announcements, which included a Goods and Services Tax reduction and a child-care allowance. This strategy was a surprise to many in the news media, as they believed the party would focus on the sponsorship scandal; instead, the Conservative strategy was to let that issue ruminate with voters. The Liberals opted to hold their major announcements after the Christmas holidays; as a result, Harper dominated media coverage for the first few weeks of the campaign and was able "to define himself, rather than to let the Liberals define him". The Conservatives' announcements played to Harper's strengths as a policy wonk , as opposed to in the 2004 election and summer 2005 where he tried to overcome the perception that he was cool and aloof. Though his party showed only modest movement in the polls, Harper's personal approval numbers, which had always trailed his party's significantly, began to rise relatively rapidly.

On December 27, 2005, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced it was investigating Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale's office for potentially engaging in insider trading before making an important announcement on the taxation of income trusts. The revelation of the criminal investigation and Goodale's refusal to step aside dominated news coverage for the following week, and it gained further attention when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced they would also launch a probe. The income trust scandal distracted public attention from the Liberals' key policy announcements and allowed the Conservatives to refocus on their previous attacks on corruption within the Liberal party. The Tories were leading in the polls by early January 2006, and made a major breakthrough in Quebec where they displaced the Liberals as the second place party (after the Bloc Québécois).

In response to the growing Conservative lead, the Liberals launched negative ads suggesting that Harper had a "hidden agenda", similar to the attacks made in the 2004 election. The Liberal ads did not have the same effect this time as the Conservatives had much more momentum, at one stage holding a ten-point lead. Harper's personal numbers continued to rise and polls found he was considered not only more trustworthy, but also a better potential Prime Minister than Paul Martin. In addition to the Conservatives being more disciplined, media coverage of the Conservatives was also more positive than in 2004. By contrast, the Liberals found themselves increasingly criticized for running a poor campaign and making numerous gaffes.

On January 23, 2006, the Conservatives won 124 seats, compared to 103 for the Liberals. The results made the Conservatives the largest party in the 308-member House of Commons, enabling them to form a minority government. On February 6, Stephen Harper was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, along with his Cabinet.

The Federal Accountability Act in response to the sponsorship scandal, President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable John Baird introduced the bill to the Canadian House of Commons on April 11, 2006. The bill was passed in the House of Commons on June 22, 2006, and was granted royal assent on December 13, 2006.

On October 31, 2006, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the government would begin taxing income trusts in 2011, which backtracked on one of their campaign promises. There had been an increasing number of corporations converting to income trusts which would result in them paying lowered taxes; Flaherty argued that income trusts would cost the government hundreds of millions in lost revenue and shift the burden onto ordinary people. Subsequent to the October 31 announcement by Flaherty, the TSX Capped Energy Trust Index lost 21.8% in market value and the TSX Capped Income Trust Index lost 17.6% in market value by mid November 2006. In contrast, the TSX Capped REIT Index, which is exempt from the 'Tax Fairness Plan', gained 3.2% in market value. According to the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors, this translates into a permanent loss in savings of $35 billion to Canadian income trust investors. The Conservatives are supported on the matter by the NDP.

On November 22, 2006, Harper introduced his own motion to recognize the Québécois as forming a "nation within a united Canada". Five days later, Harper's motion passed, with a margin of 266–16; all federalist parties, as well as the Bloc Québécois, were formally behind it.

During three by-elections held on September 17, 2007, mayor Denis Lebel captured the seat of Roberval for the Conservatives, taking it from the Bloc, while Bernard Barre ran a close second in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot. This raised the Conservative total in the House of Commons to 126 members. Some believe these results indicate that the Conservatives have consolidated their position as the main federalist option in Quebec, outside of Montreal.

Conservative Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced Bill C-61 - a copyright reform bill which was widely criticized for lack of consultations before the bill was introduced. Prentice has stated that he believes C-61 is the right way to go with respect to copyright reform..

On February 27, 2008, allegations surfaced that two Conservative Party officials offered Independent MP Chuck Cadman a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote to bring down the Liberal government in a May 2005 budget vote. If the elements of the story are true, the Conservatives' actions may amount to a criminal offence. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to bribe an MP. An audio tape suggests then-opposition leader Stephen Harper was not only aware of a financial offer to Chuck Cadman but gave it his personal approval.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been asked to investigate, and confirmed late February 28, 2008 that it is examining a claim from the Liberal Party that the incident violates the Criminal Code's Section 119 provisions on bribery and corruption.

The RCMP searched Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa on April 15, 2008 at the request of Elections Canada. Elections commissioner William Corbett requested the assistance of the Mounties. Elections Canada is probing Conservative party spending for advertisements during the 2006 parliamentary election campaign.

The Conservative Party of Canada, having reached the $18.3-million advertising spending limit set out under the Canada Elections Act, transferred cash to 66 local campaign offices. The local campaigns sent the money back to national party headquarters to buy local television and radio advertisements for their candidates.

Financial agents for at least 35 of those Conservative candidates later asked to be reimbursed for those expenses. Candidates who get 10 per cent of the votes in their riding get a portion of their election expenses returned from Elections Canada. Elections Canada refused, saying the party paid for the ads, not the candidates. The Conservatives maintain they didn't break any rules.

On May 26, 2008, the Conservative Party recognized in a private-members bill the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine as an act of genocide. The famine, orchestrated by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, has been recognized as genocide by a dozen countries—although some historians disagree.

On September 7, 2008 Stephen Harper asked the Governor General of Canada to dissolve parliament. The election took place on 14 October. The Conservative Party returned to government with 143 seats, up from the 127 seats they held at dissolution, but short of the 155 necessary for a majority government. This is the third minority parliament in a row in Canada, and the second for Harper.

The Conservative Party pitched the election as a choice between Harper and the Liberals' Stéphane Dion, who they portrayed as a weak and ineffective leader. The election, however, was rocked midway through by the emerging global financial crisis and this became the central issue through to the end of the campaign. Mr. Harper has been criticised for appearing unresponsive and unsympathetic to the uncertainty Canadians were feeling during the period of financial turmoil, but he countered that the Conservatives were the best party to navigate Canada through the financial crisis, and portrayed the Liberal "Green Shift" plan as reckless and detrimental to Canada's economic well-being.

The Conservative Party released its platform on October 7. The platform states that it will re-introduce a bill similar to C-61.

A new cabinet was sworn in on October 30, 2008.

