Here are the three things you should not have missed:
With the Statistics Canada numbers showing that the economy shed some 54,500 jobs in March, and unemployment going up 1.2 per cent, Power & Politics spoke with an MP panel of Mark Adler, Peggy Nash, and Scott Brison to get some insight. Adler, however, was looking only to obfuscate and deliver his prepared lines about how great the overall trend was thanks to the government’s efforts, to the point that he appeared to be mansplaining it to Hannah Thibedeau, to her frustration. “These are very ugly economic numbers,” Nash said, and said that the government can’t take credit when things go well if they also don’t take the blame when they go badly. Brison noted the continued plight of youth unemployment, and said that the budget freezes training dollars at 2007 levels when they should be investing in a robust training strategy, lest they lose the potential of an entire generation of Canadians.
With the budget showing some $46 million in cuts to food safety on the way, Power Play spoke with PSAC Agriculture Union President Bob Kingston about the impact. Kingston said that if the department is stretched to the limit, then problems would become apparent – especially when emergencies arise. In response, the Parliamentary Secretary, Pierre Lemieux, insisted that the cuts will be in efficiencies, and to both executive and admin staff, and that part of the $46 million is because some programs are sunsetting in that time frame. With regards to the department’s own report talking about the risk of insufficient inspection staff, Lemieux pointed to the same report’s mitigation strategy, which includes regulatory upgrades and inspection regime modernization.
Hannah Thibedeau spoke with Manitoba Grand Elder Raymond Robinson, who is on a hunger strike, about his meeting today with aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt. Robinson spoke about the sense of optimism going into the meeting, and that they discussed the contribution funding agreements that Robinson said that some First Nations communities are signing under duress. Robinson said that Valcourt offered to travel to his community if he ended the hunger strike, but when Robinson countered by asking for a commitment by Harper to meet with chiefs on a nation-to-nation basis, he said that Valcourt said it was never going to happen and laughed, which offended Robinson. Robinson continues to hope that Harper will meet with Atleo and make a commitment to respecting and honouring Aboriginal rights.
- Don Martin heard from Alison Redford, Mike Harris and Roy Romanow about their remembrances of Ralph Klein, while Hannah Thibedeau heard from Danielle Smith.
- Michael Ashby of the National Pardons Centre talked about how the changes to the pardons system were having an adverse affect on those seeking them, who want to get jobs and contribute to society but can’t.