Politics on TV: UN conventions and robocall legislation - Macleans.ca

Politics on TV: UN conventions and robocall legislation

The three things you need to see


Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. Pulling out of the UN convention on desertification
  2. The report on robocall rules
  3. The Liberal leadership numbers


Power Play spoke with former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, who was also a former UN Special Envoy for Ethiopia-Eritrea, about the decision to pull out of the UN convention on drought. Axworthy called it a “quirky move” that didn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering that it is a treaty about getting countries and NGOs engaged on the issue and not a humanitarian aid project. Axworthy said that the “talk” that the Conservatives are criticizing is part of international diplomacy, and that the move to make Canada more of a hermit country is not plausible or reasonable. On Power & Politics, an MP panel of Chris Alexander, Paul Dewar and John McCallum looked at the issue, where Alexander rather petulantly said the move was about cost savings and achieving better results with other programs. Dewar noted that recently the Prime Minister said good things about the very same convention, and McCallum felt that the Conservatives were using this as a test case to gauge the reaction before they started pulling out of other things.


Power & Politics spoke with an MP panel of Pierre Poilievre, Craig Scott and John McCallum to discuss the reaction to the Chief Electoral Officer’s call for legislative changes to combat improper robocalls. Poilievre was not yet sure what would be included in the government’s bill, but said he would be shocked if it didn’t pass before the next election. Scott said that codes of conduct are a good idea, but legislation is needed and he gets the sense that the government is wavering in their commitment to a bill. McCallum said he feared that the legislation would be toothless when it needs to include the substance of the report such as added investigative powers. Poilievre refusing to answer questions when Hannah Thibedeau changed topics (9:30 on the clip) was also quite a sight, as was Scott’s equivocating on why Mark Warawa’s motion was deemed non-voteable.

Liberal leadership:

Don Martin spoke with Liberal Party president Mike Crawley, who said the news final tally of 130,740 eligible voters for the leadership vote was great, because it showed a huge influx of new interest in the party, and that it was the most inclusive and participatory process in the party’s history. (It’s also the least accountable, but that’s another story). Regarding the number of “supporters” who didn’t register to vote, Crawley said that they knew people would sign up as supporters for reasons besides just the leadership, but simply to get involved. When asked about Bob Rae’s time as interim leader, Crawley praised him for keeping the party relevant in the House, for bringing in supporters, and for being involved in reforming and restructuring the party’s organization.

Worth Noting:

  • Jason Kenney (4:35 on the clip), noted for his anti-abortion position, declared his support for the subcommittee process that rendered Mark Warawa’s motion non-voteable.
  • Senator Catherine Callbeck spoke about being the first woman elected premier in Canada, 20  years ago, and how when she first got into politics, people told her she shouldn’t be there because she is a woman.


Politics on TV: UN conventions and robocall legislation

  1. I find it quite interesting that the Conservatives pull out of the UN convention claiming it is “all about cost savings, yet the money is the rough equivalent of the $320k Pamela Wallin has claimed in “other” travel expenses since 2010 – expenses Harper defended in the HoC.

    While I’m sure some of those expenses were legit, I also suspect that some were used to pay for her trave to speak at Conservative fundraisers – hardly prudent use of taxpayer dollars

    Interesting optics that would be awkward to explain if brought into the spotlight.

    • Yes, it would be awkward if brought into the spotlight.

      But when you really think about it, it does not seem to be awkward at all when MP’s skip the job they get paid for, namely sitting in the House, to then take on another job giving speeches for a hefty fee. Not too many thought that sort of behaviour and double dipping was awkward. At least the feelings of awkwardness about it died down in a hurry while Justin’s numbers went up, supposedly.

      Very strange world we live in, wouldn’t you say?

      • My guess is that one of these incidents will be the focus of a big money negative ad campaign

        • I have been trying to tell many times now, right across comment boards, that the more the media pushes Harper into a corner by not reporting on the other party’s misconduct, that it will backfire – not on the media itself but on the opposition parties.

          And here we go again: What may at first seem a good plan for the media and the opposition parties to go hard after the CPC’s ‘rebellion’ against Harper, while at the same time not reporting accurately enough on the opposition parties, thereby presenting a one-sided story. But watch out, because the public – with not much help from the media – will catch on to the fact that it is the Liberals and the NDP MP’s who don’t dare stand up for freedom, that it is in fact the accusers of stifling freedom are the cowards when it comes to speaking up freely in the House.

          That is not the fault of the CPC. That play is clearly in the hands of the opposition parties who like it so much to be ‘aided’ by the none-objective reporting of the media. Talk about blow-back to come!

          Can’t wait how Justin will try and push it on evil Harper! LOL

          • I’ve made this point in the past, and I’ll make it again. The one arrow Stephen Harper lacks in his political quiver is good old fashioned salesmanship.
            He began his dealings with the press in earnest but was given a damned hard ride. Harper bided his time but grew to loathe the press; they were an element he could not control and this is a guy who likes control. He closed off the Parliamentary staircase to avoid media scrums, started to make announcements on FoxTV and the battle lines grew deeper.

            The longer governments are in power, the more the press fishes for a “story.” This is when Opposition fortunes often change – opportunities inevitably arise. The Conservatives hammered away (justifiably) at Chretien and then Martin, and it took root.

            Is it surprising to think that wheel keeps on turning?

            Leaders in Democracies have to work with the press; that’s a fact. There are countless ways to deal with it, but good salesmanship garners public support as well as that of the media. In short: charm is a good arrow to possess.

            Harper’s relationship with a great deal of the press is confrontational. Harper is vindictive and so are the press. He gains the upper hand by staying in power and they counter by putting him under whatever lens they choose; they both like “control.”

            You can moan about the press, but this isn’t all one sided and it’s not getting any more congenial.
            What arrow will Harper reach for now? He’s a very clever fellow and very capable. Interesting times.

          • Fair enough.