The party’s second convention was held in Winnipeg in November 2008. This was the party’s first convention since taking power in 2006, and media coverage concentrated on the fact that this time, the convention was not very policy-oriented, and showed the party to be becoming an establishment party.

However, the results of voting at the convention reveal that the party’s populist side still had some life. A resolution that would have allowed the party president a director of the party’s fund was defeated because it also permitted the twelve directors of the fund to become unelected “ex-officio” delegates. Some politically-incorrect policy resolutions were debated, including one to encourage provinces to utilize “both the public and private health sectors”, but most of these were defeated.

After the Conservative Party released their economic statement on November 27, 2008, there was a lot of criticism from Liberal Party, the NDP, and the Bloq Québécois. The opposition parties were against the cuts in public funding for political parties, and they alleged that the Conservatives were not doing enough to stimulate the weakening economy. As a result, these parties formed a coalition and planned to bring down the Conservative government through a non confidence vote. Prime Minister Harper asked the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, to prorogue parliament so that his party could prepare a new budget with the best interests of Canada in mind. The Governor General granted this request December 4th and parliament was prorogued until January 26th, 2009.

The new Conservative Party is an amalgam of two contrasting views about conservatism in Canada. Historically, the Progressive Conservatives touted traditional Red Tory ideals like state funded social programs, rejected closer ties with the United States and attempted to model Canada after centuries-old British institutions. Western Canadian conservatism, embodied in the Canadian Alliance party, was more inspired by Western U.S.-based conservatism; it espoused closer ties with the United States, Blue Tory conservatism, privatization, smaller government as well as reform and overhaul of political institutions (on the American/Australian model) and a decentralized federalism (a limited government in Ottawa with stronger provinces, as also advocated by Brian Mulroney). The new party generally supports a market economy approach to the economic sphere. The Conservative Party also provides a home for a multitude of other conservatives, such as libertarian conservatives, environmental conservatives, Canadian republicans, monarchists, and many others.

Since most of the MPs for the new party as well as the grassroots supporters come from the western provinces, its policy has significant influence from Reform Party of Canada philosophy, even though the new party has shed much of Reform's social conservative image, and is more focused on economic, military, "law and order" and democratic reform/ethics-in-government issues. Unlike the old Progressive Conservatives, it more reflects a strong Blue Tory ideology. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is known as an avid fiscal conservative and a strong supporter for a strong military within the context of a joint command for the Canadian Forces co-operating and co-planning with the U.S. under the umbrella of a central command, modeled after NORAD. He has embraced some social conservative positions, such as opposition to same-sex marriage, though not to same-sex civil unions.

The merger symbolizes the latest chapter in the evolution of conservatism in Canada, as the historical Conservative Party, which was founded by United Empire Loyalists, was vehemently opposed to free trade and further integration with the United States, aiming instead to model Canadian political institutions after British ones. Then under the leadership of Brian Mulroney, the party emphasized market forces in the economy and reached a landmark free-trade deal with the United States. Some critics argue that the current incarnation of conservatism espouses pro-American views, aspires to emulate American capitalism, less government involvement in the economy and more grassroots-oriented Jeffersonian democratic reform.

Being conservative both fiscally and socially, the Conservative Party generally favours lower taxes, smaller government, more decentralization of federal government powers to the provinces modeled after the Meech Lake Accord and a tougher stand on "law and order" issues. It is also opposed to the legalization of cannabis and has had a free vote on whether the House wanted to reopen the issue of same-sex marriage, which was defeated.

The party favors more spending on the military, and harmonizing standards and regulations with those of the United States.

As the successor of the western-based Canadian Alliance, the party also supports reform of the Senate to make it "elected, equal, and effective" (the "Triple-E Senate"). In practice, however, party leader Stephen Harper appointed the unelected Michael Fortier to both the Senate and to the Cabinet on 6 February 2006, the day his minority government took office. On December 22, 2008 the Prime Minister filled all eighteen vacant Senate seats. It was earlier reported in the Toronto Star that this action was "to kill any chance of a Liberal-NDP coalition government filling the vacancies next year".

The party also supports several other substantial reforms to reduce the present power of the Prime Minister's Office, such as establishing fixed election dates every four years and giving individual MPs more leeway in representing their constituents. In addition, in the wake of the sponsorship scandal and the resulting high-profile Gomery Inquiry the Conservative Party advocated government accountability and transparency reforms.

The Conservative Party, while officially having no current provincial wings, largely works with the former federal Progressive Conservative Party's provincial affiliates. There have been calls to change the names of the provincial parties from "Progressive Conservative" to "Conservative". However, there are other small "c" conservative parties which the federal Conservative Party has close ties with, such as the Saskatchewan Party, the Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), and to some degree, the right-wing BC Liberals (even though there is an active British Columbia Conservative Party).

The federal Conservative party has the support of many of the provincial Conservative leaders. In Ontario, provincial PC Party leader John Tory and interim provincial opposition leader Bob Runciman have expressed open support for Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada, with former Mike Harris cabinet members Jim Flaherty, Tony Clement, and John Baird now ministers in Harper's government.

Support between federal and provincial Conservatives is more tenuous in some other provinces. In Alberta, relations have been strained between the federal Conservative Party and the Progressive Conservative. Part of the federal Tories' loss in the 2004 election was often blamed on then Premier Klein's public musings on health care late in the campaign. Klein had also called for a referendum on same-sex marriage. With the impending 2006 election, Klein predicted another Liberal minority, though this time the federal Conservatives won a minority government . Klein's successor Ed Stelmach has generally tried to avoid causing similar controversies, however Harper's surprise pledge to restrict bitumen exports drew a sharp rebuke from the Albertan government, who warned such restrictions would violate both the Constitution of Canada and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

After the 2007 budget was announced the two conservative governments in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland accused the federal Conservatives of breaching the terms of the Atlantic Accord. As a result relations have worsened between the two provincial governments, leading Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams to publicly denounce the federal Conservatives, which has given rise to his ABC (Anything But Conservative) campaign in the 2008 election.

While officially separate, federal Conservative Party documents, such as membership applications, can be picked up from most provincial Progressive Conservative Party offices. Several of the provincial parties also contain open links to the federal Conservative website on their respective websites.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper has attended multiple provincial Progressive Conservative party conventions as a keynote speaker and he has encouraged all federal party members to purchase memberships in their provincial conservative counterparts.

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John Baird (Canadian politician)

John Russell Baird, PC, MP (born May 26, 1969) is a Canadian politician. A long-time resident of the former city of Nepean and a graduate of Kingston's Queens University, he is the member of the Canadian House of Commons for the riding of Ottawa West—Nepean. He was elected as a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2006 federal election when his party won a minority government over Paul Martin's Liberal Party.

