2 min

Where Harper is not showing leadership

Stephen Harper may have decided to cancel the Commons debate on the speech from the throne, but that didn’t stop the debate in the other place. Senator James Cowan, the Opposition leader in the Senate, kicked off the debate with the observation that “leadership” is only mentioned twice, in relation to the North and Senate reform, in the speech. Cowan spoke about the various places where the government has not shown leadership, such as equal access to healthcare, first nations and criminal justice legislation. He also said that in terms of “showing leadership” on Senate reform, it’s a dead issue, as far as the Senate is concerned, until the provinces are consulted.

Also, during Senate question period (which has actual debate – MPs should take note), Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette asked about the G8/G20 spending and some of the charges laid against student protesters.

At the Conservative Party convention, Dean Del Mastro (the prime minister’s new parliamentary secretary) talked about how great it is to campaign against fictional bogeymen such as Ruby Dhalla’s private member’s bill on pension benefits for immigrants (which was not actual Liberal policy) and the so-called 45-day work year for EI. Also, Jason Kenney invoked the Magna Carta when saying that people don’t care about the issue of Taliban prisoners. Err, except for paying attention to what the Magna Carta says about rights and the rule of law.

Elizabeth May reflects on her first week in Parliament here.

In his quest to find out what the government booked in cuts in the current budget, Paul Wells encounters a response telling him stuff that one department won’t cut, which of course doesn’t really help.

Here’s a look into Harper’s claim that the border infrastructure fund is routinely used to fund other projects.

Here’s a lengthy piece about the end of the mission in Kandahar. It has some recollections about the evolving nature of the mission, which went from what was supposed to be watching out for a few bad guys to a full-blown counterinsurgency, the rise of the use of IEDs and how our Forces not only adapted but also made good use of the ground war in ways that American bombing campaigns couldn’t match.

And here’s an interesting interview with the author of In Defence of Flogging, which examines a way of reforming the American prison system. He has a few pointed things to say about the tough-on-crime policies, which the Conservatives are trying to import, that didn’t work.

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