By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 5, 2010 - 0 Comments
Despite theorizing to the contrary, Jim Prentice does not presently sound like someone much interested in making a triumphant return to politics.
“I am closing the door on political life,” he said, stressing his support for Mr. Harper and the party. “I have completed that tour of duty.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 9:48 PM - 0 Comments
A few minutes after three he appeared from behind the gold curtains and strode down to his seat in the front row of the government side, a blue folder in one hand. Unfortunately, Peter MacKay was already in that seat, the Defence Minister having taken advantage of Jim Prentice’s absence from Question Period to sidle over for a chat with the Prime Minister.
Mr. MacKay moved over one spot to the right and Mr. Prentice claimed the seat that would be his for at least a few more minutes. He exchanged a few pleasant words with the Prime Minister. Mr. MacKay extended his right hand and Mr. Prentice shook it. As the final moments of QP played out, Mr. Prentice opened his blue folder and reviewed the text, typed out neatly on a few pages of white paper, that was contained therein.
The Speaker drew the attention of members to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Phillip Bradbourn, chairman of the Delegation for Relations with Canada of the European Parliament. Members applauded. This being a Thursday, the Speaker called on the opposition House leader to stand and ask the government House leader to inform the House as to how the government intends to proceed with its legislative agenda when business resumes after next week’s break.
Then finally, after John Baird had finished wishing everyone a productive constituency week, Mr. Prentice, took a sip of water, nodded at the Speaker and rose on a point of order. Continue…
By John Geddes - Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 4:31 PM - 0 Comments
An obvious question arises from Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s surprise announcement this afternoon that he’s leaving to join CIBC as vice-chairman: During the period when Prentice was in talks with bank about the job, did he recuse himself from federal cabinet talks on financial institutions issues?
I put the question to Prentice through a media spokesman, who provided this answer: ”Jim Prentice has not participated in or had any discussions in cabinet or elsewhere in government pertaining to CIBC in particular or financial institutions in general since initially being contacted by the bank.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 3:43 PM - 0 Comments
Earlier this hour, Jim Prentice rose on a point of order and announced his departure from federal politics. His resignation as Environment Minister is immediate and he will resign from the House by year’s end. He will then join CIBC.
His interim replacement as Environment Minister will be John Baird, the current government House leader and a former minister of the environment.
Official statement from Mr. Prentice after the jump. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 11:01 AM - 0 Comments
On the matter of Fish Lake—an issue that came to involve questions concerning the environment, the economy, provincial jurisdiction, federal oversight and aboriginal land rights, not to mention warnings of potential violence and racial strife—Environment Minister Jim Prentice decided to side with the grizzly bears.
“Fish Lake would be drained, and there would be the loss of all the associated wetlands and a number of streams,” Environment Minister Jim Prentice said. “Really, it was the loss of the whole ecosystem, which was pretty pronounced in terms of its environmental effects.”
“The loss of the job opportunities is difficult, but at the end of the day we have a responsibility to strike an environmental process and to follow the recommendations,” he said on CTV’s Power Play.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 1, 2010 at 12:03 PM - 0 Comments
Sure, we were not successful in winning a seat on the security council, but hey, look over there: pandas!
The federal Conservatives have been dabbling in panda politics for several months now, hoping that improved relations over the past year or so would convince Chinese officials to lend two pandas to Canada. In May, Treasury Board president Stockwell Day presented a panda proposal to high-ranking Chinese politicians. In July, then-governor general Michaelle Jean also made a pitch to bring the bamboo-eating animals to Canada during a tour of the Chengdu Panda Base with Prentice and other officials, pressing the governor of Sichuan province, home to the vast majority of China’s pandas.
“It is an indication of just how far we’ve come in terms of the relationship. The Chinese are very careful about the pandas and where they allow long-term transfers,” Prentice added.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Canadian families are in debt,” Michael Ignatieff informed the House. “They are trying to save and they expect the government to do the same.” And in that regard, he explained, Canadian families are confused—befuddled by the billions their elected government has committed to fighter jets, international summitry and corporate tax cuts. How, Mr. Ignatieff wondered, could said government explain said expenses?
With the Prime Minister away, it was John Baird’s turn then to stand with the smile that now seems to be permanently affixed to his face and say the word “jobs” not once, not twice, but thrice. And with that quota filled, Mr. Baird turned then to the question of the warplanes.
“We do believe we also have an important responsibility to our men and women in uniform,” he asserted. “These planes that are being purchased will replace planes that will be more than 30 years old. These planes will last to 2040. That is why we are taking a different approach. We actually strongly support our men and women in uniform and want to equip them with the very best.”
