Politics on TV: Robocalls, Warawa and drug seizures - Macleans.ca

Politics on TV: Robocalls, Warawa and drug seizures

The three things you need to see

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Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. The Elections Canada report on misleading robocalls
  2. Mark Warawa updates the progress on his motion
  3. A new report on drug seizures at the border

Robocall report:

Power Play spoke with PostMedia columnist Stephen Maher about the Elections Canada report on misleading robocalls that was tabled this afternoon. Maher said that the report doesn’t have any information on the ongoing investigations into the robocalls, but rather that it makes recommendations on how Parliament can change the Elections Act. Those recommendations include stiffer penalties – up to $250,000 in fines or five years in jail – and the ability to compel testimony from witnesses, as Maher noted that three people in the Guelph investigation have refused to testify. As well, the report calls for proper identification on the calls, and a registry for all robocalls being made.

Muzzled MPs:

Power & Politics spoke with Conservative MP Mark Warawa, who said that the status of his motion on sex-selective abortions remains unknown because the sub-committee deciding up on its fate went in camera, and it won’t be announced until tomorrow morning. Warawa downplayed any notion that there is disunity in the caucus, and expressed his support for Harper. Hannah Thibedeau then followed up with an MP panel of Kellie Leitch, Nathan Cullen and Dominic Leblanc to discuss the freedom of MPs to speak. Leitch, after praising Harper, said that “We’re a team and there are rules of engagement for a team.” Cullen said that of course the Conservatives are muzzled, and said that his caucus’ Members’ Statements are done on a rotational basis. LeBlanc insisted that Warawa was simply using the notion of free speech to couch the fact that he is trying to bring back the abortion debate when it has already been dealt with once this session.

Drug seizures:

Power & Politics had an exclusive report on drugs that the CBSA has intercepted at the border, with a street value of over $5.5 billion since 2007, the majority at the port of Montreal, and China and Germany being two of the biggest sources. Thibedeau spoke with former RCMP Officer Gary Clement and Jean-Pierre Fortin, President of Customs and Immigration Union, where Clement said that Canada is a trans-shipping point to the US, and that a lot of what comes through the country are precursor pharmaceuticals. He also criticised the cuts to intelligence officers at CBSA in the budget. Fortin said that budget cuts are taking their toll, that CBSA doesn’t have the manpower to do an effective job, and that replacing officers with machines at automated ports won’t help. Responding to the report was an MP panel of Candice Bergen, Randall Garrison and Francis Scarpaleggia, where Bergen noted that the government had increased the number of front-line officers, said that cuts were to redundant positions, and then tested out a new anti-Justin Trudeau talking point about how he wanted to legalize marijuana. Garrison said that more front-line officers are needed to not only interdict drugs but also guns, while Scarpaleggia echoed concerns about cuts to intelligence officers, and called the promise to somehow find efficiencies a “leap of faith.”

Worth Noting: