Roundup: Whistle-blowing potentially illegal instructions

A lawyer in the Department of Justice is taking his own department to Federal Court because of what he deems to be illegal instructions with drafting bills that could contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but without notifying Parliament. Think about all of the court challenges to those “tough on crime” mandatory minimum sentences, and how they’re being struck down. And for his efforts at transparency and accountability, he’s been suspended without pay. Because it’s not like this government is trying to politicise the civil service or anything – right?

Speaking of which, the Liberals want the Government Operations committee and the Clerk of the Privy Council to look into the issue of the M-4 Unit – err, Julian Fantino’s partisan letters on the CIDA website, even though CIDA staff insist it was all a mistake, that these letters were mixed in with a large volume of material they were uploading. Not that the Liberals are buying it.

As Aboriginal protests linking themselves to Idle No More went across the country yesterday (but not official Idle No More protests – grassroots movement, everybody!), the Regional Chief of New Brunswick and PEI talks about his interaction with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence – that she was ready to give up her hunger strike once the meeting with the PM had been arranged, but that the political opponents of National Chief Shawn Atleo have been working behind the scenes to muddy her demands. He also warned of the way in which Idle No More is being co-opted by Chiefs with their own agendas. Tim Harper worries that the political divisions in First Nations leadership are hurting the grassroots movement, as a sidelining of Atleo will make any progress under Stephen Harper an impossibility.

Vic Toews seems to be changing his tune a little bit, and admitting that crime rates are falling – but claiming it’s because of his government’s tough on crime measures.

Jason Kenney defended the human smuggling laws that a BC court struck down, and said that it didn’t undermine the purpose of said bills, and that it was never their intention to prosecute people for illegally smuggling people for humanitarian reasons – so basically just trust him that a broadly-written law wouldn’t be used in such a way. Okay then.

A new report challenges the notion that the loonie is a “petro-dollar” and that the changes in the exchange rate are more structural than a result of commodity prices. This of course goes to the heart of the “Dutch Disease” argument and throws it out the window.

NDP MP Romeo Saganash is back on the job after a stint in rehab. Aaron Wherry has a conversation with him about it and First Nations protests (parts one and two). Sagansh tells CBC that sometimes blockades are the only way Aboriginals can get attention to their issues.

And over in the Liberal leadership campaign, Martin Cauchon is refusing to rule out a possible merger with the NDP at some point in the future. Curiously, Martha Hall Findlay won’t promise to run in the next federal election if she doesn’t win the leadership. Meanwhile, cooperation with other parties is a separate topic during the leadership debate this weekend.