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:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

Parliament's gross misconduct

[PoliticsWatch Updated 6:10 p.m. May 4, 2007]

 

OTTAWA —  Like it or not, the Tories appear to be taking a lot of the blame in this week's whole Shane Doan fiasco.    

The five Conservatives on the Commons official language committee supported the Bloc Quebecois motion to drag Hockey Canada officials for a sham hearing where they had to defend their selection of Doan. 

The latest Tory spin is to say that the only reason they supported the motion was to let Hockey Canada officials tell their side of the story. Of course there were numerous others ways that could have been done without the officials being flown into Ottawa where they had separatist and Liberal MPs criticize them for two hours.  

When most people want to tell their story, they don't want the sounds of Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez and Bloc MP Luc Malo lecturing them being played as background music. 

The Tories want to turn the page and other events will eventually knock this issue off the agenda, but people are not going to forget this.  

Calgary Sun columnist Licia Corbella has written numerous pieces supportive of Conservative policies and dismissive of the excesses and rhetoric of the opposition parties. 

But even her patience with the Tories has worn thin. 

"It shows just how sadly out of touch the federal Conservative party has become," she wrote Friday. 

"All politically attuned Canadians know that for power all politicians in Canada must pander somewhat to Quebec. It is simply a necessity. Most of us can live with some of that. 

"But trying to score political points on the back of an upstanding, honourable young hockey star playing his heart out for his country on a volunteer basis in Moscow is akin to a cheap shot for many Conservatives. This will stick in their craws for a long time."

The Tories, of course, are blaming the Bloc for bringing the motion forward in the first place, but those not familiar with the whole parliamentary committee process are blaming Ottawa, politicians and "the government," as is evident if you read the comments in the Web site set up to support Doan. 
( www.savedoan.ca )

Even Hockey Canada's Bob Nicholson incorrectly stated during his appearance before the Commons committee Thursday that the government had questioned Doan being named captain of Team Canada during his appearance. The Tory committee chair, Guy Lauzon, quickly corrected him noting that it was the committee that had raised questions, not the government.  All Lauzon has to do now is tell that to another 33 million people and the damage to his party will be minimized.

So does the government now support Doan as captain of Team Canada. 
 
That's not clear. 

On Tuesday, during the committee hearings where the motion to call the Hockey Canada officials was passed, Tory MP Pierre Lemieux took offence when an opposition MP suggested he was defending Doan by questioning the motion. 
 
"I'm not defending Shane Doan," he said. "I'm not saying that I chose him as the best man for the team." 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a big smile on his face Thursday when he noted that the Tory committee members were able to get the Bloc Quebecois to support a motion in the committee supporting Team Canada. He noted that the Bloc has promised in the past creating separate national teams for Quebec in sporting events. It was the prime minister claiming a very small moral victory from this mess. 

However, that smile was quickly off his face when a reporter asked him the simple question of whether he thought Doan should be the captain of Team Canada. 

"I, of course, like millions of other Canadians, fancy myself as a hockey expert but I'll let the real hockey experts make those kinds of decisions," he said. 

Translation: I'm waiting for more polling from Quebec before making any commitment here. 

In fairness, the Tories are not the only ones backing away from this. One Liberal MP on the committee, Raymonde Folco, told reporters Friday that as far as she was concerned the issue was closed. 

The whole fiasco is latest piece of evidence about how out of control committees and politicians on Parliament Hill have been behaving in recent years. 

Ottawa is so blinded by partisanship and spin that no person or institution's reputation is of concern to politicians any more and virtually nothing is out of bounds, even Team Canada. Think about that. 

"Protected by privilege, politicians otherwise incapable of running a Legion bingo night play prosecuting attorney, nailing hapless witnesses with unproven accusations and recycled rumours," Ottawa Citizen columnist Susan Riley observed on Friday. 

And Shane Doan's reputation is the latest in a series of reputations to be tossed about with little care by MPs with an agenda. 

It ranks up there with the Warren Kinsella-David Herle face off and the Myriam Bedard spectacle before the Public Accounts committee as a low point.

The primary difference is this time it was the MPs doing most of the reputation smearing. 

But given that the Conservatives were complicit in this thing and totally misjudged the negative consequences, don't be surprised if similar things will happen again in Ottawa in the name of politics. 

Even though Paul Martin's time in power is becoming a distant memory, the Tories are currently being accused by Liberals of conducting a witch hunt by appointing a separatist former PQ cabinet minister to probe polling contracts, including those from Martin's finance department to Earnscliffe. 