Baird was sworn in as Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communitites, replacing Lawrence Cannon, on October 30, 2008, in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Baird had held the post of Minister of the Environment since Prime Minister Harper's cabinet reshuffle of January 2007. Prior to this, he served as the President of the Treasury Board during the Conservatives' first year in power, before being replaced by Vic Toews.

Since his beginning in the political ranks, Baird is well known for being combative in many subjects in both levels of government. During his tenure in the Harris Cabinet, he adopted several cost-saving measures including cuts to social programs and a failed attempt to sell Hydro One, the government-owned utility firm. As the federal President of the Treasury Board in the Harper Cabinet, he adopted the Federal Accountability Act, which was put in place after the Gomery Commission which investigated the federal sponsorship scandal in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As Environment Minister, Baird has been opposed to the Kyoto Protocol which Canada had previously ratified.

A resident of Nepean, he became involved in politics when he backed a candidate for the local federal PC nomination in 1984. The next year, at age sixteen, Baird was the youngest delegate to attend the party's January 1985 leadership convention. as a supporter of Ontario Attorney-General Roy McMurtry.

He was later president of the youth wing of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, and aligned himself with Dennis Timbrell during the latter's abortive campaign for the PC leadership in 1989-90. He backed Mike Harris when Timbrell withdrew from the contest. Baird has also indicated that he was charged with trespassing during the 1988 federal election, after he tried to question Ontario Premier David Peterson about free trade with the United States during a Liberal Party campaign stop in a Kingston shopping mall. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies from Queen's University in 1992.

Baird worked on the political staff of Perrin Beatty when Beatty was federal Minister of National Defence in the early 1990s, and followed Beatty through subsequent cabinet shifts culminating in his becoming Secretary of State for External Affairs in the short-lived government of Kim Campbell. After the defeat of the federal Progressive Conservatives in the 1993 federal election, Baird worked as a lobbyist in Ottawa.

Baird has been a vegetarian since 1997. He has a pet grey tabby cat. In June 2008, he was selected by the Ottawa Business Journal as a recipient of the "Forty Under 40" award.

While Baird had previously been associated with moderate Tories such as Timbrell and Beatty, he became associated with the more right-wing ideology of the Mike Harris-led Ontario PC party upon entering provincial politics. He was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 1995, defeating Liberal incumbent Hans Daigeler in the Ottawa-area riding of Nepean. The youngest member of the legislature, Baird was appointed parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Labour on July 13, 1995.

Baird joined Premier Harris's cabinet on June 17, 1999 as Minister of Community and Social Services, where he became responsible for implementing and expanding Ontario's workfare program. As one of Harris's few bilingual ministers, he was also named as Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs.

Baird's first press conference as a cabinet minister was held in July 1999, and was intended to highlight the Harris government's record in reducing the provincial welfare rolls. Baird told reporters that 15,000 people had left the system since the introduction of workfare, and used this figure to argue that the government's policy was a success. At the time, he lacked information on the number of workfare recipients who actually found jobs, and he also did not account for 40% of the welfare recipients who had been cut from the list. A number of media reports subsequently criticized both the principle and the implementation of workfare in Ontario.

A September 1999 report from Baird's ministry showed that 10,600 workfare placements had been created in the first six months of 1999, a figure which the Toronto Star observed was significantly lower than that which had been predicted by the government. Baird indicated that he would continue with the workfare program, and that the proportion of welfare recipients on workfare would be increased from 15% to 30%.

Baird came under criticism in late 1999 for refusing to cancel a five-year contract that had been signed between his department and the Bermuda-based private firm Andersen Consulting (later Accenture), worth up to $180 million. The contract, signed when Janet Ecker was Community and Social Services minister, entrusted Andersen with providing technological upgrades to the province's welfare management system. The arrangement was criticized by Auditor General Erik Peters, who observed that there was nothing in the contract to prevent Andersen from increasing its hourly rates. A published report in early 2000 indicated that Andersen was charging an average of $257 per hour for work that had previously been done by ministry staff at $51 per hour. Another report indicated that the firm had charged a total of $55 million to find roughly $66 million worth of savings. In response to opposition questions, Baird said that he would not terminate the contract but would endeavour to negotiate a lower rate. Baird opposed the Harris government's plan to amalgamate the city of Ottawa with neighboring municipalities, which was approved by the Legislature in 1999.

In January 2000, Baird unveiled a series of initiatives designed to reduce fraud and misuse in the welfare system. This was highlighted by the establishment of a welfare fraud hotline. Three months later, he added that anyone convicted of welfare fraud would run the risk of being given a lifetime ban from the program. Critics of this approach suggested that the Harris government was overstating the extent of fraud in order to undermine public confidence in welfare programs. In mid-year, Baird announced that workfare placements had reached departmental quotas for most of the province.

Baird revealed a $50 million program in May 2000 to help people with developmental disabilities become integrated into their communities. He later affirmed that the province was considering closing its remaining three institutions for the mentally handicapped as part of a larger strategy focusing on home care. Baird expressed concern about the physical condition of these institutions, saying that their residents "deserve better". Later in the year, Baird stated that his department would spend $26 million on shelters and other funding for the homeless.

Baird supported mandatory drug-testing for welfare recipients and argued that those who refused such tests should be at risk of have their assistance cut off. He introduced a policy initiative to this effect at a press conference in late 2000, in which he dramatically cast a box of syringes onto the floor and said that his department planned to "stop people from shooting their welfare cheque up their arm, and to help them shoot up the ladder of success". Baird acknowledged that his department did not have reliable figures on the number of welfare recipients abusing drugs, although he cited estimates of between 4% and 10%. The proposal was met with criticism from several sources, and Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Keith Norton, himself a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, expressed concern that it could violate basic civil liberties.

Shortly after Baird's announcement, a government website operated by the Ministry of Community and Social Services launched an attack against Liberal Party leader Dalton McGuinty for opposing the drug testing plan. The site claimed that McGuinty was "opposed to helping welfare recipients who are addicted to drugs". Baird denied that the message was partisan and initially refused to apologize. The Speaker of the Ontario Legislature subsequently ruled that the site content was inappropriate and it was removed with an apology from the government. The drug-testing plan was never fully implemented.

