Roundup: Staffers defend Canadian presidentialism

Andrew Coyne’s column on reverting to a system of caucus selection of party leaders got a lot of pushback over the Twitter Machine on Saturday, and curiously, those most in favour of retaining our current bastardized system of membership-selection were those who currently or formerly worked in the PMO (as well as a couple of current leadership candidates who don’t currently have seats in the House of Commons, which isn’t surprising seeing as they’d be excluded from such an exercise and well, they have egos to stroke given their current leadership ambitions).

And this presidentialization creep is what really gets under my skin, because it’s those who benefit from unearned power – the people in the PMO (less kids in short pants these days than they were under the previous government) who are the most ardent defenders of the system, and using this faux democratic mandate of the 150,000 “supporters” of the party as justification. What none of them bring up is the fact that the PM is unaccountable to those members in any real sense, and certainly unaccountable to the caucus he leads, and that’s a very big problem. And no, a system like that proposed in Democratizing the Constitution of membership selection/caucus removal would never work in practice because unless the method of selection matches the method of removal, there is a legitimacy problem, not to mention this is what happened with both Greg Selinger in Manitoba and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, and look at where both of them are today. It’s not pretty, and it’s bad for our Westminster system. Caucus selection is really the system we need to revert to if we want accountable leaders and empowered MPs who aren’t being cowed by centralized leaders and their staffers, and we won’t get that now, especially if those staffers are all over the Twitter Machine trying to defend their turf.

Good reads:

  • That filibuster around the committee study on changing the Standing Orders will resume today, in case you were wondering.
  • Bombardier’s chairman says he wants his compensation rolled back to 2015 levels after the outcry over it.
  • Experts are asking the government to think twice about their “seniors price index” campaign promise. So, another ill-thought promise. Who would have thought?
  • The National Defence ombudsman, looking for more independence, is accusing the department of “insidious attacks” against him.
  • The NDP have been found to be colluding with “multi-partisan” Fair Vote Canada in the upcoming by-elections, particularly in Ottawa Vanier.
  • The Senate Ethics Officer’s ongoing investigation into allegations of harassment in Senator Don Meredith’s office would end if he is expelled.
  • Here’s a lengthy look at Bill Blair and his task of making sure legalizing marijuana happens in an orderly fashion.
  • Stephen Harper’s former campaign manager thinks that Kevin O’Leary could split the party. As though he were the only one who could…
  • Maxime Bernier talked about how corporate welfare was not in line with his values, which explains why he took a stand and left cabinet over it. Oh, wait…
  • Jagmeet Singh admits he’s putting together a team for a potential NDP leadership bid.
  • Paul Wells writes about yesterday’s Conservative leadership debate, and the exhaustion setting into the race.

Odds and ends:

Here’s a look at the great symbolism of the Senate moving into the oil train station for the duration of Centre Block’s renovations.

Last night were the Juno Awards in Ottawa, and the PM and the GG both made appearances.