So you know that 420-ish page omnibus budget bill, that affects some fifty Acts, completely rewrites the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Species At Risk Act, removes the Inspector General from CSIS, disappears the immigration backlog and all manner of other measures? Has been subjected to time allocation. The government, feeling generous, is giving it some six days of debate, which really means twenty-something hours in the House at Second Reading, which is hardly anything at all for a bill of this magnitude. The Senate at least will begin pre-studying the bill next week and actually breaking it up into appropriate committees, which the Commons won’t be doing (though as a half-measure, the government will allow a sub-committee at Finance to study all of those environmental changes, which I’m sure will last all of a week, tops). I think John Ivison put it best:
It makes you wonder: What is the point of Parliament? Why not have one whopper of a bill once a year, allow MPs to give it a cursory skim and then send them back to their constituencies to do the ceremonial work of opening supermarkets and attending Rotary barbecues?
If the abuse of time allocation and omnibus legislation continues, that may very well be the way things are headed.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer went to the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, called the military procurement process broken, and flat out asserted that the government was misleading the public on the F-35 costs. And when Chris Alexander tried to challenge him on a number of figures, a little bit of research shows that Alexander was not only wrong, but really, really wrong. Oops. Meanwhile, here’s a look at the “ethical wall” that is keeping the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff from dealing with the F-35 file.
The government is making cuts to Library and Archives Canada once more, which makes the department’s ability to do their job that much more difficult. As it is – and I can speak from personal experience – government departments haven’t put nearly enough resources into their own archives and records management, and to cut Library and Archives by the maximum ten percent is not only short-sighted, but it’s going to create a huge mess of problems down the road when warehouses full of unclassified papers start piling up and needed to be taken care of properly.
In a curious tale, Liberal Senator David Smith – who sits on the Senate National Security and Defence Committee – finds that he is continually singled out for additional security screenings at airports, and that airport staff continually check his name on no-fly lists.
Aaron Wherry talks to Nathan Cullen about his decorum proposals, and Cullen proves himself to be a hypocrite when he refuses to police his own MPs like Charlie Angus for his unclever and insulting tone because Angus is just “being funny,” never mind that it’s hardly decorous or the respectful tone that Cullen is tutting others about.
John Geddes talks to some senior Liberals about their rebuilding efforts.
And here’s a look at some of those rookie MPs of all stripes, one year later.