All this talk about a likely mission extension in Afghanistan has people saying that we should have another vote in the House of Commons about it. Defence scholar Philippe Lagassé says that while it sounds good and democratic to do so, it would actually reduce accountability because the government would simply pin the blame on the Commons for anything that goes wrong – much as we saw happen the last two years after the last vote on the Afghanistan deployment. After all, Crown prerogative is how our system works, with the House then holding the government to account for it. Voting on it beforehand neuters the House’s ability to do so, and that is not a good thing in a Westminster democracy.
The Conservatives are launching a tour to listen to individual Canadian families and small businesses as they prepare the next budget. Because listening to experts and other elites would be a bad thing, I gather.
The conference on anti-Semitism has concluded and come up with the Ottawa protocol. One of the declarations: “Let it be clear: Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium — let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction — is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.” But what about the other free-speech issues?
Oh, the irony! An outgoing MP uses his House of Commons budget to help secure the nomination of the man he wants to succeed him – the former head of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation. Seriously. You can’t make this up.
Susan Delacourt muses on the decline of political journalism as it is defined by access, not content. And with Harper not even announcing major policy decisions now, but rather leaving it up to his spin doctors, we should indeed be worried about what this portends.
Aaron Wherry writes the obituary of this government’s concept of ministerial accountability.
Belinda Stronach thinks that new technology like video conferencing and electronic voting may help bring more women into politics.
And Liberal MP Keith Martin won’t run again, citing the hyper-partisan atmosphere as one of the contributing factors. Aaron Wherry recalls the incident where Martin grabbed the ceremonial mace and declared that Canada was no longer a democracy.