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Lewis Cardinal suspends federal run for NDP, citing personal, health reasons

EDMONTON - Aboriginal activist and educator Lewis Cardinal says he's not going to run for the NDP in the next federal election after all. Cardinal issued a statement on Thursday saying he will be stepping down as the party's candidate in Edmonton Centre "due to personal and health reasons" without specifying what those reasons are. It was just a few weeks ago that federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair made a stop in Edmonton to mark Cardinal's nomination.

Top court to give long-awaited advice on Senate reform, abolition next week

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will issue a landmark opinion next week that could determine the fate of the country's scandal-plagued Senate. The top court will advise the federal government what it will take to reform or abolish the upper house. The court announced Thursday it will hand down its opinion on April 25. If the court sets a high constitutional bar that must be scaled to alter the Senate, it may guarantee the maligned chamber is never changed. If it sets a lower bar, the Senate could eventually be overhauled or eliminated altogether.

And then there was one: Newfoundland Tory leadership candidate drops out

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A contender in the race to become leader of Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservative party dropped out Thursday, likely clearing the way for a coronation of the one remaining candidate. Bill Barry issued an early morning statement that outlined his reasons for abandoning the bid and returning to private business, saying he made the decision after what he described as serious personal reflection. Barry said he did not receive support from any caucus members, making him feel he was playing against a "stacked deck" with a preordained outcome.

Political players of all party stripes gather for fond farewell to Jim Flaherty

TORONTO - Jim Flaherty was remembered Wednesday with equal measures of laughter and tears as Canada's political elite gathered to set aside their partisan differences and pay their final respects to the former finance minister. Mourners donned green scarves, a tribute to Flaherty's Irish heritage, inside the majestic St. James Anglican cathedral in downtown Toronto as they celebrated the diminutive, combative politician, who died of a heart attack last week at the age of 64.

Some quotes from the state funeral about former finance minister Jim Flaherty

TORONTO - A selection of quotes from Wednesday's funeral tributes to former finance minister Jim Flaherty. --- "As a human being, he was the complete package." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper --- "What a sad time this is in the life of our country." — Harper --- "Jim was driven by conviction, of loyalty to the cause and of duty to the country. He believed he had taken on a responsibility for all of our families, not just his own, and he was prepared to make sacrifices — ultimately, although he did not know it, to sacrifice himself." — Harper ---

Manitoba Tories' legal battle against PST hike set for June 4 court hearing

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's official Opposition says its lawsuit against the province's sales tax hike will be heard in court June 4. Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says his party has secured the court date after filing the lawsuit earlier this year. Pallister says he's standing up for taxpayers in an attempt to reverse the government's decision to raise the tax from seven to eight per cent. The NDP government has said it followed legal advice and needed to raise the tax to pay for infrastructure projects.

Political players of all party stripes gather for fond farewell to Jim Flaherty

TORONTO - Canada's political elite gather today to pay their final respects to Jim Flaherty, the former finance minister whose sudden death last week spurred an outpouring of grief that has stretched across the country and across party lines. A state funeral is being held at Toronto's downtown St. James Cathedral for Flaherty, 64, who died of a heart attack in his Ottawa condo despite frantic efforts by a cabinet colleague to resuscitate him.

Police say no criminal charges for Nigel Wright; Harper likely breathing easier

OTTAWA - Stephen Harper was likely breathing a little easier Tuesday after RCMP investigators declared they would not be pursuing criminal charges against Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff. But even without the threat of a high-profile court case hanging over him in the run-up to the 2015 election, Harper could still face resentment within Conservative circles for the way he treated a once-favoured adviser.

Police clear Canada PM's former aide of bribery, fraud

Federal police on Tuesday dropped their year-long pursuit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former right-hand man for alleged bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Nigel Wright was being investigated for helping a Conservative senator pay back about Can$90,000 ($82,000) in fraudulent expense claims. The scandal was a drag on the Conservatives' popularity and cost Wright his job as Harper's chief of staff, while the senator was suspended from the upper chamber.

Audit finds 'gross mismanagement' in two case files for integrity commissioner

OTTAWA - Whistleblower protection groups are demanding the Harper government dump its second consecutive public service integrity commissioner after two damning audits of his office. The auditor general has found "gross mismanagement" of two separate case files in the troubled Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada, which was created by the Conservative government in 2007. "It sounds so familiar, this story did not surprise," Allan Cutler, a civil service whistleblower on the Liberal sponsorship scandal, said in an interview.
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