Today, we’re confronted with that age-old question: Is a constitutional amendment more likely than an asteroid plunging into our planet? This morning, we learn that Prime Minister Stephen Harper might seek the former, and that Planet Earth will barely—in astronomical terms—escape the latter. One of Harper’s Senate appointees, Alberta’s Bert Brown, says he presented a plan to the PM a few years ago that would allow the House of Commons to maintain supremacy over an elected Senate. The PM was interested, says Brown. The catch: implementing the plan would require a constitutional amendment, and that means convincing seven provinces representing 50 per cent of Canada’s population that it’s all worth the trouble. Expect the usual humming and hawing, plenty of references to the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, and predictions of the virtual impossibility of messing around with the country’s Constitution.
Oh, and about that asteroid: The Ottawa Citizen‘s Tom Spears tells us that the chunk of rock, which is apparently half the size of a football field and would explode in our atmosphere “with the energy of a nuclear bomb” if it ever got so close, actually won’t hit the planet. But it will come pretty close: 27,700 kilometres, the width of a cosmic hair. There’s a chance the asteroid will make a return trip to our vicinity in 2047, sixty years after the Meech Lake Accord was first introduced to the Canadian public. Take bets below on whether or not an elected Senate will be nervous about that asteroid’s potentially devastating visit.
What’s above the fold this morning?
The Globe and Mail leads with three stories: the pursuit of international terrorists using Canadian passports; a crack-down on bribery of foreign officials; and the removal of dairy tariffs as part of free-trade talks with the European Union. The National Post fronts Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s hope for a constitutional amendment to facilitate Senate reform. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a Syrian girl’s harrowing experience in the middle of that country’s civil war. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Conservatives admitting they were behind robocalls to Saskatchewan voters about proposed riding boundary changes. iPolitics fronts U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming efforts at peacemaking in the Middle East. CBC.ca leads with the return to Canada of airline passengers apprehended on a flight from Halifax to the Dominican Republic. National Newswatch showcases the Citizen story about Conservative robocalls in Saskatchewan.
Stories that will be (mostly) missed
|1. Tax evasion. The RCMP testified to a House of Commons committee that the Canada Revenue Agency should have more power to share taxpayers’ finances with Mounties.
||2. Child-care. For-profit daycare operations are on the rise, accounting for over 28 per cent of all child-care spaces in 2010—even as few new public spaces are opening up.|
|3. Blockade. Members of the Attawapiskat First Nation are blockading a winter road to the nearby De Beers diamond mine, a protest to be discussed at a band council meeting.
||4. Caffeine. Small energy drinks must conform to new Health Canada regulations that limit the total caffeine content to 200 mg per serving, or about the same as a large Tim Hortons coffee.|