This is the week that wasn't - Macleans.ca
 

This is the week that wasn’t

Never mind Mike Duffy, here’s what happened last week


 

Never mind Mike Duffy. At least just for a moment.

Because here is what happened last week.

On Tuesday, the Harper government tabled its second budget implementation bill of the year. At 321 pages, it is more than twice the length of the first budget bill. It would change the process for settling public sector labour disputes and amend labour laws concerning workplace safety, but Tony Clement says he can’t explain how the changes will impact collective bargaining until the bill is passed. A bill apparently meant to promote economic growth also amends the Supreme Court of Canada Act in an attempt to clean up the controversy around the government’s latest appointment to the court, a matter the government has now also referred to the Supreme Court to settle. In totality, C-4 is a poke in the eye, a thumbing of the nose and a flipping of the bird to all those who have lamented previous budget bills as subversions of the parliamentary system.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are pursuing a parliamentary change that would make it more difficult for independent MPs to move amendments in the House—thus making it less likely that future omnibus bills will face the sort of vote marathons that made public spectacles of C-38 and C-45 in 2012.

What else?

On Monday, Denis Lebel, the Prime Minister’s senior Quebec minister, deviated from the government’s position on the necessary grounds to begin negotiating the secession of Quebec.

On Thursday morning, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that establishing Senate elections would require the consent of at least seven provinces representing 50% of the population, undermining the entire premise of the Harper government’s approach to Senate reform these last seven years.

On Thursday afternoon, Environment Canada released updated projections that show the country well short of meeting its international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

That same day, Justin Trudeau went to Washington, DC and tried to split the difference between the New Democrats and Conservatives on Keystone XL.

And on Friday, the Harper government announced it would no longer require that in-situ oil sands development be subject to federal environmental assessments, thus implementing a provision of a previous omnibus budget bill.

And so it is not just that a sitting senator is alleging that, under threat of expulsion from the upper chamber, he went along with a secret arrangement managed out of the Prime Minister’s Office to repay the housing allowance he was accused of improperly claiming.  And it is not merely that the future of the Harper government now hangs in the balance. It is also the life and future welfare of our parliamentary democracy and the future state of the planet. It is also everything else. Everything is happening.


 

This is the week that wasn’t

  1. now that harper is moving the goal post further apart with the new nugget of news that nigel was dismissed, sounds like its getting wide enough for 777 to come through it. is harper having a meltdown ?

    • He’s playing chess, grandmaster style, and toying with us.

      • Except that he’s only reputed to be playing three-dimensional chess. He forgot that there’s a fourth dimension – time.

        And time (his “best-fore” date) is about to expire for him.

        • Timing is everything — and I hope you’re right.

  2. But doesn’t it make sense? Why waste this gossamer-thin scandal? It’s the perfect opportunity to low-ball legislation that might otherwise rouse opposition concern. Instead, watch the scandal pony dance. I really hope ‘patchouli’ is correct, and we’re witnessing smooth politics at work. I have my doubts, though. I think the Tories just bungled it, and are making lemonade while they can.

    Still, it’s a useful ‘event’, the Senate imbroglio, and when you compare it to what the “Interested Observer” (as a blog wag wrote) down south has on his plate–NSA indiscretions, his signature healthcare initiative suffering technological birth pains, an economy that remains ‘surprisingly’ flat, the fracking industry aside–you have to laugh at the peurile ‘talking head’ histrionics that attends this extant ‘crisis’ of democracy. If this is anything more than a sharp stone in Harper’s shoe, I’ll be shocked.