In early 2001, Baird announced that his government's proposed drug-testing plan would be extended to identify welfare recipients addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol. He later announced that provincial welfare applicants would be required to pass a literacy test. The Harris government's welfare policies were put under scrutiny in August 2001 after a pregnant woman in Sudbury, Kimberly Rogers, died while serving a house arrest for welfare fraud. The woman had been confined to her apartment for three months and reports indicated that her pregnancy was "exacerbated by sweltering conditions in her apartment". Responding to criticism, Baird said that he could not comment on the specifics of the case until a coroner's inquest was completed. He also defended his government's general policy on welfare issues. A subsequent inquest did not assign blame to the government for the woman's death, but recommended that lifetime bans for fraud be eliminated, and that adequate food, housing and medication be provided to anyone under house arrest. Baird was given additional responsibilities as Minister responsible for Children on February 8, 2001. His department increased funding for child services early in the year, amid a significant increase in provincial demand. In November 2001, the provincial media obtained a confidential government report recommending 40-45% cuts in provincial child-care programs. Baird initially declined to comment on the document's contents, but rejected its proposals in early 2002.

Baird was the first cabinet minister to support Jim Flaherty's campaign to succeed Mike Harris as Progressive Conservative Party leader in the party's 2002 leadership election. The election was won by Flaherty's rival Ernie Eves, and early media reports suggested that Baird might be dropped from the new premier's cabinet in April 2002. He was not, but was demoted to the position of Chief Government Whip while remaining associate minister for Francophone Affairs. His replacement in Social Services was Brenda Elliott, who was from the more centrist wing of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Baird was returned to a more prominent cabinet position in August 2002 after Eves separated the ministries of Environment and Energy and appointed Baird to head the latter department. Baird was given additional responsibilities as Government House Leader in June 2003 after Chris Stockwell was forced to resign following allegations that he had used government funds for a family vacation.

As Energy Minister, Baird was initially entrusted with implementing the government's plan to sell off part of Ontario's Hydro One. A few months later, he became unexpectedly involved in two major and interrelated policy reversals. The Energy ministry came under intense media scrutiny in late 2002 after hydro rates increased significantly in many parts of the province. Critics argued that the Progressive Conservative government's price deregulation policy (implemented before Baird became Energy Minister) was responsible. Baird suggested that the rate increases resulted from an unusually hot summer. Rates remained high through the autumn, and the Eves government was forced to re-regulate the market in November by introducing a price cap. The government continued to support deregulation in principle, but maintained the cap for the remainder of its term in office. The second and more fundamental reversal occurred in late January 2003, when Premier Eves personally announced that Hydro One would remain under public control.

Baird was regarded as less combative as Energy Minister than he had been in Community and Social Services. The energy policies of the Eves government were controversial, but opposition criticism was often directed at the premier rather than at Baird. Eves took a prominent interest in the Energy portfolio, and sometimes relegated Baird to a secondary role in policy announcements. In November 2002, however, he was followed around the province by "Hydrozilla", a man in a giant lizard suit sent by the NDP as a stunt to show that deregulating electricity rates would create an economic monster for consumers. In early March 2003, Baird announced that the government might be forced to implement rolling blackouts as a response to energy shortages. He encouraged conservation in late summer 2003, following a province-wide blackout caused by a generator failure in the United States.

Baird co-chaired Jim Flaherty's second campaign to lead the Progressive Conservative party in the 2004. Flaherty was again unsuccessful, losing on the second ballot to the more centrist John Tory. Both Baird and Flaherty left provincial politics in 2005 to campaign for the federal House of Commons. Although Baird was generally on the right-wing of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, he expressed liberal views on some social issues. He supported same-sex marriage during the 2003 provincial election and, in 2005, helped the McGuinty government achieve quick passage of a provincial bill granting legal recognition to same-sex couples. Some Progressive Conservative MPPs openly criticized Baird on the latter occasion.

Baird supported a Canadian Alliance candidate in the 2000 federal election, and later endorsed Stephen Harper's bid to lead the newly-formed Conservative Party of Canada in its 2004 leadership election. He was subsequently appointed as the Conservative Party's Ontario co-chair for the 2004 federal election. There were rumours that Baird would leave provincial politics to contest the 2004 election, but this did not happen. In 2005, he resigned his provincial seat to campaign federally for the Conservative Party.

Baird won a contested nomination battle for Ottawa West—Nepean Conservative nomination on May 5, 2005, defeating challengers Ed Mahfouz, Margret Kopala and Ade Olumide. John Pacheco, a leader in the social conservative movement against same-sex marriage, had also sought the nomination but was disqualified due to past comments he had made alleging that homosexual practices posed a health risk. Pacheco later campaigned in the election as an "Independent conservative," with the specific intent of being a spoiler against Baird. He argued that if his campaign caused Baird to lose, the Conservatives would "get the message that social conservatives are serious about their politics." Baird chose to ignore Pacheco entirely in at least one all-candidates debate.

Baird was elected, defeating Liberal candidate Lee Farnworth by about 5,000 votes. The Ottawa Citizen endorsed Baird in this campaign, and argued that his political judgment had improved considerably since his tenure as a Harris cabinet minister. In December 2006, Baird was one of thirteen Conservative MPs who voted against reopening the national debate on same-sex marriage.

Baird has played an aggressive role in Question Period since his appointment to cabinet, leading MP Garth Turner to describe him as Stephen Harper's "Commons pit bull".

Baird was appointed President of the Treasury Board on February 6, 2006, a position that placed him in charge of the federal public service. Following his appointment, Baird said that one of his priorities would be to prevent government jobs from being relocated from Ottawa to other regions for political purposes. He also indicated that his government was not planning to introduce job cuts or initiate a radical reduction in the size of government. In June 2006, Baird announced the creation of a three-member panel to advise the federal government on grant and contribution programs and accountability issues. One of the members was Frances Lankin, a former New Democratic Party of Ontario cabinet minister.

Baird introduced the Conservative government's first piece of legislation in April 2006. Known as the "Accountability Act," the bill includes 317 sections and promised significant reform to the structure of Canadian politics and government. Prime Minister Harper said that it would "put an end to the influence of money" in the Canadian government. The Accountability Act claims to restrict the ability of former politicians and bureaucrats to become lobbyists, provides protection to whistle-blowers in the civil service and gives the Auditor General of Canada new powers of oversight. It also limits individual donations to political parties and candidates to $1,100 per year (down from $5,200), creates nine new or revised positions to oversee the activities of public officials and places crown corporations such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation under access-to-information legislation.

