The PQ government in Quebec unveiled the details of its proposed “Charter of Quebec Values,” to universal condemnation from the federal parties. It proposes to limit the religious accommodations made for public servants – in other words, you can wear a small cross or Star of David ring, but nothing larger or more obvious, and no, your boss doesn’t have to give you time off for religious holidays or a prayer space. Jason Kenney immediately promised that they would go to the courts to find the new law unconstitutional if Quebec presses ahead (though Quebec does have the option of using the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter if they felt it necessary to do so). Oh, and because it shows you just how well they thought this through, they didn’t have an answer about whether people would still be swearing on Bibles in a court room. Oops. For a bit of history on how the party got to this point, it bears reminding that electing an urbane, metropolitan gay leader got them nowhere, so now they’re resorting to the more xenophobic end of the spectrum to try and make headway. John Geddes compares the way each of the federal parties reacted. Martin Patriquin looks at the history of backtracked proposals that Marois’ government has put forward to date, and predicts that this Charter won’t see the light of day in its current form.
Of course, now that the attention has shifted to identity politics and away from things like the economy, one has to wonder if this scene isn’t playing out in Quebec City right now…
David Akin fact checks the numbers that the Liberals are throwing around when it comes to their discussions on marijuana legalisation. Spoiler: there are a few problems.
At the NDP caucus retreat, Shirlee Engel asked Thomas Mulcair if he has an image problem in that people don’t seem to connect readily with him. In response, he gave a long speech about his track record – but gave no personality behind it. So, perhaps Engel got her answer.
Over at Global, Amy Minsky is launching a series of profiles of the eight independent Officers of Parliament – like the Auditor General and the Privacy Commissioner – who help keep Parliamentarians and the government honest and transparent in its dealings. First up is Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand, who says that for what problems there are in our electoral system, it’s still pretty well run in comparison to most others – though he has solutions to offer, if Parliamentarians are willing to listen.
Stephen Maher looks at some of the problems that might arise from the fact that the Conservative Party lawyer was in the room with the various witnesses who told the investigator that Michael Sona talked about his involvement in the deceptive Guelph robocalls.
What’s that? CSIS doesn’t have a standard operating procedure for dealing with foreign kidnappings? You don’t say! Next you’re going to tell me that they don’t coordinate well with the RCMP on solving them either, aren’t you?
Senator Pamela Wallin has decided to sell her New York City apartment. Maclean’s has a look at the price and conditions of the sale (specially the fact that it’s a co-op and not a condo, which changes things considerably).
Five NDP MPs got married over the summer.
Former Toronto Star journalist John Deverell is contesting the Green Party nomination for Toronto Centre. Apparently it’s a popular riding for current and former journalists to run in.
Economist Stephen Gordon looks at how real wages and consumer purchasing power tended to increase during the recession – well, provided that you still had a job.
BC Premier Christy Clark has opted not to have a fall sitting of the legislature, saying that they’ll get more work done if it’s not sitting – and consult more widely on legislation and regulation – than if it were. Okay. She also got a dig in at her opponents saying that the questions she gets from the press on a regular basis are tougher than those she gets from the NDP opposition in the Legislature.
And Steve Murray imagines a few more things that the Quebec Charter of Values might ban.