Roundup: Overselling change, reaffirming identity

In more reaction to Justin Trudeau’s senate move – which the Liberals are totally overselling in both chambers, incidentally – we hear from Senator Anne Cools, the Dean of the Senate, who fears that it may be unwise and that it doesn’t speak highly of Trudeau’s sense of loyalty. Conservative MP John Williamson says boneheaded things like we should choose senators out of the phone book. Senator Terry Mercer says that while he may no longer be in national caucus, nobody is going to stop him from being a party activist, either at the provincial or federal level. Mercer and fellow Senate Liberal Céline Hervieux-Payette were on Power & Politics, where Mercer said the important change is that there will no longer be whipped votes (but the role of the Whip is organisational), and it’s obvious that Evan Solomon needs to brush up on the constitution (hint: the Senate’s legitimacy is conferred by the constitution). A few other senators are pushing back a little against the move, and the Conservatives in the Senate are now questioning funds to the opposition. A few months ago, Stéphane Dion dismissed the very idea of an appointments commission as elitist and watered down the Prime Minister’s accountability – and he’s entirely right. Laura Payton explains the caucus mechanics and why they’re important. Bruce Hicks gives some history about the kinds of appointments that Sir John A Macdonald promised when the Senate was created.

In other Senate news, senators are looking at spending more funds to better track their travel patterns to ensure that there are no future patterns of abuse à la Pamela Wallin.

Charlie Angus seems to think that there is some kind of money sharing scheme between House and Senate offices and wants the Auditor General to investigate, not that the accusation makes any kind of sense. So far it looks to be a case of the caucuses in both chambers sharing research, which one would think would be a good thing so that they’re not simply duplicating efforts. Of course, Liberals now won’t be in a position to do even that.

It seems that the provinces’ counter-offer on the Canada Job Grant programme is for the added training funds to come out of the EI pot. Apparently people in Kenney’s office think this may not be a bad idea, since employers also pay into that system and this would ensure trained hires – who would be paying back into that system once they’re employed, you would think.

More documents from Edward Snowden shows that CSE has been using free WiFi hotspots to track the mobile devices of travellers at Canadian airports, which almost certainly violates Canadian law. Did we mention the Privacy Commissioner’s recommendations on reporting for these agencies?

Following some Order Paper questions from Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, we find that the Conservative government was taken completely by surprise when judges started objecting to mandatory victims surcharges. Because why would judges want to have some discretion in doing their jobs? Mystifying!

Gail Shea says that Fisheries and Oceans spent $23,000 in its library consolidation plans, but I have a hard time seeing as this as the cost of “culling,” but rather the tasks of inventorying and transferring materials to other sites including Library and Archives.

The government has introduced legislation to dramatically increase the liability for companies operating nuclear reactors or offshore oil and gas operations.

Professor Lindsay Tedds finds the StatsCan numbers on the size of the underground economy in Canada to be laughably small, and that it’s probably more like 15 percent of GDP, not 2.3 percent as StatsCan estimates.

A former Canadian Brigadier-General just spent three weeks in an Afghan prison on “weapons smuggling” charges. He now works for a private security company, and it looks like an administrative issue over permits. This was the commander who was court-martialled for sleeping with a subordinate.

Eight Conservatives MPs helped pass NDP MP Kennedy Stewart’s e-petition bill at second reading. It’s now off to committee.

And yet another reason why I don’t pay attention to polls – coding errors got the Trudeau and Mulcair polling figures mixed up on one poll, and lo and behold, Mulcair is really trailing, not leading. For Mulcair, who says that he does listen to polls, this must sting.