Opposition MPs complained that several recommendations for access-to-information reform were left out of the bill, and were instead sent to committee for further review. New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin initially suggested that this deferral could delay meaningful reform for the foreseeable future. Martin later made a deal with Baird to give the bill an easy passage through committee, in return for the Conservatives accepting some NDP amendments.

Information Commissioner John Reid has criticized the new proposed powers for his department under the legislation, arguing that they will create unnecessary bureaucracy. Shortly after the Accountability Act was introduced to parliament, Reid issued an emergency report saying that the legislation would "increase the government's ability to cover up wrongdoing, shield itself from embarrassment and control the flow of information to Canadians". He added that no government had ever put forward "a more retrograde and dangerous" set of proposals for dealing with access to information laws. Baird described Reid's criticisms as "excessive," saying that most of the commissioner's specific concerns were minor in nature. Representatives of Canada's business community also expressed concern about changes to disclosure laws, arguing that their commercial secrets could be exposed to competitors.

The bill passed the House of Commons on division in June 2006. The Canadian Senate approved it in December 2006, with several amendments, and sent it back to the Commons for further consideration. The amended act was approved by the Commons without debate on 8 December, and was signed into law four days later.

Shortly after the bill first passed the Commons, Baird acknowledged that the Conservatives may have unintentionally broken political financing laws by failing to report convention fees collected in 2005. He told a Senate committee that $1.7 million was left unreported and that he did not realize it was an issue at the time. The matter is currently under review by the Chief Electoral Officer. The Conservatives quietly tabled an amendment to the Accountability Act in November 2006, stipulating that convention fees will not be counted as political contributions.

In early October 2006, Baird's department reviewed a promised $200 million grant to the City of Ottawa's light-rail expansion project. Baird indicated that the government would keep the funding at least until the November election, but added that the Council elected in November will have the final say on the issue. He also leaked details of the city's contact with the German firm Siemens. As a result, the rail program became a focal issue in the 2006 Ottawa mayoral election and Baird's opponents accused him of trying to influence the outcome. Baird and Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli accused one another of lying about details of the project, and Liberal MP Navdeep Bains asked the Federal Ethics Commissioner to investigate Baird's decision to release details of the private contract. Chiarelli was defeated in the election and the light-rail expansion was stopped by the new council.

An Ottawa Citizen report in January 2007 revealed that federal officials had not posed any objections to the light-rail project before Baird's intervention, and suggested that his involvement was political in nature. Green Party leader Elizabeth May speculated that Ottawa may have been deprived of light-rail service because of an apparent "personal vendetta" from Baird against Chiarelli. Baird denied this charge, saying that his intervention was not political. Opponents of the light-rail project have argued that it was undertaken without sufficient consultation with the public. In February 2008, it was reported that the House of Commons committee on government operations will be looking into his involvement over the case. MP and committee member Mark Holland mentioned a concern that Baird leaked information on the contract. Baird mentioned that he made the right decision and dismissed the investigation saying "there is no evidence of anything". Speaking to reporters he added following the announcement of the investigation: "If you want to avert a billion-dollar boondoggle, you have to make some difficult decisions".

Baird holds ministerial responsibilities for the Toronto Harbourfront Centre and the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation. He developed a working relationship with Toronto Mayor David Miller soon after his appointment, and was present for the announcement of a comprehensive new waterfront strategy in June 2006. Ontario cabinet minister David Caplan has described Baird as a champion of waterfront renewal and David Miller has described him as an ally of the city. Baird spent Christmas 2006 meeting with Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

On January 4, 2007, Baird was appointed as Environment Minister in a cabinet shuffle, replacing previous Minister Rona Ambrose. In making the appointment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that his government needed to do more to make the environment a priority. Some commentators remarked favourably on Baird's appointment, describing him as a strong communicator and negotiator. Columnist Andrew Coyne, however, described Baird as "the man sent to kill the issue," suggesting that Baird's appointment was meant to neutralize the environment as an election issue rather than to initiate any meaningful reforms. Baird is a vocal opponent of the Kyoto Protocol, which he argues will bring about an "economic collapse". Later in 2007, he added that any new environmental agreements must included reduction targets for major greenhouse emitters such as China, India and the United States who have not signed the Protocol or does not have any mandatory reductions set by the Protocol. Baird met with renowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki following his appointment. At the time, Suzuki said he was encouraged by Baird's approach, but remained skeptical of the Harper government's environmental plans. However, when Baird unveiled the Conservative government's plan in April, 2007, Suzuki confronted Baird, calling the plan "a disappointment".

In February 2007, the Liberal opposition brought forward a non-binding motion for Canada to renew its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. All Conservative MPs who were present in the House, including Baird, voted against the motion, which passed with the support of the three opposition parties. The following month, opposition members on a special Commons committee used their majority to bring forward sweeping changes to the government's Clean Air Act. Among other things, the revised act called for participation in international carbon markets and the fulfillment of Kyoto targets. Baird indicated that the opposition's changes would not be included in federal targets or regulations.

In April 2007, Baird produced a federal study supported by five independent economists to support his approach to the Kyoto Protocol. Among the five economists was Toronto-Dominion Bank chief economist Don Drummond, who also wrote a private letter to Baird arguing that the "economic cost would be at least as deep as the recession in the early 1980s." Opposition parliamentarians dismissed the report as a scare tactic, while Liberal Environment Critic David McGuinty argued that the study was misleading, saying that it did not properly examine international emission trading and ignored jobs to be created through the "green economy". The report misrepresented Canada's ability to invest in developing nations to meet emissions targets through CDM by misquoting the amount of credit to be 85 million instead of the real approximation of 3 billion. Soon after, a United Nations report also contradicted the study mentioning that "steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions can be accomplished at a cost of only 0.12 per cent of the world's annual economic output" but Baird responded that Canada will have its gas emissions levels peaked in 2012 three years before the UN's set target of 2015.

Baird was the Harper government's representative at the release of a major United Nations report on climate change in Paris in February 2007. He described the report as a "turning point in the battle against climate change," while indicating his surprise that human activity was found to be a major cause of the phenomenon.

