Never mind about employment equity, otherwise known as affirmative action. That’s the message from the government a day after they decided to “review” their affirmative action policies. They looked into it, and everything’s working just tickety-boo, thanks, so we’ll close that door. Maybe it’s because it was a political miscalculation regarding all those ethno-cultural communities they were trying to sway, and how the Liberals were quick to capitalize on the issue during Ignatieff’s cross-country tour (where there is a focus on those very same communities)? Or, more probably, it was an attempt at a diversion from the census story. Suffice to say, the whole affirmative action story is pretty bizarre when you look into it (a single complaint by a Conservative blogger makes Stockwell Day jump to action – really?) and the actual numbers in question are pretty small. Not a hill they plan to die on.
Not that the same can be said on the census issue. Tony Clement (now also a hero to drowning women in cottage country) continues to refuse to back down, and hey, he’s got Jim Flaherty in his corner! In fact, Clement is now claiming that Statistics Canada didn’t tell him that making the long-form census voluntary was a bad thing. Seriously? I find that hard to believe and think this is more about Clement trying to shift the blame onto the bureaucrats and the “elites” (two favoured populist targets). Nevertheless, all his insistences aren’t adding up.
Maclean’s takes a look at – and utterly destroys – Clement’s favoured ominous straw man of the fictitious census question of what time a person leaves for work in the morning. It’s a question that has never been asked – and yet, they try to say that it has. Their explanation is hilarious and a worthwhile read.
And Susan Delacourt takes a look into the growing discontent in the public service that the census debate and the resignation of Munir Sheihk has exacerbated. It turns out they really don’t like their independence being quashed for political expediency and ideology.
On a related tangent, Conservative Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu doesn’t believe that the crime rate in this country is actually going down, and he plans to have a talk with the good folks at Statistics Canada about their methodology. So when the facts don’t match your narrative, you attack the messenger? Because that’s a responsible way to govern.
David Akin details some of the problems that Access to Information documents turned up at the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Conservative stance on prisoner transfers between countries is creating diplomatic problems with the US, and apparently makes no sense, and denies Canadians convicted abroad necessary rehabilitation, like drug and alcohol programs or sex-offender rehabilitation that’s not available in the States. But hey – ideology over logic, remember?
Liberal MP Rob Oliphant is calling for a public inquiry into Agent Orange.
The CBC talks to the AIDS activist who trashed the Canadian booth at the World AIDS Conference in Vienna.
The government has officially cut the funding for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, an important NGO, after months of keeping them waiting. This is no real surprise given that they’ve been critical of the government, and we all know what happens to people who criticize them.
And finally, thanks to my Halifax correspondents for providing me with the Megan Leslie outfit watch, Halifax Pride edition. Leslie and her team were dressed as roller-derby girls, and she took the derby name “MP Hammer.”