Roundup: Taking advantage of tragedy

In the wake of the train derailment and the major explosion at Lac Mégantic, there are questions about Thomas Mulcair’s immediate statement that this was a result of rail cost-cutting, for which he blames Stephen Harper. There are concerns that some of those still declared missing might simply have been vaporised in the force of the explosion. It has also been noticed that shipping oil by rail has increased some 28,000 percent over the past five years, as pipeline capacity in this country is increasingly constrained. No doubt this derailment and explosion will add emotional fuel to both sides of the pipeline debate.

One of the three staffers in the PMO named in the court documents related to the RCMP investigation into the ClusterDuff affair said that he wasn’t aware of Nigel Wright’s $90,000 cheque to Duffy until media reports came out.

The Information Commissioner wants the power to compel departments to release information, and to expand the Access to Information regime to any department or agency that spends taxpayer dollars – including Parliament itself.

With the resignations/plans not to run in 2015 having been announced several times over the past week, comes the usual hair-tearing and chest-beating about how awful it is that these people get pensions for the years of public service that they put in.

On tour in places like Regina and Saskatoon, Justin Trudeau says he hopes to “connect” with Canadians there. With the riding redistributions in places like Saskatchewan and Alberta, it just might allow the Liberals to make a breakthrough in urban ridings where they didn’t have a chance before because most of those ridings had been rurban in their makeup. Trudeau also addressed some of the Senate controversies while there, before he headed off to the Calgary Stampede. One of those stops was at Alison Redford’s pancake breakfast – unannounced – and it’s no secret that part of the plan is to try and appeal to disaffected Red Tories.

Also at Stampede, Stephen Harper used the occasion to take shots at the opposition. Because you know, he’s all class. And since when are the Liberals opposed to pipelines? That’s a new one.

A commemoration for the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Forces – otherwise known as the “Black Battalion” – from the First World War, was held in Pictou, NS, and remembered a group of men fighting for rights they didn’t yet have back home.

And Susan Delacourt wonders about the current state of multiculturalism in Canada, what with the government not spending money on multicultural programming, changing the wording to “pluralism” in its documentation, and polls about the conceptions of Canada.