By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 0 Comments
At 2pm, the Speaker’s parade—a ceremonial photo op, a silly show of hallowed tradition—proceeded down the West corridor of Centre Block toward the House of Commons. Preceded by one marching guard and flanked by three more—To protect the Speaker from what? A sneak attack by the Queen?—strode the sergeant-at-arms, carrying the large golden mace that must be in place for the House to conduct its business, and the Speaker and his clerks in their three-cornered hat and robes. Once the official party was safely inside, the large wooden doors were shut and the official business of the nation began for another day.
Something like a dozen reporters had gathered at the gallery door, anxiously waiting for the House to be called to order. This was something like four times the usual attendance—the larger crowd here in anticipation that one of the duly elected adults sent here to represent the people of this country might stand up in his or her place without having first obtained the permission of the party leader he or she is supposed to support. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The NDP would like you to know that it doesn’t oppose trade.
The NDP has already backed one free trade agreement, with Jordan, and is pushing for expedited negotiations on a deal with Japan. And it’s arguing that Canada should give priority to negotiating similar pacts with India, Brazil and South Africa. Moreover, the party has dropped all talk of rescinding or reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal the NDP has stridently opposed in the past. And it’s urging the World Trade Organization to re-start global trade talks, which the NDP used to protest against.
“The NDP have always been and are very vigorously pro-trade,” NDP trade critic Don Davies insisted in an interview. Still, he conceded there’s some truth to the Tory charge that — until recently — New Democrats haven’t seen a single free trade deal they could bring themselves to support. ”I think our position in the past on trade deals has been to look at a trade deal, find three or four things we don’t like and then vote against it,” Davies said. ”I’m not sure that that’s the proper way to proceed because any trade deal has pros and cons to it … There’s going to be costs to our economy and benefits to our economy.” But all that has changed under Mulcair. Now, Davies said the party’s policy is to weigh the pluses and minuses of each deal and determine if “overall it’s a net benefit” to Canada.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Conservative MP Dan Albas, still new to this place and apparently not yet exhausted of all ideals, lamented last week that the 35 seconds allotted for each response in Question Period were not nearly sufficient to explain the obviously complicated matters of national governance. “While it is possible to ask a meaningful question in 35 seconds,” he explained, “I am certain most would agree that when it comes to governance, very few answers can be given in such a short timeframe.”
Perhaps this explains why the Harper government has spent tens of millions in public funds on television advertisements to explain itself to the public. Perhaps that’s why Diane Finley, questioned repeatedly in the House about a flaw in her reforms to employment insurance, decided to announce a change in her plans via news release on the Friday afternoon before the House went on break for a week.
For sure, difficult questions are not easily answered. Witness Gerry Ritz, who, for another day, was asked not only to explain why the nation’s food safety system hadn’t prevented 15 people from getting sick, but also if he would just go ahead and resign. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM - 0 Comments
The Dairy Farmers of Canada are not impressed with Martha Hall Findlay. The Conservatives at least attempted to register their dismay yesterday, while the New Democrats issued the following release this morning.
Conservatives have put Canada’s supply management on the table in trade talks – and now we see some Liberals openly opposing our supply managed sectors, according to NDP International Trade Critic Don Davies. “New Democrats have a clear and strong policy: Canada’s supply managed sectors provide clear benefits to Canadians and will not be compromised, in trade talks or otherwise”, insisted Davies. He pointed out that supply management in Canada’s dairy, poultry and egg industries is a tested system for efficient delivery of safe, local food to Canadians. Davies said that, unlike other countries who subsidize their producers, Canada’s supply management policy doesn’t cost taxpayers a cent.
NDP Agriculture Critic Malcolm Allen added his concerns of what any concessions could mean for these important industries. “By putting supply management in the cross hairs of these negotiations, the Conservative government is attacking the livelihood of dairy, poultry and egg farmers right across the country; farmers who expect this government to live up to its word.”
Deputy NDP Agriculture Critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau added that supply-managed products are competitively priced, with Canadian milk costing less than Australia and New Zealand – and in the US taxpayers subsidize milk. “New Democrats will continue to stand up strongly for the dairy, poultry and egg sectors, important industries that employs thousands of people,” said Brosseau.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s C-38 votes. It was expected that voting would begin around 5:30pm, but some procedural fussing about by the Liberals seems to have delayed those votes by a few hours. Stay tuned throughout the evening (and morning?) as we follow the parliamentary festivities.
