Roundup: Feeding the fear industry

The Conservatives’ final Supply Day motion of the year, and they chose to use it to both demand that the government bring any returning ISIS fighters to Canada to justice, while simultaneously condemning them for the Omar Khadr settlement – you know, the issue that they were going to hammer the government hard on back in September which didn’t materialize.

As you can expect, the arguments were not terribly illuminating, and lacking in any particular nuance that the topic should merit, but that’s not exactly surprising. Still, some of the lines were particularly baffling in their ham-fistedness.

Amidst this, the CBC published a piece about Canada’s refusal to engage in extrajudicial killings of our own foreign fighters out of the country, asking lawyers whether Canadian law actually prevents it, which not unreasonably has been accused of creating a debate out of nothing.

And this is really the key point. Treating issues like this one in a ham-fisted manner, whether it’s with a Supply Day motion designed to fail, or a debate created out of nothingness, is playing into the fear industry that we really should be trying to avoid. This is not the kind of nuanced debate that we should be having, which hurts everyone in the long run.

Good reads:

  • Some drama in China, as the expected announcement of trade talks evaporated into an agreement on canola and more “exploratory talks.”
  • Two new senators, both Indigenous women, were named yesterday for Manitoba and Nova Scotia. While the Senate is closer to gender parity, 11 vacancies remain.
  • Liberal MP Sherry Romanado says that she was humiliated when James Bezan made comments (allegedly around an unimaginable threesome) around her.
  • A group representing diabetics obtained an internal CRA memo that outlines a change in direction that would deny most Type 1 diabetics the disability tax credit.
  • Kim Campbell appeared at justice committee to talk about the recent Supreme Court of Canada nominee, saying 14 candidates applied, creating a shortlist of three.
  • Canada’s chief NAFTA negotiator appeared at trade committee to outline the five American demands that are all non-starters for negotiations.
  • The Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs is no more, and its two successor departments have now been created.
  • The BC Court of Appeal rejected the claim by a veterans group to be certified as a class action against the government over disability pensions.
  • Legalized cannabis won’t immediately kill the black market. Gosh, you think?
  • Bell Canada wants the CRTC to create a not-for-profit group to run an anti-pirating blacklist, which critics say imperils Net Neutrality.
  • Here’s a look at how climate change affects prices in the produce aisle.
  • The Conservatives will be holding open nominations for the 2019 election – sort of. If you want to challenge an incumbent, you need 50 signatures by next week.
  • Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at the issue of Bill Morneau and parliamentary privilege when it comes to the accusations against him.
  • Chantal Hébert warns that those accusations against Morneau are now venturing into the territory of character assassination.
  • Stephen Gordon explains how the planned US tax cuts won’t have the same effect on their economy that Canada’s did.
  • Chrystia Freeland takes to the pages of the Economist to argue for rules-based international order and “progressive internationalism.”
  • Andrew Coyne says that Canada shouldn’t abandon its principles to get a trade deal with China.

Odds and ends:

In the Law Times, I have a story about the advent of paperless trials coming to courts.

Here’s a look at the success of socks as a fundraising tool for the Liberals. Seriously.