Roundup: Farewell to Bob Rae

In what was a surprise to pretty much everyone, Liberal MP Bob Rae announced his resignation yesterday morning, intending to spend more time as a negotiator for the First Nations in Northern Ontario as part of the development of the Ring of Fire region there. Personally, I find this incredibly distressing as it means we have now lost the best orator in the Commons, and one of the few remaining grown-ups when it comes to debate. This loss lowers the bar, as much as it pains me to say it. John Geddes tends to share this assessment, and especially takes not of Rae’s disappointment with how rote things have become in Parliament over the past number of decades. Aaron Wherry collects a number of videos of Rae’s speeches in the House for the past several years.

As MPs head back to their ridings, the Conservatives are being provided with a briefing book of talking points, which includes helpful things like op-eds and letters to the editor that they can send out. PostMedia has a recap of what all took place during the spring sitting. Justin Trudeau recorded a video about the negativity in the Chamber, and touts what he’s been doing since becoming leader. Emmett Macfarlane sees rays of hope from the spring sitting, what with MPs like Brent Rathgeber asserting their rights, and a newfound commitment to transparency on the parts of all parties.

Here is the story of how Sable Island became a national park thanks to cross-party cooperation, and how Elizabeth May nearly scuppered it before the House rose. If it hadn’t passed, it would have died upon prorogation, which is expected to happen over the summer.

The government also passed the same-sex foreign divorce bill in one fell swoop with one minor amendment before the House rose. This makes yet another bill that the Commons didn’t bother to debate, despite some rather major flaws in the bill (which I’m hoping to write more about in the days to come), and means that yet again, the Senate has to do the work of the Commons for them.

The bill making it a crime to wear a mask during a riot has now become law. I’m curious as to just how long before it is challenged in the courts as not being Charter compliant.

The NDP managed to successfully filibuster that Conservative PMB that was “adopted” by the government to strip the citizenship of dual citizens convicted of committing acts of war and terrorism.

Ruh-roh! It seems that John Baird and six friends spent their vacation over New Year’s staying at Macdonald House in London for free. Baird’s comms director insists that no taxpayer money was used as Baird was a guest of the High Commissioner, and that he pays rent on the residence, and that Baird paid his own way. But if this past week has taught us anything it’s that it apparently doesn’t matter if the rules were followed, it’s the “optics” of the thing. Or at least, we’ve been taught that the optics apparently apply if you’re Justin Trudeau.

Speaking of, it seems that we’re still talking about Trudeau and the speaking fees. Paul Wells picks apart the new Conservative attack line about the connection of Trudeau taking speaking fees from unions and then voting against C-377 – which, incidentally, a goodly number of Conservative senators are also planning on voting against. Colby Cosh looks at all of the blame to be spread around for the whole affair. Andrew Coyne approaches the whole affair from a Socratic standpoint and breaks down the ethical issues at play.

Aaron Wherry reports his non-answers from the PMO on his outstanding questions on the Wright-Duffy affair.

Canada has successfully acquired the maps, letters and papers of the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia during the period of the War of 1812 at an auction in London. Said lieutenant governor conquered Maine for the British during that war.

Former Chief Justice Bora Laskin’s biographer takes apart the arguments being put forward in Quebec that he inappropriately interfered with the patriation of the constitution.

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi dismisses Joan Crockatt’s performance, and talks about how the Conservatives are taking Calgary for granted.

And Megan Leslie asks MPs for their worst and funniest tweets that they receive.