Friday, October 14, 2011

More belated political musings

I write this from Arizona, where I've been attending a work conference this week in the Phoenix area. I'm staying through the weekend to see some hockey, as the Coyotes play their home opener vs. the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. The old Jets vs. the new Jets, should be fun. And Monday, it's off to Ottawa to cover another conference, so busy times. And another offering of random thoughts on happenings political.

* I find this NDP ethics complaint against Lisa Raitt a little puzzling, as I'm having a hard time seeing Air Canada's CEO logging into the reservations system and upgrading cabinet ministers in the hope a larger seat and a cheese plate will influence labour policy. If they have documents, I'd love to see them. A gate agent doing a battlefield upgrade, I could see, although I doubt the unionized gate agents are fans of the minister these days. But the CEO? And to what end? They couldn't have a more pro Air Canada government, whether its on labour or landing slots. I'm more astounded a cabinet minsiter's staff booked her into economy in the first place. Besides, she must have enough e-upgrade credits already. Super elite!

* Were I Tom Mulcair, I'd stop whining about Quebec memberships. Because every time he opens his would to complain about the lack of NDP members in the province, it reminds me he was the guy responsible for building the party in the province and apparently, he didn't do a very good job of it. Which doesn't bode well for his ability to organize a successful leadership run. It's more obvious the NDP's surge was all about Layton, and not so much the diligent work of his Quebec lieutenant. (Which isn't to say they can't hold it without Jack, but that's another story) He'd be better sticking to some of this policy stuff, where I find myself thinking he sounds almost reasonable.

* Remember when I asked if anyone would stand up for equality of parliamentary representation? As I feared the answer, apparently, is no one.

Fears of a Quebec backlash have delayed the Harper government’s plan to give the growing parts of Canada a larger share of seats in the House of Commons.

As a result, the changes the Tories promised in the spring campaign may not be in place in time for the 2015 election, leaving millions of voters once again underrepresented in Parliament.
So none of the major parties, it seems, is willing to stand up for basic math and principle in a matter as fundamental as our parliamentary representation. That's sad, and also sadly unsurprising.

* Our generous R&D tax credits are a competitive advantage; the piece of the puzzle we're missing is assistance with commercialization. We should invest there. If that's that they mean by direct subsidies, then ok. But I don't want to see the government trying to pick winners and losers. Support un-directed research, then help it get from the lab to the marketplace. That's the way to grow a 21st century economy.

Despite these initiatives and studies that link school food to increased success in the classroom, Canada is unlikely to shed its title as the only G8 country without a national meal program. The federal government says it has no plans to take on school food.

“We see education very clearly as a provincial/territorial jurisdiction, so it's nothing that's being considered by our government at this point in time,” said Steve Outhouse, a spokesman for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
Except when it's an issue they actually care about:
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who announced Tuesday that Ottawa is plowing nearly $30-million into the 1812-1814 conflict’s bicentennial, says he wants to sharpen efforts to teach Canada about its past.

“In only four of Canada’s 10 provinces are students required to take history before they graduate from high school,” he said. “I think that’s a sadly low number so I want to work on improving that.”
The Harper government will feed students ciriculum changes, but not a healthy lunch. I'll leave it to them to explain the jurisdictional nuance that reconciles those positions.

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