Roundup: Breaking it up for study

Despite the various committees having refused to look at elements of the omnibus budget bill, and the NDP bringing it up in committee, it seems the government had a change of heart after QP, and moved that ten committees would study aspects of the bill. Watch the NDP claim victory for “forcing the government’s hand” tomorrow.

Jason Kenney’s latest immigration changes are to make it easier for foreign students to stay in Canada, which makes a certain amount of sense. It’s too bad we’re not a “top-of-mind” destination for foreign students to head to.

A private member’s bill that makes wearing a mask during a riot an extra offence has passed the House – never mind that it’s a somewhat redundant law, and is ripe for a Charter challenge with its reverse-onus and broad definition of “lawful excuse.” I can’t wait to see the Senate committee dig into it and the language.

The government looks set to crack down on public servants who come back as highly paid consultants once they retire.

Michael Sona, of the Guelph robo-calls fame and campus ballot box incident fame, was on television yesterday to plead his innocence. He made a pretty good case for himself, and the fact that he didn’t have access to the voter identification databases is pretty good reason for him not to be involved, but he did raise a few other questions, which just makes the plot thicken a little more.

In the Liberal leadership race, Denis Coderre has taken himself out of the running, which seems to be clearing the way for a likely run for the job of mayor of Montreal. The NDP are already sizing up the riding, as I’m sure is seat-less Bloc leader Daniel Paillé.

Senator St. Germain is retiring from the Upper Chamber, and led a pretty extraordinary political career.

Over in Quebec, it looks like Pauline Marois’ fledgling government may fall on the Throne Speech. Since it’s less than two months after an election and it would be the first confidence test, it’s likely the Lieutenant Governor would invite one of the opposition parties to form an alternate government, which could be a coalition. Among some of the more boneheaded suggestions in the throne speech are term limits for premiers (which would be pretty much unworkable in our system of government), and reducing the limit for political donations to $100 from $1000, which is pretty much an open invitation for cash donations in brown envelopes because politics needs money that has to come from somewhere, and throttling the supply means it will find other channels.

Here is your recap of last night’s political shows, and that Michael Sona interview.

And long-time Conservative pundit Keith Beardsley has a few withering observations about the current spectacle that is QP and Members’ Statements in the Commons, which should be read by all.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: Breaking it up for study

  1. “… because politics needs money that has to come from somewhere,..” Uh, why? More specifically, why must any potential leadership candidate of any given party have to raise exorbitant amounts that most of us who live in the real world can’t grasp? Turning leadership hopefuls into essentially beggars in 3-piece suits is definitely an invitation to corruption. Big money in politics is what’s causing many of these scandals and corruptions in government as they collude only with their biggest donors — governing for the rich and the corporations, which is happening today. Ignore everyone else. How exactly is that ok? Maybe it’s time to take money out of the equation.

    As for lowering limits to 100$, great idea. That cash in brown envelopes you speak of? Guess what? Even when limits are 5000$, it still happens much of the time.

    • You need money to open an office, for phone lines, Internet hookups, computers, offering honorariums to staff, to travel the ridings (or the country for leadership hopefuls), to feed your volunteers, and then there’s advertising, be it lawn signs or television ads. None of this can be done for free. When you make your donation limits too low, the need for money makes it more appealing for it to come from more questionable sources so that all of your energy isn’t spent fundraising to pay necessary expenses. And while it still happens with higher spending limits, there is less incentive to when you can get more money from fewer sources. I don’t think that you need to open it up to corporate and union donations because of the way that candidates become beholden to them, but there needs to be some realisation that by making the caps too low, different problems emerge.

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