Roundup: An elegant climbdown?

And so, with some drumming and the signing of the thirteen-point declaration, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence ended her hunger action. At a press conference that started off with the First Nations members present blaming the media for their woes, Spence was not present – she was at a local hospital getting checked out before she began eating solid food again – but Bob Rae chimed up to buy into the constitutional relativism about the kind of role that the GG should be playing with future First Nations meetings, and Romeo Saganash said that First Nations shouldn’t have to beg. To that end, he’s going to present a Private Member’s Bill to ensure that government legislation lines up with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Err, except that he’s number 167 on the Order of Precedence, whereas the Commons isn’t quite up to number 90 in terms of what’s been brought forward for debate, and even if he were much closer, a bill like that far exceeds the mandate of a PMB. (And once again, we have an example of MPs trying to govern from the opposition benches rather than doing their jobs of holding the government to account). Kady O’Malley rounds up the responses from the opposition parties, the minister and the PMO. Michael Den Tandt looks at the achievable goals within the 13-point declaration. Martin Patriquin looks at the forces of change versus status quo that played out around Spence and the Idle No More protests. And through it all, the person running Spence’s Twitter account called Senator Brazeau an asshole. Because you know, peaceful and helpful dialogue, and so on.

The notes taken by AFN staff from the January 11 meeting between Harper and the AFN delegation have leaked to APTN, and one of the more interesting revelations is that Harper is that Harper is willing to meet with all of the chiefs again as they’ve been pushing for – but there needs to be more groundwork done in advance of such a meeting, so that there can be something productive to come from it, rather than just talking about future mechanisms. But, you know, he doesn’t care, and it’s all a game, etcetera, etcetera.

On a related note, here’s a look at how the One Laptop per Child programme, funded by the Belinda Stronach Foundation, is rolling out in First Nations schools around Canada.

Despite the government’s promises that cuts would be to “back office” functions rather than to front-line services, the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s latest report shows that hasn’t been the case – that back office spending has increased, while those front-line services have been affected. The government says it’s still too early to see the full results of the cuts, and that the cuts will achieve savings – eventually.

Apparently the toxicity of the botched F-35 procurement has created such bad blood between the departments of National Defence and Public Works that it’s affecting other procurement processes, the latest casualty being battlefield sensors.

The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has also smacked down two parliamentary secretaries – Colin Carrie and Eve Adams – for inappropriately writing to the CRTC.

We are officially extending our C-17 deployment to Mali until February 15th. Expect some kind of “consultation” in the Commons before that point, though it bears reminding that a take-note debate is appropriate and desirable. A vote would be laundering the prerogative and the resulting accountability for the mission.

What’s that? Falling oil prices mean that Alberta’s economy has some fundamental problems, and they’re going to have to make some major changes to address them? You don’t say!

Over in the Liberal leadership race, Maclean’s John Geddes has a profile of Marc Garneau.

And Kevin Page offers some suggestions as to skills and experience that his successor should possess – and it’s quite the list.