Punctuation
2 min

Shiny semantic distractions

While there are real issues to debate, the government has instead decided to send Jason Kenney to every talk-radio program in the country to savage Justin Trudeau. Trudeau said that he would have preferred the use of a less pejorative term than “barbaric” in the section of the new citizenship guide that outlines Canada’s refusal to accept certain cultural practices such as honour killings. Apparently it’s all about how horrible “Liberal cultural relativism” is. Trudeau took to Twitter and tried to explain his position: the choice of “barbaric” was meant to appease the conservative base rather than provide a substantial message to new immigrants, and the use of another term would have been better. This was to no avail, and he ended up retracting the whole thing. But hey, Jason Kenney (and certain pliant media organizations) got plenty of mileage out of it, perhaps trying to spook the Liberals in advance of a possible election. The debate became all the more poisoned for it.

Stephen Harper says that the earthquake in Japan shows us we really don’t need an election right now. Um, okay. And… let’s talk about hockey some more instead. *sigh* The thing is, when he says that “Canadians don’t want an election,” the Captain Subtext translation means, “I don’t want to be held accountable.” There is no such thing as an “unnecessary election,” and elections are how we hold governments to account. With the number of ethical lapses mounting, it’s no wonder Harper doesn’t want to be held to account.

The Conservatives have also guaranteed that there won’t be an election call before the budget by rescheduling the Liberals’ opposition day to Wednesday. Electorally, it means that they can say, “Hey, look at all the good things we were going to give you in the budget until that mean opposition coalition voted us down,” rather than talk about ethical lapses. I’m quite sure that’s what Liberal strategists were hoping to avoid.

Elsewhere, a RCMP probe details some of the “red flagging” or “purple file process” of sensitive access-to-information requests, which may prove to be a more systemic problem under this government.

After berating Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page over his methodology for the cost estimates of the F-35 fighter jets, the parliamentary secretary for the minister of defence, Laurie Hawn, quietly admits they don’t have all the documents and cost figures. Well then – we’re back to “Just trust us,” right?

Scott Brison talks to The Province about BC’s carbon tax and the HST.

Remember the recent resignation of the Conservative candidate in Vancouver Centre? She’s broken her silence and is talking about neglect and lack of respect from the party’s central office. It seems that speaking about urban issues like housing didn’t endear her to the party, either.

Up today – it’s the first day of those procedure and House affairs committee hearings on the Speaker’s prima facie breach of privilege rulings. And look, the government is trying to game it by fitting two ministers and 10 staffers into a single hour! Speculation is they’ll unleash a document dump at the very same time. This is going to go over well…
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