Quotation mark glyphs
3 min

It was only clever the first time

It’s now four weeks to go before summer, and the pace is picking up. And I have one message for the Liberals – doing the whole shtick about taking Harper’s tax quote out of context and doing Members’ Statements about it was cute for one day – maybe even just a little bit clever – but by day two, it was old. Move on, and let’s talk about something a little more substantial if you don’t mind.

Of course, it looks like we can stop the election doomsday clock – Jack Layton has pretty much stated that he won’t be voting non-confidence in the government before autumn. Of the three remaining opposition days before the summer, the NDP’s has been scheduled for June 11th, the Bloc for June 15th, and the Liberals for June 23rd – pretty much as late as you can go. Now, accidents can happen and governments have fallen because of them, and theoretically, if the government were to fall on the Liberals’ motion, it would mean an election the first week of August at the absolute earliest. But remember, Canadians don’t want a summer election.

Layton, meanwhile, will be off to Washington on Tuesday to talk about health care, since he’s concerned about the anti-public health care ads being put out by American conservatives, which include Canadian horror stories as part of the campaign. Well, he wants to give Americans the truth about health care – and try to keep hitching his star to Obama’s while he’s at it. Just like every other Canadian politician right now.

And what will the Conservatives be doing this week? Introducing new legislation that will allow victims of terror to sue perpetrators in Canadian courts. No, seriously. I mean, this is a whole symbolic sop to the hard-core right-wingers, and apparently the Jewish community (whom Harper is still courting hardcore), and yes, it is meant as a distraction for the government’s other problems, like, oh, the recession, but really? If no one can find Osama bin Laden to take him out, how do they expect process servers to actually serve him papers that he’s being sued? Probably not the best use of resources out there – or time on the Order Paper, when there are far more pressing concerns facing us at this very moment.

The Conservatives have also said that they now don’t expect to put any environmental regulations into place until somewhere between 2012 and 2016 in order to dovetail into American plans. Which means that after coming to power, the Conservatives not only scrapped programmes that were effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they pushed off regulations further and further away, so that now it’ll be another six years before anything comes into force. But hey, they’re providing “strong leadership” on the environment.

On the Chalk River front, two other Canadian companies are looking to provide some alternatives to isotope production – one at a reactor at McMaster University, the other a Vancouver-based company that owns an electron beam accelerator that can get production on line in two years. McMaster looks like it’ll be getting funds to get their production underway as soon as possible, but as their reactor is nearly as old as the one in Chalk River, and can’t produce nearly as much, it’ll be a stopgap solution only.

Her Excellency is now being treated like a rock star in the North, for a people who are used to the southerners looking down their “civilised” noses as them. Mind you, Adrienne Clarkson is a bit unimpressed. “I've eaten raw food here since 1971. It's nothing new to me, okay?” Meow, girlfriend! It seems that Her Excellency and her predecessor have been sniping at one another recently, with Clarkson suggesting that future Governors General pass a Canada-knowledge quiz, while Jean would snipe back that belonging goes beyond the ability to name the Mackenzie River and where it is. Can’t we all just get along in vice-regalness?

And over in Alberta, the plans to enshrine “parental rights” chugs along, no matter that the school boards are protesting. No, it’s because the “silent majority” of Alberta wants it, it seems, and Christian groups are now sniping about “left-wing hate and discrimination.” Seriously? Like the hate you spread against queers and other minorities is any better?