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The coming 41st Parliament

In case you were worried or unsure about how many sleeps you need to count, we now know that Parliament will return on June 2 for the election of the Speaker and the Speech from the Throne on June 3. Still no word on when the new cabinet will be announced, but it should be before the weekend.

Gay Liberal MP Scott Brison has been the victim of vandalism at his home in Cheverie, Nova Scotia, where his garbage box was burned down. He said that since this wasn’t the first incident, he will now install security cameras around his property.

The Canadian Press looks into foreign trips taken by MPs that were sponsored by other countries or interest groups. Public records show that many MPs were sponsored by the Canada-Israel Committee to visit Israel and by the Chinese government to visit Taiwan. Jack Layton and Olivia Chow were sponsored by a labour union to attend its convention in Orlando, Florida. Layton had written a letter of support for one of the union's causes a few months earlier. The MPs all insist that the travel is perfectly legitimate and doesn’t influence them. If anything, this is another reminder of how the public's insisting that Parliament worship at the altar of cheap may not actually be doing us any favours.

Here’s an exit interview with Auditor General Sheila Fraser at the end of her 10-year term. She laments the lack of long-term planning or projections by the government and challenges it to get on board and look forward to the coming challenges the country faces.

And here’s a depressing thought: a Canadian population that pays more attention to the Don Cherry brand of nationalism (which tends to leave out multiculturalism and women) and has become increasingly self-interested (more concerned with the price of gasoline than the state of parliamentary democracy), has not only rewarded the Conservatives' contempt of Parliament with a majority mandate but has also convinced itself that parliamentary debate is simply “bickering.” Can we hope that this is a short-lived blip and not a sign of where this country's political scene is really headed?
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