Xtra
2 min

Open to giving committees more ‘influence’

As we count down the days before the House
comes back, we turn our attention once again to the gross lack of attention
that MPs pay to the government spending they sign off on. Conservative MP Mike
Wallace, however, thinks the government is open to giving committees more influence
over department spending. Sure, but considering that the Conservatives have a
majority on those committees (so much that they are being referred to now as branch plants of the minister's office), wouldn’t giving the committees (that they are
tightly controlling from the centre) more influence really just amount to
a shell game of making it look like the
committee asked the government to do what it was planning to do all along? Just
saying.

The Toronto
Star
 meets Craig Scott, the NDP candidate in Toronto-Danforth, and yes, he
is a gay man. That would put the NDP’s out queer caucus at five should he
win the by-election (whenever that is called).

Good news, everybody! Joe Oliver wants to streamline environmental assessments so that they don’t drag on forever!
Because it’s not like there are complex projects that cross jurisdictional
boundaries and have effects on air, water and First Nations communities and
their food sources. Oh, wait . . .

Former Conservative MP Peter Goldring says he had only one beer the night he refused to give a breath sample but refused
for other reasons, which will become clear as the case proceeds.

Coming out of their “strategy session,” the
New Democrats are calling for an arms-length review of MP pensions.

Canda's information commissioners want “increasing
public integrity
” to be at the heart of the government’s new open-data policies
and any future changes to access-to-information laws. They also want better training
and resources for records management in the bureaucracy (and as someone who was
in that field in a previous life can attest, that is a major obstacle).

Opposition MLAs in Alberta are balking at
the $3.1 million price tag to run the unconstitutional Senate “nominee
election” in the province this spring. Some of the costs are inflation, others
are for a public awareness campaign because voters need to be better
informed that they can vote for up to three candidates on the ballot (it was
four the last time around, amidst a campaign of miseducation where people were
being told by candidates to vote only once). Nevertheless, this price tag, which is being
borne by the provinces, is one of the reasons many premiers object to
Harper’s “reform” proposals (aside from the fact that they’re
unconstitutional).

CBC looks at the counterintuitive reality that it’s cheaper to send oil from Western Canada to the States for processing and then sell it back to Ontario rather than process it here and ship it over via
a pipeline (that doesn’t exist).

And Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil, who
Irwin Cotler was representing, has been freed.

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