Roundup: Clerical errors and attack ads

The Supreme Court heard arguments about the Etobicoke Centre election yesterday, and the crux seem to hang on whether “clerical errors” are enough to overturn votes and “disenfranchise” Canadians. But how many errors are too many and how many should we let slide before it becomes “fatal” to the integrity of the election? It’s actually a weighty issue to ponder, and they have reserved judgement. While it’s supposed to be handled expeditiously, the point was also made that the remedy – a by-election – is time-sensitive, and so one can hope that the Court will be swift in its ruling. (I offered some of my own thoughts as to the arguments here).

The NDP launched their own attack ads in response to those the Conservatives launched against Thomas Mulcair. The crux of the message: Harper created the recession, the deficit, and is now making cuts to the vulnerable. It’s all pretty much demonstrably untrue and contradictory, but since when were attack ads supposed to be entirely factual when the intent is to cast doubt on your opponent? James Moore was quick to respond via the Twitter Machine: “Hope is better than fear.” Touché.

Scientists and supporters held a “death of evidence” march on Parliament Hill yesterday to protest cuts to science – most especially the Experimental Lakes Programme. The government insists it’s spending more on science and research – and it is, in sheer dollar values. But its focus has shifted more to commercialisation than pure research, and it has shown a distinct disdain for evidence when it comes up against ideological positions (such as with Insite), so on balance the dollar figures may not be the best defence.

Peter MacKay signed a $9.3 million dollar deal with Irving Shipyards to get the exploratory and design process underway for those Arctic patrol vessels (also known as the “slushbreakers”) that we’ve been hearing about for years have yet to see signs of. MacKay also called the Sikorsky helicopter deal the “worst in Canadian history.” Because apparently we’ve thus far dodged the F-35 bullet, I’m guessing.

What’s that? The government is looking to private companies to deliver prison services? You don’t say! Hands up who didn’t see this one coming.

We now have confirmation that yes, Bev Oda did smoke in her office and charge for two air purifiers for her office.

There is a “dark horse” challenger for the Liberal leadership who wants to run on a “pro-cooperation with the NDP” platform. Yeah, good luck with that. I’m continually amazed by people who think that ousting Harper is enough policy gruel with which to form a platform to govern. (Hint: It’s nowhere even close). Or those who believe that there’s enough common economic ground between the two parties to make a merger palatable for either side. (Hint: Not in the slightest).

And Bob Rae is up in the oil sands at Form McMurray, Alberta. His take thus far is that they have tremendous potential, but need proper provincial and federal regulation.