So there. Support the troops, salute the flag, keep calm and carry on with nothing to fear but the surety that the opposition parties are, as we speak, conspiring to overthrow the government and burn this country to the ground. Continue…
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
157 years later, Canadian archaeologists uncover the ship sent to find the fabled explorer
Parks Canada researchers came upon one of the most fabled shipwrecks in marine archaeology this week in Canada’s Arctic. The HMS Investigator sank in the frigid waters of Mercy Bay 157 years ago after it was abandoned by its crew when it became locked in ice during a search for a legendary expedition headed up by Sir John Franklin.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice was among the first people to get a close-up view of the wreck of the HMS Investigator just a few days after it was found by the Parks Canada team.
“We were able to position our Zodiac immediately above the Investigator to peer down in the icy Arctic water, which is crystal-clear,” Prentice said in an interview from Mercy Bay. “It sits perfectly upright in 11 metres of water. When you look down on it, you’re able to see in exquisite detail all the decking and the ship’s timbers and so on. It’s an incredible thing to see.”
By Paul Wells - Friday, July 23, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
WELLS: It’s time to fire half the cabinet
Finally, the serious business of tearing down the Canadian federal state has begun.
The opening shots in these great battles are always so nondescript. Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow. And in much the same way, the business of cramming the mighty oak of overgrown government back into an acorn starts with a little hedge trimming. And so it is the long-form census questionnaire that forms the first beachhead of the Harper government’s assault on big government.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 6:17 PM - 49 Comments
The Scene. Michael Ignatieff began with an attempt to weave together various disparate strands to form a basket. A basket within which he could carry his message from one middle-class suburban door to the next.
Or something like that.
The Bank of Canada, he reported, had today hiked—the only word one can use when describing this action—interest rates. Canadian families are already more indebted than households anywhere else in the G20. The government is spending a billion to secure three days of meetings of G20 world leaders later this month. How, he wondered, could the government explain putting so much into the latter in light of the former?
Here, though, the Prime Minister stood with his own basket to weave. The interest rate hike, he said, was due to Canada’s sound economy. The G20 meetings, meanwhile, would bring as many delegates as the Olympics had athletes with even greater security risks. Ipso facto, the money simply has to be spent. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 9:21 AM - 46 Comments
Jim Prentice says there’s no need to have the auditor general review MP expenses. Jack Layton’s spokesman says it doesn’t make sense to have the auditor general review expenses. Pat Martin says it is time to open the books. Rob Anders says it’s inevitable. Shawn Murphy says it’s time for MPs to talk it over with the AG and decide the parameters of an audit.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 5:17 PM - 32 Comments
The Scene. It was a full 25 questions today before anyone referred to Helena Guergis, before any of Pat Martin or John Baird or, sometime later, Marlene Jennings got involved. And then, yes, there was a reference, from the aforementioned Mr. Martin, to crucifixion. But that there had been a full 25 questions before we came to this point, surely counts for something.
This was indeed, in various small ways, a remarkable day. Daniel Paille and Jim Flaherty entertainingly sparred over securities regulation. Mr. Flaherty and John McCallum very nearly yelled each other hoarse over taxation policy. There were two questions about the potential for train traffic through downtown Toronto.
That it all began with David McGuinty, the booming Liberal backbencher, might not have particularly bode well. But then he seemed to have a question of some relevance. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:16 AM - 7 Comments
Canadian Press tells the tale of the BioDryer. Liberal MP Judy Sgro empathizes with Ms. Guergis. The Hill Times explores the complicated world of lobbying. Lobbyists are unimpressed with Mr. Jaffer. The Prime Minister’s Office has asked that all Conservative MPs come forward about any interactions with Mr. Jaffer. The Environment Minister reveals that the meeting between a member of his staff and Mr. Jaffer took place in Ms. Guergis’ Parliament Hill office. The Chronicle-Herald delves into Ms. Guergis and Mr. Jaffer’s trip to Belize, including insight into how Ms. Guergis’ skin was handling the sun. And sportswriters are now officially employing Mr. Jaffer’s name as a witty pop-cuture reference.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 4:58 PM - 10 Comments
The Star and Globe explain how Mr. Jaffer met Mr. Gillani. The Citizen looks into Mr. Gillani’s business career. Environment Minister Jim Prentice rose in the House yesterday afternoon and revealed that a member of his staff met with Mr. Jaffer. Meanwhile, the Enterprise-Bulletin, Canadian Press, and Canwest stake out the riding association meeting in Ms. Guergis’ riding and find support for the currently party-less MP.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 2:12 PM - 22 Comments
Asked, via e-mail, whether Environment Minister Jim Prentice believes in “anthropogenic (or man-made) global warming,” Mr. Prentice’s press secretary sends along the following response.
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 3:00 PM - 24 Comments
One pundit suggests Jim Prentice suffered from ‘Quebecophobia’
One guess what lesson Pauline Marois drew from Jim Prentice’s recent criticism of Quebec’s environmental policies. Why, yes: it just clinches the case for sovereignty. “Quebec is a leader [on the environment]…and Canada is dragging us down,” the Parti Québécois leader declaimed. “If we were independent tomorrow, we could speak with our own voice…We could have signed the Kyoto agreement ourselves.” Etc., etc. “Federalism does not suit the Quebec reality…The real solution for Quebec is sovereignty…” zzzzzzzzz.
