Roundup: Votes on Syria and the question of Responsible Government

In the fallout of last Friday’s vote in the British Commons regarding military action in Syria, there are some very serious questions being asked about what it all means. In part, the concerns come from the nature of Responsible Government – if the House has not expressed support for the government’s foreign policy goals, which as a Crown Prerogative – then how can they continue to claim to have confidence in that government? How is foreign policy any different on a substantive level when it comes to the conduct of a government than a budget? Philippe Lagassé and Mark Jarvis debate the issue here, and I’m going to say that I’m on Lagassé’s side with this one – MPs can’t just deny the government the ability to exercise their prerogatives without also taking responsibility for it, meaning declaring non-confidence in the government. It’s not how Responsible Government works, and if they’re going to start changing the conventions of such a system of governance that works really quite well, then they need to think long and hard about the consequences of their actions. But that’s part of the problem – nobody wants to look at how actions affect the system as a whole, rather than simply patting themselves on the back for a nebulous and not wholly correct interpretation of what democracy means. And once people start tinkering with the parts without looking at the whole, then big problems start to happen, which we really should beware of.

Verizon says that they’re no longer interested in entering the Canadian market. Is it something we said? (Actually, apparently it’s because they’re completing a deal with Vodafone).

Leona Aglukkaq is on her way to Norway to talk about fighting short-term climate pollutants, like soot and methane. Canada bills itself as one of the largest contributors of money when it comes to combating these kinds of pollutants.

The Arctic deepwater port that Stephen Harper has been promising for years remains mired in a costly environmental clean-up by the company that previously leased the land, which they need to complete before National Defence can take possession of it. That the company has been dragging its feet and trying to convince DND that they really want the fuel tank farm is not helping matters any.

Oh dear – two of our warships are on the way back to port in Esquimalt after a collision during manoeuvres on the way to Hawaii for a training exercise. And yes, there will be a board of inquiry to figure out what happened.

The Cabinet has rejected the advice of the CD Howe institute that our ultra-low interest rates need to start rising in order to prevent long-term damage to the economy, as that advice is contrary to the views of “most economists.”

PCO is now seven years behind schedule in releasing 30 year-old cabinet documents to National Archives.

Conservative insiders say that Harper wants to put as much distance between himself and the Senate spending issue, and to let it “fester” in order to create a wedge issue out of it. Sigh.

There are questions as to what will happen to the special committee studying violence against Aboriginal women, given that it will cease to exist once Parliament prorogues, and will need to be reconstituted, but the government hasn’t made any assurances as of yet.

Manitoba and Ontario have committed to interim funding to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open. And no, the federal decision to end the funding doesn’t make for good math.

Because we are now into completely ridiculous territory on this story, an immigration lawyer says that Justin Trudeau’s admission of pot use makes him inadmissible to the States unless he gets a waiver. Seriously? Can we stop talking about this?

The Canadian Press compares wireless plans in Canada and the States, and finds that talk rates in Canada tend to be cheaper, but where the States wins out is with unlimited data plans, which don’t exist in Canada.

Also from The Canadian Press is a look at the growing “Free-Man-On-The-Land” movement, which is all legalish nonsense, and largely consists of angry young men in trouble with the law who spend the last of their money on fakes and charlatans offering them quick magical fixes. But hey, at least we haven’t declared them a domestic terrorist threat like they have in the States!

And Scott Feschuk reminds us of just how boring the whole “Trudeau smoked pot” story really is, among some of the other less exciting Canadian political news headlines from this summer.