Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci has been given his terms of reference by the government for his review of those Afghan detainee documents, and the opposition is unimpressed. Released by the government on a Saturday – a sure sign they’re looking to keep the story buried on the weekend pages – the terms don’t have any timeline, but here’s the interesting part: the position is described as Iacobucci being asked “to hold office during pleasure and to advise the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.” In other words, he has no autonomy from the minister to provide actual independent advice. He can be sacked if it’s the minister’s pleasure, or for saying something they don’t like. As one rather knowledgeable friend said – they’ve just hired another lawyer to vet the documents. Ah, but a lawyer whose reputation is above reproach, so the government can deflect any criticism behind said reputation. It’s sick and it’s distressing, and I think this should be the straw that breaks that camel’s back. Derek Lee should file that contempt of Parliament motion after this egregious attempt to thwart the will of the House on the back of a former Supreme Court Justice.
On the topic of our illustrious minister of justice, more evidence that he’s ignoring all kinds of taxpayer-funded research that shows that his approach to being “tough on crime” – that being mandatory minimum sentences – is ineffective and counter-productive, and results in more plea bargains like the kind that Rahim Jaffer took to the country’s great outrage last week. Not that Nicholson wants you to hear that kind of talk because it shows just how very, very wrong he is in his current agenda.
Remember the Harper government’s plan to tackle maternal and child health around the world? It seems that their own performance on tackling it in Canada isn’t all that great. As it turns out, they haven’t been properly funding some of the programs domestically, or they’re not actually spending the budgeted dollars if they are funnelling them towards those projects. And now we’re supposed to believe they’ll be the great saviours abroad?
And if you’ve been paying attention during Question Period the past few days, you’ll have heard questions being asked about the funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate Change and Atmospheric Sciences drying up. As it turns out, the loss of that foundation will not only have global repercussions, it’ll signal a loss of science expertise in this country as these scientists find greener pastures in other countries. But not only that, and no matter how many times Jim Prentice tells us that he’s committed to this science, it’s just more doublespeak from this government. They keep saying that the “science isn’t settled” on climate change – and yet rather than funding more science, they’ll defund it so that it will remain unsettled. Yes, I know that’s the whole point, but it’s a really underhanded thing to do – and we should be calling them out on it.