It’s budget implementation debate week in the Commons this week, as Second Reading debate moves ahead under time allocation. The CBC’s Kady O’Malley made a very good point on the weekend that Second Reading debate on this bill isn’t going to matter very much, because it’ll simply be parties reciting their support or outrage into the record, but rather it’ll be the committee where all of the important debate happens. Given that the government has less ability to invoke time allocation on committees, there is still a chance for some more scrutiny and debate to happen there – however they still do have a majority on the committees, so that will be limited nevertheless.
Speaking of committees, here’s a look at the dysfunction creeping into the committee system as a whole – not that anyone can agree as to the causes or solutions. Part of this soul-searching was triggered after Liberal Mauril Bélanger quit the official languages committee after 17 years. Conservative Michael Chong believes there are simply too many committees, so MPs are stretched too thin as they have to do double-duty and are unprepared, and that they do too many studies when not considering legislation. Others, like Ned Franks, think the committees are too large, and that this is part of the symptom of party leaders having too much power over their MPs that said committee members are too afraid to actually speak their minds or have confidence in the expertise they develop. And they’re probably all right, to varying degrees.
The government has signalled that they’re going to put their weight behind a Conservative private member’s bill on banning facemasks during riots. The NDP say they’re supportive in principle, but want some clarification that it won’t muddy the waters with other legal inconsistencies.
It appears that changes to the OAS weren’t in the Conservative platform, because the issue wasn’t discussed until after the election when public servants presented those changes as one of a number of options the government could look at when it comes to addressing the demographic crunch.
Since the Conservatives came to power in 2006 there has been a sharp decline in immigration applications from many Asian countries, due in part to tightening language restrictions. As immigrants can help be bridges between Canada and their countries of origin when it comes to business opportunities, the fact that the world economy is shifting toward Asia means that we could be losing out in the future if this trend continues.
Here’s a look at the examination of protocol at Heritage Committee last week.
And Joe Clark talks about the need for Canada’s foreign policy to innovate as more economic power and demographics shift toward the developing nations of China, India, Brazil, and even Mexico.