4:43pm. If you’re only now tuning in, you just missed a fascinating series of points of order, during which Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux twice asked the Speaker to clarify the rules of the House (Speaker Devolin invited Mr. Lamoureux to read the standing orders) and Bob Rae objected to the Defence Minister’s earlier use of the word “mendaciousness” (Peter MacKay duly stood and withdrew the remark). The House is now at the time reserved each day for the presenting of petitions and will soon move to the final period of report stage debate on C-38.
4:51pm. The New Democrats held a photo op this afternoon to demonstrate how they were preparing for tonight’s votes. Mostly this seems to have involved Nathan Cullen removing his jacket and writing “C-38″ on a giant white pad of paper.
5:04pm. The Liberals have chosen now to discuss Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. And now there is some discussion between the Speaker, Elizabeth May and Denis Coderre about how long one can speak when responding to a question of privilege.
5:15pm. With Mr. Lamoureux still responding to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege, Conservative MP Bob Zimmer rises on a point of order to question Mr. Lamoureux’s point of privilege. The Speaker stands and reads the rules pertaining to questions of privilege, specifically that such interventions should be “brief and concise” and that the Speaker has the right to “terminate” the discussion. Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti rises on a point of order to object to Mr. Zimmer’s point of order. Mr. Lamoureux attempts a point of order to respond to Mr. Zimmer, but the Speaker suggests he carry on with his point of privilege, but then Mr. Coderre rises on a point of order to complain about the Speaker’s desire to move things along. The Speaker asserts his impartiality and attempts to straighten this all out, but Mr. Coderre rises on another point of order to clarify his respect for the Speaker, but also to express his desire that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to give a full response to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. Mr. Pacetti rises on a point of order to add his concern that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to speak fully. The Speaker says he was merely reminding everyone of the rules and gives Mr. Lamoureux five minutes to finish and, finally, we’re now back to Mr. Lamoruex’s point of privilege.
5:30pm. The Speaker stands and calls an end to Mr. Lamoureux’s remarks and attempts to move to the last hour of report stage debate on C-38, but now Mauril Belanger is up on a separate point of privilege.
5:32pm. The Speaker cuts off Mr. Belanger to move to deferred votes on two opposition motions and one private member’s bill. MPs have 30 minutes to report to the chamber.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 12:42 PM - 0 Comments
Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director released last week its review of the G20 summit in Toronto. Among other issues, the report notes the federal government’s late announcement of the summit’s location.
As part of its membership in the G8 and G20, Canada committed to host the 2010 G8 and G20 summits. In June 2008 the Canadian prime minister announced that the G8 summit would be held on June 25 and 26, 2010, in the small town of Huntsville, Ontario, about 200 kilometres or three hours’ drive from Toronto. Not until December 2009 did the federal government announce that the G20 would be held in Toronto on June 26 and 27. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre was officially chosen as the venue on February 19, 2010. That left the federal and provincial authorities with just four months to plan the security and policing needs for the summit. As a result of these short timelines, planning was rushed and inadequate, leading to a breakdown in executing many of the operations during the event itself.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews dismissed questions about the summit during QP last week. In doing so, he claimed to quote a New Democrat.
The NDP has made wild allegations about the actions of our national police force, such as, “Canada is becoming a police state, where the toe of an officer’s boot or punch in the gut is the rule of law.”
Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether any New Democrat has ever actually said this. I’ve asked Mr. Toews’ office to explain the reference, but have yet to hear back. (Update 3:51pm. The minister’s office confirms that Mr. Toews was quoting the Star’s paraphrase.)
A Google search shows that those words, with qualification, appear in a December 2010 report about a news conference convened by the NDP’s Don Davies. But as the reporter’s paraphrase of what Mr. Davies had to say. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 14, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Courtesy of YouTube, a selection of opposition speeches in response to the budget bill.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 11:07 PM - 0 Comments
NDP gathered in Centre Block on Wednesday..
NDP gathered in Centre Block on Wednesday..
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM - 0 Comments
As part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee there was a ceremony unveiling a maquette…
As part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee there was a ceremony unveiling a maquette of Elizabeth II riding a horse that will stay on the Hill.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 5:26 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Seated almost directly across the aisle from his opposition critic, Jason Kenney shook his head as the NDP’s Don Davies read the indictment.
