First up a couple of bits of good news, not wonderful but in these days of nothing but negative news at least something a little positive.
The court has ruled upon former PBO Kevin Page's request for financial information from the Harper Regime, despite not being able to rule on this particular specific issue due to “no request for information” (?) from Mr page, they never the less made it quite clear that he had the right to that information.
“Parliament not only intended that the parliamentary budget officer be answerable to it and to its committees, but also to every backbencher irrespective of political stripe,” he said. “In my view, the purpose of the statute is to shield any given member of either House of Parliament from the will of the majority.
“If the majority wants to abolish the position of the parliamentary budget officer, or define his or her mandate somewhat differently, so be it! However, it must do so by legislation. Having made that law by statute, it must unmake it by statute. In the meantime, Parliament has no right to ignore its own legislation.”
Then there is the ruling by Conservative Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer in response to a complaint by one of his colleagues of being denied a chance to speak during the time set aside for members statements in the House.
“If members want to be recognized, they will have to actively demonstrate that they wish to participate. They have to rise in their places and seek the floor.”
Not perhaps all that the backbenchers would have wanted but a step in the right direction and there are now moves afoot to wrest the control of who speaks from the party brass and institute a more equitable system. Its long past time that our MPs emerged from under the part thumb and perhaps this very small rebellion is a glimpse of thing to come, I do hope so!
I cannot leave the good news section without mentioning that the Ontario govenment has decided to provide "operating support" and work toward an agreement so the research conducted in the Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora can continue
The province is working with the Conservatives, the Manitoba government and the International Institute for Sustainable Development to keep the area operational this year and ensure longer-term operations.
With Harper’s brother in ideology Tim Hudak foaming at the mouth for an election and saying he will not vote for the budget before even been presented and the NDP pushing the limits of proposed items to be included in order for them to not to do the same, it remains to be seen if the Ontario Liberals are able to follow through with their 'save'! Which brings me to the not so good news........
On Monday the NDP presented a motion “That, in the opinion of this House, the government should inform the Government of the People's Republic of China, that it will not ratify the (deeply flawed, nu-debated and anti-Canadian) Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement". Naturally the Conservatives voted en-mass against this motion but so did the Liberals, it seems that they also think that it is ok to sign a deal that can let a foreign nation sue a municipality (or any other government entity) that give preferential treatment to their local workforce, contractors or service industries and gives them equal rights to our natural resources as our own peoples. The crazy thing about this is that with the Con majority it was not going to pass anyway so why on earth would the Libs, who apparently were 'in negotiations with the NDP' not vote for this along with the Greens.
Even more troubling is that despite the apparent soft support from the Libs for delaying the ratification of this treaty the Liberal members ALL voted against the motion. I had mused last week that perhaps the new liberal leadership would be less authoritative and more collaborative in their approach, it would seem not. The voting along party lines with no exception is still in full force for ALL the partys with very few exceptions. Take a quick look at the voting records so clearly presented at the Open Parliament Website, which site I highly recommend as THE site to go to for information on bills, voting results and debates in the House of Commons and you will see that voting the party line is clearly 'locked in'. Why do we even vote for and pay for these 'representatives' if all they do is follow like sheep wherever their 'leader' takes them.....even if its over a cliff?
To add insult to injury it now seems that the Harper Regime is once again proposing to use taxpayer funded MP mailings for political attacks upon opposition. Not satisfied with spending millions of dollars of party money to attack the newly appointed leader of the Liberal party before he had barely had time to hang his picture on the office wall (oh, wait thats the other guy, the one still in the PMO, with the king complex) they now are preparing to blitz us with householder mailing doing the same. It seems to me we went through this before and despite it being generally agreed that the privilege of free printing and delivery (free to the party that is, WE pay for them) was abused with the use of “10% ers” for political commentary was contrary to the intent of that privilege nothing was done to stop it, in fact the Speaker ruled it was Ok!. I for one strenuously object to being bought with my own money, each of these attack make me more determined to oppose these manipulative oligarchs. As always the Harper Reginae continues to show how little respect they have for democracy, parliamentary procedures and the Canadian taxpayers, nothing new there!
Finaly we have the emails sent out to RCMP officials, telling them they need to get approval from the commissioner or the public safety minister’s office before talking to politicians. In response to a question in the House Candice Bergen (MP, Portage-Lisgar) said:-.
“If parliamentarians need to or want to meet with RCMP or other officials, the appropriate place for them to do that is in Parliamentary committees. If that member has a concern about any RCMP member, they can speak with myself or the minister of public safety,”
Liberal John McKay replied:-.
“Mr. Speaker – only in paranoid, conservative Canada should the police be forbidden from speaking with the people’s representatives, so will this minister choke down his paranoia and reverse?” .
Lets see, the control list now includes MPs, Police, Scientists, Diplomats, Bureaucrats, Civil servants, Military brass and who know how many more that we do not know off. No wonder the PMO budget keeps going up, message control is so important in a 'open and accountable' government eh!
The Ugly? The fact that there is still considerable support for this anti-Canadian, anti-Democratic regime across the country and that a recent poll in Ontario shows that his little brother Hudak who seems to have a similar 'King Complex' has enough support that he wants to force an election upon the residents of that province. Unfortunately the Non of the Above Party will once again not be on the ballot!