Roundup: Artificial deadline drama

It’s one of these kinds of stories that I’m already suspicious of – the kind that presuppose that the Senate is going to delay the course of legislation. And lo, the fact that there is a story with Bill Blair out there, shaking his finger at the Senate and warning them not to delay the marijuana legislation, is one that makes me roll my eyes because 1) the Bill still hasn’t passed the Commons, and may not yet for another week; and 2) I have heard zero plans from any senators that this is something that they intend to sit on until any deadlines pass or expire. In fact, I’ve heard pretty much the opposite – that to date, there is an extreme reluctance on the part of those making up the Independent Senators Group to delaying or being perceived to be delaying government bills, and they will provide the statistics to show that they pass bills faster than the House of Commons does as a way to prove that they don’t delay bills.

Oh, but what about the national anthem bill, which Conservative senators are sitting on and deliberately delaying? Well, that’s a private member’s bill, so it is at the mercy of Senate procedure, unlike a government bill – as the marijuana legislation is – which not only takes precedence over other business in the Senate, and which Senator Peter Harder, the Government Leader in the Senate – err, “government representative” could invoke time allocation on, and I’m sure that he would be able to get enough votes for it to pass (grumbling of Conservative senators aside). This having been said, I think that perhaps it may be pushing it for the government to insist that a major piece of legislation like the marijuana bill be passed by the Senate within three weeks given that they took much longer on it, and given that provincial governments have a lot to say on the matter – though I’m hearing that the Senate will likely sit a full week longer than the Commons will before they rise for the Christmas break, meaning that if the Commons passes it by this Friday, it would be four weeks for the Senate to pass it before the break, which is a long time for a bill in the Senate, but not unreasonable. And if the Commons was so concerned about how long it was taking, they would have picked up their own pace on the bill beforehand. They didn’t, and didn’t invoke time allocation on it thus far, meaning that this concern of Blair’s is artificial and used to create some faux drama. People aren’t stupid – creating a problem where one doesn’t exist is just as likely to backfire than it is to try and shame the Senate into doing your bidding.

Good reads:

  • Word out of the NAFTA talks is that American intransigence could be force a stalemate. Canada plans to lecture the Americans on the impact of their proposal.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff is pushing back at the notion that the government isn’t living up to their peacekeeping commitments, and talks about “smart deployment.”
  • Catherine McKenna says that Canada won’t ban coal exports – err, but it’s metallurgical coal for steel, not thermal coal for energy, so really.
  • The official apology to LGBT Canadians for past persecution will take place in the House of Commons on November 28th (after which point the NDP will take credit).
  • Canadian troops in Latvia are being warned that their cellphones and social media accounts could be coopted as part of Russia’s “fake news” war wages in the region.
  • Afghanistan is looking for more training help and support from Canada and other NATO allies, but so far Canada has said no.
  • Nebraska officials will make a decision today on whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline through their state.
  • Maxime Bernier plans to release a book that will include the victory speech he never gave, and his “vision” of Canada.
  • John Ivison floats the trial balloon that Trudeau will head to China in early December to open trade talks with China.

Odds and ends:

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister talks about how he got lost and fractured his arm on vacation in New Mexico.