Canadians slightly less confident in finances heading into 2016

A majority of Canadians remain confident about their finances heading into 2016, but the percentage holding a positive view is down from a year ago, according to a new poll from one of the country’s big banks.The CIBC poll found that more than two thirds of Canadians, or 69 per cent, felt positive about their finances going into the new year. Still, that was down five per cent from a year ago, with the drop centred mainly in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.In fact, the survey found that Alberta, hard hit by trouble in the oilpatch, now is the least positive region in the country. Just 62 per cent of Albertans surveyed felt confident about their finances, down 21 percentage points from a year ago.Sentiment was also lower in Ontario at 68 per cent, down from 73 per cent going into 2015, and in Quebec at 71 per cent, down from 78 per cent. Sentiment in British Columbia declined marginally to 71 per cent from 72 per cent.Confidence improved sharply in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, up seven percentage points at 78 per cent, while those surveyed in Atlantic Canada were slightly more positive, up two percentage points at 67 per cent.Strapped for cash? — here’s how to get your TFSA saving started anywayFive financial resolutions for 2016, and how to (really) make them happenThe poll was conducted Dec. 7-8 among 1,508 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.While Canadians 55 and older remain the most positive about their finances, they also saw the biggest decline in this year’s survey, falling from 82 per cent a year ago to 74 per cent this year.That compared with confidence levels of 69 per cent (down from 70 per cent) for those in the 18-to-34 age group; and 65 per cent, down from 70 per cent, for those between 35 and 54.“While many Canadians remain positive about their financial situation, some are feeling less optimistic than they were at this time last year,” CIBC executive vice-president Christina Kramer said of the survey results.“Whether you feel positive or have concerns about your finances, the new year is an ideal time to make changes so you feel prepared for the year ahead,” she said. read more

MPs called CJ a mad woman lawyers

Bandaranayake and her team of lawyers walked out of the parliamentary select committee on Thursday evening after making a statement that she was not being given a fair hearing.“She will not attend future hearings,” a lawyer close to the case told AFP. Her lawyers said their repeated requests for documents supporting the 14 allegations against Bandaranayake were not provided by her accusers and the ruling party dominated PSC refused to allow witnesses to be cross examined.However, she was given over 1,000 pages of documents on Thursday evening and asked to respond in less than 24 hours, the lawyers said, adding that it was “obvious” that the majority of the PSC had no intention of giving her a fair hearing.There was no formal reaction from the government, but a ruling party law maker who declined to be named told AFP that they will proceed with the inquiry whether or not the 54-year-old chief justice attends the hearing on Friday afternoon. “At various stages of the proceedings of the PSC (parliamentary select committee), two (ruling party) members hurled abuse such as ‘mad woman’ at the chief justice,” her lawyers said in a statement a day after the hearing. The impeachment bid has led to a head-on collision between the judiciary and the legislature controlled by Rajapakse, who has consolidated his power after crushing Tamil Tiger rebels in a military offensive in May 2009. Sri Lanka’s top judge Shirani Bandaranayake stormed out of her impeachment hearing after government lawmakers called her a “mad woman” and displayed open hostility, her lawyers said on Friday.The move to impeach the country’s first female chief justice came after she scuttled several bills, including one that gave more powers to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s youngest brother Basil, the economic development minister. “It became evident that these members had been mandated to ridicule the head of the judiciary and the legal profession.” Bandaranayake infuriated the government last month when she said it was illegal for lawmakers to investigate her, but vowed she would defend herself against impeachment charges of professional and financial misconduct.Her case has raised fears that the government is trying to control the courts. She told the parliamentary select committee at its outset that there was not an “iota” of truth in the allegations against her. (AFP) read more

Hirunika steps down from politics

Hirunika Premachandra is currently studying law and she says once her law exams are over she will decide on her next step. She also expressed confidence in the judiciary to get justice for the murder of her father.Report by Indika Sri Aravinda “It is hard to do politics in Sri Lanka. I have spoken to my family and I will decide about my political future at the right time,” she said. Hirunika Premachandra has decided to temporarily step down from politics on the basis that the political climate is not favorable for her.Premachandra, the daughter of slain politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, said that she also needs proper backing to get fully engaged in politics. read more

