Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- The CIDA grants to a homophobic religious group
- The problems with helicopter procurement
- The Senate cracking down on rule-breakers
With the revelation that CIDA has been funding a homophobic religious group doing work in Uganda, where gays and lesbians are in jeopardy, Power & Politics had an MP panel of MPs Lois Brown, Hélène Laverdière, and Sean Casey to discuss the issue. Brown said that the funding is currently suspended while they review it, but stressed that the group has been getting results digging and refurbishing wells and providing latrines, but they want to ensure that the tax money is going to those projects only. Laverdière said that proselytising groups are getting more funding than other groups like Kairos, and that they can’t look at merit without looking at the organization itself. Casey said that it was a good first step, but the funding needs to be cut, as the government shouldn’t be seen to be funding a group that holds these values.
Power Play spoke with UBC’s Michael Byers, who co-authored the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report “The worst procurement in the history of Canada” on the replacements for the Sea Kings. Byers said the title is a quote from Peter MacKay, and that Sikorsky helicopters have become a “complete mess,” where both Liberal and Conservative governments as well as Sikorsky are all to blame. Byers said that the government needs a Plan B in order to strengthen its negotiating position with Sikorsky. Power & Politics had an MP panel on the topic, where Chris Alexander noted they would continue to apply penalties to Sikorsky, and John McKay noted that they would need to stay in the contract in order to apply those penalties.
Don Martin spoke with Liberal Senate leader James Cowan, who just released a joint letter with government Senate leader Marjorie Lebreton that promised that the results of the audit would be made public and that any senators found to be improperly claiming housing allowances would be required to pay the money back with interest. Cowan said that there is zero tolerance for those abusing the rules, and that the Senate is an easy target for those who like to paint the whole institution with a few bad apples. Carleton journalism professor Chris Waddell recalled that several MPs were caught up in similar circumstances a couple of years ago, and that blew over as well.
- Jean Lapierre noted that the strategy in Ottawa of ignoring Pauline Marois is paying off, because it takes two to create a crisis.