After much anticipation, the Speaker delivered his ruling on the whole Warawa privilege complaint. The verdict – no prima facia breach of privilege, but MPs need to grow up and behave like MPs. In other words, the lists the whips provide are just suggestions, and the Speaker can choose to ignore those lists if he sees fit, but that means that MPs need to want to participate in the debate, not simply assume that they have that spot and that he’ll wait for them to use it, or that someone else won’t be interested instead. Some MPs responded here and here, Aaron Wherry parses the meaning of the ruling, and John Ivison gives his own take of the ruling.
This all having been said, let me offer my own two cents – that this is a good first step, but that it really does fall on MPs to make the change they want to see. And unfortunately, because there is such a reliance on scripts, that we’re unlikely to see too much uptake on this invitation by the Speaker for MPs to behave like MPs. We’re going to see almost no uptake by the NDP, because in their need for uniformity, nobody wants to speak out be anything other than unanimous, as that would be unseemly. The Liberals already have far less of a firm hand on the whip, which means the real test of this change is going to come from the Conservative backbench – how many of them will want to do their actual jobs as an MP and hold the government to account rather than just suck up and support blindly, how many of them want to ask questions of substance during QP rather than deliver a fawning tribute or a thinly veiled attack on the opposition in the form of a question, and how many of them will want to eschew the “carbon tax” talking points and the likes while still ensuring that they have their say and are not being punished for not following those talking points. We will have to see how many of them are prepared to take that step and show that integrity and respect for parliamentary democracy.
Meanwhile, in response to the Federal Court ruling yesterday, the Parliamentary Librarian – in her capacity as interim Parliamentary Budget Officer – has stated that they will go ahead in asking for figures, and if they don’t get them, well, the Court stands ready as a remedy. So really, she’s starting off to not be the lapdog that everyone was predicting. Kevin Page responds, and is pleased by both the ruling and his (interim) successor’s move.
The parents of Rehteah Parsons met with the Prime Minister yesterday, along with Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter, and talked about the need for better legislation to combat the issue of cyberbullying, though Rob Nicholson seemed very keen on talking about his “Victims’ Bill of Rights.”
A fishing trawler collided with HMCS Winnipeg in the Esquimalt harbour yesterday morning. No word as to the extent of the damage, other than six civilian injuries.
Joe Oliver is headed back to Washington to talk Keystone XL once more, as the US Environmental Protection Agency files their own report on the pipeline that is far more discouraging than the State Department’s.
The Conservatives are seeking consent to expand the scope of the Private Member’s Bill to strip the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens who commit acts of war against the country, as they look to add acts of terrorism to that same bill – never mind the huge problems that would cause.
There are questions as to whether or not the attack ads against Justin Trudeau will count toward the election spending limits in the Labrador by-election, given that the ads are running in that region as well. Meanwhile, the Liberals are launching their own response ads this week, and no, Trudeau isn’t going negative.
Bernard Valcourt and Niki Ashton got into a verbal dustup in committee over the bill to give matrimonial property rights to First Nations women, after Valcourt suggested that Ashton “listen to her father” – a minister in the Manitoba government who has exhorted the government to pass this bill. (And yes, Valcourt apologised for sounding paternalistic).
Laureen Harper has no advice for the Trudeaus on how to raise a family in the public eye.
Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including an interview with Darrell Dexter on his meeting with Rehteah Parsons’ parents and Stephen Harper.
And here is Trudeau’s response ad.