There was a very curious piece in yesterday’s Hill Times that offered leaks from the Liberal caucus room – leaks which have been rare over the past couple of years, but then again, Jane Taber has retired from journalism, so perhaps not everyone has gotten around to finding someone to call when they want to gripe. In this particular instance, the chair of the Liberals’ rural caucus allegedly raised the notion that he didn’t feel his constituents were properly consulted on upcoming gun control legislation, and Trudeau allegedly chastised him in return, given that this was a campaign commitment and they have consulted for two years and there’s not much more consultation that they can do. (And really, the notion that this government has been paralyzed by consultation is not too far from the truth).
Now, I get that rural Liberals are nervous – the institution of the long-gun registry in the 1990s did serious damage to their electoral chances that they only just recovered from in this last election cycle, and these MPs would like to keep their seats in the next election, thank you very much. But at the same token, I’m not going to be too sympathetic to this notion that Trudeau’s response to them is going to create some kind of chill in the caucus room. You’re grown-ups, and sometimes things get a bit heated, particularly when it looks like there’s some pretty serious foot-dragging going on that could affect promises being kept, while the party is already on the defensive for other promises not kept (however justified it may have been not to keep them – looking at you in particular, electoral reform).
I was also curious by the tangent that this piece took regarding the fact that Gerald Butts and Katie Telford also routinely attend caucus meetings, which tend to be reserved only for MPs (and once upon a time, senators) to hash things out behind closed doors and to have full and frank discussions with one another. And there was talk about how under Chrétien or Martin, senior staff were not there, but under the Harper era, they often were, if only to take notes and ensure that there was follow-up on items that were brought forward. And if that’s all that Butts and Telford are doing, then great – that may be a good way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. But it does feed into the notion that Butts is the real brains of the operation and that he’s the one running the show. Take that for what you will.
- Justin Trudeau is on his tour of steel and aluminium producers. He also had a call with Trump to say he also wants a quick resolution to NAFTA.
- The King and Queen of the Belgians arrived for a state visit but have no plans to meet with Justin Trudeau; Rideau Hall, meanwhile, almost had a flag incident.
- The government’s spending review has yet to find any inefficient or poorly targeted programmes to cut – only areas where more spending is needed.
- François-Philippe Champagne launched the government’s new trade promotion agency. Kevin Carmichael notes Champagne’s work in opening doors for business.
- Catherine McKenna says she’s not letting Saskatchewan refuse a carbon price. Manitoba is using their carbon tax to lower other taxes and tackle their deficit.
- Harjit Sajjan responds to criticism that the budget doesn’t offer anything for the military.
- There may be more residential school settlements on the way for victims of student-on-student abuse.
- Fire up the cheap outrage alarm over the cost of those Come From Away tickets!
- Senator Woo and others complain that the government isn’t doing enough of substance on trade promotion.
- A lawsuit by female correctional officers in Edmonton details the constant sexual harassment they faced from coworkers that went unaddressed by management.
- Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at how difficult it is to get the courts involved in internal political party matters.
- Jen Gerson becomes a convert to the need to return to caucus selection of party leaders.
- Gerson also notes that Doug Ford is the vanguard of an era of chaos, while Andrew Coyne wonders if Ford can convince voters to ignore his past.
- Colby Cosh looks into the math behind Ford’s win and how the point system kinda worked. Martin Patriquin sees Ford’s win as a new bogeyman for Trudeau to vilify.
- David Reevely notes that Ford is promising to cut corporate subsidies…and then re-offering them under another name.
Odds and ends:
The Competition Bureau raided the offices of Postmedia and Torstar regarding their investigation into swapping their community papers and shutting them down.