“Mr. Speaker, just last month the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism told Canadians how solemn he thought our citizenship ceremonies are, and they are indeed serious occasions,” Mr. Davies recalled. “Now, however, we learn that his office is fine just faking it. It was his office that arranged to have employees pose as fake new citizens in a made-up ceremony for a misleading news conference. Can the minister explain why he forced government employees to pose as fake new citizens and mislead Canadians?”
However fake the display, Mr. Kenney was quite sure his responsibility had been overstated here.
“Mr. Speaker, that is completely untrue. The only misleading going on is coming from that member,” the Immigration Minister scolded. “Every year CIC officials do a good job organizing special citizenship and reaffirmation ceremonies across the country including sometimes in studio televised ceremonies to raise the profile of citizenship. Today, I became aware that one small reaffirmation ceremony last year had logistical problems that were poorly dealt with—”
The opposition side descended into laughter and even a little desk thumping (it being hard, one supposes, to slap one’s knee when seated at a desk). Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, December 5, 2011 at 9:40 AM - 2 Comments
The goat Bev Oda left behind…
Attendees at World Vision Canada’s reception at the
The goat Bev Oda left behind
Attendees at World Vision Canada’s reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier included Liberal MP Mark Eyking and his wife, Pam Eyking, who have sponsored an 11-year-old boy named Claude, in Rwanda, through the organization for 10 years. They’ve sent him many things over that time, including a shirt six years ago that he still wears. Another long-wearing item of clothing was the brown Ultrasuede jacket from the ’80s that Mark Eyking wore to the reception. The MP is one of seven brothers and jokes they had one suit they kept passing around. Bev Oda, minister of international co-operation, spoke passionately about World Vision’s work. She recalled a visit to Tanzania where she was given a goat as a thank-you present. She told her staffer to get going on the paperwork needed to get the goat home to Canada—letting the staffer sweat it out for 30 minutes before saying she was kidding. The goat stayed in Tanzania.
Abercrombie and Iran
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was in Ottawa, he had meetings with Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. The ministers discussed the hot topic of Iran, while Israeli security personnel asked Hill interns if there was an Abercrombie & Fitch in Ottawa. There is not.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 17, 2011 at 11:32 PM - 3 Comments
Reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier for Taiwan’s 100th National Day: Double Ten Day…
Reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier for Taiwan’s 100th National Day: Double Ten Day – put on by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ottawa.Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 17, 2011 at 8:05 AM - 4 Comments
Harper’s final chapter
For several years Stephen Harper… has been working on a book
Harper’s final chapter
For several years Stephen Harper has been working on a book about hockey. The PM can finally use one of the Conservatives’ favourite catchphrases: “Getting the job done.” Word is the book is written. A publication date has yet to be announced.
A cake for Clement
During question period, NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus has been counting the days that Treasury Board President Tony Clement has refused to answer questions about what Angus calls the G8 “slush fund.” The MP says that on the 150th day, in the first week of November, he will present the cabinet minister with a cake and, he jokes, “maybe it will have a file in it.” Senior Tory cabinet ministers have expressed embarrassment to Capital Diary that Clement has not risen to explain himself (or apologize, if necessary). Foreign Minister John Baird gets up to answer questions on his behalf, although Clement is sitting right next to him. Perhaps there’s a double standard regarding which ministers can answer questions in the House: Defence Minister Peter MacKay recently rose to answer queries about his use of aircrafts. Liberal MP Judy Sgro says that under Jean Chrétien, ministers had to answer their own questions. There was only one exception: if the opposition called for a minister to resign, Chrétien took the question.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 12:32 PM - 38 Comments
A few weeks after NDP MP Don Davies suggested Dick Cheney should be barred from entering Canada, Amnesty International says Canadian authorities should arrest George W. Bush when he visits next week. It’s not clear that we have the power to do so. Jason Kenney is unimpressed.
“Amnesty International cherrypicks cases to publicize based on ideology. This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said.
Kenney noted in an email that in the past, Amnesty had not asked for Canada to bar former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, even though the rights organization itself said he had presided over “arbitrary arrests, detention, and criminal prosecution.”
