While the attempt to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers has been on the government’s agenda since 1867 (no, seriously), Jim Flaherty took yet another stab at creating a national securities regulator – despite being shut down by the Supreme Court the last time. This time, however, he’s not imposing a system from Ottawa – he’s working with provinces to create a “cooperative capital markets regulatory system,” that ensures that each level of government give up their own powers to this new body, and he’s got Ontario and BC signed on, meaning it has oversight over some 90 percent of industry in the country already. While most other provinces will likely come aboard in short order, Quebec and Alberta remain opposed for the time being. It will likely be discussed further this weekend at a federal-provincial finance ministers’ meeting. John Geddes looks at Flaherty’s journey to this point, while economist Stephen Gordon points out that our patchwork of regulations may not be our biggest problem – but a national regulator can’t hurt.
Stephen Harper has named his 32 parliamentary secretaries yesterday, of which six of them are women. Some notable moves include Jacques Gourde as the PM’s parliamentary secretary (possibly making up for Christian Paradis’ demotion with the limited Quebec caucus), as is Paul Calandra, who is also PS for Intergovernmental Affairs (again, which makes one wonder why Harper needs two PS positions, or if that really says something about Gourde’s competence) and Dean Del Mastro to cover off the Ontario economic development agency portfolios. As well, Deepak Obhrai was also sworn into the Privy Council, for what it’s worth.
Thomas Mulcair sent a letter to the Parliamentary Budget Officer to formally request (in a somewhat snippy tone) that he go back to court to try to get the information on budget cuts from the government.
Amy Minsky’s look at independent officers of Parliament continues with Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, who continues to offer suggestions to improve her governing legislation, and reminds us that “ethics” isn’t actually part of her job because it’s not in the Act that governs her. In the look at Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard, she says that her governing legislation is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and that her many calls to reform those Acts are consistently being ignored by Parliament. (One wonders if the calls to update ethics and privacy laws aren’t really the victim of an ethics committee that is too wrapped up in MPs trying to investigate one another for partisan gain rather than doing something meaningful).
Jennifer Ditchburn looks at the new vogue for transparency among parliamentarians, and how the Liberals are leading the pack for now. (I will question her lede however – that kind of chatter she describes is nothing like the chatter before the Cher concert that I attended, but then again, it was a stadium full of “flamboyant gentlemen,” as Cher put it).
A new CSIS report details the kind of “insider threat” that Jeffrey Delisle represents. The good news coming from the Delisle case is the way that our military and intelligence agencies are waking up to their own inadequacies and are starting to look at how to correct them.
Conservative lawyers and spokespersons continue to attempt to spin that they “won” the court case involving those seven ridings – even though the judgement entirely damned them.
Economist Mike Moffatt has serious questions about the NDP’s vague talk of raising the corporate tax rates, as they don’t seem to understand the difference between the statutory rate and the “effective rate” once you take into account the various loopholes that riddle the American taxation system. In absence of those same loopholes, Canada’s statutory rate is actually much closer to the American “effective” rate, which makes any talk of raising our rate to more closely match their statutory rate to be worrying for Canadian businesses.
The CRA claims that Uranium giant Cameco has been avoiding paying taxes in Canada, to the tune of $800 million.
Economist Andrew Leach checks the maths on the charge that Canada is losing $50 million per day in oil exports so long as we don’t have pipeline capacity, but finds it riddled with a number of assumptions that don’t reflect reality.
Here is the updated timeline of the ClusterDuff Affair.
While countries like Iran, Russia and Belarus line up to take shots at Canada’s human rights record, the Conservative government declined to take a further look into the issue of violence against Aboriginal women, per UN recommendations.
US President Barack Obama has finally nominated a new ambassador to Canada – Bruce Heyman, a top Democrat donor and a partner at Goldman Sachs in Chicago. Heyman still needs to be confirmed by the US Senate before he can take up the post.
Colourful (not really) language on the Twitter Machine in the Nova Scotia election! Scandalous! (Not really).
And Bob Rae’s wife, Arlene Perly Rae, talks about how they met.