Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daily Digest May 19, 2010



Why corner stores are fighting illegal tobacco

The three-foot rule

Close scofflaw loophole

Two leaders, two messages

A decade after Walkerton: What still needs to be done?

Hébert: No public appetite for abortion ban

With new brain gain, brash Canada is back

With newly protected boreal forest, the caribou are smiling

The budget bill could do without some of its baggage

Say no to a bank tax

 Pablo Rodriguez's oddly soft ride

 Is the Pope Catholic?

 Confessions of a second-class citizen

Speeding doesn't pay — literally:


Oilsands could supply one-third of U.S. oil within 20 years: report

Canada seeks U.S. 'support'

Chinese official sides with Canada on bank tax

Suspicious Liberal links: Blizzard
The Working Families Coalition claims it's not political, but that doesn't square with reality

Beware of mediocre watchdogs

Quebec legislature slams Harper on abortion

Liberals sought BC Rail failure: defence

B.C. Rail devalued in order to sell, court hears

Quebec court 'biased,' says N.L.'s Williams

McGuinty pushes pharmacare again

Province relents in dispute with independent watchdog for children

AG doesn't need to review MP expenses: Prentice

Public doesn't want every receipt: Ignatieff

Committee should meet watchdog over MPs' expenses:

Ned Franks: What the Auditor-General can do

Notebook: Michael Ignatieff wants auditor to meet with MPs in expense dispute

Harper wasting time with bank tax fight, Martin says

Canada to get tough on Arctic drilling

Summit security on alert after firebombing

Terrorism the 'very apex' of crimes: Crown

Queen to visit five cities, will spend Canada Day in Ottawa

Pro life? Get over it

Casting the first stone: Goldstein Marci McDonald's attack on conservative Christians says a lot about her

U.S. political climate heating up

Why Quebec is banning the burka

Forest shakedown

Men doing housework reduces divorce risk: study

MPs feel the heat over thwarting Auditor General review of their expenses

Ethics watchdog will decide by June 8 whether to investigate Guergis

Liberals are failing to fan the winds of change

MPs feel heat after scandal in N.S.

Ignatieff's state of the Liberal Party

CBC clears pollster, criticizes 'paranoia-tinged' Tories

Visite de la reine au Canada · Elizabeth II boudera à nouveau le Québec

Sondage controversé · L'ombudsman absout CBC

G8 et G20 en Ontario · Le tourisme en dépit des manifs

Selon Ignatieff · Le compte de dépenses des députés n'intéresse pas les Canadiens

Assemblée nationale · Réaffirmer le droit à l'avortement

Ottawa · Des anarchistes attaquent une banque

Activités pétrolières dans le Beaufort Les Autochtones veulent des garanties

Maxime Bernier veut redevenir ministre

Protection de la forêt boréale - L'entente historique sème la discorde chez les écologistes

Le cancer est la première cause de décès au pays

Les pro-vie muselés aux Communes

 Question des jeunes à Harper: «il n'y a eu aucune censure»

 Le Canada appuie les nouvelles sanctions contre l'Iran


Senators join campaign to break up Conservative budget bill 293

While Canadians have been, through the media, enthralled by the contiuingly unfolding aspects of the Guergis affair and the high "will they or won't they" tension associated with access to unredacted Afghan detainee documents, an unheralded conflict of consequence has been developing..

Last night it actually broke into the news: "As House prepares to pass legislation, more critics – including a Tory senator – call for debate on bill's wide-ranging measures."

The bill in question is Bill C-9, the Budget Implementation Act (BIA), defeat of which would be considered want of confidence in the Government resulting in an election.

My view is  the BIA should deal with the Budget.  That it ought not be turned into a means of forcing through non-budgetary legislation without debate, publicly or in the Commons.  Forced through in that  fear of an election is leading to mute acceptance of the non-budgetary Parts of the bill by the Liberals.

Will the gambit succeed a second time as it did last year or will the Liberals act as the Opposition ought to and hold the Government to account when it's playing games?

To-day and earlier tonight my time was spent crafting a post to send out to media editors and columnists.  It is for this reason there are only limited EDITORIALS in this Digest.

Will this develop as an issue? Que sais je?

In any case you will be somewhat more aware of what is taking place among our politicians.

         Joe .
To: National Media <>
From: Joe Hueglin <>
Subject: Bill C-9 (Budget Implementation Act) - Implementing much more  than the Budget

Unable to obtain the power that flows from a majority of seats in the House of Commons the gambit successfully used in Bill C-10, last years Budget Implementation Act, as a mechanism for bringing about desired changes without debate is being used again.

Last year legislation removing restrictions on foreign ownership of uranium mines, enabling the sale of Canadian companies valued at less than a billion dollars to be taken over by foreigners without need for government approval and discretionary power being given to the Minister of the day to approve impediments to navigation of waterways were included in Bill C-10.  Though introducing significant change they were passed without debate, the Liberals fearing an election.

This year's Bill C-9, the proposed Budget Implementation Act (BIA), ". . . contains sweeping measures that would affect Canada's nuclear policies, pension rules, environmental assessments and mail service." The result is a Bill of  which "Critics say it amounts to an abuse of traditional budget practices because it is crammed with legal changes that have faced little, if any, debate."

Justification for including non-budgetary items is the same as used for all unsettling actions, "the last Liberal government budget bill in 2005 was similar in its scope", and because the Libs did it the Cons can too.  The danger, however, is this practice becomes the norm.

Without public debate or debate in the House of Commons structural changes in the nature of ownership are being implemented.  Changes in the level of investment before the Canada Investment Act demands net benefit to Canada, over riding a CRTC decision to enable a firm dominated by a foreign company, are examples of the direction of the Harper Government.

Though it has been reported all three opposition parties are against the government's proposal to sell the CANDU reactor division of AECL,.and collectively have the ability to stop it and other non-budgetary actions that properly ought to be debated, to this point no concerted action has been taken.

With the powers that will be given to the government in Bill C-9, should it not be split, it will have carte blanche to do as it will with AECL technology, including sale to competitors:
"Part 18 , ATOMIC ENERGY OF CANADA LIMITED, Reorganization and Divestiture." Under subsection "2139. (1) The Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council and on any terms that the Governor in Council considers appropriate,  . . . " and under "2139. (2) The Minister may do anything or cause anything to be done that is necessary for, or incidental to, a measure approved under subsection (1).".
Last month a motion to give the House finance committee the power to split the bill into budgetary and non-budgetary sections failed through a 133-128 vote.

When the Finance Committee reports the same motion can be made and through a whipped vote the opposition parties can have Bill C-9 deal only with budgetary items, the others to be introduced, as they properly should be, for debate and passage or rejection on their merits.

Should Liberals absent themselves from voting for fear of  an election they will have abandoned their duty as Official Opposition, holding the Government to account for the good of  Canada.  Consequently must be judged complicit in the Conservatives legislating changes without debate.

Would a vote to split Bill C-9 into budgetary and non budgetary items be considered a want of confidence vote and lead to an election?  Though not impossible, it is improbable Harper & Co. would choose to bring about and fight an election on this issue. 

There are, after all, limits to actions they can justify by saying they are just following Liberal precedents. 

And that is the only rationale they would have.

Joe Hueglin

Statements made and quotes drawn from the following articles:

     Canada: Massive Amendments To Competition Act And Investment Canada Act Tabled Today

     Canada: Government Tables Major Amendments To The Competition Act And Investment Canada Act – Some Good,
     But Mostly Bad

     Federal Gov't Poised to Erase Navigation Rights

     Giving us the oar

     Senators join campaign to break up Conservative budget bill

     Tories want sole authority over any sale of AECL