Justin Trudeau proposed democratic reform. Tom Clark, Alison Loat and I talked about the state of Parliament. Brent Rathgeber considered how to improve the House. Independent thinking in the House was hard to find. Party discipline ruled. Erin O’Toole asked a generous question and explained his thinking. And the At Issue panel surveyed the scene.
The New Democrats asked the finance committee to call for Kevin Page’s term to be extended and compelled the House to consider the future of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The selection process for a new PBO made some progress. Brent Rathgeber offered his thoughts and made some suggestions. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries praised Mr. Page, but worried about the future of the PBO. And Don Drummond was concerned about finding someone to take the job.
The royal succession bill was flawed. Mathieu Ravignat asked the Harper government to explain how much it spent on the Super Bowl. Stephane Dion criticized the NDP’s Unity Bill, Craig Scott defended it and Charles Taylor endorsed it. Diane Finley made creative use of statistics. The Conservatives admitted responsibility for robocalls in Saskatchewan (and we remembered Mr. Rathgeber’s worries about gerrymandering). The backlash against the new ridings seemed overstated. Alice Funke explained the situation. Mike Duffy’s primary place of residence was a mystery. The Senate sought an audit and legal advice. The Prime Minister was said to be considering a constitutional amendment to keep the Senate secondary. Patrick Brazeau was ejected from the Conservative caucus and charged. Bob Rae spoke about the situation in Mali. And we marked a few carbon-pricing anniversaries.
John Geddes considered Senate reform and child care. Stephen Gordon previewed the budget and predicted a smaller deficit. Nick Taylor-Vaisey looked at Stephen Harper’s brand of patriotism. And Dale Smith checked on the Senate’s willingness to debate the royal succession bill.