It isn’t often that one gets a look inside the Conservative party caucus as it tears itself apart over the issue of Brian Mulroney, now that the Oliphant inquiry is underway regarding his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber. Nevertheless, the Canadian Press got an exclusive look at what went down, as old Progressive Conservatives and former Reformers – who hated Mulroney – had it out behind closed doors. And this probably says something, given that while leaks out of the Liberal caucus room are nothing new, it’s rare that one hears any leaks from the Conservative caucus. It's especially intersting to have the reporter in question being handed the talking points the caucus has also been given when media comes calling. Family feuds in the party of family values? Say it isn’t so.
Earlier in the week, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, and was pretty much torn a new one by Nova Scotia Liberal Senator James Cowan over the way Shea behaved regarding the seal hunt. Remember that single, solitary Liberal Senator who tried to introduce a bill to ban the seal hunt, and found no one to even second the bill, thus having it die right then and there? Well, Shea did a very bad thing and had her department issue a press release condemning the Liberals, and as you may know, the department is supposed to remain non-partisan. Oops. Shea says it was all an “administrative error.” But given this government’s continual attempts to politicise the civil service, I’m suspicious as to just how much of an “error” it really was.
The Nanaimo Daily News takes closer look at the Members’ Statement that Conservative James Lunney made in defence of creationists last week, and found it to be full of pseudo-scientific jargon and outright misleading statements. And did I mention that it was only Conservatives who were applauding such claptrap.
Liberal infrastructure critic Gerard Kennedy is raising the alarm over the new one-page application form that the Conservatives have introduced for infrastructure projects in the interest of “streamlining” the process. Kennedy says that the lack of information the on the forms will make it difficult for the government to do due diligence, and that we could see great sums of money being thrown at projects it knows little about, that may not have proper safeguards for things like environmental assessments. John Baird, typically, responded that Kennedy was simply looking for more red tape to be created. And thus another cut by which accountability slowly dies by.
And finally, Foreign Affairs minister Lawrence Cannon says that he has been assured that the bill in Afghanistan that would strip Shia women of their basic human rights has been halted and will be revised. Of course, we’ll have to see just how complete those revisions end up being – after all, you will remember that President Karzai does have an election coming up and he is trying to appeal to more “traditional” elements. This whole incident should serve as a reminder that we need to keep a closer eye on what happens there.