2 min

Contradictory reactions

On a crazy, busy day on the Hill, the
long-awaited announcement on shipyard contracts was revealed: Irving Shipbuilding
in Halifax won the $25 billion contract to build new combat vessels for the
navy, while Seaspan in Vancouver won the $8 billion contract for non-combat vessels
for the Coast Guard and the Navy (in the form of new resupply vessels). That
meant that Quebec’s Davie Shipyard didn’t win the bids, but considering its
solvency difficulties, that was not wholly unexpected, though it is thought the company will pick up subcontracts from the other major contracts and be
eligible to win ongoing maintenance contracts for the existing fleet. The announcements,
of course, mean major economic spinoffs for both coastal communities. (The CBC
has a great slide show on the contracts here.)

And then there was the NDP reaction. One
minute members were extremely pleased with the results (as the party holds ridings in
communities that are directly affected by these announcements), and minutes
later, Nycole Turmel turned around and decried how awful this was for Quebec,
that the government chose winners and losers (despite there being a great deal of
emphasis on how much of an arm’s length process this was). Earlier in the
day, Turmel had asserted that there was more than enough work to go around that
could be divided up, which, of course, implied that the government
shouldn’t have bothered with a competitive bidding process. Oh, for want of a
coherent narrative.

Also on the Hill was the ad hoc committee
hearing to question the new Supreme Court appointments – and it was a long,
dull and, frankly, amateurish display for the most part. My story on what went
down will appear on later today.

The Supreme Court has ruled that linking on
websites with defamatory material doesn’t in and of itself constitute defamation.
Good for pretty much anyone on the internet to know.

In NDP leadership news, Peggy Nash is getting set to be the first (and possibly only) female candidate in the race.
Meanwhile, Liberals are saying no thanks to Nathan Cullen’s proposal to run
joint nominations in ridings where there is a Conservative incumbent.

The veterans' ombudsman is not impressed
with the planned cuts to Veterans Affairs under the justification that the
number of vets is dropping. According to the ombudsman, the numbers aren’t
dropping as fast as the cuts project.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest has announced a
two-year inquiry into the corruption in that province’s construction industry.
Former justice John Gomery approves.

Former prime minister John Turner says that
MPs aren’t worth anything anymore and we need more decorum and political
renewal. Which is a great sentiment, but it doesn’t exactly spell out how to go about that in realistic and not unicorn-heavy ways.

Up today: the Conservatives are due to
unveil their new bill to scrap the long-gun registry. Unlike the last two
parliaments, this one will be a government and not a private member’s bill,
which will also mean whipped votes and certain passage (barring mass
party revolts).

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