The meandering days of April

Tease the day: You get the sense the Conservatives aren’t very excited


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

You get the sense, watching the Conservative government these days, that they don’t have much to be excited about. There’s the annual Economic Action Plan, of course, that untouchable set of measures to save Canada from a perilous global economy. There’s also Keystone XL, the pipeline the government praises effusively at every opportunity. This week, there’s also the anti-terror legislation that renews a series of measures that expired in 2007.

The economic action plan—seems more natural without the capital letters, no?—is the centrepiece of most government talking points, and has been for some time. That wasn’t always the case. The government used to hang its hat on a number of issues, including the law-and-order file (which it still does, occasionally, with respect to victims’ rights); and pet projects that, for example, eliminated the long-gun registry. Mostly, that’s been stripped away in favour of the economic action plan.

That might be why there’s so much chatter every time a political party releases a new ad; or why a dozen reporters packed the Press Gallery yesterday for any hint of rebellion on the Conservative backbenches; or why the future of a $2-million research station in northern Ontario, the Experimental Lakes Area, is hotly debated. Of course, these are valuable conversations and debates, worthy of this country’s attention. As are continued opposition questions about tariff increases and youth unemployment.

But you get the sense it’s all the calm before the storm. One day, the enabling legislation that accompanies this year’s economic action plan will be introduced to the House. And that’s when everyone will get excited all over again.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the improved working relationship between the RCMP and Muslim community leaders. The National Post fronts Barrick Gold shareholders’ rejection of a $17-million package offered to co-chairman John Thornton. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with an apparent meeting abroad between accused terror plotter Chiheb Esseghaier and an Al-Qaeda operative in 2008. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the passage of the government’s anti-terror legislation, a package of measures criticized by civil rights advocates. iPolitics fronts Lawrence Martin’s column about why Justin Trudeau’s new ad is effective. CBC.ca leads with warnings about cracks in the Bangladesh garment factory that collapsed and killed almost 200 people. National Newswatch showcases Martin’s column in iPolitics.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Keystone XL. The union representing Canadian diplomats says an ongoing labour dispute will make it more difficult for the feds to lobby American counterparts to approve Keystone XL. 2. UN agency. There’s only one UN agency based in Canada: Montreal’s International Civil Aviation Organization. Qatar hopes to lure the agency away, a pitch that will go to a vote in the fall.
3. National parks. Parks Canada has slowly approved more recreational activities in national parks, and paragliding could be next, as the agency attempts to lure urban Canadians. 4. Justice. A group of task forces have suggested Canada’s justice system embrace technology and create a massive online portal that Canadians using the justice system could access with ease.

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The meandering days of April

  1. It is the media that is bored out of their collective trees. The government is doing business and that is not very exciting. So they are focused on the new shiny empty suit. Like the previous Liberal leaders in their view he is the second coming and they are going to give him all the help they can. However, there are many Canadians who will take a different view of the empty suit. Once again the media forget the fight is not with Harper it is with the NDP. That’s how far back the Libs are coming into the next election. Message to the media, The Libs are not the official opposition.

    • The more time Trust Fund Trudeau spends in front of the cameras, the better. Can’t wait for his next foot-in-mouth moment.

    • Wow – lots of vitriol there.

  2. I can just imagine what sort of bully Lawrence Martin would have been in his youth when going to school: “Come now, guys, let’s play nice! We don’t need them scumbags over there telling us how it’s done!”

    Justin, the wily one, who does not do attack ads but does ‘publicity spots’ ever so gently. Justin, the role model while Harper does gutter politics.

    Justin’s ad release (ad? not a publicity spot?) was nicely timed since Scheer released his ruling regarding Harpers gagging of MP’s. Because, well, you know, Justin, nice as he is, had sided with the Tory dissenters!

    Not such good timing for the Prime Minister, because, well, “the Conservatives received a big break in timing with all the recent news of terrorism at home and in the U.S. It played to their strength onthe security issue. It also tended to overwhelm other developments — such as the Speaker’s ruling.”
    Harper: lucky again.

    What sort of school did Lawrence Martin attend when studying the art of opinion making?

    The school which teaches how to wear blinders? Is Martin really not aware that playing it ‘nice’ means being nice to everyone, not just the Justin side? Is Martin aware that Justin took the dissident’s side only when the dissidents were no longer in need of being helped? They managed very well on their own thank you very much! Justin could have made a difference indeed when coming to the defense of dissident MP’s by giving his own MP’s more freedom of speech. But such would not be in the cards. Not for Justin anyways. Justin decides when topics under discussion are free for the thinking! And it seems that Martin is just fine with that, because, well, you know, Justin plays it ‘nice’ and does not need the other scumbags to tell him how it’s done!

    • Huh? scumbag who?

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