Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Harper slams Trudeau on his Boston statement
- Temporary foreign workers
- Boston bombs vs. ricin attacks in Washington
It all began with Peter Mansbridge’s interview with Justin Trudeau. A mere two hours after the Boston bombs went off, Mansbridge asked Trudeau how he would respond to the attacks, and after Trudeau gave his condemnation of the attacks and condolences to the victims, he said that there should be an examination of the root causes. This morning, unprompted while at the Baroness Thatcher funeral in London, Stephen Harper condemned Trudeau’s comments as “rationalizing” and “excusing” the attacks rather than simply offering a blanket condemnation. And before QP, Conservative MP Stella Ambler repeated that statement in the House, and afterward, Trudeau gave a brief statement condemning Harper’s politicizing the Boston bombing.
Fast-forward to the political shows. On Power Play, what began as an MP panel of Candice Bergen, Randall Garrison and Francis Scarpaleggia talking about the security reaction in Canada started off with Bergen saying that this incident wouldn’t affect the Beyond the Border initiative, and Garrison talking about how the government did the right thing to take precautions but not panic, when Don Martin brought up the politicization comment to Scarpaleggia. Scarpaleggia agreed that terrorism is an evil that everyone recognizes, and that he didn’t understand where the difference lies with the Prime Minister in the perception of terrorism. But that set off Bergen who declared there was “no explaining this away,” and Garrison saying that Trudeau’s comments “mystified” him. All of this was just warming up for Power & Politics, however, as Bergen and Garrison ratcheted up their outrage to eleven, Garrison adding that Trudeau should have focused his comments on the victims and the first responders. Dominic LeBlanc, the Liberal on that panel, hit back and called the politicization patently ridiculous, that Trudeau condemned the attacks in the same interview and added that any responsible society should seek to root out the kinds of extremists who would perpetrate such an attack.
With temporary foreign workers in the news the past two weeks, Don Martin spoke with immigration minister Jason Kenney, who said that a lot of numbers were being conflated – of the 200,000 permits issued last year, at least 50,000 were young Australians and New Zealanders and the likes who were here on “working vacation” visas, which are critical for tourism industries in places like Whistler, a large number were American executives – as part of our free-trade agreements – and that the real number in question was closer to 30,000. Kenney said the government was raising questions about why local people aren’t applying for local work that they’re qualified for in high-unemployment areas. In response were critics Jinny Sims and Kevin Lamoureux, where Sims said there was evidence of hundreds of Canadians being thrown out of work and being replaced by these temporary foreign workers, and that while there are issues of labour mobility, there also needs to be a look at pay. Lamoureux said a more holistic approach to the issue was needed, and touted the provincial nominee program in Manitoba that is part of the landed immigrant system, meaning they require fewer temporary foreign workers.
With ricin being mailed to President Obama and another US Senator, Evan Solomon spoke with former Assistant Secretary of Defence Lawrence Korb and Harvard University’s Marissa Porges to see if there was any connection with the Boston bomings. Korb was reminded of the anthrax attacks post-9/11, and pointed out that anyone would know these kinds of attacks couldn’t succeed today. Porges said the attacks were almost certainly unrelated as ricin is a different threat with a different kind of expertise needed, and the attacker reportedly took credit unlike the Boston bomber. On Power Play, Don Martin spoke with Denovo Group Security analyst Robert Barrett, who pointed out that pressure cooker bombs were featured in the English-language Islamic fundamentalist magazine Inspire, and that it points to the decentralization of al-Qaida’s tactics so that any home-grown, domestic, or “lone wolf” terrorist can access it and take action into their own hands.