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In case you were worried that the
government was becoming too spontaneous with its communications, it appears
that there are some 1,500 communications staff in Ottawa now, between ministers’
offices, departments, the PMO and PCO. But it’s not just Harper’s doing –
escalation started under Paul Martin when the era of minority government began
and tighter messaging became a new way of life. And yes, New Democrats have been
learning the PMO’s communications lessons well.

Looking at a Feb 8 deadline – when census data is released – the government is looking to push the
seat distribution bill to receive royal ascent before then. NDP MP David
Christopherson says they should give the Commons more time to study it since
the Senate will just rubber-stamp it anyway. Obviously, Mr Christopherson
hasn’t paid attention to anything the Senate has done in, oh, forever, since
their studies actually tend to be more comprehensive than those of the Commons
committees (which are usually more concerned with speechifying and gamesmanship).
But hey, why ruin a bogus NDP narrative?

Rob Nicholson has agreed to a last-minute
 with Quebec’s justice minister over the omnibus crime bill, for all the
good that will do, seeing as Nicholson will admit to no problems with his bill.

The Speaker has ruled that he’s not going
to get involved in the ethics committee’s CBC/access to information fight. That
means it’ll likely go ahead, and once the report is drafted, the issue may come
back to him.

This week in Halifax will mark the “soft
launch” of the healthcare accord renegotiation talks between Leona Aglukkaq
and her provincial counterparts.

L’Université du Québec à Montréal will be
creating a research chair on homophobia, to study the mental, physical and sexual
health impacts, thanks to provincial funding.

And it was the Maclean’s Parliamentarian of the Year awards last night. Bob Rae
won the award for Parliamentarian of the Year, while the other winners are as

  • Hardest Working: Jason Kenney
  • Most Knowledgeable: Joe
  • Best Represents Constituents:
    Michael Chong
  • Rookie of the Year: Chris
  • Best Orator: John Baird
  • Most Collegial: Peter Stoffer
  • Lifetime Achievement: Jack
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