Roundup: Reorganizing Elections Canada?

It sounds like the election reform bill will be tabled soon – possibly this week – and sources are saying that it will reorganize Elections Canada, removing the Commissioner of Elections from the organisation into its own standalone office. It also sounds like the Chief Electoral Officer has not thus far been consulted on the bill, so we’ll see just how problematic that actually ends up being.

Ruh-roh! Satellite images showed that steam-based oilsands extraction caused significantly more ground deformation in the area around a bitumen leak. The company blames a failed wellbore for the leak, but it may be too soon to tell if this is a bigger problem with the technology. Michael A. Levi writes about how self-correcting oil prices in the marketplace will likely keep the oil sands viable with or without Keystone XL.

Justin Trudeau said that hurt feelings were the price to pay for his move on the Senate, he’ll find new organizers for any long-time organizers who are now senators, and that he didn’t wait to discuss it at the party convention so as to not make it look like there was more party infighting in the media. Erm, but isn’t that an NDP hallmark – remove all tough discussions from the public eye to show the happy family united face everywhere, legitimate difference of opinion nowhere to be seen? Michael Den Tandt wonders how people would have reacted if Harper made the move instead of Trudeau, and imagines that he would have been applauded for such a move, which in this reality makes Harper the one playing defence.

Budget cuts facing the RCMP have some national police services on the block – things like the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, or the National Sex Offender Registry. Some have suggested this is the 2014 version of the “Musical Ride” (as in, when the RCMP were told to make cuts, they once said that the deeply symbolic musical ride was the only program they could cut, which the government of the day did not appreciate).

The government has stopped funding anti-smoking ads in favour of going after contraband tobacco, which is just what the tobacco industry wants. Funny how that happens.

Industry Canada documents show the weeks-long twelve-step process that every department goes through as they compose each tweet from a government Twitter account. No, seriously. Because heavens forbid that there could be spontaneity or dialogue on the Twitter Machine!

Peter MacKay says a bill on prostitution laws will be tabled “well before” the December deadline. Err, except that’s when it’s supposed to be passed, and that takes time, especially for a contentious issue like this that will require a lot of study in both chambers. That’s not a lot of reassurance that the deadline will be met, unless they intend to ram it through with time allocation the whole way or fold it into the budget implementation bill.

As we look to celebrating 70 years of bilateral relations with Mexico, and 20 years with NAFTA, Mexico’s ambassador notes that our relationship has become stagnant. And yes, the visa issue remains a sore point in our relations, as is the feeling that Canada has ignored twenty years of progress and the emerging middle class in Mexico.

The NDP are stepping up their fight against ATM fees. Because that’s the most pressing economic issue facing the country.

The future looks grim for the Royal Canadian Navy’s only research vessel, CFAV Quest.

Energy economist Andrew Leach looks at the mathematics of infinite growth versus finite resources as a technical primer to a discussion on why we’re not going to run out of oil anytime soon.

Former NDP premier and elder statesman Roy Romanow has concerns about the party’s Sherbrooke Declaration on Quebec separation, and feels it’s not sufficient to help safeguard national unity.

Looking ahead to Charles and Camilla’s visit in May, here’s a piece that looks at why royal visits matter in Canada.

And Tabatha Southey weighs in on last week in Julian Fantino and wonders if the Conservatives like the idea of Fantino more than they know what to do with the reality of him.