1 min

The likely uselessness of today’s gathering

Harper’s big Crown-First Nations gathering
happens today, for as much as he’ll be there (which will be until lunch, at
which point he takes off for Davos). And while Harper did meet with a few
chiefs last night, there is grumbling from First Nations communities about the
uselessness of said gathering when a) Harper won’t be there, and b) they’ve
downplayed expectations to virtually nothing except more promises of “incremental
change.” Which really can’t be sufficient given everything that has gone on,
but what can you do? Even more disappointing is Harper telling chiefs that they
should be contacting their MPs to discuss issues. But remember – the First
Nations have a relationship with the Crown itself, and Harper is now telling
them to forgo that in favour of MPs for whom this is not actually their responsibility. And suddenly one gets a sense of foreboding about the whole
thing . . .

The New Democrats say they are going to make the
budget their top priority when the House comes back next week and are going to
try to get a meeting with Harper beforehand about their budget demands. Yeah,
good luck with that.

Meanwhile, new documents obtained by the NDP through access to information punch further holes in Tony Clement’s credibility
on the G8 legacy fund file, as Clement tries to parse the semantics of what “recommended”
projects means.

Paul Wells recaps the interview Harper gave
with Radio-Canada on things like respecting provincial jurisdiction around

John Geddes unpacks Newt Gingrich’s shout-out to Harper after the South Carolina primary, and Harper’s gradual move away
from US trade and his looking toward Asia.

What’s that? The omnibus crime bill will
cost Ontario alone a billion dollars? You don’t say!

Paul Dewar is turning his sights to Thomas
Mulcair over some of his previous statements on bulk water exports.

As Alberta has its own evaluation of MLA
compensation, it appears that the premier makes less than her chief of staff,
or senior provincial bureaucrats.

And Justin Trudeau will be headed into a boxing ring against Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau for charity.

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