Here are the three things you should not have missed:
After Foreign Affairs minister John Baird made a surprise visit to Baghdad to announce expanding our diplomatic presence in the country, Power & Politics spoke with an MP panel of Chris Alexander, Paul Dewar and John McKay. Alexander said that the region is an important trading partner, and the government is focused on potential investment opportunities, as well as the need to be engaged because the country borders Iran, Syrian and Turkey. Dewar felt that the promotion of our diplomatic personnel from a part-time desk in the UK embassy to a full-time desk wasn’t newsworthy, while McKay said that it was better late than never, though he wasn’t sure what the presence would accomplish because the region is still too unstable to get to the point of meaningful trade and business opportunities. On Power Play, Don Martin spoke with Bessma Momani from the Centre for International Governance Innovation, who noted that while eyes and ears on the ground were a good thing, Baird’s real mission was about markets, and that the Middle East is a growing market.
With news that the Information Commissioner has agreed to look into complaints that federal scientists are being muzzled, Power & Politics hosted an MP panel of Michelle Rempel, Kennedy Stewart and Kirsty Duncan to discuss it. Rempel was optimistic that the results of the investigation would show that scientists have access to media, to speak on the research that the government funds, and noted that media protocols don’t mean a lack of access. Stewart was concerned that the muzzling of Canadian scientists was having an effect on the continental approach to scientific exploration. Duncan said that the investigation validates what her party has been saying about the war on scientists, and noted that if you don’t base policy on evidence, then you do on ideology.
With the end of the HST in BC official today, Power Play spoke to former BC premier Bill Vander Zalm, who said that the move should have been done faster, and blamed the both the federal and provincial governments’ desire to continue to rake in revenue for the delay. Vander Zalm also said that he felt the compensation that Ottawa paid to the province shouldn’t have to be repaid, and that the delay in scrapping the HST was part of why BC Liberals are unpopular. But while his Power Play interview as fairly succinct, Hannah Thibedeau kept Vander Zalm talking longer, which turned into a full-on eruption of populism, a rejection of economics, and self-promotion of the book he wrote on the issue.
- Alberta premier Alison Redford and immigration minister Jason Kenney both shared their memories of Ralph Klein.