Roundup: Exit the Deputy Speaker

NDP MP and deputy Speaker Denise Savoie has announced her retirement for health reasons, and her letter mentioned that the travel demands of being a west coast MP was taking its toll. This means there is yet another by-election for the Prime Minister to call, likely this autumn. As for the role of Deputy Speaker, there’s no rule that says it has to go to an opposition party but should be someone whose linguistic proficiency is opposite that of the current Speaker, meaning it will likely have to be a Francophone as opposed to current Assistant Deputy Speaker Barry Devolin. As for who that might be, well, is a harder guess because I can’t think of any Francophone NDP MPs who have enough of an understanding of the rules and procedures as nearly all of them are still newbies, so maybe Mauril Bélanger from the Liberals, as he once expressed an interest in becoming Speaker? Wild guess, but it will be interesting to see who he ends up choosing.

From Nunavut, Stephen Harper announced funding for a new Arctic research station (after cutting an existing one, mind you), that the government was launching a new search for the lost vessels of the Franklin Expedition, and named Leona Aglukkaq to be the chair of the Arctic Council. Since she’s not really doing anything as Health Minister other than reminding everyone that nothing is her jurisdiction and ignoring the advice of expert panels, she’ll have plenty of time to memorise a whole new set of talking points to recite by rote.

The Procurement Ombudsman has raised the issue that the government keeps giving contracts to companies with bad track records. One would think that “once burned, twice shy” would be emblazoned on a few walls over in Public Works, no? Part of the problem seems to be that people don’t want to complain, for fear that it will cost them future contracts, which seems to indicate that there need to be better safeguards put into place.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has cancelled nearly 3000 screenings as part of the changed Act that passed within the omnibus budget bill. Just as a reminder, however, that “screenings” are the lowest level of assessment which basically amounted to a review of the available material provided by stakeholders, so while it sounds scary, it’s not as huge of a deal as it could be.

CBSA’s overstretched export control officers have been told to forget about searching for illicit drugs leaving the country and to focus instead on nuclear material and stolen cars. Yeah, this is going to make the States and a whole lot of other countries really happy with us.

Three former Libyan diplomats who were expelled from the country for their activities during the lead-up to the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi have claimed refugee status here in the country.

An anonymous soon-to-be Liberal leadership candidate has put up a placeholder site that will make the big reveal on September 3rd. While there is a bunch of speculation as to who it is, I suspect this will be the official announcement of George Takach, based on some of the quotes on said placeholder page about education and the high-tech economy.

And Marc Garneau talks about Quebec and the Constitution, 30 years after patriation.