Roundup post: Citizenship guide preview unveiled

The government is updating their citizenship guide, and while people are going to criticise it, I’m going to say that it’s a good thing that they actually devote a page to the fact that we’re a constitutional monarchy, and that they talk about the fact that Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada. Not enough people realise what living in a constitutional monarchy means, even though it’s at the very heart of our political system. It would also be nice if we could stop acting horrified every time this government points out that basic fact because guess what – we’re a constitutional monarchy, and it’s actually a pretty good system. (It’s also too bad that the reporter in this story referred to Elizabeth II as the “Queen of England” – never mind that there hasn’t been a Queen of England since 1707). As well, they’ve done a pretty good job with the paragraph on the rights of gays and lesbians in this updated guide. Of course, it’s too bad that they’ve also included other bits of politicking with their references to human trafficking, polygamy and marriage fraud – current bugaboos of the government.

The Information Commissioner has agreed to look into the policies that restrict what government scientists are allowed to say to the media – otherwise known as “muzzling scientists.”

John Baird made a surprise visit to Baghdad yesterday, and announced a new diplomatic mission to operate in that country – by which it’ll be an offshoot of our embassy in Jordan, and run out of a desk in the UK embassy in Baghdad.

Back on the topic of our poor (self)-muzzled MPs, long-time Conservative operative Geoff Norquay defends how the Conservatives for muzzling his MPs (and ditching principle to get into power), by offering reminders of the “bimbo eruptions” of the past, which obviously needed to be controlled. Aaron Wherry parses the defence and calls out the false moral equivalence of the “eruptions,” and how there needs to be a change in culture among MPs and the press to allow for the greater independence – without confusing actual offensive comments with the substance of Warawa’s motion. Wherry also points out that if MPs want greater freedom to speak and ask their own questions in QP, they need to be the agents of their own change.

Apparently the Correctional Services of Canada has some issues with regards to “treating offenders with respect as human beings,” according to an “ethical climate survey” conducted in the department. Some people see this as an indication in the climate of the current government, where the focus is on punishment rather than rehabilitation.

John Ivison writes that Stephen Harper is the real impediment to the carbon regulations on the oil and gas sector, and that the department has been waiting for the go-ahead from the centre for two years – and that what is likely to happen are the space for more provincial programmes like Alberta’s carbon price that pays into a technology innovation fund.

Susan Delacourt looks at the Joyce Murray-Elizabeth May attempt at electoral cooperation in Labrador, and points to some of the fundamental problems with the notion of electoral cooperation, and how it tries to remove voters from one set of oppositional boxes – partisanship – into puts them another set, about being either for or against the government of the day, never mind the host of other factors at play when it comes to what resonates in politics these days. Meanwhile, here’s another look at how the by-election is shaping up in Labrador.

Here’s a look at how Bernard Valcourt may be slowly eclipsing Peter MacKay as the Atlantic star in the cabinet.

Oh, look – Ruth Ellen Brosseau hasn’t yet fallen on her face after two years! She can read scripts! She “listens” instead of talking a lot! Wow! Let’s take this moment to praise her staying power and benefitting from low expectations! (Why we should be offering praise, I’m still not sure, but people seem to line up to do it).

Now-former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page writes about his personal experiences on the job, and gives another shot across the bow for Parliamentarians to pay attention to, that they are losing the ability to hold the government to account. Now if only MPs cared enough to do their own homework rather than waiting for another PBO to do it for them.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows. (Unfortunately, CBC didn’t clip the full Bill Vander Zalm clown eruption and put it online. Alas).

And the Senate is looking for a new Usher of the Black Rod, if you’re into all things protocol and parliamentary.