The House will soon be empty

Tease the day: One week remains before MPs leave Ottawa until 2013


CP/Adrian Wyld

A tiny ad in today’s Toronto Star really says it all. My bet is a lot of readers will notice it and either chuckle or grimace, depending on their sympathy or despair or indifference for the mental health of our elected officials. The ad, buried though it may be deep within the Star‘s front section, is pretty easy to find. The journey starts on the front page, with Tim Harper’s thrice-weekly column. Today, Harper sketches out the thorny issues that will no doubt cause headaches for the prime minister: the government’s mismanagement of the F-35 procurement; cabinet’s decision to allow two controversial foreign takeovers; and that lingering concern about voter suppression during the last federal election, which won’t seem to fade away. Harper’s column spills to A12. At the bottom of the page, directly beneath Harper’s pronouncement that “the government’s credibility on the [F-35] issue is dead,” that ad lies in wait.

“Depressed?” reads the headline. “If you are currently depressed and 18–65 years old, you may be eligible to participate in a novel study on depression using low dose medication to enhance the body’s own natural brain chemistry.” Beneath that copy is a man’s face buried in his hands. The imagery speaks for itself. Hidden behind those hands could be anyone on the government benches—or, more broadly, anyone who’s slogged out the past several weeks in the House of Commons. Perhaps it’s time for a deep breath.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the pun of the day: Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “line in the oil sands.” The National Post fronts the Nova Scotia government’s defence of its plan to cut out minority ridings. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with rotating teacher strikes coming to the Greater Toronto Area. The Ottawa Citizen leads with a one-day teacher walkout planned for the area on Wednesday. iPolitics fronts former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry, a long-time Progressive Conservative who likely plans to vote Liberal in the next federal election. National Newswatch showcases a Canadian Press story about eight Canadians taking to federal court their allegations of voter suppression during the 2011 federal election.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Missing women. In an editorial, the Toronto Star calls on the federal government to launch an inquiry into the 600+ missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. 2. Rights tribunal. Consulting fees at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal amounted to over $800,000 as the organization battled “unprecedented labour relations issues.”
3. Life support. The Supreme Court will hear today a case involving a man who’s been “without consciousness” for two years. Doctors and family are divided on his fate. 4. Religious ornaments. Treasury Board President Tony Clement sent a directive to public servants that approved their ability to display Christmas or Hanukkah ornaments publicly.

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