Roundup: The politics of parks

As expected, Stephen Harper announced the creation of a new national park reserve in the Northwest Territories. (A national park reserve is like a national park, but with an Aboriginal land claim). But because this is also political, it seems that the borders were drawn in a way that reflects mining concerns in the area, while the Liberals call the creation of the new park hypocritical since the Conservatives are also cutting Parks Canada’s budget. While in the NWT, Harper also said that he wasn’t prepared to spend federal dollars to make the Mackenzie Valley pipeline a reality.

It looks like some 500 federal environmental assessments are being cut in BC, though many will still face a provincial review. I think we should probably also remember that some of these “assessments” were little more than paperwork exercises around best practices, so it may not be the Armageddon that some people would describe.

What’s that? The NDP used the memorials to Jack Layton to try and score political points? You don’t say!

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney responded to the CAW’s president when he named the high dollar as a threat. Carney disputes that, and laid it out in a ten-page letter, complete with charts, history and global context. So much for the rather simple “Dutch disease” theory that people keep trotting out… Carney then went on to criticise corporations for sitting on cash rather than using it to drive the economy.

In an amusing/disturbing bit of back-and-forth, Aaron Wherry took Chris Alexander through the government’s own statements on whether or not there’s a contract for the F-35s after Alexander bemoaned the confusion sown in the public sphere. Alexander took exception to that over Facebook, and seemed to indicate that because of the Seven Point Plan™ that all history prior to April 3rd is moot. Which it’s not, and Wherry tried to clarify this point. And yet this did seem to mollify Alexander a bit. John Geddes later added a bit more about the government’s tone of determinism when it comes to the fighter, which doesn’t help Alexander’s case either.

Despite our sanctions against the country, it looks like shipments destined for Iran’s nuclear programme have managed to slip through because CBSA’s export controls are too short-staffed and stretched thin.

Irwin Cotler, who has pretty much predicted the descent into civil war in Syria, offers an action plan for the region, if anyone is bothering to listen.

And sad news on the Hill in that Senator Joyce Fairbairn is taking extended sick leave after having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s-related dementia. She has two years before she is due to retire, but as of yet hasn’t indicated if she’ll voluntarily step down. Fairbairn was one of the only women journalists on the Hill back in 1961, and reported at a time when it was very much an old boys’ club, excluded from things like attending the annual Press Gallery Dinner. She mentored later women journalists in the Gallery, before eventually taking a political job with Trudeau.