Castro’s last visit to Canada would seem to have been for Pierre Trudeau’s funeral in October 2000.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 8:45 AM - 7 Comments
“Now we have a lot of people running around using language like ‘torture.’ I heard one of your members of Parliament saying we used it on hundreds of people at Guantanamo. Not true,” said Mr. Cheney, who became a lightning rod for critics of the Bush administration, particularly over the war on Iraq, during his eight years as vice-president.
“We did not use torture. … We did what we absolutely needed to do. We had an obligation to gather intelligence to ensure that we didn’t get struck again, and I think it worked,” he said, noting that Mr. Mohammed, in particular, produced a “gold mine” of information “after he’d been through the process.”
The utility of waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a matter of some debate. So far as the hunt for Osama bin Laden, for instance, John McCain has said that torturing Mr. Mohammed actually produced false and misleading information.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 12:09 AM - 39 Comments
NDP immigration critic Don Davies has written to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asking that Mr. Kenney deny Mr. Cheney entry to the country (the former vice president is scheduled to visit Vancouver on Monday as part of his book tour).
Minister, may I remind you of your own government’s initiatives this summer in which you called on the public to assist your government in removing from Canada those individuals who had engaged in serious criminality, war crimes or crimes against humanity. May I also remind you of your own government’s actions in denying entry to British MP George Galloway. At that time you stated that: ”It’s not about words. It’s about deeds.”
… Minister, the essence of just application of the law is that it is applied evenly and consistently. I would therefore respectfully request that you deny entry to Mr. Cheney on grounds of inadmissibility under IRPA for having engaged in acts of torture. In the event that you do not do so, I would respectfully request that a report be prepared setting out the relevant facts, and that you refer same to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing with a view to issuing a removal order against Mr. Cheney, all pursuant to section 44 of IRPA.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 29, 2011 at 5:10 PM - 42 Comments
“Small businesses of all types suffered significant losses due to the HST,” said NDP BC Caucus Chair Don Davies. “It would be both spiteful and damaging for Harper to now force BC to pay back $1.6 billion, after it was already invested in things like health care and education.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 12:21 PM - 20 Comments
The best cat fight on the Hill
Why this MP needs a lot of coats
Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan keeps boxes of toothpaste at her constituency office. Because she represents Etobicoke North, one of the poorest ridings in the country, she has turned her office into a quasi drop-in centre for those in need. During the winter, she keeps a collection of donated coats because some constituents come jacket-less to her office in freezing temperatures. About 65 people a day come through. (Duncan keeps only one staffer in Ottawa so she can have more in Toronto.) One of those seeking help was particularly memorable: a woman named Linda came in with a crumpled brochure the MP had distributed, which said, “We can help.” Linda had been severely abused by her husband, was terminally ill, and had no official status in Canada. “You said you would help,” she said. Duncan asked Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to give her special status so she could receive palliative care and he did. When Duncan visited Linda in the hospital, she brought her a necklace: “I don’t think she had anything that sparkled in her life.” Linda said she had a gift in return and sang a song to her visitors. Before she died the nurses helped make a recording of her singing, and Duncan helped set up an endowment fund at a shelter in her memory.
Jason versus Justin
The next election will be a battle for the hearts of Canada’s ethnic communities. Things have heated up between Liberal immigration critic Justin Trudeau and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Trudeau attacked Kenney for mixing partisan politics and government business with such things as award certificates. (In 2009, Ottawa Chinese restaurateur Yang Sheng got one “for creating an authentic multicultural dining experience.”) Then when Trudeau evoked his father’s name in question period, Kenney went for blood: “Mr. Speaker, let me tell members what his father did with immigration when we hit a recession, led by the Liberals, in the early 1980s. He slashed immigration to 80,000. Our government has maintained historically high immigration levels during the recession. In terms of social justice, his father’s government refused to apologize to Chinese Canadians for the head tax, to the Ukrainian Canadians for their internment, to Japanese Canadians for their internment, or for the shame of the Indian residential schools, unlike our Prime Minister.” Kenney has spent a lot of time working with ethnic communities who have, he has noted, “conservative values” but who vote Liberal. The minister has mastered the art of eating all sorts of cuisine, including getting out of difficult culinary situations by keeping a napkin in his pocket to help make some delicacies that don’t agree with his stomach discreetly disappear.
