Friday, June 04, 2010

Day 2 of the futile European jaunt & other notes

1. It's an awesome two step thing these guys have going on. Here's Flaherty's message in South Korea: "Flaherty urges G20 not to be distracted by bank-tax row."
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is urging his G20 counterparts not to get distracted by sharp divisions over a global bank tax and instead focus on preventing banks from making the risky choices that triggered the global recession.
There's an argument to be made that if it's become a distraction, Canada has been a leader in drawing attention to the tax and has sown that division. What else is Harper doing this week but talking about the bank tax? Make up your mind guys, if it's distracting, drop it. Makes you think Harper's European jaunt is just anti-tax ideology masquerading as diplomacy in order to cement the anti-tax stance domestically.

2. A big vote on the gun registry private member's bill that would see the registry scrapped is likely coming next week. A motion not to proceed with the bill was carried at the Public Safety Committee yesterday, with the support of Liberals, NDP and the Bloc. If that unified support carries through to the House of Commons, Candice Hoeppner's bill will die. A big if.
The dozen NDP MPs who voted for the bill will be subjected to intense lobbying by their own party and the Conservatives. Two of Manitoba's NDP MPs voted in favour of Hoeppner's bill. Jim Maloway and Niki Ashton both told the Free Press before the committee decision that they still planned to vote for the bill at third reading.
3. Scott Reid's op-ed is worth a read today.

If you watched the British election fairly closely, you may have noticed that one thing they did not do before or during the election was plan for a coalition. Most of the coalition speculation arose during the election as the polls narrowed and the unique three way nature of the race took shape. Even then, the pressure was largely on the third party leader to press him on what he might do in the event of a hung parliament. Both Labour and the Tories ran to win, said they were, and only after the result did coalition discussions ensue, with both of those parties. So it's been a fascinating example to watch but it's much, much less fascinating here where we have begun to overwork each and every aspect of what's permitted and what's not. Run the next election in exactly the manner that the British did. Situation normal then let's see where we end up. Worked quite well, a fine example of how the Westminster system works.

Chantal Hebert seems to be mixing up concepts today by using the term "coalition" when she references governing accords approvingly. What Rae was reminiscing about was not a coalition it was a governing accord. There's a difference. That came about after an election too.

Here's a video of Chretien in a Radio Canada interview coincident with his portrait hanging. The last two minutes or so are on the issue of some kind of new alliance. He speaks of it generally as something that's been discussed off and on over many years. But he ultimately demurs to the leader, because he says he is not:



4. Harper has elevated Suzanne Legault, the acting Information Commissioner, to the job for a full term. That's good. She's in the midst of a number of investigations of Harper's government (3 Harper ministers, for e.g.) and it would have looked terrible for him to replace her with someone else. I have raised the possibility that he might replace her so credit where credit is due.

5. This seems like it would need a parliamentary debate given that we have a firm agreement to leave as of next summer and the people of Canada support that end date.