Roundup: In no hurry to fill vacant seats

Stephen Harper says that he’s currently in no hurry to fill the five vacancies currently in the Senate. Which is all well and good, but he can’t let this reluctance to fill seats go on too long before he finds himself in breach of Section 24 of the Constitution. The appointment of Senators is an obligation – not an option.

In advance of the Liberal caucus retreat in PEI, which starts tomorrow, here’s a look at how the whole Trudeau pot admission is a calculated strategy to present him as a different kind of political leader compared to the others, and that this will hopefully outweigh the attacks about his perceived lack of judgement.

What’s that? Two-year cell phone plans will make the phones more expensive than three year plans? You don’t say!

Senator Pamela Wallin was named in a lawsuit against a bankrupt oil company, seeing as she was on their board of directors at the time, though the company did settle rather quickly.

Irwin Cotler dismantles the logic behind the proposed Quebec “Charter of Values.” Pauline Marois somehow believes that the charter would be a “unifying force” in the province. Because that’s exactly what xenophobia is – unifying!

Michael Ignatieff writes about the situation in Syria, and the ways in which it both resembles Bosnia in the 1990s and is different in the current global context, and wonders what it will take for the Western nations to find sufficient cause to intervene.

A recent UOttawa grad has attempted to challenge the royal succession laws that still bars Catholics from becoming monarch in an Ontario Superior court, only to have it dismissed. The reason of course is that the UK Monarch, who shares a personal union with the Canadian one despite being a separate Crown, is also the head of the Church of England. If we want to retain the personal union, then it’s one of the conditions we have to accept.

Tom Kott looks at history’s other coffee haters, after Justin Trudeau’s confession that he doesn’t drink it. (Neither does Harper, if anyone’s keeping score).

Given the number of myths circulating in the wake of the incident with the Chinese reporter on Harper’s northern tour, David Akin writes about how things work between journalists and the PMO. (Hint: We never submit questions in advance. Ever).

Long-term planning between space agencies, including the Canadian Space Agency, could see a return to the moon within 15 years as a stepping-stone toward manned missions to Mars. Canadian astronauts would especially be valuable with mission robotics, as that has become one of our specialties.

And here’s a look at Harper’s curiously hyper-patriotic attire when he’s touring places like the North – something that seems crass in comparison to the way other world leaders dress.