Roundup: The premiers say no

As expected, the premiers unanimously rejected the Canada Jobs Grant programme as it is currently structured, not only because it was done without consultation and would demand a rollback of funds they’re currently receiving while demanding that they pony up more money. It also has to do with the fact that as is, it would largely benefit large companies to the detriment of smaller businesses who could use the training dollars, and it has little in the way of incentives for disadvantaged minority communities like First Nations to get training. Jason Kenney said that sure he’d meet with the premiers about the programme – but only to explain how great it is, which somehow I don’t think they’re going to be too keen on. Economist Stephen Gordon thinks the money should go directly to trainees by way of income, never mind the level of governments demanding control – especially as the problem of “skills shortages” are largely a non-existent crisis that would be sorted by offering higher wages. John Geddes reminisces about when “open federalism” was the buzzword of the Harper government, and look how well that’s turned out.

The national crime rate has dropped to its lowest level in 40 years. The corresponding government talking points will no doubt focus on a couple of things – 1) That it’s still higher than it was in the fifties, when apparently life was magic, 2) This must be the result of their new tough-on-crime measures, never mind that the crime rate has been declining for well over a decade, and 3) They’ll focus on the increases in murders, reported sexual offences against children and terror charges (though those are from false alarms during the Montreal student riots), because they still need people to be afraid. Ken MacQueen parses the numbers further here.

National Defence has pulled information about the Statement of Requirements for planned Arctic patrol vessels from their website, as the Interim Parliamentary Budget Officer continues to spar with the department over data she needs to evaluate the costs of the programme. Meanwhile, the PBO and her office are now reduced to filing Access to Information requests to get information. Well done, most open and transparent government in the history of ever!

A number of Conservative MPs have sent out householders to tout jobs for the disabled, and they include text in Braille – just not embossed, so that it’s entirely useless to the blind. Well done, guys. Slow clap.

Apparently Canada’s gift to mark the birth of the Royal Baby is a $100,000 charitable donation to a Canadian child-focused charity that will be determined at a later date.

Court documents related to the RCMP investigation into Senator Mac Harb’s housing situation show that his previous residence in Cobden was largely uninhabitable for several years while he claimed it as his primary residence, and that he entered into an arrangement with a diplomat whose explanation sounds dubious. That said, his later property in Westmeath sounds more like he did live there, at least part-time.

The Conservatives decided to try to make an issue out of the “revelation” that Justin Trudeau supports the legalisation and regulation of marijuana – never mind that this was voted on as party policy in 2012.

Former MuchMusic VJ Jennifer Hollett has formally launched her bid to become the NDP candidate in Toronto Centre (despite announcing that she would run a week ago on the Twitter Machine).

Pro-life Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott has announced that he’s not running again.

The Islamic Society of North America Development Foundation is under investigation by the CRA for sloppy record keeping, and allegations that the money was used to fund militant groups in the Kashmir region of India.

Kosovo’s visiting foreign minister talked about how much Michael Ignatieff’s writing influenced him, and how it taught him that different ethnic groups can live together peacefully.

Economist Mike Moffatt challenges the notion that there is a value that the Canadian dollar “should” be set at.

And Maclean’s digs into its archives and finds a Korean War dispatch from Pierre Berton, and gets some Korean War veterans and other experts to comment on it from today’s perspective. An interesting read.