John Baird
2 min

Kandahar, evolution, and waivers

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and International Trade Minister Stockwell Day were over in Kandahar, Afghanistan today to give $21 million dollars to efforts to train more police officers there. The funds will help pay the salaries of 3000 officers for the next two years. Later in the day, Day visited the infamous Sarpoza prison, and asked a jailed suspected Taliban militant about the treatment he received. Day was satisfied with the reports that he was being well treated. Funny, though – back during the prisoner abuse scandals, Day (in his role as Public Safety Minister) would tell the House that these people were trained to lie. But now, I guess, they’re telling the truth? Huh.

Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, refuses to say whether or not he believes in evolution because he’s a Christian. But hey, he’s a chiropractor, so that means he has to believe in “the science of muscle physiology and neural chemistry,” but we just might not know everything now. Hey, I wonder if he’s screamed at any other university teachers groups lately?

Environment Minister Jim Prentice wants to place a two-year waiver on certain types of environmental assessments under the guise of “fiscal stimulus” in order to get projects rolling faster. The Conservatives keep insisting that it’s to avoid duplicating efforts between provincial and municipal levels of governments, but the problem with that line is that there are already harmonisation agreements in place so that there is no actual duplication of efforts – especially seeing as there are separate areas of responsibility and the federal government largely deals with those areas that are trans-boundary issues. Sorry, guys, but that excuse really isn’t going to fly in the face of reality.

And the head of OC Transpo says that Transport Minister John Baird should resign for once again interfering with a municipal affair. This time, Baird is seeking to bring in an amendment that would have federal work-rest rules apply to OC Transpo (which falls under federal jurisdiction, as some routes cross into Quebec). This would effectively change the rules that the arbitrator is ruling on, thus making the negotiations unfair for OC Transpo. Previously, when Baird was Treasury Board President, he withheld funds for a light-rail transit project in Ottawa during a municipal election – a project that was cancelled when the incumbent lost, and the city was then put on the hook for the cancellation of the contract.