Roundup: No constraints, please

After Kady O’Malley suggested last week that the Senate adopt some kind of formal mechanisms to prevent the Senate from indefinitely delaying private members’ bills so that they die on the Order Paper, Senator Frances Lankin wrote this weekend that as much as she wants to see some of those bills get passed, she has no desire to adopt any mechanisms that would constrain debate in the Senate. And while I’m sympathetic to O’Malley’s point to an extent, I think Lankin has it right – and it’s good that she said something, because a lot of the newer senators look to her for guidance given that she is a senator who came into the job with previous legislative experience. The reasons why those bills can face delays are varied, but sometimes it’s legitimate that they do, and I think it would be a mistake to put in a mechanism that would essentially force those bills to be passed – especially as that would create an incentive for governments to start trying to pass difficult agenda items as PMBs (as the Conservatives tried to do on more than a few occasions when they were in power).

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Todd Doherty took to YouTube to bully senators into passing his private members’ bill. This is one of those kinds of stories that bothers me because nowhere in the piece does it mention who the sponsor of the bill in the Senate is, nor does it try to reach out to them to ask them about state of the bill and what efforts they are taking in order to see it passed, and that’s a detail that matters. If it is indeed waiting to come up for debate in committee, that’s not out of the ordinary considering that usually committees are bound to deal with government legislation before they deal with private members’ bills, and they’re the masters of their own destiny. Never mind that the bill itself is of dubious merit – these kinds of PMBs that demand “national strategies” for everything under the sun, no matter how worthy the cause, tend to be little more than feel-good bills that have little impact other than moral suasion, because they can’t oblige a government to spend money, and they figure that demanding a national strategy will push a government to take action. They don’t, but it’s all about optics, and Doherty is really pushing that optics angle.

Good reads:

  • Apparently, this morning’s big caucus meeting is about a small business tax cut.
  • Yet more US NAFTA demands include taking away the teeth from the dispute resolution mechanisms. Because that’s smart.
  • Some American congressmen say that they will “stand up” to Trump if he tries to end NAFTA.
  • The government is set to unveil its 2018 immigration targets, which will try to strike the balance between refugees, the irregular migrant arrivals, and labour shortages.
  • Military planners are returning their attention to our long overdue peacekeeping mission that the government has been promising.
  • Canadian troops are increasingly finding themselves in a difficult spot as tensions mount between the Kurds and the Iraqi government.
  • Ruh-roh! A drone struck a commercial aircraft at the Quebec City airport. No injuries reported, thankfully.
  • Jagmeet Singh is off on a cross-country “listening tour.” Rather than, you know, running for a seat and being in parliament.
  • Here’s a look at the close race in the Lac-Saint-Jean federal by-election.

Odds and ends:

The NDP are calling for an emergency debate on Sears. Words fail.