Roundup: The big infrastructure ask

Big city mayors (minus Toronto and Montreal) were meeting in Ottawa yesterday, where they asked the federal government for $2.5 billion in matching annual funds for infrastructure, and talked a lot about gridlock. And while yes, infrastructure is a big deal, I just worry about the gridlock excuse because when you build more roads, you only get more gridlock. Of course, municipalities need to start talking about capping their borders and focusing on intensification so that mass transit becomes more feasible and cost-effective and people have an incentive to use their cars less, but I don’t hear too much discussion around that.

The government is spending $4 million on the ad budget for its Responsible Resource Development™ campaign – a fairly Orwelling branding exercise about how great it is that they’re promoting resource extraction industries while gutting environmental regulation. This $4 million is above the $5 million ad budget already allocated to Natural Resources Canada.

There are some questions as to why the Privacy Commissioner agreed to do the audit of Veterans Affairs in-house using her own staff when the plan had initially been to bring in outside auditors.

The NDP claims they’re “vigorously pro-trade” and point to Japan as a trading partner they want to engage – even though their auto union base is less than impressed with that proposition. Meanwhile, economist Stephen Gordon sees some big holes in Thomas Mulcair’s east-west oil pipeline proposals – mainly that it’s really not economical to do so. The Quebec government is also looking to have their say in whether that Enbridge pipeline will reverse its flow and have Alberta crude go through the province, which is half the point of the west-to-east proposal.

Bob Rae is taking about a national energy strategy – per Alberta premier Alison Redford, as he fully acknowledges – and about the necessity of carbon pricing for the industry’s benefit (seriously, you have oil companies saying they need carbon pricing so that they can make plans), as well as ending fossil fuel subsidies (which are already on the way out as far as I understand), and fully engaging Aboriginal communities. The speech is also reaching out to the west, which the many leadership hopefuls have been making a real effort at doing.

Meanwhile, an American energy company wants to sue the Canadian government for $250 million after the Quebec government expropriated their drilling permit after declaring a moratorium on fracking.

What’s that? Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt refused to show up at an all-candidates debate in the Calgary Centre by-election, not once but two nights ina row? You don’t say!

Here is your recap of last night’s political shows, featuring three big city mayors. (And look – I learnt how to use HTML anchor tags!)

And Justin Trudeau says he would rather fight 100 duck-sized horses instead of one horse-sized duck. And he took the question seriously, for which people are giving him props. The state of political discourse, ladies and gentlemen.