Cotler wants to see more of this Tory trend
Some Conservatives are upset over one aspect of David Johnston’s appointment as the new Governor General: Stephen Harper gets no credit for his non-partisan appointments. One cabinet minister says some in the party have pushed Harper to make partisan appointments, especially with key ambassador posts, but almost without exception, the PM refuses. His first Supreme Court judge appointee, Marshall Rothstein, was picked from a list drawn up by the previous Liberal government. When asked about the new GG, former justice minister and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler says, “I can’t think of a better choice. I would like to see more [such] appointments. If that could be the emerging trend, I would be very happy.”
The business side of prostitution
Soon after Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel struck down key prostitution laws as unconstitutional, the Conservative government appealed the ruling while the Green party “welcomed” the decision. But all the national parties are divided on this issue. All have members, including cabinet ministers, who are fine with decriminalization, and members who aren’t. The Liberals have get-tough-on-johns Judy Sgro doing the talk shows, but Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay says, “I would much rather see [prostitution] regulated for the safety of the individuals involved. I don’t support the criminalization of the activities around it: I think it is an attempt to band-aid the issue. Treat it like a business so you can regulate employee rights, health and safety, zoning. Municipalities can pass laws, just like when people don’t want a bar in their area. I would take the moral judgment piece out. Police could crack down on those who abuse these women if we treated it like a business.”
MP threatens to bring out the shovel
Liberal Cape Breton MP and farmer Mark Eyking is happy to report the pumpkins in his home garden are ready. He gives them to his kids and to schools, but never grows huge ones to enter into competitions. “You can’t sell the big ones. We go volume.” Eyking is furious to report that the dredging of Sydney Harbour is still on hold. For two years, he says, he has been asking the government to make dredging part of its stimulus package, so that the harbour, which is in his riding, can be deepened and used as a container port. Currently, he says, coal ships can only use it when they are half-full—and “we produce a lot of coal in Cape Breton.” The issue is personal for Eyking. He used to fish for scallops in the harbour, and his father’s first job after immigrating from Holland was as a deckhand on a dredge boat. Eyking says he will pitch in with his own shovel and tractor if the government does not come through. The project will cost $38 million, and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter has also called for federal help.
MP becomes milkman hero
Newfoundland MPs have been hard at work dealing with the damage caused by hurricane Igor. Liberal Siobhan Coady saw two giant trees land centimetres from her house. Liberal Scott Simms, whose riding was one of the worst hit, got calls from people in isolated areas who were running out of milk. He contacted an acquaintance with a helicopter and delivered the milk himself.
Paul Martin ate that?
A remembrance night was held last week for Liberal communications director Mario Lague, who died in a motorcycle accident in August. Stories were shared, most memorably about the time he served Paul Martin goat testicles and told him they were meatballs. The most touching moment came when the House’s Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers presented Lague’s family with the flag that flew over Parliament the day he died. CTV’s Craig Oliver had called Vickers and asked him to save that flag.