Apparently at the Liberal caucus retreat last week, the subject of the nomination process for the next election came up, and of course, MPs have plenty to say. Not that they’re telling the media, and while this Hill Times piece ended up being pretty thin gruel, mostly retreading their story on the push for protected nominations from early in the summer, I will use it as a chance to re-up my previous piece in Maclean’s about why protected nominations are a very bad thing in our system of government.
I’m sure all MPs like to think that they have very busy and important work to do in Ottawa (and they do!) and that means that they really can’t spare the time and attention that an open nomination would mean, but open nominations are not only a way to engage with the grassroots at the riding level, they’re also an important way of holding the incumbents to account within the party ranks, rather than simply at the ballot box. This means that there are multiple levels of accountability, which is a good thing for democracy. And I get that they need to be careful to delineate their work as MP and as the local party candidate, and that there are an increasing number of rules to enforce the separation between the two, but if they’re doing a good job, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to maintain a healthy membership base that will support them. In fact, I would be concerned if my local MP couldn’t maintain a healthy membership base in the riding association because that means that those grassroots members are not being engaged and that is a very big problem for democracy. In other words, don’t ignore your grassroots, and if you are as an MP, then that means you’re not doing your job.
- Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are in St. John’s for a cabinet retreat.
- Trudeau told a Women in the World conference that the only pushback on a gender chapter in NAFTA was coming from Conservatives in Canada.
- Faced with criticism of slow response to stranded Canadians in the Caribbean, the government says lack of airstrips and infrastructure hindered efforts.
- The Commons health committee began hearings on the marijuana bill yesterday, and it was quickly apparent that edibles will be a major issue.
- If you need a primer on what the committee is studying regarding the bill, and what the schedule is for the week, Kady O’Malley has you covered here.
- Meanwhile, RCMP officials note that legalising marijuana won’t displace the black market for the drug anytime soon.
- Polling commissioned by Maclean’s shows that Canadians aren’t buying doctors’ arguments about the personal incorporation tax changes.
- Health Canada is moving to restrict over-the-counter sales of codeine.
- Here’s the tale of a Canadian ISIS recruit who walked away from the organisation and returned to Canada, and is being de-radicalised.
- Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at just how much a committee can alter a bill that comes before it.
- Chantal Hébert parses whether Jagmeet Singh’s lack of a federal seat may harm his chances in the NDP leadership contest.
- Neither Ashley Csanady nor Andrew Coyne are impressed with Ontario’s planned model for marijuana sales.
- Stephen Gordon has a fascinating look at “middle class” incomes in Canada that got a tax cut, which doesn’t actually help median earners because of growing disparity.
Odds and ends:
I have a story in this week’s Law Times about lawyers who deal with national security cases talking about Bill C-59 in advance of debate in Parliament.
If you haven’t been following the taxation on private corporation issue all summer, here’s Kevin Milligan’s compilation of links to his pieces and Twitter essays.