Roundup: Discovering the domain of private members’ bills

Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti has a private member’s bill up for debate that proposes a tax credit for domestic travel that crosses three provinces – in order to help Canadians discover their own country instead of always travelling south. He calls it the “Discover Your Canada Act,” and it is a laudable goal, as domestic travel is ridiculously expensive in this country but – and this is a very, very big but – it’s not the domain of a private member’s bill. In fact, it is so far outside of the domain of private members’ business that it demands expenditure – which tax credits are in effect – and expenditure requires a Royal Recommendation if it’s not government legislation. And this is not government legislation, nor will the government endorse this because we’re living in an era of “fiscal austerity,” and it’s not a boutique tax credit that will appeal enough to the supposed Tim Horton’s crowd. But seriously – MPs really need to knock off this foolishness of trying to make government policy from the opposition benches. Private members’ business has its place, but these kinds of stunts, while trying to capture the populist imagination, just end up looking ridiculous.

Update: I’m reliably informed that tax credits are a way of getting around the requirement for a Royal Recommendation – but that kind of technicality doesn’t mean that this is still the domain of private members’ business. My criticism of this kind of stunt stands.

With everybody talking about the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA) that goes into force this week, here are five of the issues at play. In less than a week, Harper will be off to India to make a major trade push there.

Some historians are concerned that the images being presented in the new passport are subtly politicised and are an example of triumphalism. And while their concerns would be better placed with whatever winds up in the new Canadian Museum of History, I’m not sure how effective the argument is for the passport.

The cancellation of the long-form census is already starting to have an impact on the quality of data when it comes to the ability to analyse trends, and had its first impact with the release of data on official languages.

Terry Milewski sorts out five of the plotlines in the Jeffrey Delisle spy case.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson blames the male-dominated paramilitary culture for fostering an environment that allowed harassment to flourish.

Economis Stephen Gordon offers some perspective on the issue of youth unemployment.

Calgary Centre’s NDP candidate for the by-election is trying to play down Thomas Mulcair’s “Dutch disease” comments on the campaign trail.

Here is your recap of the Sunday morning political shows, with interview with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Commissioner of the RCMP.

And Laura Stone has a very engaging lunch with Bob Rae.