Roundup: Defibrillator populism

Because no move is too crassly populist, Stephen Harper announced yesterday that he was unrolling a federal programme to put defibrillators in every hockey arena in the country – never mind that healthcare is a provincial jurisdiction. Because you can’t do something that’s not too feel-good for the hockey-and-Tim-Horton’s crowd that this government has targeted as the key to its continued political future. On a related note, here’s a look at how the overt Canadiana of the Tim Horton’s brand is preventing its expansion in the States from taking hold – without it, it’s just another donut shop.

Academics are reacting to the appointment of Dr. Andrew Bennett as our religious freedom ambassador, and it’s none too flattering – it seems that he doesn’t really have the academic credentials for the post, as his PhD is in politics, and he’s really more of a glorified civil servant than an expert in theology or religious issues. Ouch.

Both Kady O’Malley and David Akin dug further into the whole Andrew Cash possible-conflict-of-interest issue yesterday – and while on the one hand it seems that the Ethics Commissioner didn’t see a problem, there remains an element of murkiness. Cash, for his part, went on Power & Politics yesterday to assert that his work on the Commons heritage committee was no different than a doctor being on the Health committee, and that it was only a conflict of interest if the subject of Dragon’s Den comes up. I’m not quite sure that’s the case, but it remains a question.

A senior US military commander says that cyberattacks against private companies are getting to be such a problem that Western governments may soon have to step in to defend them. And no, you can’t just point the finger at China. Speaking of, Trade minister Ed Fast is headed there to promote IT exports. Apparently China is a hot information communication market for Canada – who knew?

The NDP announced their list of budget demands yesterday – jobs, closing “tax giveaways” and no more omnibus bills. I’m sure that Jim Flaherty will get right on that.

Oh dear – the last two reports of the Universal Research Reactor at Chalk River were “below expectations,” and there are signs of corrosion that could mean a new leak and another shutdown. Are we ready for medical isotope crisis, round three?

Here’s a look at Senator David Tkachuk, the man in charge of conducting all of those audits into alleged misspending and residency issues.

Over in the Liberal leadership race, David Suzuki has thrown his support behind Joyce Murray, given her environmental record and platform about electoral cooperation. Over at CBC, there is a profile of Deborah Coyne.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, which does include a double dose of Kellie Leitch – and Evan Solomon had to reign her in at one point.

And here’s a look at MPs taking the advice – or not – of digital public affairs strategist Mark Blevis as he offers them “digital makeovers” of their online presence.