Those intrepid folks at The Canadian Press have done it again. The fantastic Jennifer Ditchburn combed through access to information requests and found that, as expected, Toronto Pride was on track to get its Marquee Tourism Fund money for 2010, passed all the requirements and was at the end of the process – the political end – when the decision to deny the funds was made. Because I’m sure Tony Clement was trying to avoid getting into Charles McVety’s crosshairs once again. But it does affirm that this was a political decision and not one made by the bureaucracy.
Also in the news – word that as much as two thirds of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been lost to corruption in some countries. Some donor countries, such as Sweden, are suspending donations until this is fixed. This could be a very huge deal for the fight against HIV/AIDS around the world.
Back here in Canada, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives held a big rally at a suburban Ottawa hotel to mark their five years in power. It was apparently all big maple leaf backdrops, cameras filming (doubtless for future political ads) and Harper stepping away from the podium to do the Donahue thing. Oh, and he loves Canada, by the way. (If you’re interested, The Canadian Press has a timeline of his five-year highs and lows and a look at his iron-fisted discipline).
Incidentally, determining if you’re better or worse off than you were five years ago (as per the Liberals’ new campaign narrative) apparently depends on how you crunch the numbers.
After spending months denigrating the long-form census as “too intrusive,” Tony Clement is now encouraging Canadians to fill out the just as “intrusive” voluntary household survey (which won’t provide any usable statistically sound data, at an increased cost). Because he’s all about consistency.
The Conservatives are promising that their enhanced citizen's-arrest bill for shop owners will be tabled shortly after the House comes back. Given that the NDP and the Liberals had their own versions of this bill in the works, it’s likely this will get through with little pushback (though the devil is always in the details).
Quebecor’s apparent desire to help fund the Quebec City arena means that it’s likely the government will now go ahead to sink some money into it as well, now that their desire for a private sector fig leaf has materialized.
And a group of women from Bountiful, BC, are due to testify at the polygamy trial about how wonderful their polygamous community is and how it’s so spiritually fulfilling for them.
Up today – while Harper heads off to Geneva and then Morocco, the Liberals are holding their winter caucus retreat here in Ottawa (hope they’re enjoying the minus 30 with wind chill – and no, it’s not a dry cold).