Christian Paradis has been a very naughty
boy, the ethics commissioner has reported, and he broke conflict-of-interest
rules when dealing with Rahim Jaffer. Paradis’s response is that these rules are
educational tools and he’ll “take further precautions” in the future. There is
no actual punishment for his breach of the rules either – just publishing the
report seems to be enough. You know, shaming him publicly. And theoretically, yes,
the electorate is the ultimate accountability mechanism for elected officials,
but this government seems immune to that kind of accountability
*cough*contempt*cough* (and before you say anything, that actually reflects
more on the electorate than the government. Just saying). Of course, we should
also take this opportunity to remind everyone that this is only the second
finding of fault by Mary Dawson, who historically interprets rules so narrowly
that she never seems to carry any investigations forward, and the fact that she
feels that a public shaming is enough of a deterrent for what few rulings she
does make adds to the criticism that says her office is toothless. Oh, and
Paradis? Not going anywhere, but not just because Harper would shrug this off,
but also because he doesn’t have any other Quebec talent that he could put
into cabinet in Paradis’s place. The only Quebec MP not in cabinet right now is
Jacques Gourde, and well, I’m not sure that anyone would believe he’s ready for
prime time. Just saying.
And hey, the NDP leadership convention
starts today. Leadership hopefuls are disputing the claims that if Thomas
Mulcair doesn’t win Quebec will be doomed, doomed! Here is an interview with Niki Ashton, who refuses to say who her second choice will be. Libby Davies
says that if you “connect the dots” then Layton would have wanted Brian Topp to
win. And the Liberals will be looking to see which “strain” of the NDP emerges
from the convention.
Harkening back to the last election, six
NDP MPs from Quebec didn’t spend a cent and still got elected in the “orange wave”
that swept the province. They include the McGill Four, the Honourable Member
from Vegas, and gay MP Philip Toone (who at least lives in his own riding).
Toone admits that it was a once-in-a-lifetime event and they’ll have to spend a
lot more the next time around.
Joe Oliver thinks we need to make
environmental assessments “more timely” so that First Nations can get resource-sector jobs, as many aboriginal communities are “socially dysfunctional.”
And . . . facepalm. Also, do you know what would make environmental assessments timelier?
More resources and more staff so that they can be done in a timely manner
rather than having few people being swamped with too much of a workload and not
enough time or resources to do it in, as is often the case currently.
Harper is said to be looking to unveil a
new “Americas strategy” next month, which should be something more than the
directionless mess that his government currently employs.
Here’s another look at the “shadow MP” the
Conservatives are running in Irwin Cotler’s riding, putting him on the Heritage
Department payroll and having him appear with Harper when he’s in town. Because
they totally didn’t do that with Parm Gill when he was running against Ruby
Dhalla, either . . .
And here are some photos from the Egale
Canada event on the Hill, hosted by Senator Nancy Ruth, a couple of weeks ago.
Just a reminder: I won’t be at the NDP
convention this weekend (as Xtra will have three other reporters there), but
follow me on the Twitter Machine (@journo_dale) for all of my commentary along
the way as I watch from the comfort of my sofa.