Three – count them, three – Conservative MPs have decided they will not run in the next election. It's notable in that Stockwell Day and Chuck Strahl are cabinet ministers, and all three (John Cummings being the third) are from BC. They were also members of the original Reform Party class of '93; precious few of those original Reformers remain. This leaves the party increasingly dependent on former Mike Harris Conservatives from Ontario, which diminishes Harper’s western-bench strength. (This could mean promotions for some underutilized western MPs if, God forbid, the Conservatives win another election.) With Stockwell Day gone, who is going to be the PMO’s point person for dealing with evangelicals like Faytene Kryskow? Does this mean they’re just going to give her an office on the hill and turn her loose? That’s an even scarier thought.
Trapped with nowhere to turn, Tom Lukiwski, the parliamentary secretary to the Conservative government house leader, is now blaming bureaucrats for not producing the costing figures that the opposition asked for (which the government was found in a prima facie breach of privilege over). So it’s not their fault – really! It’s just those awful bureaucrats who gave them bad advice. Um, really? Considering that you haven’t taken any advice from the bureaucrats before, now you do? I hardly think so.
The government spent $26 million in taxpayer funds over three months to bombard us with those Economic Action Plan™ ads, which totally aren’t partisan advertising. Go age of austerity!
Laurie Hawn, the parliamentary secretary to the defence minister, disputes Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page’s assessment of the F-35 fighter jet costs – but won’t provide numbers to back up the government position. In other words, just trust us. Because that kind of position fills us with confidence.
The government is talking about raising the price of an access-to-information request to as much as $25. Because using price to control demand is all part of being transparent and accountable!
Kady O’Malley gives us the lay of the land on confidence motions for the week the House comes back. There has to be one on the final supply-cycle estimates before the end of the week, regardless of a budget or a committee report of contempt of parliament. It’s going to be a bumpy week.
The Toronto Star has a profile of Rob Oliphant as he takes on Jason Kenney and the multiculturalism file. It's interesting how Kenney’s tactics are described by those he’s targeted – like the Korean-Canadian newspaper that Kenney admonished for being “too Liberal.” (He further inferred that they could have been on the PM’s plane on the trip to South Korea if they had been nicer.) Seriously. Oliphant is confident these communities will see through Kenney's use of them as chess pieces. One can only hope.
Dan Gardner discusses spin, confirmation bias, rationalization and how we react when we see attack ads. It’s an article you really do need to read.