Baird released his government's targets for greenhouse gas emissions in late April 2007. The plan calls for Canada to begin cutting its existing rate of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 and for cuts to reach 20% by 2020. Under this plan, Canada will reach its Kyoto targets between 2020 and 2025, taking an additional eight to thirteen years longer than Kyoto. The government plan uses production intensity targets instead of hard caps. Baird said that the "plan strikes a balance between the perfection some environmentalists may be seeking and the status quo that some in industry seek to protect." Later in December 2007, Baird revealed in a plan that over 700 big-polluter companies, including oil and gas, pulp and paper, electricity and iron and steel companies, must cut greenhouse emissions by six percent from 2008 to 2010 The companies would also have to produce an annual report every May 31st that would include data regarding the level of greenhouses emissions produced each year. Baird's proposal has been met with approval from Canada's oilpatch executives, who described them as the toughest emission regulations in the world, and who feared that more stringent standards would stifle oil sands exploration. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has been considerably less critical than his brother, having earlier written to Prime Minister Harper on the environmental policy. The Premier had stressed the importance of a policy that considered the North American market as a whole, due to the automotive industry's importance to his province. McGuinty said the Conservatives' environmental plan could have gone further but described the auto emissions part of the plan as "very sensible".

Members of opposition parties have criticized the government's abandonment of Kyoto goals, while David Suzuki described the proposal as a "sham" with "weak targets". Former US vice president Al Gore said Baird's plan was a "complete and total fraud" that was "designed to mislead the Canadian people". Baird responded by defending his plan and by criticizing Gore's environmental record, noting that no similarly stringent measures were passed during Gore's tenure in office and that the Kyoto Treaty was never submitted to the US Senate for ratification. The Liberal Party, led by MP Pablo Rodriguez, introduced to the House of Commons a private bill that would have forced Canada to comply to the Kyoto Treaty in response to the government's plan. While the bill passed Baird mentioned that, even though that the government wouldn't dismiss it, there was no new environmental measures planned. All three opposition parties have demanded that the environment becomes one of the main points of the government's Throne Speech in the 2007 fall session.

Shortly after his appointment, Baird, Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced $1.5 billion for clean-energy initiatives over the next decade. Baird and Lunn also announced a $230 million program for clean energy technology. Lunn said that "there were literally hundreds of programs but there was no focus" when the Conservatives took office. Critics argued that the new Conservative measures were similar to measures introduced by the Liberals in their 2005 budget. Liberal leader Stéphane Dion has argued that the Conservative Party's strategy is too strongly focused on nuclear energy.

On 12 February 2007, Baird appeared at a press conference with Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest to announce a $1.5 billion environmental fund for the provinces. Journalist Frances Russell criticized that as a reduction from the $3 billion promised by the previous Liberal government.

Canada is a signatory to the Kyoto protocol which legally requires signatory countries to set up compatible carbon trading markets. In direct defiance of this international legal obligation, in March 2007, Baird indicated that he wanted Canadian companies to be banned, or at least severely restricted, from participating in the international carbon market. Several European countries have already set up a trading system to allow companies that reduce their emission levels below government targets to sell "credits" on an international market. Environmentalists. Many industry leaders argued that Canada should adopt a similar policy. Then opposition leader Stéphane Dion argued that participation will allow Canadian firms to make "megatonnes of money". Baird however described some carbon markets as "shaky," and argued that trade should be restricted to within Canada, or perhaps within North America. In April, he indicated that Canadian businesses would soon gain the right to earn credits by investing in overseas environmental projects. Baird's attitudes to carbon markets confused (and later directly contradicted) the government's own stated position to support the development of markets that were compatible with all its trading partners.

Baird defended another Conservative government decision to cut funds for climate science research, arguing that further studies are largely superfluous in light of recent United Nations reports. Gordon McBean of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences has disagreed, claiming that further research is the best way to adapt to a changing climate.

While participating at the United Nations Summit On Climate Changes in Bali, Indonesia, Baird announced a $86 million funding to help Canadian communities notably coping with the lost of forests due to pine beetles in the west and infrastructures in the north due to softer soil. The 4-year plan included $56 million on several projects and $29 million for researches.

Baird's performance overall was profoundly criticized, including receiving a "fossil award" from attending NGOs, and prompting an unusually angry condemnation by the representative from Bangaladesh, a nation very threatened by climate change related disease and flooding. He did not mention Baird by name but clearly implied that Canada, the US and Australia conspired to cause immense harm to his people and country by inaction, inexcusable in richer countries.

Canadian NGOs also uniformly condemned Baird's position, that of the government, that serious limitations on greenhouse gases would have to include China, India and other emerging nations before the richer nations that had already undergone most of their development would begin to reduce greenhouse gases. This condition directly contradicted Kyoto's explicit condition that developed nations should be willing to start first and pay up to fifteen times more per person to prevent climate change, given that they had benefitted from centuries of free atmospheric access and could not impose charges for dumping in that same atmosphere on emerging countries.

In November 2008 Baird was replaced in the Environment portfolio by Jim Prentice and moved to Minister of Transport.

In late November and early December 2008, a website went online allegedly representing a movement to draft Baird for leader of the Conservative Party, in the face of Stephen Harper facing possible defeat by an opposition coalition.

The draft group allegedly comprises over 100 party members from across the country — including two MPs and one Senator (who have requested anonymity). Since launching the Draft John Baird campaign site in early December, the campaign says it had nearly 3,000 visitors and 237 new supporters in less than ten hours.

All electoral information taken from Elections Canada and Elections Ontario. Italicized expenditures refer to submitted totals, and are presented when the final reviewed totals are not available.

The 1999 and 2003 expenditure entries are taken from official candidate reports as listed by Elections Ontario. The figures cited are the Total Candidate's Campaign Expenses Subject to Limitation, and include transfers from constituency associations.

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Cabinet of Canada

A meeting of the Cabinet of Mackenzie King, 1930

The Cabinet of Canada (French: Cabinet du Canada) plays an important role in the Government of Canada, in accordance with the Westminster System.

A council of ministers of the Crown chaired by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet is the senior echelon of the Ministry; the terms Cabinet and Ministry are sometimes used interchangeably, a subtle inaccuracy which can spark confusion. Although the membership of the Ministry and the Cabinet are often coterminal, currently there are five members of the Ministry that are not members of the Cabinet. Technically, the Cabinet is a committee of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada; in practice, it is the executive committee of the Canadian government.

For practical reasons, the Cabinet is referred to in relation to the Prime Minister in charge of it, though formally it is more common to refer to the number of ministries since confederation. The current cabinet is the Harper Cabinet, which is part of the 28th Ministry.

The Cabinet proper currently comprises 38 ministers. Each minister is responsible not only for advising the Monarch, Governor General, Prime Minister and other ministers on any and all political matters, but also for the general administration of at least one government portfolio.

