University of Toronto
2 min

A reprehensible practice

“Reprehensible.” That is how the Speaker of
the Commons termed the practice of calling Irwin Cotler’s constituents and
intimating that he is resigning. In the course of the ruling, however, he did
say that, based on technical grounds, he couldn’t find a prima facie breach of privilege. It’s probably just as well, as
Kady O’Malley pointed out over the Twitter Machine, seeing as the Conservatives could just vote down a
report to send it to the committee for procedure and house affairs and then claim exoneration.
Nevertheless, it is a significant ruling with strong language to condemn the
practice. (Here’s a good context piece on the smears that Irwin Cotler has had
to endure because of the Conservatives’ actions.)

Elizabeth May writes about the pullout from
the Kyoto Accords, while countries like China are asking us to reconsider. Meanwhile, economist Stephen Gordon reminds us that it’s our collective failure, seeing as
the only way to really curb carbon emissions is to attach a price to them, and
we Canadians have shown repeatedly our unwillingness to do just that.

The Liberals railed against the many sins
of the Conservative government in a press conference yesterday. Aaron Wherry calculated some percentages – 23.8 percent of bills being
subjected to time allocation, for example.

The Globe
and Mail
looks at attendance in the House of Commons of late. I will note
right away that they are using the flawed mechanism of counting attendance at
votes as their determining factor, which, given that they don’t take attendance
in the Commons makes this a fraught proposition, but anecdotally I can tell you
that people who show up for QP don’t necessarily show up for votes. This is why
Bob Rae scores so low in this survey, just like Michael Ignatieff did when
Jack Layton unfairly kneecapped him in the last election over his supposed
“attendance,” when in fact, Ignatieff made a habit of not voting on private members’ business to give his caucus more freedom to make up their own minds.
That said, NDP leadership candidates have pretty abysmal attendance records
right now (not just voting records, again from my own observation at QP every
day), and who was it who said that someone who doesn’t show up for work
shouldn’t expect a promotion? Hmm, I wonder…

(Oh, and fun fact – they do take attendance
in the Senate, and those records can affect a senator’s pay. This was in
reaction to all those news stories years ago about certain senators who
were living in Mexico while still drawing their salaries. This put a stop to
that.)

As you may have heard, we’ll be sending our
pilots to Florida to be trained to fly F-35 fighter planes, but depending on
how much it costs, we may not be repatriating those training operations back to
Canada as time goes on.

Former auditor general Sheila Fraser says
that the situation at Attawapiskat doesn’t surprise her given what she turned
up on the various First Nations reservations in her audits.

And the bill to add more seats to the
Commons not only passed the Commons last night, but after a marathon late-night
session in the Senate, passed second reading there, too. Expect it to pass the upper chamber by the end of the week.

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