Most recent entries for January 2013

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Yesterday we asked: Should politicians be required to disclose serious health problems?

Here are the results:

- 70% of you said Yes

- 27% of you said No

- 3% of you were unsure

(Note: This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

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As predicted in yesterday's OotD, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore is set to introduce the much-anticipated royal baby bill later this morning. 

According to the advisory, the minister's scheduled appearance in the House of Commons Foyer, which will take place at approximately 10:15 am, after the bill has been duly tabled, will be preceded by a technical briefing at the National Press Theatre, during which the details of the government's bid to synchronize Canada's rules of regal succession with the rest of the Commonwealth will be laid out by departmental officials. 

The gist? No longer will female heirs be passed over in favour of fast-tracking younger, male siblings, both male and female monarchs and monarchs-in-waiting will be permitted to marry Catholics, and descendents of George II will be able to marry whomever they see fit without first garnering the approval of She or He who wears the crown. 

The big question for Canadian constitutional geeks, of course, is whether the changes are sufficiently significant to trigger the formal amendment process, which would oblige the federal government to garner the consent of the provinces to proceed, which you can read all about in  detail, courtesy of CBC colleague Janyce McGregor. 

Interestingly, the government seems to be touting the existence of a legal opinion that puts it in the clear, although as yet, it apparently hasn't been made public. Will it be made available to curious reporters at this morning's briefing? We'll soon find out!

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Due to a series of unfortunate vote-related events, the ethics committee was forced to postpone its much-anticipated chat with Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, whose testimony this afternoon was to have officially kicked off the five-year review of the Conflict of Interest Act. 

Unfortunately, parliamentary democracy -- specifically, the government's ultimately successful efforts to curtail further report stage debate on the refugee deportation bill -- intervened, and the committee agreed, regretfully but unanimously, to adjourn for the day and call the commissioner back at an unspecified date in the future. 

Dawson's office, however, has obligingly made the her undelivered opening statement available for public perusal. 

On cursory review, she doesn't appear to be pushing for substantial change to the existing ethics regime, although as was the case when she made s similar appearance at the procedure and house affairs committee during its review of the MPs' code of conduct last fall, she does suggest that she might be given the power to impose administrative penalties for serious breaches. 

Dawson also reiterates her recommendation that the threshold for disclosure of gifts received by public office holders be reduced from $200 to just $30. (Her presentation does not, however, extend to musing about calculating the cash value of the Hill reception circuit, a proposal that met with little support when put before the procedure committee. 

As for those potentially controversial rulings on the propriety of ministers and parliamentary secretaries sending bid-supporting letters to the CRTC, her opening statement was silent, presumably, she will expand on her reasoning when the committee gets the chance to grill her in person. 


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Yesterday we asked: How important is Blackberry's success to Canada's economy?
 
Here are the results:
 
- Very: 39%
- Some what: 44%
- Not at all: 16%
- Not sure:  1%
 
500 people responded to this question.
 
(Note: This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
While the other parties gather for their weekly closed-door caucus confabs, the PM has summoned reporters to the Conservative inner sanctum to chronicle his opening remarks, which will almost certainly involve the words "jobs," "growth" and "long-term prosperity," but, alas for those luckless scribes, virtually nothing that could be described, even tactfully, as news. 

(What can I say -- I'm playing a hunch here.)  

No questions will, alas/of course, be permitted, and as soon as the final round of applause has faded, the media will be gently, but firmly, escorted from the room. (To be fair (and balanced), it should be pointed out that this is precisely the same protocol followed by all parties when arranging such extended photo ops.) 

Once the Chamber re-opens for regular parliamentary business this afternoon -- and after the usual storm and fury of a post-caucus Question Period -- MPs are scheduled to resume consideration of a raft of undoubtedly doomed amendments to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's bid to speed up the deportation process. 

Given its appearance on the Notice Paper, it seems that the government may soon be ready to unveil the so-called "royal baby bill" to update the rules of succession, which, as CBC.ca colleague Janyce McGregor explains in detail here, could spark a constitutional debate -- or, at the very least, a lively conversatio

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In response to an NDP-lodged Order Paper query on its sports-related spending habits, the government has revealed that, for the vast majority of departments, taxpayer dollars are not permitted to be used to take anyone out to the ole ball game. 

That is, unless you happen to be a visiting foreign national, a deserving civil servant or a football fan veteran. 


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Yesterday we asked: Is the government doing enough to help reduce household debt?

Here are the results:

- 20% of you said Yes

- 78% of you said No

- 2% of you were unsure

(Note: This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

As previewed in Orders of the Day, New Democrat house leader Nathan Cullen unveiled his party's vision for a kinder, gentler -- or, at least, less openly hostile and abusive -- House of Commons under the (somewhat unimaginative) moniker 'The Civility Project.'


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