Roundup: Imagining a competent committee

One of the most interesting pieces I read this weekend was a lament by financial journalist Kevin Carmichael, who imagined a parallel universe where a competent House of Commons finance committee could actually question the governors of the Bank of Canada about monetary policy decisions in the interests of accountability, rather than just juvenile point-scoring. And lament is really a good word for it, because this is the kind of thing that our committees should be doing – but they don’t. It’s all about who can try and get their party positions validated than dealing with the issue at hand, which in this case is the reasoning why the Bank of Canada is setting the rates where they are. As Carmichael points out, the Bank does hold press conferences and reporters can ask questions, and some of those journalists have a clue about what they’re asking, so that helps – but it would be great if our MPs could do the same. (Traditionally, senate committees tend to be where the serious questions get asked, but I’m not sure if the Bank appears before them regularly or not, and I haven’t had enough chance to see if the cohort of new independent senators has taken up the mantle of seriously questions – the kinds of questions that put fear into deputy ministers – just yet). Suffice to say, it’s a piece I encourage people (especially MPs) to read, and look at the kind of committees we could have, if enough MPs took the exercise as seriously as they should be.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau is off to Davos today, where he will talk about delivering for the Middle Class™, and will also talk gender as Maryam Monsef joins him.
  • The next round of NAFTA talks starts in Montreal, and the Americans are apparently annoyed at us, and is considering Canada “obstructionist.”
  • Patty Hajdu continues to insist that the attestation requirement for Canada Summer Jobs program funding won’t impact the majority of organizations.
  • Breweries are whinging about the planned inflation-adjusted tax on alcohol rising with inflation.
  • Less than half of the 8200 people deported last year paid their own way, but many can’t leave because they don’t have the financial means.
  • Here’s a look at the UN committee that accredits NGOs, and how that has become politicized by countries looking to block that accreditation.
  • Here is yet another piece about parental leave and childcare supports for MPs. (Reminder: I wrote about the potential pitfalls in my column).
  • The government is also looking into crafting specific paternity leave policies.
  • The Yazidi boy who was reunited with his family in Canada after three years of captivity by ISIS is looking to meet with Justin Trudeau.

Odds and ends:

The NDP’s provincial party in Quebec has just elected a new leader.