Conservatives should make the most of January - Macleans.ca

Conservatives should make the most of January

The quiet political season will end with a thud on Jan. 27

by

Patrick Doyle/CP

“This contract is being cancelled.” —Jake Enwright, a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore

Stephen Harper’s team is assumed to be in a collectively bad mood because, for months, they’ve deflected and denied the PM’s role in Senate skullduggery and, as one year gave way to another, looked awful in the polls. These are not banner times for the Tories, who are once again bickering among themselves in Calgary, where the years-old tradition of occasionally challenging MP Rob Anders for the party’s nomination has once again taken its turn in the sunshine.

Shove those increasingly chronic distractions to the side, though, and the government’s had a reasonably controlled month. The small fires on this week’s front pages are, for the most part so far, here today, gone tomorrow.

The Globe and Mail fronts a story about first responders hoping the feds will craft emergency plans not just for oil-related rail disasters, but all manner of flammable liquid. Lisa Raitt, the transport minister, can stickhandle that demand with her eyes closed. The Toronto Star trumpets a story about a $420,000 federal contract that was released into the world for only a day before Industry Minister James Moore nixed it. The contract would have sought advice on how to bolster Canadian manufacturing fortunes during trade negotiations. Don’t need to spend the dough, says Moore. The Ottawa Citizen reports salacious details of alleged electoral fraud on the part of MP Dean Del Mastro’s family. The Peterborough conservative, formerly a Conservative, is already booted from caucus.

No, so far, the government has spent 2014 muddling on through. The Senate’s demons are, currently, of no concern. But the reprieve can’t last, of course. The House of Commons reconvenes on Jan. 27. Before we know it, the yelling will begin anew, the finger-pointing and the rhetoric just as we remembered, and it’ll be game time all over again. Enjoy your January, conservative defence specialists.

ABOVE THE FOLD

Globe: Municipal leaders and first responders want the feds to plan for more than crude derailments.

Post: Hillary Clinton allegedly ranked her political friends and enemies according to their loyalty.

Star: The feds nixed a contract that would have advised how to bolster manufacturing in trade deals.

Citizen: Investigators executed a search warrant at a company owned by MP Dean Del Mastro‘s cousin.

CBC: The feds’ advertising of a job grant that doesn’t exist cost taxpayers $2.5 million.

CTV: Quebec’s government is opening public hearings into its values charter later today.

NNW: See the Ottawa Citizen

MOSTLY MISSED

Near: Defence department auditors reported on the social struggles faced by relocated military families.

Far: Dozens were killed in Baghdad car bomb attacks after UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon visited Iraq.

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