Two long-awaited appointments were made yesterday – the new Parliamentary Budget Officer, and the new Leader of the Government in the Senate. The PBO is Jean-Denis Fréchette, an economist with years of experience in the Library of Parliament. The first PBO, Kevin Page, is already sniping that Fréchette doesn’t have enough experience, but then again Page also said that the interim PBO, Parliamentary Librarian Sonia L’Heureux would be a lapdog and she turned out not to be, so one might be advised to take his assessment with a grain of salt. Peggy Nash already looks to be ready to start fobbing off her homework onto the new PBO, which is not really a surprise. As for the Senate leader, it’s the current deputy leader, Senator Claude Carignan. And no, Carignan won’t be in cabinet, which is going to be a problem with respect to the principles of Responsible Government where there should be a member of cabinet in the Upper Chamber to answer for the government in order that it can be held to account, and to shepherd through government bills introduced in the Senate. And my own Senate sources are already expressing dismay in the choice as Carignan is not known to be very accommodating of viewpoints other than his own, and his English is quite poor, which will make any media relations in the face of the ongoing Senate spending questions to be difficult (not that Harper has ever cared about being good with media relations).
More provincial factums are being turned into the Supreme Court with regards to the Senate reference, and so far it looks like only Alberta and Saskatchewan are on the federal government’s side – not that it should be any great surprise, though some of their logic doesn’t really hold. Alberta employs some pretty flimsy logic to defend the existence of their Senate “consultative elections” law, which was basically a useless protest bill that accidentally became a real thing, despite some very real problems with it. Emmett Macfarlane had some choice comments (here, here and here) about Saskatchewan’s. Senator Serge Joyal’s separate factum not only blows every argument that Alberta makes out of the water, but also says that there should be Aboriginal consultation on top of unanimous approval for Senate abolition. The full list of Supreme Court facta in this reference can be found here.
The government showed a tiny surplus in June, but it’s more of a confluence of one-time factors rather than a turning point in fighting the deficit.
iPolitics looks at why we didn’t get the Idle No More/“Sovereignty Summer” protests that we were promised.
The official agent for a Liberal candidate in 2006 has been charged under the Elections Act for failing to open and use a separate bank account for the candidate.
Stephen Wicary looks at the business climate in Cuba, which is seeing not only investment from Canada, but also assistance from Crown corporations.
Canadian Business has a look at what a strike on Syria could mean for the Canadian economy.
PostMedia’s look at well-behaved Senators profiles Conservative Senator Don Meredith, who is trying to curb youth violence in the GTA (though he has had issues in the past with accusations of homophobia).
And iPolitics condenses the Liberal summer caucus retreat into a quick and easy infographic.