Messages of the day: “Diversity is the new norm”
Questions not answered
• Does Thomas Mulcair believe that temporary foreign workers steal Canadian jobs?
Temporary foreign workers:
On Power & Politics, Evan Solomon wondered if Thomas Mulcair’s lead question in QP was actually asking if temporary foreign workers would take away Canadian jobs. Peggy Nash insisted that the question was about how Harper could claim that the temporary foreign workers program helped with unemployment, even though they replayed the QP clip again and that wasn’t how it came across. Shelly Glover called it “divisive” and said that temporary foreign workers fill gaps where they can’t find Canadian workers, as there are labour shortages across the country. Scott Brison called Mulcair’s comments “economically uninformed” because temporary foreign workers can create Canadian jobs up the value-added chain, as with the horticultural industry in his riding. He also accused Mulcair’s position of being xenophobic and “dangerous politics.”
Power & Politics had an MP panel discussing the case of American war resister Kimberly Rivera, who is due to be deported as she has exhausted her last appeal before the courts. Rick Dykstra noted that due process had run its course and that American war resisters don’t apply under our refugee rules. Jinny Sims wanted humanitarian and compassionate consideration to be granted given the fact that Rivera would spend a year in jail, away from her children—two of which were born in Canada—and noted that the Commons had twice passed motions denouncing the Iraq War. Kevin Lamoureux, who has served in the Canadian Forces, said that while she did sign a contract to serve, the Iraq War was not sanctioned by the United Nations, which is why we need to assess each case on an individual basis (which, Dykstra interjected, had already happened).
Census data on families:
Power Play looked at the latest release on census data, specifically the changing family structures in Canada. Jennifer Tipper of the Vanier Institute for the Family said that diversity is the new norm. She noted that, particularly around the Toronto area, upwards of 75 percent of families have adult children still living at home, many within ethno-cultural communities. It was also reflective of the realities of high student debt and a difficult job market. Tipper also noted the data shows gender norms and expectations are shifting, particularly with the significant increase in single-father families. She also noted the quick rise in same-sex marriages is due in part to the fact that in the 2006 census, said marriages hadn’t yet been legal across the country for a full year.
Striking down another crime bill provision:
Don Martin spoke to Eugene Meehan from Supreme Advocacy to discuss the Ontario Superior Court judge that struck down a reverse onus clause from the 2008 Conservative omnibus crime bill. Meehan doesn’t believe the courts are getting more interventionist, but rather that there is an ongoing dialogue between Parliament and the courts. He also believes that there is no stacking of the Supreme Court with card-carrying partisans and that Harper really has chosen the best candidates for the job.
With the NDP’s opposition day motion tomorrow focusing on getting Harper to meet with the premiers, Don Martin asked his MP panel about it. Megan Leslie noted the value of consulting with the provincial governments because they are on the ground with regards to issues like unemployment. James Rajotte said that Harper regularly meets with premiers on a bilateral basis, saying that one-on-one meetings are more productive. Roger Cuzner said that there is merit in the meetings and that it is important to come together given that changes at the federal level trickle down to the social services the provinces deliver.
Rewriting constitutional history:
Evan Solomon interviewed former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Brian Peckford, who is promoting his new book which disputes the way the patriation of the constitution has been portrayed in history. Peckford has his documents from the time, including the written proposals, which counters the “kitchen table accord” story. Based on the documents and the corroborating evidence, the Canadian Encyclopedia has made changes to its entry on patriation based on Peckford’s version of events, making Peckford the father of the accord. Peckford also says that René Levesque was far more moderate than his advisors and might have signed the constitution if left to his own devices.
Peckford was also on Power Play, where he said that he feels the “kitchen table accord” story took off because it was a better story full of intrigue, even if it was a parallel to his own actions.
Kitsilano Coast Guard station closure:
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson spoke to Don Martin about the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station. Robertson believes that it wasn’t a deliberate decision to put lives at risk, but rather a decision made in Ottawa by people unaware of the local situation. “We don’t want to see a life lost because of a careless budget decision,” Robertson said.
Olympians and Paralympians:
With Olympic and Paralympic athletes visiting the House of Commons today, Don Martin spoke to the Minister of State for Sport, Bal Gosal, about being minister of sport in an Olympic year and setting goals for medal counts. Gosal said that what counts most is how athletes represent the country and that they make Canadians proud. Gosal also noted that sports funding has been kept intact and that the government is proud to support Olympic athletes.