2 min

Wading into language politics

As I said previously, the NDP has declared that its first order of business will be to reintroduce the private member’s bill about extending French language protection to workers in federally regulated industries such as banks. This is starting to raise a few eyebrows as not everyone thinks that this would be either a worthwhile use of the NDP's time or do much good. Such a move would expend a lot of political capital, and some experts say that the benefits are likely to be marginal given that it wouldn’t really give francophone Quebeckers another avenue of recourse for their grievances. It would also be merely symbolic if the Official Languages Act was not reopened, which is something that there is little appetite for and could possibly cause a backlash in English Canada (where NDP voter share didn’t increase much during the last election). And hey, there’s no real guarantee it would go anywhere if the Conservatives don’t want to sign on. They have the majority after all.

The Liberals, meanwhile, think that they have found a way to get around the party’s constitutional need to hold a new leadership contest immediately: they will hold a special internet convention to ratify amendments to the Liberal constitution next month. That would give them time to work on the ground-up rebuilding that the party needs to do. At the same time, the party’s national board (meaning the heads of each provincial wing and other groups like the Young Liberals and the Aboriginal Peoples Commission) is meeting to discuss the rules governing how to choose an interim leader, but there is some controversy. While this won’t happen this week as originally expected, they are putting some rules in place: the interim leader would not be able to run for the post on a permanent basis; any talk of a “merger” with the NDP is off the table; and if the interim leader isn’t bilingual, a “native francophone” interim deputy leader would be appointed. There are also concerns from senators that they are being frozen out, but this may have already been mollified in later drafts of the proposal.

Colby Cosh looks at the NDP response to the whole “Vegas” Brosseau affair and how problematic it’s become.

David Eaves pens an open letter to new MPs; he hopes that they’ll be young, angry and naive enough to demand change. This would probably be a good thing if most of them weren’t too busy drinking the Kool-Aid of party doctrine and leader worship.

Jean Chrétien hopes that Harper will reconsider his bid to kill the per-vote subsidy.

Here’s a look at the hundreds of staffers, including a chunk of the gay “velvet mafia,” who will be losing their jobs in defeated MP's offices this week.

Here’s a look at election-day polling done by Ipsos, which shows, among other things, the factor religion played in voting patterns.

And Kady O’Malley looks at what life as a backbench independent MP will mean for Elizabeth May, given that she doesn’t have enough MPs to be granted official party status (nor does the Bloc, which didn't get the required 12 seats).
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