Roundup: Context on Clarity and “Unity”

Political scientist Emmett Macfarlane takes apart the NDP’s “Unity Act” on replacing the Clarity Act with the Sherbrooke Declaration. Shorter version: the NDP is wrong about everything in it. Paul Wells then takes a crack at it, and reminds the NDP of just what was in the Supreme Court reference, and about the importance of this little thing called the constitution, and how anything to do with secession is actually pretty complex business, what with amending it in order to take Quebec out, and how there are explicit sections in that Supreme Court reference that the NDP are outright ignoring. Meanwhile, it seems that the bare minimum would be even less than that because the NDP’s proposal doesn’t take voter turnout into account. So yeah, there’s that.

Senator Patrick Brazeau and Conservative MP Royal Gallipeau were publicly belittling Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence at a local fundraiser for a provincial candidate. Gallipeau did have some more constructive comments afterward regarding his visit to Victoria Island over the Christmas break, but it still is a bit distasteful what went down.

Canada has pledged another $25 million in humanitarian assistance to Syria.

The Northwest Territories are negotiating devolution of powers from the Federal government, especially with respect to control over natural resources, which should be in place by next year.

The government has just lost a court challenge to keep them from having to turn over millions more documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. This may cost as much as a hundred million dollars, however, likely because these documents are probably uncatalogued in boxes, scattered across the country. In other words, let this be a lesson about how much more it costs you to ignore your document management.

The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner wants increased powers to fine those who break the rules, and she still wants the reporting level for gifts to be lowered to a level that causes a lot of concern that it will become unmanageable.

The NDP wants to summon Diane Finley to committee over the loss of that student loan data at HRSDC – which is part of ministerial responsibility, after all. Fair enough. Let’s just hope that they also keep a bit of perspective, and that the civil service not following its own rules is not a partisan issue.

Aaron Wherry looks back to the old debates on civility in the Commons, and finds note that things used to be a lot worse – when there was a saloon in the basement of the Centre Block.

Colby Cosh looks at the electoral boundary redistribution exercise in Saskatchewan, and how one of the three commissioners refused to sign off on it because it creates *gasp!* urban ridings! In Saskatchewan! Something that has never happened before!

Liberal MP Ted Hsu wants a secret ballot when it comes to votes on changing procedure in the Commons – just in case the whips want to get involved! But seriously, it’s a bit of overkill, and if anything, why should MPs not want to show that they want to change the way that business is conducted in the House? I’d be more worried that most of the proposals that may come up for a vote will be either meaningless or make things worse despite their best intentions.

Here are the three things you shouldn’t have missed from last night’s political shows – two of which are premiers.

And in case you were wondering, Jen Gerson got all of the details about Tom Flanagan and his buffalo jacket.