Roundup: Smothering lawful access

In a shocking revelation yesterday, the government, by way of Rob Nicholson, announced that it got something wrong, and it was smothering one of its own bills in the crib. That bill, of course, was C-30, the lawful access or Internet surveillance bill – which I guess means that this government is also on the side of the child pornographers. But more seriously, enough pressure was brought to bear, and they realised that they had a problem, and that it was untenable to continue. Of course, we can also be certain that the NDP will claim responsibility for this victor in QP tomorrow, but that’s another story. Moving forward, the government has tabled a bill to allow warrantless phone tapping for emergency situations like kidnapping or bomb threats, which sounds a lot less contentious, but we’ll see if it too passes constitutional muster.

Amidst every cynical journalist and NDP partisan in town insisting that the Senate’s Board of Internal Economy Committee would hush up the audit of those three Senators improperly claiming living expenses, and nothing would ever be said again about it – officially. Well, today the two Senate leaders, Marjorie LeBreton and James Cowan, issued a joint release that not only stated that the results would be made public, but that all Senators who claim for a secondary residence would be interviewed, and anyone found in violation of the rules would be forced to repay the money – with interest. In other words, the Senate knows that it has a PR problem, and it’s doing everything in its powers to proactively address it, from both sides of the aisle.

Julian Fantino defended the CIDA grant to that homophobic religious organisation yesterday, saying that they were funded based on their results on the projects they were contracted for – digging and refurbishing wells and providing latrines – and that their religion didn’t have anything to do with it. Well, I wouldn’t be so sure, since many of these groups use their “good works” as advertising for their religion. Might I also say how surprised I am that a blanket “it’s the bureaucrats’ fault” wasn’t issued immediately.

The Director of CSIS was before a Senate committee yesterday, and warned that there are Canadians involved in pretty much every al-Qaeda affiliate group around the world, and that these groups are moving away from “big bang” kinds of attacks to smaller acts of violence to achieve their ends.

Here is your look at the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s visit to the ethics committee yesterday.

Leaks from today’s federal report on military procurements are pointing to a new future justification for a “value proposition” – or how their bid will lead to innovation and skills development in Canada.

Economist Stephen Gordon provides some additional context to manufacturing jobs data and the “Dutch disease” debate in Canada, in terms of global trends and absolute data.

Senators are debating installing webcams into the Red Chamber so that its proceedings can be streamed to the public, though concerns remain about what the presence of cameras will do the tone and quality of the debate, and whether it will degrade it like it has been accused of doing in the Commons.

And here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including Lois Brown giving a half-hearted defence of that indefensible CIDA grant (and to be fair, doing a better job of it than Julian Fantino ever could).