Parliament has officially been prorogued until October 16th after the Prime Minister advised the Governor General to do so. Aaron Wherry gives a bit of an explainer on the whole thing, but fails to explain the reasons for the pageantry of having the PM sit there while the GG reads his speech. (Hint: It is a reminder that the Crown holds the power while the political executive wields it for the day-to-day governing of the country, and that the Crown is the formal source of authority). Sonya Bell looks at some of the party plans during the prorogation period. Independent MP Brent Rathgeber says that he will spend the time on a “Broken Democracy” tour speaking at various universities, while also updating his website to be more transparent with his expenses.
Senator Pamela Wallin has repaid the money she has been deemed to owe the Senate – under protest, of course. In fact, the fact that she put out a statement that decried being the victim of a “lynch mob mentality” probably won’t do her any favours, and will further marginalise her within the Senate. Perhaps it’s really the next step in her being “phased out.”
Following her expulsion from the Bloc Québécois caucus, Maria Mourani has officially quit the party, and is questioning her place in the sovereignty movement if they can’t accept immigrants, and calls them out on just how wrong people like Pauline Marois are if they think that things work well in France. Mourani’s frank statement lays open the fractures in the movement, which only serves to further marginalise it. Meanwhile, the PQ minister championing the “Charter of Values” says that the rest of the country is “too timid” to have a debate about secularism. Um, has he missed the last two decades, between turbans for Sikhs and braids for First Nations men in the RCMP, or marriage commissioners and same-sex couples, to name but a couple of examples? The rest of Canada has been having the debate, and we seem to be managing just fine, thank you very much.
What’s that? The Public Service Labour Relations Board has determined that the government has been negotiating in bad faith with the striking foreign service workers? You don’t say!
New reporting guidelines are coming into force next month, which would force government departments to reveal how much they spend on consulting contracts. Considering how much the current government has set up a “shadow public service” of private contractors, it could be very illuminating indeed.
Lockheed Martin says that some $11 billion in aerospace contacts are on the line if Canada doesn’t sign onto the F-35 programme – beyond the development process that we’re currently signed into that has already given our aerospace companies the ability to bid on these kinds of contracts. Of course, this $11 billion figure seems a bit inflated from their previous estimate of $8 billion, which also sounds a bit high.
Day four of Amy Minsky’s look at officers of Parliament focuses on Federal Language Commissioner Graham Fraser, who says that language laws are often misunderstood – that the aim was not that every Canadian be bilingual, but rather that they can get government services in either official language. Fraser also makes some very good points about the way that our dual-linguistic history is being taught across the country, where the negatives are taught rather than the successes.
Susan Delacourt writes about the new suburban dominance in the Canadian demographic landscape, and how that is affecting our politics and public policy. (All for the worse, if you ask me).
Andrew Coyne reminds us that the economic news really isn’t that bad, especially as Canadians are actually twice as wealthy as they were twenty years ago, after inflation. That’s not such a bad thing.
Tabatha Southey takes on the Quebec “Charter of Values” with her usual acidic wit.
And the folks at iPolitics give us the key differences between Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff’s forthcoming books.