2015 in Canadian politics: Top stories, and some you may have forgotten
Justin Trudeau shakes hands as he leaves following his victory speech in Montreal on Oct. 19, 2015. (Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Sunday, December 27, 2015 8:16AM EST
It was a momentous year in Canadian politics, with Justin Trudeau’s rise from third party leader to prime minister, ending the Harper era.
A photo gallery of Trudeau’s life in politics was the top political feature on CTVNews.ca’s desktop website, accounting for nearly 5 per cent of total viewership in 2015, and the sixth-most viewed on the CTV News GO app. The gallery featured images of Trudeau’s life in spotlight, from baby photos with his father, the late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, to a shot of him and his infant son on election day.
Readers were also curious about Canada’s new “first lady.” A profile of Trudeau’s wife Sophie, a former television reporter, was the second most-viewed story on CTVNews.ca’s desktop website and the third on the mobile app.
But the rise of Trudeau meant the end of Stephen Harper’s time as prime minister. A story about Harper’s quiet resignation as Conservative leader on election night was the second most-read story on the CTV News GO app and number four on the desktop website.
Here’s a look back at some other political stories you may have forgotten about in the blur of election 2015.
• Eve Adams crosses the floor: On a quiet Monday morning in February, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau shocked parliamentary reporters when he walked into a press conference with Eve Adams by his side. Adams went on to announce she would be leaving the Conservative caucus to join the Liberals. She sat as a Liberal MP until the end of the session, but eventually lost the Liberal nomination to Toronto lawyer Marco Mendicino, who went on to win the Eglinton-Lawrence seat in the federal election.
• NDP ends PC dynasty in Alberta: Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley made history in May when her party won a majority mandate, ending the 44-year reign of the Progressive Conservatives. The right-leaning Wildrose Party, led by former federal Conservative MP Brian Jean, formed the official Opposition, while former premier Jim Prentice’s PCs ended up in third place. Prentice resigned as leader and his seat on election night.
• Senate audit: Auditor General Michael Ferguson released a damning audit into all senators’ spending in June, calling for “transformational change” in the scandal-plagued Red Chamber. In addition to the 21 senators’ questionable expenses flagged for repayment, nine were eventually referred to the RCMP for criminal investigation. The audit cost around $23.5 million to recover less than $1 million in alleged improper spending by senators.
• Novak speaks: After disappearing from the public eye during the middle of the election campaign, Ray Novak was finally tracked down at the end of August by CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife. Testimony at trial of Sen. Mike Duffy indicated that Novak, then-chief of staff to Harper, knew about the infamous $90,000 cheque that his predecessor Nigel Wright wrote to help the embattled senator pay back questionable Senate expenses. Novak, who was walking to work at the time, set the record straight to Fife: “Bob, I did not know that Mr. Wright was going to cut that cheque.”
• Del Mastro in shackles: No one can forget the image of former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro's appearance in shackles and handcuffs after being sentenced for electoral spending fraud in June. Del Mastro, Harper’s former parliamentary secretary, was sentenced to one month in jail, to be followed by four months of house arrest, 18 months of probation, a $10,000 fine and a five-year ban on public office. Del Mastro spent one night in jail before being granted bail pending an appeal, set for January.
• Major Conservative losses: Months ahead of the October federal election, the Conservative Party lost a number of big names thought to have eventual leadership ambitions. Then-foreign affairs minister John Baird was the first to announce his plan to step down in February; he stayed on as MP for Ottawa West-Nepean until March, before taking on new roles in the private sector. In May, then-justice minister Peter MacKay confirmed he would not run in the federal election, as he was looking to spend more time with his family. And less than a month later, James Moore, who was industry minister at the time, also announced he would not run in the election. He said he needed to be with his family as they dealt with the health challenges of his two-year-old son.