What did I tell you? With the House on a break, Harper was quick to head out to spread some federal largesse – this time in Vancouver, where it was all spending announcements and photo ops. Like this one with Vancouver’s mayor. Whether or not Vancouver will actually see any of that money is still up for debate, but look! Photo op! Aww, isn’t it sweet?
Hot on his heels was Michael Ignatieff, who was also in Vancouver, but he was there to talk about the necessity for green jobs. No figures attached to that promise, or much in the way of details – but by gosh, we need them! And who said he doesn’t have any policy ideas?
Back in Ottawa, I have to say that I am totally in love with the sense of empowerment the Senate seems to have found lately, especially when it comes to dealing with these rather ill-conceived “tough on crime” bills. And it’s not just the Liberal senators who are questioning the government’s tactics. Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin – an expert on drug policy – isn’t exactly thrilled with the government’s drug crime bill (that’s C-15 for those of you keeping score). Not that Liberals in the House were happy about it either, many of them complaining that they had to follow orders to vote for its passage so as not to look “soft on crime,” which is a phrase I wouldn’t mind seeing stricken from the general lexicon. And this was in the face of overwhelming witness testimony that it was a bad bill. At least the Senate is doing their due diligence and actually studying these bills, even if Harper is trying to use them as a political football.
Federal lawyers are being accused of trying to bully witnesses from testifying in the Military Police Complaints Commission probe of torture allegations in Afghanistan. This despite Harper and Peter MacKay’s repeated assertions that it’s an independent, arm’s length process that they’re not interfering with at all. Because we’ve been given so many reasons to trust them enough to take them at their word.
And finally, the Queen is keeping her distance from the “head of state” flap here in Canada, not making any definitive statements about whether or not Her Excellency can call herself the Head of State or not. Of course, just because Harper is having presidential envy, it’s no reason for him to be so pissy about Her Excellency’s trying to make a point about diversity and about Canada being such a land of opportunity.