Roundup: Knee-jerk populism vs. the Charter

In another stunning bout of knee-jerk populism, Jason Kenney has seized on the story of a Canadian dual-citizen blowing up a bus in Bulgaria, coupled it with a dubious Private Member’s Bill about stripping the citizenship of dual-citizens who engage in acts of war against the country, talked about amending it to include terrorism, and viola – ready for the media. How predictable, and how so very, very flawed. For one, it’ll never stand up to the Charter, because Canadians, no matter where they may have been born, are all equal under the law. Also, it shows contempt for process because he’s trying to hijack a PMB that probably shouldn’t have been voteable in the first place. It’s worse that Kenney wants to try and ram through unconstitutional measures into the PMB process, which would get a mere couple of hours of committee study before heading back to the Chamber for a mere two more hours of debate. Yeah, he may need to rethink this whole proposition.

I headed down the hall of the Centre Block to talk to some senators about the royal succession bill. Shockingly, they actually plan to debate the bill (unlike the Commons) and raise some real issues around it! And Senator McCoy (who is made of awesome) calls the whole thing out as a sham, and calls out the government for its disdain for our political institutions. It’s pretty epic.

As the fallout from that Saskatchewan push-poll continues to reverberate, the deputy Government House Leader pointed the finger at the party’s executive director, Jenni Byrne, as the person to whom blame is ultimately assigned. Liberal Ralph Goodale has asked the CRTC to investigate those calls.

Betraying the fact that there are issues with overcapacity at federal prisons, CBC learned that Correctional Services Canada have changed their operating guidelines so that double-bunking is now deemed more permissible “with consultation,” despite the fact that it’s an internationally denounced practice that is harmful to good correctional behaviour.

Three First Nations Liberal Senators walked out on the Aboriginal Affairs minister over the First Nations accountability bill – not because of the content, but rather the process employed, which was lacking in consultation.

The top brass of the Canadian Forces is being entirely shaken up in the next few months, as the Forces look to transformation post-Afghanistan and in a more fiscally restrained reality.

Oh dear – as Senator Mike Duffy ducked out the kitchen to avoid the press after a speech in Halifax, it was revealed that Senator Brazeau claimed his former father-in-law’s place his primary residence for four years in order to claim a First Nations on-reserve income tax exemption – while he was in Ottawa heading an organisation to represent off-reserve Aboriginals. Oh, and he’s currently claiming his father’s residence in Maniwaki as his primary residence, and yet the neighbours there rarely see him. Oh, and apparently three out of 105 senators with an issue is a “snowballing” problem. Yeah, no hyperbole there.

Ever the maverick, it seems that Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber is proven even more of an anomaly among MPs – he recognises that it’s his job to hold the government to account, that government backbenchers are not members of the executive, and that the PBO is there to do good work to help him do his job in holding said executive to account. It’s a revelation – and a far cry from Laurin Liu’s Globe editorial about being a glorified focus group for legislation.

Tasha Kheiriddin lays out some plausible theories about the Supreme Court reference on Senate reform.

Here is an interesting comparison of defence oversight between the Canadian parliament and US congress.

Here are the three things you need to see from the political shows last night, including an immigration lawyer calling out Kenney’s populist plan.

And yesterday marked seven years since Stephen Harper was sworn in as Prime Minister. Make of that what you will.