The Baltimore Sun
2 min

The dumbing down of order paper questions

On an order paper question about the new
Office of Religious Freedoms, the Conservatives replied to very specific
questions with . . . some press release bumf. Seriously? Seriously? This is not good for our democracy, or
the roles of MPs to hold government to account. If they can’t get answers to
their questions, how, exactly, are they supposed to hold government to account? Was this government not already once found in contempt of Parliament for this kind of behaviour (for all the good that finding did)? This is a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed and soon.

The amended omnibus crime bill has passed the Commons (again) and is now getting royal assent. Now that it’s passed,
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says they’ll space out the implementation so it
doesn’t all hit at once. Err, wasn’t this such a huge urgent priority that they
needed it passed in 100 days? Here are four legacies of the bill and its
passage.

Today in Robocon revelations, Elections
Canada says that the bulk of the 31,000 complaints they’ve received are form letters and other such automatically generated correspondence – but they
don’t offer the breakdown of how many are actual complaints and how many are
expressions of concern. They have, however, hired 14 new staff to deal with
them. Meanwhile, if the person behind “Pierre Poutine” did come forward
yesterday, we may not know until the investigation is complete, whenever that may be. Here is the Liberal explanation for Frank Valeriote’s robo-calls in
Guelph and why they don’t believe they broke the rules on them (and it’s still a
far cry from directing people to the wrong polling stations, so stop with the
moral equivocating, people). Andrew Potter relates the Robocon allegations to white collar crime and suggests that the kind of rationalizations used to justify those kinds of activities share the same psychology. Economist Anke Kessler crunches
some numbers about the potential impact of voter suppression calls.

As electoral boundary redistribution gets
underway to add new seats to the Commons before the next election, parties are
keeping a close eye to avoid any appearances of gerrymandering. But seriously,
the very first thing these commissions need to do is eliminate the “rurban”
ridings around municipalities. As it stands, the rural portions of those
ridings swamp the urban portions, which not only advantages Conservatives, but
makes urban voices and concerns largely go unheeded.

Over in the NDP leadership race, the links
between Martin Singh and Thomas Mulcair intensify, with one of Singh’s former
organizers now working for Mulcair and trying to convince Sikh members he
signed up to the party to put Mulcair as their second choice. Of course, they
deny this, but this does make for an interesting dynamic to the race.

And Stéphane Dion takes to the pages of the
National Post to call out the NDP’s
pandering to separatists in Quebec, calling it a threat to national unity.

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