Roundup: Leadership on healthcare

Day two of the Council of the Federation meeting in Halifax yesterday, and the topic was healthcare – specifically the report prepared by premiers Brad Wall and Robert Ghiz on common best practices, bulk buying certain pharmaceuticals, and such. (Hilariously, Leona Aglukkaq later insisted the federal government has played a leadership role in healthcare, which is especially funny when pretty much every single answer she gives in QP is about how nothing is her responsibility). As part of the day’s news, the premiers also invited Harper to sit down with them for their next meeting in November – to which Harper replied that he’ll totally get right on that. Really!

And no, the topic of pipelines was not omitted. Premiers like Ghiz and David Alward want an east-west pipeline so that refineries in the east can process bitumen from the west. Which is all well and good, but just remember that there is a heck of a lot more east-west distance in this country for a pipeline to cross (and possibly leak) than there is to go north-south to the pre-existing refineries in Texas, for example.  And longer pipelines mean a lot more cost, since reversing the flow of the existing east-west pipeline won’t have that much capacity to grow as oil sands operations ramp up.

Apparently we’re halfway to meeting our 2020 emissions targets! Of course, this is likely more to do with the economic slowdown and Ontario slowly shuttering its coal-fired plants than anything the federal government has actually done, but it’s still good news, right? (And now watch Peter Kent take credit for it in 3…2…1…)

With all of the natural resources deals in the works, CSIS is apparently probing to see that Chinese money isn’t unduly influencing First Nations communities that are affected in these deals.

Here’s a look at the (thus far) unsuccessful attempts by the PMO to come up with a new paint job for the airbus that the Prime Minister takes. Several of the design choices clearly echo the Conservative branding on their logo and tour buses.

Harper’s Quebec advisor may be throwing his hat into the Calgary Centre Conservative nomination race.

Here’s a look at the “jobs mismatch” (aka “people without jobs/jobs without people”) talking point that is so often used in politics, and the fact that it may not adequately reflect reality.

A Quebec cabinet minister let it slip that the election is going to be held on September 4th. Start your engines, Quebec politicos!

In a pretty odious move, a freelance photographer who was accredited to shoot the Olympics got bumped from his spot in favour of a PMO photographer “on leave” from his job. And just a reminder, the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee is Harper’s former press secretary.

The Information Commissioner has joined the fight to get the RCMP to release their old files on Tommy Douglas.

Senator Mike Duffy topped the list of Senate spenders last year.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be visiting Ottawa next month. I’m guessing that means no address to Parliament since nobody will be around.