Most days we have no idea what to expect when we show up to work on Parliament Hill. Friday will be different. You can expect big stories about the Supreme Court and about money for Quebec. Here’s a primer so you can dazzle everyone at lunch.
• The Supremes will release their judgment in the Insite case, which is about whether British Columbia has a right to operate a safe-injection drug site, or whether the federal criminal-justice power trumps B.C.’s right. I attended the top court’s Insite hearings in May. Here’s what I learned.
• The prime minister will be in Quebec City Friday afternoon to announce a deal for federal compensation to Quebec for harmonizing the Quebec sales tax with the federal GST.
I’ve actually been following this story, with declining interest, for 14 years, since I was briefly a columnist for The Gazette in Montreal. As always, the question is: did Quebec actually harmonize its tax with the feds — that is, give up lucrative areas of taxation to match the federal tax base, thus doing anything to earn compensation? If so, Harper’s made a real breakthrough. If not, then he’s just spraying tax money around to make people feel better.
In June I predicted Harper would continue making grand gestures to stay on Quebecers’ good side, even though 97% of the Conservative caucus now represents ridings outside Quebec.