Here are the three things you should not have missed:
Power & Politics began with a briefing from Terry Milewski about John Duncan’s resignation from cabinet over a letter he wrote to the Tax Court, before Hannah Thibedeau spoke to interim Liberal leader Bob Rae by phone to get his reaction. Rae said that it is unusual for MPs to write letters to courts, and that Harper will likely need to name a full-time minister to replace Duncan shortly. Rae added that he would have preferred that Flaherty apologise and offer his own resignation – not that it would need to be accepted – over his letter to the CRTC. Paul Dewar also gave his reaction, saying that he was glad that Duncan took responsibility for his actions, but that he had problems with the file.
During the Power Panel, Rob Russo noted that this resignation comes after an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner. Thibedeau was able to reach Ryerson professor Pam Palmeter by phone, who said that First Nations issues stagnated under Duncan.
Power Play spoke with Environment Minister Peter Kent about the report released today showing reductions in 2011 on key pollutants, restoring the Great Lakes, and greening government operations. Kent noted that the reductions could not be attributed solely to the recession because there was economic growth in 2011, and said that even greater reductions will be achieved with the regulations they are currently putting into place. Reacting to Kent was Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence, who said that the report doesn’t paint a full picture, as Alberta has seen a massive increase in GHGs and other emissions, while Ontario deserves credit for reducing their emissions by closing coal-fired plants.
Don Martin spoke with former Auditor General Sheila Fraser by phone, who said that the Senate and the House of Commons need an agreement for the Auditor General to audit their books every ten years, as the AG does with Crown Corporations. Fraser said that there were misconception about the audit they were asking to do, which was more about systems of procedures and administration – such as HR and IT – than Members’ expenses. Martin also spoke with former Senator Jack Austin about the removal of Senators, where Austen noted that there are enumerated categories to disqualify sitting Senators under the constitution. The problem is that “felony” and “infamous crimes” are not in current Criminal Code, and it’s almost impossible to get a clear consensus on the meaning of those constitutional terms.
- On Flag Day, Don Martin went up to see how the flag atop the Peace Tower gets changed daily with Robert Labonte from Building Services.
- Shameless self-promotion alert: I was on CTV New Channel earlier in the afternoon talking about the Senate.