Warawa and Rathgeber take off their muzzles

Politics on TV: The three things you need to see

Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. The issue of muzzled backbenchers
  2. Robert Ghiz on skills training changes
  3. Leona Aglukkaq on the lessons of SARS

Muzzled backbenchers:

With the issue of MPs feeling muzzled around Private Members’ Business and Members’ Statements, Power & Politics spoke with Conservative MP Mark Warawa, whose motion on sex-selective abortions was deemed non-voteable and who was denied a chance to speak about it in the House. Warawa said that the expert from the Library of Parliament said the motion was voteable, and he plans to appeal the committee’s decision to the House as a whole if he has to. He also says that his motion is not about reopening the abortion debate, but is about discrimination against women and girls, and cited the UN figure of 200 million missing girls in the world before invoking the Montreal massacre and Malala. Evan Solomon also spoke with Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber, who said that he is concerned that members from all parties are being too controlled from their whips and leaders’ offices, and it is an issue about Parliament because it’s the role of MPs to hold the government to account. On Power Play, former Speaker Peter Milliken said there was a time when the Speaker controlled the speaking lists, and it may be worth returning to that system, as the content gets more partisan.

Skills training:

Evan Solomon spoke with PEI Premier Robert Ghiz about the new Canada Skills Grant program in the budget. Ghiz said that Ottawa is stepping on provinces a little, but he wants to see more details about the proposal. Ghiz said that since training funds were transferred to the provinces in 2009, they’ve been operating within the guidelines set out by the federal government, and that it allows the provinces to deal with more local unemployment issues. Ghiz said that the new proposal likely won’t work in PEI because they have more small businesses who would be unable to put up the requisite training dollars.

SARS lessons:

On the tenth anniversary of the SARS outbreak, Power Play had an interview with health minister Leona Aglukkaq about the lessons learned. Aglukkaq said that there was little federal coordination at the time that SARS hit, and that she was in the territorial government at the time and helped to develop their plan. She said that since then, their government has updated the pandemic response plan, which allowed them to respond more quickly to the H1N1 outbreak.

Worth Noting:

  • Power Play’s Commons Folk segment featured NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan, the first Tamil MP in Canada, who says that she helps to highlight human rights abuses being suffered in Sri Lanka.
  • Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay spoke about why she feels electoral cooperation would work against the Liberals, and that she hopes to re-engage the blue Liberals and red Tories who currently feel disenfranchised.