Pillay gets unlimited access

He said that the government cannot and will not impose any restrictions on the movements of Pillay or prevent her from meeting anyone. The government says there will be no restrictions placed on the movements of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHRC) Navi Pillay during her visit to Sri Lanka at the end of this month.Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that he hopes to meet Pillay and discuss several issues with her during her visit. Fonseka said that among the issues he hopes to bring to her notice is the lack of democracy and justice in Sri Lanka and, what he claims, was injustice faced by him which resulted in him being jailed following the 2010 Presidential Elections. Foreign Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama has told The Sunday Leader that the government and the UN office will be coordinating Pillay’s visit. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that as a head of a political party Fonseka will be able to meet Pillay. The Chief Security Advisor to Pillay’s office, Abraham Mathai, was in Sri Lanka recently ahead of the scheduled visit by Pillay to the country.Abraham Mathai manages security operations of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) worldwide and as a member of the senior management team he participates in organising policy issues. Navi Pillay will be in the country from Sunday, August 25 and end her mission with a press conference on the morning of Saturday, August 31. read more

Deputy Minister of Media Shantha Bandara resigns

Deputy Minister of Media Shantha Bandara has announced his resignation from his post ahead of the August 17 Parliament election.Shantha Bandara is contesting the Parliamentary election from the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

Thilanga more SLFP members resign from posts

A group of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members, including former Parliamentarian Thilanga Sumathipala, have resigned from their Ministerial posts.Sumathipala said that the SLFP members have handed over a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena informing him of their decision to resign from their portfolios.

Duminda Silva granted bail in asset declaration case

The cases were filed at the Colombo Magistrate’s Court in relation to the failure by Silva to declare his assets in March 2013 and March 2014.Silva was not given nominations to contest the Parliamentary election this year by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). (Colombo Gazette) Former Parliamentarian Duminda Silva was granted bail today in relation to cases filed against him by the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption.The Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption had filed cases against former Parliamentarian Duminda Silva related to the failure by Silva to declare his assets. read more

All stakeholders to be briefed on ETCA and China FTA

The Minister also said that Sri Lanka is looking at strengthening its economy through agreements like those to be signed with India and China.He said that Sri Lanka is to also sign an agreement with a Chinese company over the Hambantota port.The Minister said the Hambantota port has been operating at a loss and the Government is not in a position to cover those losses. The Government today informed Parliament that all stakeholders will be briefed on the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) with India and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.President Maithripala Sirisena assured Parliament, approval will be sought on the Indo-Lanka agreement. “Nothing has been finalised. This is only at a discussion stage,” he said. Meanwhile, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama also said that concerns being raised on ETCA are misleading.He said that since the agreement has not been finalised any concerns raised on ETCA are baseless. He said that if there are any concerns on the agreement the clauses which rise concerns will be amended. He said that Sri Lanka hopes to earn approximately USD 1.2 a month from the agreement with the Chinese company. (Colombo Gazette) read more

JVP support only to reconvene Parliament

After the meeting some United National Party (UNP) members said that the JVP had extended support to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to remain as Prime Minister.JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the JVP was only supporting calls to convene Parliament and not an individual. (Colombo Gazette) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says it will only support calls to convene Parliament and not any individual.The JVP was in Parliament today and supported political parties at a meeting with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya calling for Parliament to be reconvened immediately. read more

SLFP requests Sirisena to contest next Presidential election

Senior Deputy President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Nimal Siripala de Silva, General Secretary of Sri Lanka Freedom Party Dayasiri Jayasekara and MPs Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sarath Amunugama, Duminda Dissanayake, Mahinda Amaraweera, Faizar Muthappa, Ranjith Siyabalapitiya, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Weerakumara Dissanayake, Dushmantha Miithrapala, Shriyani Wijewickrama, Mohan Lal Grero and Shantha Bandara were among the group that handed over the letter to the President. (Colombo Gazette) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to contest the next Presidential elections.The request was made in a letter submitted to the President today. The SLFP Parliamentarians urged the President to form a joint progressive movement to work against the United National Party at the next election. read more