Roundup: Bringing back the euthanasia debate

Before his death by a brain tumour, famous Canadian microbiologist Dr. Donald Low recorded a video making a plea for assisted suicide laws in this country, but feared that we still don’t have the political maturity to handle such a conversation. The video was released yesterday to great play in the media, for what it was worth. Sadly, I fear Low was right after the last attempt at such a debate in Parliament, and it’s one of those issues that MPs are too afraid to touch and will inevitably fob off on the Supreme Court to give them a push before they do anything with it. Only one Conservative MP, Steven Fletcher – a quadriplegic – seems to want to have that discussion, and supports the notion, given his particular perspective.

The Prime Minister of Japan was in town yesterday to meet with Stephen Harper and to talk trade – more specifically, trade in energy. Japan is one of the largest importers of energy (coal and natural gas), and with their decommissioning more of their nuclear plants, they will need even more energy imports – which Canada, as it happens, is looking for new markets for. And on that note, here’s a look at the boom in pipelines as we try get our energy to new markets.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Harper is totally not impressed with the whole attempt to thaw relations with Iran, and says that actions speak louder than words.

Ruh-roh! Harper’s Quebec lieutenant, Denis Lebel, says he’s not bothered by the Quebec “Charter of Values.” I wonder if Jason Kenney is going to give him a talking to.

Kady O’Malley delves further into the Pat Martin legal defence fund issue, and the problems in the ethics codes that govern MPs that ensure lax disclosure on these kinds of issues.

The retired Air Force General that led the NATO mission in Libya is now working for Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35 fighter. And yes, it’s fully in the rules for him to do so.

Provincial and territorial labour ministers remain unimpressed with the Canada Jobs Grant programme as it was announced in the budget, and will be pushing back against it.

Four NDP MPs from BC – Nathan Cullen, Peter Julian, Jinny Sims and Fin Donnelly are all apparently considering runs for the BC provincial NDP leadership. Cullen’s consideration seems to be the most serious of them, especially considering his failed bid at the federal leadership, and the others seem mostly just to be “considering,” or are being courted as in Julian’s case.

The Lobbying Commissioner has launched an online consultation process for changes that should be made to the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct – as opposed to the Lobbying Act – and hopes to have a final report by May.

Aaron Wherry poses a very interesting question – if it’s okay for Linda McQuaig to hold views opposing those of her leader and the party platform when it comes to things like taxation, then how can the NDP constantly criticise Conservative MPs who want restrictions placed on abortion when the leader and the platform repudiate such measures.

Back in Brandon-Souris, the Conservatives seem to be in damage control mode as they’ve gone so far as to release courier tracking data to prove that the disqualified candidate there got his application in late – but still no word on the allegedly missing cheque, which said candidate even had a witness present for as he wrote it up. Add to that, a local mayor is going to run as an independent to go around the Conservative process. And yes, the Liberals are courting the Conservative voters being driven out by this mess.

Here’s an interesting analysis of how the Harper government’s decision to fund the Scarborough subway has impacted on Toronto politics.

Aaron Wherry has an exclusive (and lengthy) Q&A with Michael Ignatieff about his new book on his successes and failure in politics.

And PostMedia assembles some comparison shots between Prime Ministers when they started their terms and when they ended them (discounting Clark, Turner and Campbell of course, who had terms less than a year). Yes, the long hours and the travel certainly takes its toll.