It was announced today that former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien will join the Order of Merit, a prestigious honour granted by the Queen, which is only open to 24 living members at a time. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. It is awarded to people of “exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas such as public service.”
Two previous Canadian Prime Ministers – William Lyon Mackenzie King and Lester Pearson – have been awarded the Order of Merit. No doubt, given how Chrétien was able to keep the country together during the 1995 referendum, was a factor in Her Majesty’s decision. Chrétien was also a key negotiator in the repatriation of the Constitution, and the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Speaking of Prime Ministers, the PMO released a photo of Harper meeting the Pope. I just can’t decide – which one looks more like Emperor Palpatine? They’ve both got the same smile, and almost the same eyes…
Meanwhile, if you’ve been wondering how Scott Brison has been spending his summer, he put out not one, but two press releases on Friday. The first was a joint statement with Alexandra Mendes, where they decried the government inaction on the 47,500 jobs lost last month. Brison wonders where the jobs the government promised to create in the budget were, and railed on about their “economic mismanagement.”
In a separate release, Brison in his capacity as International Trade critic, drew attention to the fact that we continue to run a trade deficit, which is bad economic news for a trading nation such as Canada. In fact, our trade deficit has never been this high. Brison singles out our poor trading relations with China and India as part of the problem.
The NDP, meanwhile, have taken a page out of the Conservative book, and are accusing the government of planning a massive increase of payroll taxes in order to pay for EI. If you hadn’t watched Question Period for the past couple of months, this is especially amusing given that one of the Conservatives’ favourite tactics of late was accusing the Liberals and NDP of wanting to create a massive increase in payroll taxes through their EI reform plans. The NDP say that this is because of the way the Liberals plundered a $57 billion surplus in the EI accounts during the good times – money which is no longer accessible in this current time of job losses. Oh, the taste of one’s own medicine is often bitter, no?