2 min

Democracy costs money

And so it comes to this – amidst talk that
we are likely going to get 30 new MPs in the next electoral cycle, the
government is talking about cutting MPs' budgets to somehow make up for it. But
that’s the very last thing that needs to happen. MP office budgets are already
too small. Finding good staff at the relatively low wage that MPs are able to
pay them is hard enough, but if MPs have to cut that, it's likely that they’ll start prioritizing constituency caseworkers over good researchers –
picking the parts of their jobs that aren’t actually part of their jobs because
it’ll win them votes instead of the actual parts of their job they’re supposed to
be doing (ie scrutinizing government spending). It’s bad enough that most MPs
can’t do their actual jobs as it is, and the government wants to give them even fewer tools?
Yeah, that will go over well. It is also a myth that MPs are paid
exorbitant salaries that somehow need to be clawed back. Most MPs are not
paid enough for the amount of work that they do and the cost it
has on their home and family lives. The bottom line is that democracy costs
money – it can’t be done for pennies like we somehow expect it should be. If we
want accountability, if we want to attract quality people to politics and
public life, then we need to be prepared to spend some money on it.

The Canadian Press has a lengthy and
excellent piece about the government’s manoeuvres to brand Government of Canada
communications materials as coming from the “Harper Government,” in clear
breach of established rules and guidelines. Despite the government's denial that it instituted this practice, documents uncovered
through the Access to Information Act prove otherwise.

The former chair of the Immigration and
Refugee Board says the quasi-judicial body is no longer as independent as it
once was and points to moves by the minister to influence judgments on
refugee claims. Not that anybody saw this coming when they decided to change
the appointment criteria for board members, right?

The Speaker finds that Tony Clement did not
order transcripts of his committee appearance altered.

Peter Van Loan tries to argue that limiting
political dirt-baggery like phoning around an MP’s riding and saying that he or
she might be resigning (under the guise of a poll) is going to be a great peril
to our freedom of expression, and we’ll all be doomed as a result. Seriously.
One has to wonder then, if such manoeuvres are fair game, how long it’ll be
before someone from another party takes him up on the offer, starts phoning
around his riding to say that he’ll resign, or that he eats babies, or is
spending all of his time riding government jets to the Dominican rather than
doing his job, and see how long before he reacts?

Likely to show up in QP tomorrow: questions
as to why the RCMP gave personal information about Henk Tepper, a New Brunswick
potato farmer currently languishing in a Lebanese jail cell, to Algerian officials.

Foreign hackers (likely from China) attacked top Canadian firms trying to get information about Potash Corporation around
the time the company was considered to be up for grabs.

And David Akin points out the irony of
Megan Leslie's complaining that the government will be heading to Durban to
derail the climate conference when she was just in Washington, DC, to derail the
Keystone XL pipeline.

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