Here are the three things you should not have missed:
After more QP exchanges on the EI “quotas” and at-home audits, MPs Kellie Leitch, Malcolm Allen and Rodger Cuzner discussed the issue on Power & Politics. Leitch said the house calls are an audit function normal to all other organizations, and that there are concerns over the number of ineligible claims every year. Allen said the audits were “chasing smoke and mirrors,” and that the closure of Service Canada offices mean job searches are harder to do. Cuzner said EI fraud tends to be around $119 million to $130 million per year – less than one per cent, and most of it gets recovered.
Power Play opened with CTV’s Richard Madden, who relayed the Supreme Court’s decision, saying it tried to balance freedom of expression against a definition of what constitutes hate speech, and part of the ruling updated the language in the law to include “detestation” and “vilification” as qualifications for hate speech. Don Martin then spoke with Saskatchewan Human Rights Commissioner David Arnot, who said it strengthens the definition of what hate speech is, and that it can guide legislatures as to how to amend their human rights laws. Arnot said it also reinforces the need for civil sanctions for such speech, as opposed to just criminal ones.
With a conference taking place in Rome tomorrow regarding the Syrian opposition, Evan Solomon hosted an MP panel of Lois Brown, Hélène Laverdière and John McKay. Brown said that Canada would not be at the conference, but would get a briefing from the Italian government, and reiterated that they have recently announced another $25 million in humanitarian assistance. Laverdière said the government was doing almost nothing, and should be more generous with aid – especially to Turkey – along with accelerating family reunification for Syrians in Canada. McKay said that he was concerned about the calls for qualitative military support for the Syrian opposition because of the unknown elements, as well as the spread of that equipment afterward, as has happened with Libyan arms now being used in Mali.
- NDP MP Randall Garrison spoke about his bill to extend explicit rights protection to transgendered and transsexual Canadians, while Brian Rushfeldt of Canada Family Action insisted it was a Pandora’s box of social ills.
- NDP MP Charlie Angus defended against being cited by the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission for “improper interference” – but his defence amounted to “Go to my website.”