Roundup: A refresher course in open nominations

Nomination races are the backbone of our democratic system, yet are probably the least understood component – thanks of course to a pretty shite job of civic education in this country that does little to teach people about it. And as Alice Funke of Pundit’s Guide points out, we’ve been out of the habit of proper open nomination races in this country since about 2004 (blame the period of minority governments and the need to be “election ready” that protected incumbents), which means that these particular democratic muscles in the Canadian electorate have become pretty flabby. Fortunately, she’s penned a fantastic guide about getting back into shape, which everyone needs to read. And no, I’m not kidding – everyone needs to read this. Okay? Good.

It looks like any role that we might have in a Syrian strike would be purely symbolic, as we don’t have the kinds of assets in the area or weapon systems necessary that could be deployed rapidly enough.

Liberal Senate leader James Cowan says that his members on the Internal Economy Committee want a review of Senator David Tkachuk’s actions when he was the chair, given the allegations that he was tipping off Duffy and Wallin regarding the audits.

Bloc leader Daniel Paillé thinks that Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair should butt out of the discussion on the Quebec “Charter of Values” – as though neither leads a federal party or represents a Quebec riding. Neither accepts his argument.

The NDP’s attempt to recall the Commons Industry committee to hold hearings on the upcoming wireless auction got nixed by the committee as a whole (basically meaning the Conservative majority).

Jesse Brown looks at the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and the potential copyright implications of such a deal.

In case you were wondering, over the first half of 2013 the Canadian government made fewer requests to access to Facebook user data than most other developed countries. I’m sure that this pleases Jennifer Stoddart. Meanwhile, John McAfee, the former American anti-virus magnate, says that the Canadian government has the same domestic spying apparatus as the States, and that we shouldn’t somehow expect our government to be morally superior and not use it either.

There are concerns about the immigration files that were originally to be processed at the Buffalo visa office and later sent to Ottawa, and whether they will be processed by the deadlines needed for some would-be immigrants.

John Geddes muses more about the evolution of Liberal policy on the legalisation of marijuana, and its political ramifications.

At a gathering on PEI, Justin Trudeau spoke about why transparency is a big deal, why legalizing marijuana is a good thing, and said that Liberals will be back in Ottawa on September 16th whether the House is prorogued or not, and they’ll go ahead and meet with stakeholders regardless. Here are four themes that emerged from the caucus retreat there. As well, the Liberals have announced that Stephen Bronfman, who runs the private investment firm Claridge, is the party’s new fundraiser. Bronfman was a key player in Trudeau’s leadership campaign. Bronfman, an influential member of the Jewish community, immediately stirred things up by pointing out that Justin Trudeau has been to Israel, while Stephen Harper has not.

Chief Teresa Spence has won a second three-year term as leader of Attawapiskat, after a highly contested and possibly illegal election because it disenfranchised those living off-reserve despite a Supreme Court ruling indicating that they should be allowed to vote.

And the Attorney General of Manitoba somehow thinks that because Senators don’t go door-knocking that they’re useless – well, except for all of those times that they made significant improvements to legislation. Um, okay? Seriously, if he think backbenchers are going to do that job of adult work in scrutinising bills then he’s sorely mistaken. And no, nothing he’s said has indicated how Parliament would actually be better off without the Upper Chamber, which really should be the starting point for any discussion on reform or abolition.