Roundup: Economic Action duds

Survey data shows that the Economic Action Plan™ ads are getting little traction with the public. In fact, of a sample size of 2003 Canadians, only three of them actually visited the website. And yet, the government was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to show these ads during the hockey play-offs – which totally seems like an efficient use of tax dollars, and an important way of getting messages across to the public. Shall we also go back to the tautology about them being necessary to show consumer confidence?

It seems that corporations and lobby groups are sponsoring the upcoming premier’s conference at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Apparently this is what happens when everyone is so paranoid about spending taxpayer dollars that they allow this kind of thing to happen. Oh, but these groups won’t be allowed special access to the premiers. Um, okay – but in an era where everyone is always concerned about perception, who thought that this was a brilliant idea? One of the topics up for discussion will be the Canada Jobs Grant that the federal government introduced in the budget and expected the provinces signed onto – except they’re not really keen to.

An EI fraud investigator was suspended without pay for leaking documents that showed that investigators were cutting people off of their EI benefits in order to meet quotas. You know, quotas that then-minister Diane Finley insisted didn’t exist (because targets weren’t quotas, and so on)? Yeah, this is lending credence to that story.

Jim Flaherty missed G-20 meetings in Moscow after falling ill upon arrival. His associate deputy minister and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz took his place.

First Nations leaders are signalling their unhappiness with the federal government’s proposed blue-print on Aboriginal education reform and want more way in the process, which has only been exacerbated by the recent revelation of the nutrition experiments conducted at residential schools.

As the Chief Public Health officer prepares to step down, there are concerns that because the job ended up being far lower-profile and more dependent on political favour than originally intended, that it could have an effect on the number of applicants to replace him.

Jennifer Ditchburn has a look at Pierre Poilievre, the MP that other MPs love to hate. The most golden quote in the story, however, comes from the NDP’s name-caller-in-chief, Charlie Angus, who says that he doesn’t go for cheap shots. No, seriously, he said that. Un-freaking-believable.

Conrad Black has his own take on the Senate reform debate, being much more clear-eyed than most of the other pundits around, and draws from his own experience in the House of Lords. Where I’m not sure his suggestions entirely follow through are the need for provincial appointments, as the Chamber always been more about minority representation than a chamber of the Provinces (sorry pundits who believe otherwise), and the suggestion of renewable terms draws away from independence, since they would have to curry favour with the party in power to get a reappointment, thereby reducing their effectiveness as a check on power.

And here are a few interesting points about the growth in cabinet size, and why smaller isn’t necessarily better (though I’m not sure he’s adequately defended how bloated the current ministry has become).