Roundup: Ouellet’s magnanimity

The complete illogic of how the Bloc Québécois’ leadership woes continue to unfold continues to amaze. Over the weekend, the party executive emerged from a meeting to affirm their support for Marine Ouellet, but they extended the magnanimous gesture to not tear up the Bloc memberships of those seven MPs who walked out. This, of course, should surprise no one because badly our system has become corrupted by membership-driven leadership contests is that those same members who elected that leader will also help to install his or her friends into the party executive, which centralizes power for that leader. Witness Patrick Brown having Rick Dykstra installed as PC party president, or Justin Trudeau and his friend Anna Gainey. This is why the kind of rot in the PC party in Ontario happens – because the checks and balances within the party have eroded as it transforms itself into a cult of the leader. One a further note about Ouellet, Martin Patriquin notes that as Bloc fortunes continue to wane, she becomes a perfect scapegoat for the party’s demise.

As for Patrick Brown, the news of the weekend was how the party started making plans to deal with revelations of his dating history as it came out, particularly vengeful ex-girlfriends and staffers, which should have been alarm bells right then and there. But this is what happens when you try to deal with the leader that a membership-driven process delivers and who has a “democratic mandate,” whereas if caucus chose from among its ranks, they would know the kinds of open secrets about a candidate and could be steered away from choosing a leader with such skeletons on display, and furthermore, could easily deal with a leader whose vices and other personal problems came to light with swift action. This is yet another reason why caucus selection matters, if we can get past the populist impulses of the current system.

Good reads:

  • While some of Trump’s advisors say no exemptions, there are a lot of others in the US pushing for Canada to be exempt from those steel and aluminium tariffs.
  • Bill Morneau says that Canada is ready to respond to tariffs from the US, but won’t say what the measrues are yet (naturally).
  • In India, the story is that the cold-shouldering and snubbing of Trudeau has revived Khalistani sentiment and harmed their chances of immigration to Canada.
  • Here’s a look at weaponized “political warfare,” part of the arsenal of tools used by Russia and others to attack other democracies.
  • The RCMP is pushing back against the government’s plans to overhaul the pardons and criminal records check systems.
  • Canada gave the US only a few hours’ notice before publicly announcing they were dropping the planned purchase of Super Hornets.
  • The NDP haven’t asked Thomas Mulcair to help in the coming by-election to replace his seat in Outremont.
  • Terry Milkewski demonstrates how all political parties are mired with the politics of Sikh extremism, no matter how much they try to paint Trudeau with that brush.
  • Kady O’Malley calls out the narrative set for reporting on Trudeau’s trip that ignored much of what actually happened there, and why that’s bad for journalism.
  • My weekend column defends Senate Question Period as a valuable exercise that is not simply a partisan copy of the House of Commons’ process.

Odds and ends:

Here’s a profile of Speaker Regan in his life in the big chair.