Power to 16-year-olds
NDP MP Don Davies recently introduced Bill C-634, a private member’s bill that would see the federal voting age lowered from 18 to 16. Davies says that with voter turnout getting more dismal, a “get them while they are young” approach will hopefully work. Davies notes his main rationale for lowering the voting age is that 16-year-olds work and pay taxes in most provinces. In some, he says, it is even lower. Davies says he took as his inspiration the famous American Revolution phrase: “no taxation without representation.” It’s an idea that has been tried before in Parliament, but Davies hopes this time it will see success.
Layton, Chow and the election
Last week pundits were mixed about the chances of an election. On CBC’s The National, the Toronto Star‘s Chantal Hébert thought yes, while Andrew Coyne of Maclean’s said no way. The panellists agreed, though, that Jack Layton was skilled at keeping people guessing which way his party would go. Maybe Layton’s wife provided a clue. Toronto MP Olivia Chow secured her campaign office last week.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 7:20 PM - 75 Comments
The Scene. This space has been used in the past to acknowledge the futility of placing anything more than passing significance on the pronouncements of this government’s ministers and mouthpieces. Their words are like daylilies, blooming only for 24 hours before fading into memory. To quibble, to seek to extend their meaning beyond nightfall, is to argue with the sun.
Perhaps then what follows here is relatively pointless. But then sometimes the rhetoric is so colourful, its aroma so intoxicating, that it is difficult to forget; near impossible, whatever one knows to be true, to admit to oneself that these are merely passing fancy.
So it is that we turn to the blooming words, uttered less than a week ago, of this nation’s Justice Minister and Attorney General.
“Mr. Speaker,” Rob Nicholson declared, under some attack from the other side, “no group of individuals has more respect for human rights in our country than the Conservative Party … There is no group of individuals over the course of Canadian history that has had a better record for standing up for human rights than the Conservative Party of Canada and its predecessors.”
These were strong words strongly delivered. Mr. Nicholson’s reading comprehension has been the subject of some lament, but his ability to stand and fulminate is unquestioned. His is a raring appearance of great conviction.
But here we are, less than a week later, struggling to reconcile that rhetoric. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 26, 2010 at 11:52 AM - 21 Comments
A Conservative manages to discuss a piece of legislation related to the justice system without either claiming total righteousness or depicting the opposition parties as unholy.
The Conservative chairman of the Commons public safety committee says a proposed law that would bar thousands of Canadians from ever applying for a criminal records pardon may have to be amended … The minister has said we’ll have to look at this,” Sorenson said this week. “There can be amendments.”
After impugning Liberal Mark Holland earlier this week, the Public Safety Minister went after the NDP’s Don Davies yesterday (Mr. Davies, like Mr. Holland, felt it necessary to correct the record). For sheer bloody-minded obsessiveness though, Mr. Toews topped himself this week during an interview with Steve Paikin, in which, when questioned about the current difference in crime policy between the Liberal opposition and the Conservative government, referred, while mispronouncing the man’s name, to comments made by solicitor general Jean-Pierre Goyer in 1971. Mr. Toews was 19 years old when those remarks were uttered. The Liberal party’s current public safety critic, Mr. Holland, wasn’t even born at the time.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 1:40 PM - 0 Comments
Minister says Spider-Man is out, No one warned Trudeau, Iggy or Chrétien about the snow, and Garage sales on the Hill
Minister says Spider-Man is out
MPs are not back in the House until Sept. 20, but many have been busy getting their kids ready to go back to school. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt says this year her two sons, J.C. Raitt, 9, and Billy Raitt, 6, wanted backpacks with wheels because their books are getting heavier and heavier. But those kinds of backpacks are plainer. No more Spider-Man or Transformers logos if the kids insist on wheels, notes the minister. On the first day of school, Raitt’s tradition is to have a picture taken with her kids on the front steps of their house. She jokes that the photos mostly show how, over the years, “my weight has fluctuated and my hair colour has changed.”
Vancouver NDP MP Don Davies says when it comes to his youngest daughter, 15, and school supplies, “We have to have a lot of pink.” Davies has been officially relieved of his duties for back-to-school clothing purchases—his wife is in charge. But he is inevitably called to the mall because, he quips, “My daughter knows I will get more expensive things.”
