Saturday, March 14, 2009

Things not blogged this week

Catching up on items from the week that flew under the radar and I didn't get a chance to blog. Here are some worth a mention in even a brief form...

1. Maxime Bernier rose from the ashes, somewhat. He's the new Chairman of the House of Commons' Defence Committee. Pugliese provides the context:
This is the government’s way to rehabilitate the former Foreign Affairs minister. Mr. Bernier is much needed since the Conservatives are taking a kicking in public opinion polls in Quebec and he is still one of the party’s star candidate in the province. A reformed and rejuvenated Maxime Bernier will be front and centre for the next election.
That's how bad things are in Quebec for the Conservatives, the bumbler from the Beauce is the go to guy.

2. It's hard to blog and twitter at the same time...did you know that?

3. Paul Martin was in the news this week, in respect of his $50 million aboriginal business fund in which he's exercising well-received leadership:
A new $50-million fund to build aboriginal business and entrepreneurship has some of Canada's top chief executives and business leaders pledging their support, former prime minister Paul Martin said today.

Loans are being distributed through private equity firm CAPE Fund Management Inc., with a goal of creating or growing businesses that will be profitable and benefit aboriginal communities.

The Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship program also has a mandate of putting aboriginals in management positions of the companies involved, and eventually having those businesses completely owned and controlled by aboriginal communities.

"This is not charity, this is investment," said Martin, who spearheaded the project with his son David.

"It provides a financial return but it also provides a social return, which is the principal thrust of what we want to do here."

In a statement, Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine said the fund represents an "incredible opportunity" to create and promote economic independence.

"First Nations want to be active participants in Canada's economy and the CAPE fund will help us achieve that goal," Fontaine said.

Business leaders were told that although aboriginals are the youngest and fastest growing segment of the population they're being denied access to mentorship, opportunities and entrepreneurship, Martin said.

"We've got to do something about that."
He also dropped by to serve as a reminder to current federal financial types that they're not measuring up.

4. Never got around to blogging anything on the Parliamentary Budget Officer's limbo status. Kevin Page made a public appeal this week to all political parties to give his office the support it needs, financially and legislatively so it can do the job it was created for and exit from the purgatory of the Library of Parliament.
"Do parliamentarians want an independent authority to provide analysis on economic and fiscal issues?" he asked in the letter. "Do parliamentarians want a Parliamentary Budget Officer with a broad mandate?" If so, he said, changes are needed.
The Harper government, dogged by Page's truth-telling, is punting it off to the Speaker's office, claiming Page reports to the Librarian, the Librarian reports to the Speaker. Brave souls who ushered in this measure of accountability, buckling under its weight.

5. Under things to read today, if you haven't already:
  • Tonda MacCharles with a bit of an interview with Michael Ignatieff. On Harper: "Harper is "100 per cent a political animal and anyone underestimates him at their peril," says Ignatieff."
  • Globe article on the future of newspapers in North America, largely from the U.S. perspective and the death watch over the San Francisco Chronicle, raises questions for oversight in democracies and about the challenges for internet models that might spring up in the vacuum.
6. And finally, never got around to writing anything about the Newfoundland tragedy this week but it has been looming in the background, making things we do write about seem incredibly small at times. CP report today is haunting. Condolences and best wishes to those families and to all Newfoundlanders and Maritimers gripped by this.