A Minister of the Crown is usually the formal head of a corresponding federal department or agency, although there are exceptions: positions such as the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada have no corresponding department, while some Ministers of the Crown (such as the Minister for International Cooperation) head agencies under the umbrella of a department run by another Minister. The Prime Minister is entitled to appoint ministers without portfolio, but this has not been done since 1978.

Ministers of state are assigned specific responsibilities on a more ad hoc basis, which they fulfill from within a department under a full minister. The portfolios of ministers of state are considerably more transient, as positions may be created and dissolved to suit specific short-term government priorities or the specific qualifications of candidates without alterations to the departmental structure. In recent years, prime ministers have occasionally named individuals as minister of state but not specified any particular responsibilities, effectively making them ministers without portfolio. Unlike many other Westminster-model governments, ministers of state in Canada are full members of Cabinet rather than members of the Ministry outside it; this has the effect of making the Canadian Cabinet considerably larger than its British, Australian or New Zealand equivalents, although Ministries in these countries might have a total membership in excess of the Canadian version.

Secretaries of state, also often dubbed "junior ministers," are similar to ministers of state in that they too are assigned specific responsibilities on a more ad hoc basis, which they fulfill from within a department under a full minister. Unlike ministers of state, secretaries of state are members of the Ministry but not of the Cabinet, and technically they can attend cabinet meetings by invitation only. Appointing secretaries of state rather than ministers of state has been done in the past by governments conscious of including more MPs in their ministry without attracting public outcry for "expanding cabinet," however technical this distinction might be in practice. Secretaries of state fulfilled most of their tasks carried out by ministers of state from 1993 to 2003; consequently there were only a handful of ministers of state during this time. In 2007 Stephen Harper resumed the practice of appointing secretaries of state.

Parliamentary Secretaries also assist members of Cabinet, usually with their duties answering questions in the House of Commons. Prime Minister Paul Martin had his Parliamentary Secretaries sworn to the Privy Council, but they are members of neither the Cabinet nor Ministry. Martin is the only Prime Minister to have had his Parliamentary Secretaries sworn into the Privy Council.

Deputy Ministers are neither MPs nor Cabinet Ministers but are the senior civil servant in a governmental department and assist the Minister both by giving non-partisan advice and by assisting in the administration of the department. Each ministerial position in a government has an associated deputy ministership, such as Deputy Minister of Health. The chief civil servant who both leads the other deputy ministers and provides non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister is the Clerk of the Privy Council, who is essentially the Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister often assigns a minister to be responsible for a specific problem or initiative that may cut across departmental boundaries. This is usually described as having the <situation> file.

Different positions have widely varying levels of prestige. The most important minister, following the premier, is the Minister of Finance. Other high profile ministries include Foreign Affairs, Industry, Justice, and Health.

The Priorities and Planning Committee of Cabinet is often referred to as the "inner cabinet" by observers. It is the body that sets the strategic directions for the government, approves key appointments and ratifies committee memberships. Other Cabinet committees include Operations, Treasury Board, Social Affairs, Economic Growth and Long-Term Prosperity, Foreign Affairs and Security and Environment and Energy Security.

As with other Westminster derived governments but unlike the United States Cabinet, the size and structure of the Canadian cabinet is relatively malleable, with the number of ministers and their titles generally selected by the Prime Minister within a relatively broad legislative framework. Fairly substantial changes, including the realignment of certain departments, can be carried out without even the need for legislation. The slate of cabinet positions tends to be substantially restructured periodically, with the last major period of realignment occurring from 1993 to 1996.

Throughout the 20th century Cabinets had been expanding in size until Brian Mulroney's government, which hit the 40-minister mark. A reduction in the number of departments initiated by Kim Campbell began to reduce this number, and Jean Chrétien excluded approximately 10 members of the Ministry from the formal Cabinet, so that by 1994 there were only 23 members. This number has crawled upwards again, and when Paul Martin reincorporated all members of the Ministry into his first Cabinet, it again resulted in the figure of 39 being reached. The number 40 appears to be something of a psychological barrier to further expansion. Cabinet membership stands today (2008) at 38.

Nominally the Cabinet is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, which means that in practice the Prime Minister selects the members. The process of selection is an extremely complex affair, as in addition to personal qualifications of the possible ministers there is a number of conventions that have to be followed. There is usually a minister from each province in Canada, visible minorities must be represented, and as many women as possible should be included. Interest groups that support the government also need to be appeased. Each member of the governing party desires a cabinet position and there are always some members who feel embittered at being passed over. The process is difficult and one of the most important decisions a Prime Minister must make. John A. Macdonald once half-jokingly listed his occupation as cabinet maker. Although nearly all of those chosen to serve as ministers are MPs, cabinets typically also include at least one senator, and it is not unusual for one or more additional senators to be included, especially to represent regions where the governing party has few or no seats. Further, a person who is neither an MP nor a senator can be appointed, but it is traditional that such a person rapidly seek election as an MP or be appointed to the senate.

As dictated by convention, members of Cabinet are held accountable for their decisions by the elected House of Commons. This means cabinet ministers are expected to introduce and defend new legislation regarding their portfolio within the Commons and answer questions on their job performance from the Opposition. Consequently, there is a traditional expectation that members of Cabinet also sit as elected MPs. Cabinets are generally appointed from amongst the governing party's pool of MPs; should a prime minister appoint a cabinet minister from outside Parliament, it is expected that the individual acquire a seat within a reasonable time or resign. This can often be accomplished by means of a by-election. The last cabinet minister to be neither an MP nor a Senator was Michael Fortier, who was appointed Minister of Public Works and Government Services on February 6, 2006, two weeks before being appointed to the Senate. See also responsible government.

The cabinet has significant power in the Canadian system, and as the government usually has a majority of seats in the legislature almost all bills proposed by the Cabinet are enacted. Combined with a comparatively small proportion of bills originating with individual members of parliament (Private Members' Bills), this leads to Cabinet having almost total control over the legislative agenda of the House of Commons.

Cabinet itself (or "full Cabinet") is further divided into committees. The Treasury Board is one of the most important, as it oversees the expenditure of government money within every department. Since 1966, a specific minister has been named President of the Treasury Board, owing to the especially taxing nature of the duties associated with chairing it and supervising the related bureaucracy. Other committees (see ) currently include Government Operations, Social Affairs, Economic Affairs, and Foreign Affairs and National Security. Each committee is chaired by a senior minister whose own portfolio normally intersects with the mandate of the committee. A Priorities and Planning Committee, or "Inner Cabinet," , chaired by the Prime Minister, has been sporadically utilized; in recent years Jean Chrétien did not strike one, while Paul Martin briefly brought it back before eliminating it once again. Stephen Harper has revived the Priorities and Planning Committee for his government. During the Chrétien Ministry, the number of cabinet committees was greatly reduced. They were increased by Paul Martin and have been reduced again by Stephen Harper.

