Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Joe Oliver on Thomas Mulcair’s trip
- MPs on RCMP changes
- “Elected” senators Bert Brown and Scott Tannas
Power & Politics spoke with Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver about Thomas Mulcair’s trip to Washington during which he adopted an ostensibly neutral position on Keystone XL except to claim it will cost 40,000 Canadian jobs. Oliver called it a “bizarre kind of a trip.” The minister reiterated that the pipeline will create jobs in Canada — that there will be greater economic benefit by getting Canada’s oil to tidewater. “First of all,” Oliver said, “it’s not going to cost jobs, it’s going to create jobs in the tens of thousands. So he’s simply wrong. The fact that there will be some jobs in the United States does not mean there are not going to be jobs in Canada.” Oliver said that because Canada doesn’t have a command-and-control economy, energy projects must be economically viable, and Canada needs market diversity. He said Mulcair is on very shaky ground. “I find it a bit odd that he does not have the courage of his convictions.”
In response, Peter Julian said the NDP’s real concern is the export of jobs, but they won’t tell the Americans what decision to make. Megan Leslie told Power Play that Canada has unmet refining capacity and the US is outspending us 18-to-1 on renewable energy.
With concerns that the changes to RCMP legislation could put some officers in a difficult position, Evan Solomon heard from Rob Creasser from the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, who said that the bill is likely not Charter compliant, and that MPs didn’t hear from front-line police at committee. Solomon then heard from an MP panel of Robert Goguen, Jack Harris and Wayne Easter to discuss the comments and the bill, where Goguen said that the bill deals with administrative and not criminal law, and that the complaints in the Force need to be addressed. Harris said that while the bill does give more power to the Commissioner, it doesn’t actually deal with harassment within the Force. Easter noted that Creasser’s group has long wanted a union to represent the rank-and-file, which is an ongoing debate, but that the bill responds to a request made by Commissioner Paulson, though any opposition amendments were shut down out of hand.
Power Play spoke with “elected” Alberta Senator Bert Brown, who reaches the age of mandatory retirement next week. Brown says that the pace of Senate reform is slowed down by the need to get seven out of ten provinces to sign on for a constitutional amendment, and provinces that are planning on legislation haven’t put it forward or enacted it. Brown says that he wants Senate elections and renewable term limits. Don Martin then spoke with Brown’s putative replacement, Scott Tannas – the next in line after Alberta’s most recent Senate “election.” Tannas said that he feels the momentum of Senate reform will increase in the next five to ten years, and that he wants the Senate to be seen to be more effective in tackling long-term problems that the Commons seems to avoid because of electoral cycles.
- Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien spoke about the decision to stay out of the Iraq war, ten years ago today.