Stephen Harper surprised everyone yesterday with a wee little cabinet shuffle – Julian Fantino is going to CIDA in Oda’s place, and Bernard Valcourt gets the associate deputy minister position for defence while retaining his ACOA portfolio and the Francophonie. Fantino is an…interesting choice, considering he’s spent his career being the guy who as getting tough on crime and now he’s being the face of Canada’s compassion and aid. As for Valcourt, he’s a Mulroney-era veteran who is moving a up the ladder a little bit, but considering how marginalised the military procurement file has become in the advent of the era of the procurement secretariat, it makes one wonder why they bothered to retain the portfolio. Also, interesting that Peter MacKay and John Duncan are staying put despite major gaffes of their own, and more evidence that Harper will refuse to make changes in order to avoid admitting that he made a mistake with his choices.
The government is tightening temporary foreign worker rules so that it will exclude exotic dancers, escorts and people who work in massage parlours, as they’re more “vulnerable to exploitation.” Of course, one suspects that this will just drive this all that much further underground and rather than have people documented so that they have access to some kind of assistance if they are being exploited, they’ll just be classified as “hostesses” or “servers” (provided they take a drink order) and it won’t actually have an effect on exploitation of human trafficking (assuming of course that we’re not just conflating human trafficking with the sex trade, as they are not the same thing).
There is a rise in prison violence as our institutions deal with overcrowding and an increase in double-bunking – not that there is a direct correlation. But talk to anyone who deals with these kinds of issues and they’ll draw the correlation for you pretty quickly, as opposed to the excuse the Conservatives are giving (newer, more violent criminals being locked up) yet providing zero evidence for. But hey, who needs facts when you’ve got a narrative to preserve.
It looks like our new Sikorsky helicopters won’t be completely rolled out and operational for up to five years. But that’s “relatively soon,” right?
And His Excellency the Governor General has been invested in the Order of St. John, which is one of the high Canadian honours.