2 min

Taking the estimates seriously

What’s this? A group of MPs – including a
backbench government MP – realizes that they’re not spending enough time
scrutinizing the estimates and that an hour with the minister at the committee
is wholly insufficient (especially when they tend to ask said minister
questions about the story of the day rather than about the estimates, but I
digress) and that most MPs don’t have the financial literacy necessary to
scrutinize said spending estimates. It’s like a revelation! Careful that it
doesn’t spread or else we might find ourselves having a shortage of press
conferences to cover for gimmicky private member's bills that will never see
the light of day.

Long-time Edmonton Conservative MP Peter
Goldring has resigned from caucus after he was charged with failing to provide
a breath sample, and well, he’s aware of the strong stance his party takes on things like impaired driving. He’s planning on staying out of
caucus until the legal proceedings are out of the way.

Peter MacKay says it’s not true that a
search and rescue helicopter was re-tasked to come and pick him up from his
fishing vacation – but won’t answer about the allegation that he misled the
House. Meanwhile, did you notice how the government talking points changed from
“it was a prearranged search and rescue demonstration” to “he used it to get
back to work” – even though “work” that day was a joint announcement with the
minister of public works about a procurement deal. Totally worth the helicopter
plus Challenger jet.

Candice Hoeppner bizarrely suggests that
information on firearms sales can be found through the income tax system now
that the long-gun registry is about to be scrapped. Err, so now police
investigations need to go through CRA records? Egregious violations of privacy legislation aside, how exactly is that any better?

The perimeter security agreement, which is
expected to be announced this week, will have a billion-dollar price tag, along
with a new entry-and-exit visa system at Canadian borders and enhanced
tracking of people on EI and landed immigrants. But hey, we shouldn’t worry
about privacy or anything like that.

Here’s a fantastic piece that debunks a
lot of myths about for-profit healthcare and looks at research that shows that it
may look shinier and you may get faster service, but the outcomes and mortality
rates are far below not-for-profit (like our single-payer publicly funded)
systems.

Over at Maclean's, Paul Wells breaks down Sunday’s NDP
leadership debate. Meanwhile, here is video proof of the problems of a human
backdrop: MP Bruce Hyer (in the bright lime-green shirt) as he drops off, plays
with his iPad and naps at various points during the debate.

And the New Democrats have somewhat jokingly suggested that if it’s okay to spread rumours about Irwin Cotler, they should
be able to do the same about Peter Van Loan.

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