Roundup: An F-35 friendly new defence chief?

The new Chief of Defence Staff has been named – Lieutenant General Tom Lawson, an RCAF officer with 37 years experience who is currently serving as the deputy commander of NORAD and has been a vocal proponent of the F-35 fighter acquisition. So immediately we have to wonder just what Harper is telegraphing in his choice of Lawson as CDS. Paul Wells notes that Lawson, like the outgoing Natynczyk, has a great deal of American experience, which is interesting.

The Corrections Investigator, Howard Sapers, is ringing the alarm over record prison populations and double bunking levels leading to increased violence. But wait – didn’t Vic Toews say that the prisoner population explosion didn’t happen and they’re going to close prisons because of it?

Apparently Stephen Harper “owns” the Arctic as a policy file. Um, okay, so he goes up for photo ops and to announce new National Parks every summer. But the fact that he hasn’t fulfilled any of his sovereignty-related promises, that food prices in the North continue to climb, and climate change remains pretty much a zero on his regular policy agenda, it doesn’t speak to highly for his commitment to the file that he “owns,” does it?

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson had an honour guard at his wedding, and there seems to be some dispute as to whether they volunteered or were assigned, and the fact that they got paid for it as part of a “modified shift.” Paulson later apologised, said he wasn’t aware of the situation, and offered to repay their salaries for those three hours of work.

Pat Martin and John McCallum find it “suspicious” that Public Works is looking for private sector auditors to look over the Parliamentary precinct renovation contracts.

Court documents showing that Elections Canada has yet to seek phone and Internet records in some of their ongoing robo-call investigations are calling into question just how sweeping their inquiry really is.

Over in Calgary Centre, candidate Joan Crockatt is calling for party unity now that she’s been chosen. There are fears that the more Red Tory factions in the riding – which is traditionally a Red Tory bastion (this is the riding where it was the gay vote that won Joe Clark his election) – could move their vote elsewhere. That said, it’s also precious that the NDP feels they can take that riding à la Linda Duncan in Edmonton considering that Duncan had a lot of provincial organisation to draw from in a riding that traditionally votes NDP provincially, which is not the case in Calgary Centre at all.

Meanwhile over in Victoria, with a by-election now pending there, Elizabeth May is feeling the pressure to try and win another Green seat in the riding next door to hers.

Liberal leadership contender Deborah Coyne says the party no longer stands for anything in particular, which needs to change if they want to reclaim their voters.

Pundit’s Guide delves further into the issue of the NDP sponsorship repayments, and (rightly) decries the situation developing where our electoral laws are being made on the basis of a series of gotchas between parties.

It seems that Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn was allowed to vote for four months after being declared legally incompetent because of dementia. Apparently this kind of issue is fairly new for the Senate in order to deal with, but we also have to question about Senator Tkachuk’s decision to release this information rather than leave Fairbairn’s medical information private, which does impact on Fairbairn’s dignity.

And Colin Horgan wonders just who the Prime Minister is referring to regarding threats to our country coming via the Arctic.