Roundup: Penashue lashes out

Poor Peter Penashue – under fire, and apparently barely able to recite talking points in the Commons, he attempted to fire back by calling his critics “rude” and “bullish” during QP yesterday. Because you know, it’s not like a) QP is never full of theatrics, ever; or b) it’s the whole point of QP to ask questions of ministers about their activities or lack thereof. Now, it may not be entirely fair to criticise him for not doing much in his role as Intergovernmental Affairs minister because, well, we all know that the real intergovernmental affairs work is handled by Harper in this government, and that Penashue needed a fairly benign role to be stuck into in cabinet because they needed a Newfoundland and Labrador presence in cabinet. That cabinets are federal constructs is a unique Canadian consideration going back to the days of Sir John A. Macdonald, and it has generally served us well. And as for most of the flights going to his riding, well, this government likes to send ministers out to do good news announcements on a constant basis, and he is the cabinet minister for that region, and if it wasn’t him, it would be a Senator from that region instead. But even though it really is starting to feel like a pile-on, he should nevertheless be able to answer a question in the Commons without either having to do it from cue cards of random platitudes, or to hit back at his critics for doing their job.

Meanwhile, despite there being that new nuclear deal with India, it looks like SNC Lavalin won’t be selling them any new Candu reactors because of Indian liability laws.

Opposition MPs are grumbling that the government’s decision to let different committees study aspects of Omnibus Budget Bill 2: The Revenge is a farce because of the tight timelines and the fact that it still won’t be broken up for voting.

Diane Finely is getting on the UK “Big Society” bandwagon by looking to see if charities and private investment can get in on “social finance instruments). The idea is that these sectors can deliver social services more inexpensively than the government can – though it’s not necessarily the reality, considering how David Cameron’s “Big Society” plans in the UK really haven’t taken off the way he planned.

It would seem that the Elections Act is too outdated to effectively deal with robo-call investigations, leading to the likely outcome that few Criminal Code charges will be laid if they ever find the culprits. Meanwhile, the campaign manager at the centre of the whole Guelph robo-calling investigation has quietly upped sticks and moved to Kuwait. No, really.

The number of “inmate disturbances” continues to rise under the current government. Because it’s not like overcrowding, double-bunking, and inadequate programming leaving prisoners frustrated with nothing to do isn’t creating a powder keg situation. Meanwhile, the Liberals are calling for a public inquiry into the death of Ashley Smith.

It seems that certain departments continue to use the Harper Government™ branding moniker – Canadian Heritage being the most egregious – while other departments – like National Defence and Justice – don’t all.

Over in Alberta, the opposition is upset because Premier Redford doesn’t answer every question lobbed at her, but lets ministers answer if it’s in their area of jurisdiction. Gasp! It’s so horrible! Meanwhile, their Speaker is at least admonishing them when they stray from areas allowed under QP rules – things like campaign financing. You know, unlike what Scheer has been doing here.

Meanwhile, in the Calgary Centre by-election, the more Progressive Conservatives are bristling at the choice of Joan Crockatt as the Conservative nominee. One Calgary columnist who used to work for Crockatt has called her the “worst kind of bully,” and characterised as “twice as smart, twice as pretty, and just as incompetent” as Rob Anders. Oh, snap!

And here is your recap of last night’s political shows, and the marijuana debate that dominated it.