Meanwhile, at 24 Sussex, back-to-school preparations are pretty lacklustre for Ben Harper and Rachel Harper. “We go to Staples and fight the crowds like everyone else,” notes Laureen Harper.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 3:40 PM - 0 Comments
May wasn’t expecting the Queen, MPs watching lots of YouTube? and Taking back the intersection
May wasn’t expecting the Queen
The usual sea of red Liberal T-shirts in Toronto’s Pride Parade was diminished by a sea of purple T-shirts on Liberals backing former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister George Smitherman, who is running for Toronto mayor. Liberal MPs marching in this year’s parade included Bob Rae, Carolyn Bennett and Rob Oliphant. All helped carry a giant Canadian flag; Rae and Bennett also carried Israeli flags in solidarity with members of the Jewish community who were upset over the parade entry Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. Armed with giant water guns, Belinda Stronach rode with Rick Mercer on top of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research truck. The boldest statement at the parade was made by gay media publisher Brandon Matheson, who dragged a man dressed in riot police gear down the street on a leash, an homage to the G20. With Green Leader Elizabeth May in her rickshaw was a recent new member of the Green party, a drag queen wearing a “Queen Mum” sash. May had been told only to “expect royalty.” While Queen Elizabeth II was in Toronto at the time, May notes “I knew [Her Majesty] was not going to show up.” May will be back in Toronto for the Green party’s biannual convention in August. Because the party’s current rules mandate a fixed four-year term for its leader, it has to decide whether it will announce a 2010 leadership race at the convention. May says the feeling is a race would be silly now considering the strong possibility of an election within a year. May says several Green party rules need to be updated now that the goal is to get Greens elected, and not just be policy wonks.
MPs watching lots of YouTube?
Vancouver MP Don Davies, the NDP’s public safety critic, has spearheaded a push to have the standing committee on public safety and national security reconvene in order to look at the events that occurred in Toronto at the G20. “For a billion dollars we were led to believe there would be no violence and a respect for civil liberties,” says Davies, who had two of his constituents detained by police and allegedly roughed up after they were trying to raise awareness around public education. Also on the committee is MP Maria Mourani, the Bloc’s public safety critic. During the G20 she received calls from parents who could not find kids who had gone to Toronto to protest. Now she is getting calls from Quebecers who were in Toronto, complaining about such things as strip searches and being targeted because they were French. “It’s not finished,” says the MP. “More and more witnesses are coming forward. A lot of people feel very humiliated.” She says she has two of her staffers working full-time on post-G20 issues. Don Davies says social media have played a key role in the aftermath of the G20. “The issues have been kept alive and broadened by YouTube,” he notes. Depending on the route chosen by the public safety committee, Davies says he foresees watching a lot of videos, not common in a committee used to just oral testimony. “I think the videos will make it easier for us to investigate.” Davies also hopes to access footage taken by security cameras set up during the event. Davies notes auditor general Sheila Fraser will be looking at the G20 in the coming months.
Taking back the intersection
Large protests over alleged civil rights violations at the G20 continue in Toronto. On Saturday, people “took back” the intersection of Queen and Spadina, where riot police famously held people for hours in the rain. On July 17, Canadians Advocating Political Participation (CAPP) have rallies planned in three cities—Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. CAPP morphed from the group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. While the Toronto and Vancouver chapters have been active since the prorogation rallies, the Ottawa group has been resurrected in response to the recent events.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 3:55 PM - 0 Comments
Justice Frank Iacobucci, as noted, has been tabbed as one of the eminent jurists who will arbitrate for the committee reviewing Afghan detainee documents. The NDP says the presence of Justice Iacobucci taints the process because he was previously under contract to the government to review documents on their behalf. The Liberals say transparency is ensured because they were assured Justice Iacobucci’s retainer has been terminated.
Justice Iacobucci was also previously tabbed by this government to conduct an inquiry into the torture of three Canadians overseas. In that case, Mr. Iacobucci’s findings were endorsed by the NDP public safety and national security critic Don Davies—”One of the most eminent jurists in our country,” he said—but are presently being contested by this government.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 4:41 PM - 216 Comments
So there is now the tale of the amputee whose prosthetic leg was confiscated by police. And then—with all the necessary caveats about amateur video posted to the Internet, what it shows and what it doesn’t show—there is this.
The public safety committee will apparently soon be recalled to consider the events of that weekend in Toronto.