It’s not a secret that Globe and Mail editorials have a tendency to be terrible, but one yesterday was particularly misinformed to the point of being criminally negligent. The subject? That politics needs more Ruth Ellen Brosseaus. The thrust of the piece is that politics doesn’t need more lawyers or titans of industry, but plucky individuals with a common touch. What they completely ignore is how much support the party gave Brosseau to turn her from the assistant manager of a campus bar who spent part of the campaign in Vegas (who never actually went to her riding during the campaign) into the eventual NDP House Leader that she is today.
To wit, after the 2011 election, the party sequestered Brosseau, put her through intense French immersion to get her proficiency in French back up to an acceptable level for the francophone riding that she was accidentally elected into during the Orange Wave, and then carefully kept her away from the media except for select clips to show how great her French was. Her early interventions in the Commons were brutal – I recall one particularly memorable nonsense question in QP about how, as a busy single mother, she didn’t have time to worry about all of the Conservatives scandals. Riveting stuff. She was given a deputy portfolio that kept her very constituency bound, and again, she was largely kept away from the media spotlight for four years, and when she was in the media, it was for personality pieces and not policy. During the last election, the party put her forward to every outlet conceivable to showcase her personality and endear her to voters, and she did win again. And good for her.
But what the Globe piece misses entirely is that plucky everywoman Brosseau was given a hell of a lot more support than any other candidate or MP gets, because they wanted to rehabilitate her image, and to demonstrate that they didn’t make a mistake in putting her name on the ballot in the manner that they did. And sure, maybe we need plenty of everyperson candidates, but we also do need lawyers and corporate types who have policy experience as well, because part of the danger of just nominating your everyperson candidate is that it puts them in the position to be the puppets of party apparatchiks run out of the leader’s office. We already have too much central control in politics, and there is a real danger that candidates who are unprepared for political life will become fodder for those machinations, which will do no favour to our political system. So sorry, Globe editorial board – maybe you need to do a little more homework before you file a piece like this.
- As mentioned in QP yesterday, here’s the tale of that Canadian mining company that got $1 billion in EDC loans and subsequently used a tax avoidance structure.
- Our ambassador to the US thinks that enough solid progress has been made in NAFTA talks that we could have an agreement in principle by the end of March.
- During his official swearing-in yesterday, the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada said the system for dealing with complaints against judges needs work.
- We are expecting new legislation on reforming the country’s environmental assessment regime at some point this week.
- More harassment allegations, which detailed how some senior Liberal staffers pretended to offer jobs to women as a cover for trying to date them.
- Regarding that particular allegation, Bardish Chagger was apparently not told that her staffer engaged in this behaviour because he had quit when it came to light.
- It’s also been revealed that the PMO has set up a unit to deal with harassment allegations by exempt staffers.
- Discussions are ongoing with the American government about opening Canadian customs pre-clearance sites within the US.
- The government has put out a tender for two Coast Guard towing vessels as part of its ocean protections plan.
- Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced funds to help fight female genital mutilation in West Africa.
- Conservative MP Arnold Viersen thinks that underage porn access contributes to sexual harassment. I can’t even.
- Another long-time Conservative MP facing a nomination challenge is weighing whether or not to run again in 2019.
- The Conservatives are planning on adding new questions to their candidate vetting questionnaire in light of recent allegations, for what it’s worth.
- Elizabeth May is now using the workplace bullying investigation to fundraise…and pay for the investigation.
- Kady O’Malley previews the ministerial appearance in Committee of the Whole in the Senate regarding the marijuana bill later today.
- Chantal Hébert pokes into the divisions within the NDP as it prepares for its policy convention.
- Andrew Coyne calls for federal leadership on issues like pipelines, which is part of the reason why the federal government exists after all.
Odds and ends:
In this week’s Law Times, I talk to corporate governance lawyers about the proposed amendments to Bill C-25 in the Senate, dealing with corporate boards.