2 min

The watchdogs want to be watched

Seven agents of Parliament, including the
former auditor general, Sheila Fraser, signed their names to a report that says MPs need to do a better job of overseeing and scrutinizing the watchdogs
that report to them. What’s that? MPs actually doing their jobs of oversight?
Keeping an eye on the watchdogs and scrutinizing the estimates so that spending
has controls before the money goes out the door rather than after? You don’t
say! If only they could . . . What’s that? I have a 3:30 press conference on
my eleventieth private member’s bill that will never, ever see the light of
day? Sorry, this is important. I’m
making a really strong symbolic point – gotta run.

And then there were eight. Robert Chisholm,
cognizant that his French will not be good enough by the time the race
is over, has withdrawn his bid to become leader of the federal NDP. No
word on who he plans to support for the remainder of the race – or whether
he’ll get back his trade critic portfolio.

Thomas Mulcair, meanwhile, says he’s got
the experience and thick skin necessary to win the job.

Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer talks about his first six months on the job.

Nycole Turmel laughs off criticism of her
performance as interim leader and says she hopes her English is improving.
Err, about that . . .

Michael Ignatieff wonders about the federal
government walking away from a leadership role in healthcare and says that
we’re looking at a future where the available care will differ between
provinces.

A Conservative backbencher tried to reopen
the abortion debate in a coded manner, then insisted he just wants a debate
based on “scientific evidence.” Just a reminder that it’s not going to go
anywhere, as Harper has pretty much put the kibosh on said debates – at least
during his first majority.

All those pricey gifts the prime minister gets from foreign dignitaries but has to surrender because of conflict of interest laws will be going to the National Capital Commission,
which manages the Crown Collection. Some of these may end up in official
residences, others in museums. Meanwhile, the ethics commissioner says that we
need stricter rules around such gifts given that there seem to be few
declarations coming from ministers who travel frequently.

And here’s an interesting discussion on CBC
Radio’s The Current about HIV
nondisclosure laws in Canada, given that there are a pair of Supreme Court
appeals coming in February dealing with this issue.

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