Yesterday morning, the big drama was the revelation that the Conservative Party website had been hacked. Hackers posted a story saying that the prime minister was in the hospital after choking on a hash brown at breakfast. No, seriously. Naturally, the hackers' actions were denounced by parliamentarians of all stripes, but the chatter I heard was that the passwords, which were posted by said hackers, demonstrated that some of the admin passwords on the website were defaults. One would think that the website of the governing party would have better security and that certain news organizations would check these things out before broadcasting it over Twitter.
Once again, the Conservatives have decided to dispense with the usual debate over the throne speech by using the excuse that they need to pass the budget quickly before the summer recess. Err, except they could extend the sitting by a few days if they really wanted to. Just like they’ve dumped all of the scrutiny of the estimates on the Standing Committee on Government Operations rather than spreading it out over the various committees, as is the usual practice. All of this means less debate and shows that the government is still sensitive to dissent despite having a majority.
Debate on the budget began yesterday. Jack Layton’s proposed amendment was that the budget not be adopted unless the government did something about jobs, doctors, pensions, seniors living in poverty and making life more affordable. For the Liberal sub-amendment, Bob Rae added further clauses about aboriginals, long-term sustainability, making the refundable tax credits available to low-income Canadians, and the deficit projections.
In Maclean’s, Paul Wells continues to try to get answers as to what the government has already booked as budget cuts and finds that he still can't get them.
Guess what? Harper has declared that the Supreme Court won’t need to rule on the constitutionality of his Senate-reform bills. Tim Uppal, the minister of state in charge of these things, says that legal challenges coming from the provinces won’t slow down the process. No, seriously. Because it’s not like we have a constitution or a federal system, and a prime minister can, apparently, rule unilaterally to ignore the rules when it suits him. Yep, they’re concerned about democracy all right!
The Senate is reacting to the whole Brigette DePape incident. There is talk of security reviews and how DePape dishonoured the whole page program, which she did. (And I say this as a former page of the Alberta Legislature.)
Andrew Potter has a very thoughtful piece on Harper’s remarks about our mission in Afghanistan and the words of female Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi in her new book, Letters to My Daughters.
And a trio of Conservative “elder statesmen,” all old Progressive Conservative stalwarts, is weighing in on the controversial one member/one vote proposal coming down at this weekend’s convention. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re in favour of keeping the weighted system, which will keep the old Progressive Conservatives from being swamped by the Reform wing of the party. Imagine that!