It was more than just contempt for Parliament when the government decided to deliver its fall economic update in Mississauga during a constituency week for the House. It was also an attempt at misdirection, as the vote for that seat on the UN Security Council happened, and Canada pulled out after the second ballot, knowing that we weren’t going to get it, despite being confident that they had the necessary votes.
Lawrence Cannon was quick to blame countries that weren’t happy with our northern sovereignty claims (Seriously? They’re not really in dispute), and of course, Michael Ignatieff bad-mouthed our bid. That’s right – blame Ignatieff, not their own actions. (“I’d be flattered if it wasn’t so ridiculous,” Ignatieff remarked in return. Bob Rae also went on a bit of a tear about how this government has neglected its foreign policy, and is now reaping what it's sown, or not sown as the case may be.)
Funny thing? The delegates weren’t talking about Ignatieff, no matter what the prime minister’s press secretary insists. No, they were talking about our position on debt relief, and foreign aid, and possibly Israel (we did just announce plans to try and form a free trade agreement with them, on top of the less nuanced position we’ve adopted in recent years) and the UAE spat (the official Liberal line on which is that it was a result of Conservative incompetence in diplomatic relations, which sounds about right).
Liberal Glen Pearson, meanwhile, notes the anger of a lot of African delegations when Canada shifted their foreign aid away from most African nations, which didn’t help our bid.
Oh, and that fiscal update? The recovery is fragile, lower revenues than expected, a record deficit, but still on track for a surplus by 2016! (Note the previous promises for surplus budgets.) But you know, totally able to keep the short attention span of the media away from the UN vote debacle.
The government ran a million-dollar test-run on the long-form census in May of last year, deeming it important enough to get the bugs worked out of it. And then they scrapped it, to replace it with a voluntary survey that costs millions of dollars more for less reliable data. Because it makes so much sense to do so!
The information commissioner is widening her probe into the allegations of political interference with access to information requests. And I’m sure that when Question Period resumes on Monday, John Baird will tell us all that Christian Paradis is blameless and that he’s already taken responsibility for this like a good minister of the Crown.
The Public Service Commission is investigating 13 hires by the Immigration and Refugee Board as being not based on merit. Remember how the Conservatives changed the appointment process to make it less political? Uh huh. Hands up those of you who actually believed it.
And the public service integrity commissioner (who deals with whistleblowers) says that there haven’t been any complaints, but still notices a huge chill in the bureaucracy when it comes to an environment where complaints can be made. (Anyone see a pattern forming here?)