Roundup: What Flaherty and his pals discuss

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is off on his summer retreat with business and policy leaders, talking about finance stuff all candidly and off-the-record like. But just what are they talking about? Well, some rather intrepid ATIPing by the Globe and Mail shows that last year, they talked about things like raising the retirement age, lowering wages, anti-union “right-to-work” legislation and two-tier healthcare. You know, all kinds of imported American Republican ideology that’s served that country so well.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel concluded her visit to Canada. The take-away message: “Yay trade!” Duly noted.

What’s that? The government is likely under “enormous pressure” from the US to buy the F-35 fighters? You don’t say!

MPs are losing their free massage perk.

Maclean’s asked the government a simple question about Diamond Jubilee spending. It took 21 bureaucrats and 74 emails to get them an answer. But there’s no stranglehold over communications in the government these days, no sir.

Police, corrections and border control unions are furious with Vic Toews over his failure to consult with them over planned cuts. Oh, but don’t worry – Toews assures us that none of these cuts will affect public safety. Well, so long as he’s assured us…

Here’s an interesting tale about riding redistributions in the Lower Mainland in BC, where MPs are up in arms over proposed changes, including one where the riding would be cut in half by the Burrard Inlet with no natural linkages between them. And then comes the political equation, and accusations about who the six new ridings will benefit which party.

Because of the way in which the Canadian Forces are integrated, there were a few problems while giving “Royal” re-designations to some of the subcommands – but overall it has been well received. As well it should be – the Forces are constitutionally bound to the Crown, and it’s the sovereign who commands them and serves as the commander-in-chief, and not the Prime Minister or the Commons (as some parties would have you believe).

The military is looking to cut the programme that pays the room and board for soldiers who are separated from their families while on assignment for as long as a year.

German defence contractors are keeping an eye on our shipbuilding programmes, aware that if costs for Canadian shipyards keep escalating the government may look further afield.

Over in the Quebec Election, Pauline Marois says the Supreme Court can’t boss them around if they decide to ban religious garb because they would a democratic mandate. Yeah, this is that part where we learn the difference between populism and living in a liberal democracy. Legal scholars, meanwhile, are pretty certain that Marois’ position would be shredded in court. (Paul Wells notes that the PQ used to say the very same thing about the Secession Reference right up until it was handed down).

And two hundred years ago, British and Canadian troops captured Fort Detroit, along with their native allies, which was a far more important battle in the War of 1812 than some people realise.