But if Marois’s response was predictable—in a sovereign Quebec, the very air would be purer—so was that of the rest of the province’s political class. In La Presse, Alain Dubuc found it “surreal” that a federal environment minister would “harshly attack” the province for “doing too much” for the environment. My sometime colleague Chantal Hébert agreed in her Toronto Star column that the minister’s “attack” was “unprecedented,” even suggesting on our CBC panel that it verged on “Quebec-bashing.” Le Soleil’s Raymond Giroux diagnosed the minister as suffering from “Quebecophobia.”
All this, over one paragraph in a half-hour speech! Prentice’s harsh and unprecedented attack on Quebec was to suggest it is “folly” for provinces to pursue their own individual strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions rather than the continental approach the feds prefer, citing as an example “the new and unique vehicle regulations in the province of Quebec.” That’s it. That’s the Quebec-bashing that set off this firestorm: a brief critique of a particular policy of the government of Quebec, delivered half a continent away in a speech at the University of Calgary.
By Paul Wells - Friday, February 5, 2010 at 12:07 PM - 112 Comments
Jim Prentice preaches responsibility regarding the oil sands
It wasn’t quite Daniel in the lions’ den, but it had a whiff of Nixon to China about it. Here was a senior Conservative cabinet minister putting the boots, at least rhetorically, to Alberta’s oil sands.
“It is no secret, and should be no surprise, that the general perception of the oil sands is profoundly negative,” Jim Prentice said the other day. “That is true both within Canada and internationally.” The environment minister was speaking to members of the University of Alberta Calgary schools of public policy and business. Right there in Calgary. The belly of the beast. Well, it was the Palliser Hotel, so it was the fanciest part of the belly of the beast, but still.
In his next sentence, Prentice seemed uncertain where to put either blame for the oil sands’ image or hope for its improvement. “We need to continue the positive work of industry, with investments in environmental technologies that will show the world how environmental responsibility and excellence can be taken to new levels,” he said.
By Paul Wells - Monday, December 14, 2009 at 1:49 PM - 105 Comments
It’s going well.
By John Geddes - Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 12:32 PM - 112 Comments
Yesterday I posted remarks from Environment Minister Jim Prentice at a news conference, in which I thought he framed the Canadian government’s position on climate change with admirable clarity. Prentice made three key points:
1) Canada’s population and economy have grown too much since 1990, the benchmark year for the Kyoto climate change treaty, to expect steep emissions reductions in this country from that starting point;
2) Compared to the European countries that are leading the push for tough emissions-reduction targets this week in Copenhagen, Canada is bigger, colder, and faster-growing—and therefore EU aims don’t make sense here;
3) Canada’s government is not willing to sign on to any target that could only be achieved with “inordinate economic costs.”
Having let Prentice’s explanation, which sounded reasonable enough, stand for a day or so, here are some observations about his argument.
By John Geddes - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM - 62 Comments
Here in Ottawa this afternoon, in the Museum of Nature’s mammals gallery, Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced a $5-million study into the feasibility of creating a marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound, the eastern gateway to the Northwest Passage.
I called some Arctic wildlife researchers to ask what the sound is like. They described icy waters and rocky islands astoundingly rich in sea life—bowhead whales and walrus, nesting black-legged kittiwakes and (my new favourite) thick-billed murres that dive so deep, up to 200 metres, in search of fish that sea-bird experts haven’t figured out how they do it.
Given that this is the opening week of the Copenhagen climate change conference, and that global warming is the overarching environmental concern in the Arctic, I took the opportunity to ask Prentice about the linkage. Doesn’t Canada’s stewardship of Far North territory like Lancaster Sound stand embarrassingly at odds with our laggardly position in negotiations toward an international climate change treaty?
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 8:51 PM - 23 Comments
The Scene. Michael Ignatieff stood with a slight smile. His side cheered, government members jeered.
“Welcome back!” chirped one.
Then to the question, which was, lo and behold, something to do with the environment and the need for urgent action against potential ruin.
“Mr. Speaker, for four years, the government promised a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr. Ignatieff reported. “Today, the Environment Minister has once again postponed the announcement of any action until the end of 2010. We’re three weeks from Copenhagen. How can we protect the environment if the government takes no position?”
This was some riddle.
Up to answer was John Baird, an environment minister in a previous life.
“Mr. Speaker, this government is working constructively with our partners around the world to ensure that we tackle global warming and the challenge of climate change,” Mr. Baird declared. “What we will not do is make promises that we cannot keep.”
It is a testament to Mr. Baird’s abilities as a public performer that he did not here descend into giggles. Continue…