Roundup: Hey, big spender!

All eyes may be on Bev Oda’s limousine habit and posh hotels, but it seems that the highest spending cabinet minister is Gerry Ritz, who spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on travel in the past year. But look at all of our agricultural export markets he’s securing! Oh, and take it away, Dame Shirley Bassey.

So, that Michael Ignatieff interview. Which he later said the criticisms of which were taken out of context and is now said to be backpedalling while other Liberals repudiate his words and separatists are revelling in them. But. Having watched the full interview, I will note that Ignatieff does seem to be conflating a lot of the division of powers from the 1867 constitution (where things like healthcare and education are provincial responsibilities) with Quebec’s control over their immigration stemming from a 1968 law, and some of the kinds of concessions that were made post-1995 that weren’t structural. But put this into the context of the last election, where there was a great deal of debate around the NDP proposals for further decentralisation on a selective basis with Quebec (while simultaneously seeking more centralising powers for pretty much every other province), which was the point of the “Sherbrooke Declaration,” and the frustrations that many a federalist politician feels when it comes to the fact that Canada is already the most decentralised federation in existence. Ignatieff did seem to be indicating that the damage from further devolution of powers, in a post-Scottish independence world, would be eventual independence, but that seems to have been lost in most people’s analyses. (Speaking of, here’s a great analysis from @Kyle_a, who puts a whole bunch more context in there).

Conservative MPs from Alberta were hurting a bit yesterday in the wake of the PC victory in Alberta, as most were supporting the Wildrose party. I witnessed two of them yesterday morning conversing where the one said, “I see you were campaigning for the wrong party,” to which the other replied that he had been campaigning for the party that should have won. Oh, well.

Aaron Wherry has a chat with Bruce Hyer, who hints more about some of the internal battles within the NDP that Jack Layton was able to manage, but that Nycole Turmel couldn’t, and Thomas Mulcair isn’t so far.

As was referenced during QP yesterday, a particular poll was entered as part of the evidence for improper calling in six of the seven ridings where the results are in a court challenge. I get the methodology and that it was structured to serve as a comparison and to correct for the inaccuracies of memory, but a poll does seem like thin evidence for a case of this magnitude.

Here’s a look at the proposed changes to the Fisheries Act that critics argue will weaken fish habitat protection in the rush to speed up environmental assessments.

Here’s more about the “media monitors” being assigned to Canadian scientists at a climate conference.

And the man behind the Vikileaks Twitter account went before the Ethics Committee yesterday. Apparently the Conservatives not only don’t understand how the Twitter Machine works, but they believe that he needed a vast conspiracy to make it all happen – while apparently they also believe that a lone operative is behind the misleading robo-calls.