Each opposition party appoints what is known as a Shadow Cabinet, with each of its members "shadowing" one or more cabinet portfolios. The Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet is especially relevant, as it is seen as a "government in waiting." Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party forms government. It is the Shadow Cabinet's responsibility to pass criticism on the current government and its respective legislation, as well as offering alternative policies. There is also a Bloc Québécois Shadow Cabinet, a New Democratic Party Shadow Cabinet, and a Green Party Shadow Cabinet which currently operates outside of Parliament.

The Conservative Party of Canada won elections on January 23, 2006 to the 39th Canadian parliament and formed a minority government, the 28th Ministry, which was sworn in on February 6 with Stephen Harper as Prime Minister. The make up of the cabinet was changed on November 27, 2006 January 4, 2007 August 14, 2007, and again on June 25, 2008. The makeup of the Cabinet was further changed following the election of October 14, 2008, the 40th Canadian federal election on October 30, 2008.

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Bill C-61 (39th Canadian Parliament, 2nd Session)

An opponent of the proposed Bill C-61 holds up a protest sign at a public breakfast event held during the Calgary Stampede by Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice.

Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, was a bill tabled in 2008 during the second session of the 39th Canadian Parliament by Minister of Industry Jim Prentice. The bill died on the order paper when the 39th Parliament was dissolved prematurely and an election was called by the Governor General Michaëlle Jean at Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request on September 7, 2008.. The Conservative Party of Canada promised in its 2008 election platform to re-introduce a bill containing the content of C-61 if re-elected.

The bill was the successor to the previously proposed Bill C-60 (38th Canadian Parliament, 1st Session), and was the government's most recent attempt to update Canadian copyright laws. Specifically, the Conservative government claimed that the bill was intended to meet Canada's WIPO treaty obligations. Bill C-61 attracted widespread criticism from critics who claim that it does not strike a fair balance between the rights of copyright holders and consumers. There is also confusion between C-61 and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which would also significantly modify copyright in Canada.

Jim Prentice claimed that it would "expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own". However, the bill would have made it illegal to circumvent DRM technologies effectively rendering the rights granted useless for DRM protected digital media.

Hosts, such as ISPs, will no longer have legal responsibility under the new bill when their services are unintentionally used to provide access to copyrighted material.

Methods of protecting privacy would have become legal under the proposed bill, however, the distribution of software to do so would have been illegal, effectively canceling out the right.

The bill would have made circumventing all digital locks illegal, including locks on the Internet.

It would have modified what libraries can do in providing digital copies, such that they would not have been allowed to create digital copies for patrons, but the copies would have had to self-destruct or be destroyed within 5 days of creation.

In the case of commercial circumvention of DRM, Clause 32 of the Bill specifies penalties of $1,000,000 and/or five years imprisonment on conviction on indictment, or $25,000 and/or six months imprisonment on summary conviction.

There was confusion between Bill C-61 and ACTA, evident by letters sent by Jim Prentice detailing that no border checks will occur. The proposed border checks are part of ACTA, not Bill C-61.

A poll using the following question resulted in 45% of the population against, and 45% of the population in favor of the question.

As you may know, the federal government has proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, which include introducing a $500 fine for people caught downloading copyrighted material from the Internet, and a fine of up to $20,000 for people who hack digital locks or upload copyrighted material to file-sharing websites. From what you have heard, seen or read, do you support or oppose the proposed changes?

Proponents of the bill, including some copyright holders in the entertainment industry, called it a much needed "assurance that protected." They have also called it a "win win" balance between consumers and copyright holders with some pushing further asking for format shifting to be made illegal.

The MPAA and RIAA supported the proposal, as they saw it as finally bringing in Canada to WIPO standards, having lobbied/pressured hard for stricter copyright rules.

The New Democratic Party, which promised to fight the bill and was strongly opposed, with statements by NDP Leader Jack Layton and NDP Member Charlie Angus.

As of September 29th, 2008, more than 92,000 people have joined the Facebook group "Fair Copyright for Canada", started by law professor Michael Geist, to protest Bill C-61. Geist's blog also contains educational resources on copyright reform, and provides tools for constituents to contact their local Members of Parliament. Micheal Geist has ran a series on 61 possible reforms to Bill C-61 that would make it more palatable. In addition, the magazine ComputerWorld Canada ran its own petition drive, asking the government to amend the bill because it discourages experts and other coders from conducting innovative research.

The Canadian Software Innovation Alliance, an association of open source developers questioned the bill, because of its potentially harmful effects on open source software modification. Spokesman Bob Young, Lulu Inc's CEO (and the former CEO of Red Hat) says "We're crafting these laws without having anyone from the technology industry engaged in the process." He contends that the bill caters too closely to the content industry and not to engineers and software developers.

Consumer groups including Option consommateurs, Consumers Council of Canada, Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and Online Rights Canada voiced opposition on not being consulted in the creation of the bill.

Some opponents, like the CIRPA and the CRIA have said the bill should have focused more on commercial piracy instead, while others called into the question of the enforceability of the new bill. Other copyright holders and artists, like the CMCC, spoke out against the bill in its entirety.

Others stated that the new bill would make criminals out of ordinary people who are, for example, using a multi-regional DVD player (popular for immigrants, who otherwise would be prevented from watching movies from their countries of origin; and tourists, who would be prevented from watching videos bought abroad), transferring legitimate DVD media to iPods, or using various other devices. Backing up a computer that contains copyrighted material might also be illegal under the new law.

There was also criticism about the anti-circumvention aspect for making "technology trump whatever rights consumers or competitors might have otherwise had", in that people only have whatever rights the right holders give them in superseding "agreements", for example, EULA, digital contracts shown when users install, download, etc.) In addition, there has been criticism about the fact that purchasing songs as a gift and transferring the song onto a device owned by the gift's recipient under the new bill would be illegal.

Editorial reviews of the bill were mostly negative or neutral. In a listing of editorials compiled by Michael Geist, there were no on topic editorials expressing positive support for C-61.. In addition, the Canadian Newspaper Association is critical of the bill, for having negative impacts on news gathering.

The Canadian Library Association released an advocacy kit to oppose the new bill, citing concerns that the bill does not protect the public interest.

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Source : Wikipedia