Roundup: Improperly claiming a state function

News came out of the PMO first thing yesterday morning that the PM was planning a “state visit” to India, with stops in Agra, Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi in mid-February. And congratulations if the terminology there made you look askance.

Apparently nobody but Paul Wells clocked them on this fact, and it’s not really surprising, but it’s tremendously disappointing. Why? Because Trudeau and his PMO should know better, especially after we lived through the first few years of the Harper era where he was deliberately blurring the lines between his functions as head of government and the ceremonial trappings of head of state, as Harper got inappropriate salutes from honour guards on Canada Day, or he put himself on the parade podium during Remembrance Day ceremonies (at least, until members of the Royal Family showed up on those events and put him in his place, protocol-wise). You would think that, in the interests of not following Harper’s example, that they would want to actually use proper protocol. But apparently not.

This shouldn’t be that hard, but I’m torn as to whether we chalk this up to simple incompetence, or whether this is part of the trend that has been grumbled about where Trudeau seems more interested in the ceremonial trappings and the appearance that he would rather be Governor General than prime minister. I’m generally a fan of the theory that one shouldn’t attribute to malice what simple incompetence will explain, but come on. That said, the amount of protocol slippage in recent years is reaching epidemic proportions, with state funerals being granted to those who did not merit them, and the fact that this government hasn’t replaced the Canadian Secretary to the Queen following his retirement, meaning that our point of contact with Buckingham Palace is in the hands of bureaucrats in the department of Canadian Heritage of dubious motives and ability (and everything I’ve heard is that they tend to be small-r republicans, hostile to our constitutional monarchy). This is a disturbing trend, and we should call it out before it gets worse.

Good reads:

  • Here’s a look at the complications that will make Trudeau’s message in Davos a tougher sell than it might appear to be.
  • While Canadian negotiators reject the claim that they are being obstructionist at NAFTA talks, there are calls for corporate Canada to step up its NAFTA game.
  • Today could be the day that at TPP-11 deal (or “CPTPP,” as François-Philippe Champagne likes to call it) could be reached.
  • Some Liberal backbenchers are getting restless over the summer jobs programme attestation.
  • There has been a six-fold increase in the amount of lobbying that Senators get over legislation, and some senators aren’t happy about it.
  • New ethics commissioner Mario Dion says he’s the right person for the job because he “has no IOUs” and isn’t looking for a promotion.
  • Here’s a look at “gender equal budgeting” with the example of Sweden’s snow clearing, and the difference it makes.
  • The government is contemplating restoring Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act around hate speech, which was repealed under the rubric of free speech.
  • Despite the fact that VADM Mark Norman has not been charged, DND has determined that he is guilty of leaking information and won’t help with legal bills.
  • Here is the case for why Donald Trump baiting Pakistan is more dangerous than his baiting North Korea.
  • At least seven Conservative MPs are facing nomination challenges, with allegations that the leader’s office was fixing them. One MP opted not to run again.
  • Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at how likely it is that the Senate could block the government’s marijuana bill.
  • Colby Cosh writes about the effect of minimum wage increases as price controls.
  • Andrew Coyne disputes that Canada is a good place for businesses to invest.

Odds and ends:

All of those American celebrities who threatened to move to Canada “for real” if Trump won? Of course, they didn’t.