Roundup: A petulant motion

The degradation of Supply Day – otherwise known as “opposition day” – motions continues apace as the NDP have chosen to be completely petulant about their day today, using their motion to get the House to say that the government misled them on their promise to end First-past-the-Post and call on the government to apologise. It’s petty and cheap, and it’s going to be no fun for the Liberals on House duty to have to eat some of their own words on the need for electoral reform, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this is not what an opposition day motion is supposed ot be doing.

As a quick refresher, the purpose of Supply Days is for the opposition to demonstrate why the government should be denied supply – meaning the money that they want to spend to run the government. In other words, the day is to be spent arguing about why the government shouldn’t be spending money they’re asking taxpayers for. It’s part of the job of the House of Commons in holding the government to account by controlling the purse strings, which government can only spend with their approval. But that’s not how it works anymore. Now, it’s any topic under the sun.

The Conservatives have been engaging in their own shenanigans with supply days, arguing one this week that was supposed to be about getting the government to agree not to tax health and dental benefits, but because they wanted it to be defeated, they got cute with the wording so as to proclaim that Canadians were too burdened with taxes and so on, knowing the government wouldn’t support it. And when they defeated it, they took to Twitter and QP to decry the government not ruling out taxing these benefits despite the fact that they had stated clearly that they would not. But hey, why not play silly buggers with parliament’s time?

Even worse than motions designed to get the government to vote it down by using cute language are the “mom and apple pie” motions designed to get the government to support them in the hopes of embarrassing them into taking action on a file, and as happened so often during the Conservative years, the government would support the motion, pat themselves on the back, and then do nothing while the NDP howled about it to little effect. It was a government that had no shame, but it was a too-cute-by-half motion to start with.

Like Philippe Lagassé says, less theatrics, more accountability. And that’s exactly what we’re not seeing in any of these motions, when it’s the fundamental job of every MP in the Commons.

Good reads:

  • On her Washington trip, Chrystia Freeland warned against any attempts at levying border taxes on Canada.
  • Ralph Goodale says the RCMP will be reviewing their handling of sexual assault cases in the wake of the Globe and Mail investigation into “unfounded” rates.
  • The NDP government are fighting over how many First Nations children are benefitting from additional funding.
  • Canadian soldiers serving in support roles in Kuwait are about to lose their tax exempt status because the hazard level has been downgraded.
  • On his European trip next week, Justin Trudeau will address the European Parliament and meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • There are complaints that the government has asked a judge to hold off on deciding a “Sixties scoop” class-action lawsuit in order to negotiate a settlement.
  • Global Affairs Canada has a team of eight working on the UN Security Council seat bid – six at headquarters and two in New York.
  • There opposition accuses the government of backing away from its pledge to waive EI premiums on youth jobs after it vanished from Patty Hajdu’s mandate letter.
  • Chiefs of police warn against letting people grow marijuana at home once legalized, and want better science for assessing drug-impaired drivers.
  • The Hill Times went through Conservative leadership fundraising data to glean some interesting facts.
  • Here’s a profile of Michael Chong.
  • Here are the highlights of Kevin O’Leary’s Reddit AMA.
  • Terry Glavin takes a second look at the survey of Canadian attitudes toward immigrants and refugees, and generally finds us to be blasé.
  • Andrew Coyne has scorn and vitriol for the Bombardier announcement.
  • Paul Wells notes the ways in which the Liberals have been shoring up their left flank this week after the electoral reform smothering.

From the census data release:

Odds and ends:

Kady O’Malley walks through Brad Trost’s bill to privatize the CBC, and why it’s unlikely to get off the ground.