Over the weekend, the NDP made a big deal out of the fact that new leader Jagmeet Singh was “going home” to Windsor, a city where he grew up. But immediately upon arriving, he told reporters that no, he had no plans to run for a seat in the area. Never mind that he a) doesn’t have a seat currently, b) has a connection to Windsor, and he says he wants to run in a riding that he has a connection to, and c) he has three seats in the region which are relatively safe for the party, all of which are conducive to his actually doing the time-honoured thing in our system of getting one of those three MPs to temporarily step aside and let him run for a seat there in their stead for the next couple of years. And it’s not like the party won’t be able to come up with some kind of job for the displaced MP for those two years – they have found work for other displaced MPs, and hell, they could even put him or her to work in the local riding office to keep that connection going, and top up their salary from party coffers rather than pay Singh from them outright for the next two years. But no.
Meanwhile, Guy Caron is in the House of Commons four days a week, and apparently is taking a bigger hand in running the staff in the leader’s office in Ottawa (given that Singh can barely be arsed to be in Ottawa even once a week), which leads me to wonder what exactly Singh’s role as party leader actually is. Furthermore, how is he able to actually wield any authority, either with the caucus or with the staff in the leader’s office, if he’s never there? And if I’m Charlie Angus or Niki Ashton, who did better than Caron in the leadership and who are now back to their old critic roles with nothing more to show for it, I’m probably getting pretty sore that Caron, who came in last, is now the de facto leader. If I’m an NDP supporter, I’m also probably pretty concerned that Singh has immediately sidelined himself into the role of a figurehead who has no institutional role, wields almost no authority, and is merely there to tour the country, give a couple of speeches and have a few photo ops.
Nothing about this situation is acceptable in a parliamentary democracy, and absolutely no part of this is acceptable when it comes to defending Parliament itself. By insisting that parliament is irrelevant, Singh is doing fundamental damage to the institution in the eyes of Canadians, and that should raise the red flags of everyone. How can you lead a party that wants to win more seats in an institution when you personally can’t even be bothered to do so? It’s perverse, and people in his party need to start demanding that either he respects our system of government and gets a seat immediately, or maybe it’s time to find a leader who can.
- On Trudeau’s trip to China, trade is at the forefront, but they insist that they will raise the cases of Canadians imprisoned in that country.
- On his first day in Beijing, Trudeau spoke at the headquarters of a Chinese social media company.
- Scott Brison recently went to an Open Government Partnership conference in Argentina to talk transparency, but critics in Canada deride their measures to date.
- The parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs says the successful resolution of a consular case with North Korea shows they may listen to reason.
- Apparently, the government is rethinking their promise around extending the Home Buyers’ Plan as it will fuel an overheated housing market. You think?
- The government will be trying to “nudge” low-income families into taking up the Canada Learning Bond, which is largely undersubscribed.
- Oh, look – labour unrest at shipyards in Quebec and Halifax.
- Apparently cost is a factor in the consideration of a peacekeeping mission.
- A recent report says that Canada needs better rules around disclosing the ownership of private corporations to better combat tax evasion.
- A BC court is set to rule on whether a class-action lawsuit by injured veterans over disability pensions can proceed.
Odds and ends:
Trevor Tombe fact-checks Kathleen Wynne’s claims around the proposed PC carbon tax vs the current cap-and-trade system. (Wynne is wrong).
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) November 30, 2017