Roundup: A federal factum of expediency

The federal government has submitted its factum to the Supreme Court on the Senate reference with great fanfare yesterday, with newly minted Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre insisting that they don’t really need to open up the constitution, and that they wouldn’t really need to get unanimous consent of the provinces to abolish the Senate. Yeah, somehow I doubt the Court will agree.  Reading the factum over, it’s an underwhelming document, full of “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” “Squirrel!” and plenty of “don’t worry your pretty heads about the actual longer-term consequences of these changes, just look at right now.” Yeah. Paul Wells’ take on the factum pretty much says everything you need to know, though I would hasten to add that some of the arguments the government makes are spectacularly moronic. But hey, it’s not like we should actually worry about the constitution when we could be focusing on short-term political expediency – right?

The Defence Department has warned the government that the continual insistence on buying Canadian when it comes to military procurement means that those dollars won’t go as far, and that maintenance and service contracts will cost more, meaning that the Canadian Forces won’t be competitive or have access to some of the services that it needs. But when the government is concerned about creating jobs, it’s a tough argument to make.

Speaking of military procurement, happy 50th birthday, Sea King helicopters!

Those striking foreign service workers want to take the government to the Labour Relations Board because of bad faith bargaining. Meanwhile, the strike compounds problems already in the system because of glitches in the plan to restructure and centralize visa processing. The government may also be planning on outsourcing that visa work as the strike continues – not that Tony Clement will confirm or deny it.

Sovereignty be damned, as part of a cross-border policing project, the US wants their cops on our soil to be exempt from our laws. Um, really? And does that work both ways?

The RCMP investigation into the ClusterDuff affair has led to asking CTV’s Bob Fife for the emails he’s received – but Fife won’t turn them over in order to protect his sources.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner says that some medicines were also tested on Aboriginal children in residential schools.

Justin Trudeau has voluntarily moved his personal investments into a blind trust, the only opposition leader to do so. It’s typically a measure only applied to cabinet ministers because of the information they have access to, which could have a bearing on any publicly traded securities they may own.

The NDP want John Baird to take a tougher stand with Russia over their homophobic laws, but they also don’t support an Olympic boycott.

John Geddes and the Maclean’s Econowatch team have a gander at the controversy over the Canada Jobs Grant programme.

Statistics Canada expects that government spending on science and technology will decrease over the next year. The recently released 2011 figures showed that the government barely kept up with inflation in their funding increases.

Poor Christian Paradis, who has now formally been dumped as Harper’s Quebec lieutenant in favour of Denis Lebel.

The quarterly party fundraising results are in and Pundit’s Guide has them broken down here. Interestingly, the Liberals are now doing better than the Conservatives when it comes to attracting large numbers of small donors.

And Philippe Lagassé explains the importance of studying the Crown and how it works in our system of government.