Roundup: Bring on the updated elections rules

The government announced yesterday that it will unveil its “comprehensive” election rules reform bill on Thursday to deal with things like misleading robocalls, and possibly the utter dogs breakfast that are the rules around leadership race financing. That said, the Chief Electoral Officer has not yet been consulted on said legislation, which you might think is a big deal (not that this government is big on consulting, as much as they might claim that they are). And before anyone says it, no, I don’t actually think that the Conservatives are trying to cover up activity in the last election done under their name. I’ve heard enough from the Conservatives that they are just as concerned about the issue as anyone else – despite some of their workers or volunteers feeling otherwise – and this will likely be a genuine attempt to crack down on the problem.

As Conservative MP Russ Hiebert adds his voice to the Warawa Rebellion, more opposition MPs are signing onto Conservative backbencher Brad Trost’s Private Member’s Motion to ensure that committee chairs are selected by preferential secret ballot rather than by a pro forma election that is really just a fig leaf of cover for the PMO deciding them. As for Warawa, it looks like he may abandon his original motion on condemning sex-selective abortions and swap it for a Private Member’s Bill on imposing more restrictions for offenders. He is loyal to the PM, and perhaps this is his way of mollifying Harper and sparing him from further wrath as he presses forward with his rebellion against the control over members’ statements.

The government is discontinuing the funding of the Health Council of Canada – because we wouldn’t want to be able to measure outcomes or to have any kind of reporting or accountability mechanism for the 2004 health accords.

Joe Oliver was at committee yesterday defending his comments that concerns about climate change were exaggerated – and said defence was largely that climate science is complex, and here are reputable scientists who say so. The opposition, nevertheless, made hay, but calling for him to apologise? Really? Okay then.

Liberal justice critic Irwin Cotler is asking the government for evidence that last year’s omnibus crime bill has made Canadians safer. I’m quite curious just what kind of trick the government will pull off to avoid actually producing an answer to this scrupulously worded Order Paper question.

Opposition to the “union transparency bill” is growing in the Senate, including from Conservative MPs. Could we have yet another private members’ bill actually receive some proper sober second thought and get trounced? Because seriously, the Commons is not doing its due diligence with these, and that’s a very big problem.

Economist Stephen Gordon writes about the myths that keep being peddled about the relationship between jobs and trade – as in, trade deficits are not bad things, exports are not automatically good things, and the actual net job creation for imports or exports is really zero. Worthwhile reading.

On the subject of jobs, the number of job vacancies is at one of the lowest points on record, meaning that the government’s claims of labour shortages is less and less credible, just as their claims about skills shortages are not being born out by the macroeconomic numbers.

Independent MP Peter Goldring’s trial for failure to provide a breath sample is wrapping up, and his lawyers are trying to argue that the officers botched it and arrested him before he could provide a sample, while the officers argue that he was belligerent and locked himself in his vehicle after announcing that he was an MP.

In a worrying story in Newfoundland and Labrador, an MHA was escorted from the Chamber on a charge of contempt after she refused to apologise for being on a Facebook group that was making threats against the premier because she hadn’t actually joined it. And this is a verifiable problem, when people are added to groups without their permission, as what happened in this case. One would think that Facebook would address this particular issue – especially for public figures.

Here are the three things from last night’s political shows, only one of which was not Boston related.

And Adam Goldenberg offers a potential response to the attack ads against Justin Trudeau.

One thought on “Roundup: Bring on the updated elections rules

  1. “…I don’t actually think that the Conservatives are trying to cover up activity in the last election done under their name. I’ve heard enough from the Conservatives that they are just as concerned about the issue as anyone else….”

    Right, because we all know that Mr. Harper & Co. always tell the truth, are everlastingly open and transparent, would never mislead Canadians about constitutional and parliamentary norms, and wouldn’t possibly act in such a way as to be found in contempt of Parliament. With a record like this, the Conservatives are clearly just as concerned about issues of democratic propriety as anyone else.

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