Here are the three things you should not have missed:
Power Play looked at the ATIP documents revealing the meeting between the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and government officials, which included requested changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Keith Steward from Greenpeace Canada, who made the ATIP request, said that federal bureaucrats had said that those requested changes weren’t necessary because there was no duplication, merely co-ordination with the provinces on areas of mutual jurisdiction. Stewart’s conclusion was that the oil industry was writing the law that appeared in the omnibus budget bill. In response, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said that the changes stemmed from a Commons transport committee study in 2008-9, followed by three years of consultations by officials around the country.
After a CIBC report recommended additional voluntary contributions to the CPP because private pension plans are continually shrinking, Power & Politics spoke with Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies, who said that the new Pooled Registered Pension Plans will help fill the gap in savings opportunities for those in higher income levels. Menzies said that CPP is well managed, but is not set up for individual accounts, and that voluntary contributions would change its dynamic and would force the cost of administration upward. MPs Peggy Nash and Geoff Regan responded, where Nash said that the new PRPPs have no mechanism for regulating fees and are expensive and unpredictable, while Regan said that allowing voluntary contributions to CPP would create competition for PRPPs, and help to bring fees down.
Don Martin spoke to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird by phone from the Dominican Republic, where Baird said his planned visit to Venezuela was scrubbed because of Hugo Chavez’s return. He called the rest of the tour a success. Baird touted the free-trade agreements with such countries as Panama, and talked about his engagement in Cuba on both economic liberalization and pushing the officials on political freedoms. When asked about the new Office of Religious Freedoms, Baird gave the curious response that when you have religious freedom, “other freedoms take care of themselves.”
- Industry Minister Christian Paradis insisted he can strike a balance between getting the best price for military procurement and supporting Canadian industries.
- Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien remembered the late cabinet minister Eugene Whelan.