The threat of an autumn election looms closer as both the Bloc and the NDP seem to indicate that they’re not willing to work with the government either – even though it could mean troubling poll numbers for all opposition parties. While Harper’s numbers haven’t budged much, the Liberals have dropped amongst the chest-thumping, but so have the NDP’s – even in Atlantic Canada, where they were supposedly riding high on the provincial win in Nova Scotia. While polls do not necessarily mean a lot outside of a writ period – and it should always be mentioned that a government tends to poll better during the summer when they’re not being called to account in Question Period every day – it could give the opposition pause before committing to go all the way.
Still saying they don’t want to go to an election (while still not willing to play well with others), the government is warning that an “unnecessary election” would kill several of the tough-on-crime bills currently on the Order Paper (though that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, being as there are some bad and actually frightening bills they’re proposing). That said, one should remember that many of these bills they haven’t actually been moving on anyway, while they like to say that other parties or the Senate are stalling them, which isn't exactly true.
Oh, and the argument that an election could kill the economic stimulus going on? Some economists say that the economic stimulus provided by an election would actually be a good thing. After all, it provides plenty of temporary employment for Elections Canada, and all those local print shops, pizza parlours and bus companies get plenty of business. In fact, it might even be more effective stimulus than what the government proposed and then sat on.
Her Excellency the Governor General has just wrapped up a two-day trip to Afghanistan, and she toured many of the hospitals and projects that Canada is involved in. Despite all of the many stories of just how Afghanistan is going to hell in a handbag, she seems to indicate that compared to her last visit in 2007, there is measurable progress and we’re doing good work.
The Canadian Press has an excellent video interview with Her Excellency here. I’m also intrigued that she is continuing to wear the uniform of the Forces when she visits them and performs her functions as Commander-in-Chief. Unlike Harper – whose visits to Afghanistan are marked with photos of his belly straining under a flack jacket – she’s in the CADPAT and beret, and being one with the troops. I think it’s a pretty powerful statement, and one that I’m quite sure remains unique among past Governors General.
A lesbian who deserted the US Army went to the Federal Court on Tuesday to argue for refugee status, saying that she was harassed by her unit when they discovered her sexuality, and that they refused to discharge her when she disclosed said sexuality to them, intent on shipping her out to Afghanistan or Iraq regardless. The biggest argument in her case is the fact that we’d be sending her back to a situation where she would be denied the same legal protections she enjoys in Canada. I guess we’ll see what happens, whether the Court sees it the same way.
Up today – Liberal MP Rob Oliphant will giving an address at a summit regarding pension fund investment entitled Risk & Reward – Pension Fund Investing in the Wake of the Financial Crisis at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. He plans to speak about the role of regulation in responsible investment by pension funds. Given that Oliphant has traditionally been more concerned with human rights than investment (which is more Scott Brison’s job – though he’s in China right now I believe), this sounds like something new for him.