The breakdown of the EI “working group” is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen it – err, or something vaguely less Emperor Palpatine-esque. It seems that the Conservatives have unilaterally ruled out a single national standard, as well as the 360 hour standard that the Liberals had proposed, but in the interest of Making Parliament Work™, they’re still “exploring other options.” Um, okay. So much for working together to find a solution and all. The Liberals on the panel, meanwhile, have asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer to cost out their proposals in order to get a more objective read of the numbers that they’ve said the Conservatives have been grossly distorting.
I have to wonder just what the tactic is for the Conservatives, other than to try to make it look like they’ll make the Liberals swallow anything they shove at them, even though the Liberals are just using this to gather more evidence that the Conservatives are incapable of Making Parliament Work™, thus fuelling their justification for an election. Added to the switch in Conservative tactics, where it now looks like they’ll spend the next election arguing that they really need a majority government (despite the fact that such talk has cost them elections in the past), it just adds to yet more certainty that there will be a trip to the polls this autumn.
While it looks like the government will now provide travel documents to Abdihakim Mohammed – the autistic Somali-Canadian trapped in Kenya for the past three years – likely because of the embarrassment caused by the Suaad Hagi Mohamud case, it nevertheless points to the larger, systemic problem this government has had when it comes to the policy of standing up for its citizens abroad. Gar Pardy, the former head of consular services, argues that while Harper is quick to blame difficulties on foreign governments, it is in fact his government that has created the problem with its de facto policy of playing favourites abroad. What makes this “policy” especially unconscionable is the fact that it flies in the face of the Charter, which guarantees equal rights for all Canadians, whether this current government happens to like you or not. Add to that the fact that the government has to continually be hauled before the Federal Court to be reminded of their legal obligations to these Canadians is yet another example of their inability to follow the basic rule of law. It’s one more symptom of a much larger problem that unfortunately, it will take nothing less than a trip to the ballot box to begin to solve, and then only if they can be chastened by the public (and there is no guarantee of that happening either).
Could Turks and Caicos Islands become the eleventh province of fourth territory? It was proposed more than once, and it looks like the conditions are right once again for it to happen. Imagine – a part of Canada in the Caribbean, where we wouldn’t need a passport or foreign currency, and a place where they already have similar British-descended systems in place. Okay, so we’d need to speed them up on certain social issues like same-sex marriage and pornography, but they can’t be much worse than Alberta, can they? Nevertheless, the Globe and Mail has a fascinating look at the issues involved, and it might be a proposal we should seriously consider.
And finally, of the many photos being sent out by the PMO during the Prime Minister’s big trip to the North, this one in particular stands out the most.
The CBC’s Alison Crawford recounts of how many times it took to get this posed photo to look just right for the PMO, including getting the CF-18s to fly past no less than four times. I have to wonder how many of our hard-earned tax dollars were spent on this shameless photo op? And didn’t Harper used to rail against such needless expenditures – especially when it’s all about catering to his ego?
Up today: There’s an emergency meeting of the Natural Resources committee to discuss the isotope crisis. You know, the one the Minister regrets not being upfront about in the first place? Yeah, we’ll see if that actually happens.