In the case of Doan, this time the politicians got caught playing their games by an angry public. If not, who knows, Harper could have ended up appointing a separatist to probe Hockey Canada and Doan if it would help his polling numbers. 

The Legislative Update is posted every Friday afternoon when the House is sitting. To stay informed on all the political events read PoliticsWatch's  Morning Briefing updated at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday to Friday and the Daily Agenda updated at 6:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday.
  
______________


The House will deal with the following next week


Monday

Bill C-43, Senate consultation

Tuesday and Thursday

Opposition Days


____________________

Committee Highlights

Monday

> More RCMP officials testify at the public accounts committee's study of the RCMP pension scandal.  

> Health Minister Tony Clement appears before the health committee

Tuesday

> The Commons heritage committee continues its study of the role of the public broadcaster in the 21st century when Auditor General Sheila Fraser appears to discuss a special report she conducted for the CBC's board of directors.  

Wednesday

> Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn appears before the Commons natural resources committee. 

Thursday 

> The Commons heritage committee continues its study of the role of the public broadcaster in the 21st century when Industry Canada officials appear. 


> Full Schedule


____________________

Bills the Tories have tabled in this Parliament 

C-2 An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability

Status: Royal Assent December 12

This is better known the Federal Accountability Act, which a number of new measures and a massive list of amendments to current laws aimed at cleaning up government. The bill is the government's No. 1 priority.

C-3 An Act respecting international bridges and tunnels and making a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Royal Assent February 1, 2007

C-4 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-5 An Act respecting the establishment of the Public Health Agency of Canada and amending certain Acts

Status: Royal Assent December 12

C-6 An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Referred to transport committee November 7

C-7 An Act to amend the National Defence Act

Status: Introduced April 27

C-8 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2007

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-9 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conditional sentence of imprisonment)

Status: Passed in the House November 3

C-10 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Report stage May 3, 2007

C-11 An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Passed in the House February 28, 2007

C-12 An Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts

Status: Passed in the House December 11

C-13 An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006

Status: Royal Assent June 22

This is the budget implementation bill. The bill was accidentally given unanimous consent in the House on third reading when none of the opposition parties objected after confusion over who would speak to the bill.

C-14 An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption)

Status: Referred to citizenship and immigration committee June 13

This bill makes it easier for parents to obtain citizenship for children they adopt from overseas.

C-15 An Act to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

Status: Royal Assent June 22

C-16 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act

Status: Royal Assent May 3, 2007

C-17 An Act to amend the Judges Act and certain other Acts in relation to courts

Status: Royal Assent December 14

This bill sets salaries for federally-appointed judges at a lower rate than that recommended by an independent panel. The panel wanted 10.8 per cent increase plus cost of living. The government is offering 7.25 per cent in the bill plus cost of living.

C-18 An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to DNA identification

Status: Passed in the House March 28, 2007

C-19 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Status: Royal Assent December 14

This bill toughens punitive measures against convicted street racers. 

C-20 An Act respecting airports, airport authorities and other airport operators and amending the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act

Status: Introduced June 15

C-21 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (non-registration of firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted)

Status: Introduced June 19

This bill we effectively kill the long-arm registry.

C-22 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (age of protection) and to make consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act

Status: Passed in the House May 4, 2007

C-23 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal procedure, language of the accused, sentencing and other amendments)

Status: Referred to the Justice committee October 16

C-24 An Act to impose a charge on the export of certain softwood lumber products to the United States and a charge on refunds of certain duty deposits paid to the United States, to authorize certain payments, to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and to amend other Acts as a consequence

Status:
Royal Assent December 14

This is the implementation legislation for the softwood lumber deal with the U.S. 

C-25 An Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Income Tax Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status:
Royal Assent December 14

This bill toughens money laundering and terror financing laws and would give the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada the power to monitor money wiring and travellers cheques services. 

C-26 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate)

Status:
Royal Assent, May 3, 2007


C-27 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (dangerous offenders and recognizance to keep the peace)

Status:
Second reading, February 14, 2007

This bill places the onus on three time sexual and violent offenders to prove to the Crown they are not deserving of dangerous offender status.

C-28 A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006 

Status:
Royal Assent February 21, 2007


C-29 An Act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act 

Status:
Referred to legislative committee May 4, 2007


C-30 An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada's Clean Air Act) 

Status:
Returned from the special legislative committee with amendments on March 30, 2007.


C-31 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act

Status:
Passed in the House February 20, 2007

This bill will require voters to present photo ID at polling stations. 

C-32 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status:
Referred to the justice committee February 6, 2007

This bill will impose penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence of drugs 

C-33 An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, including amendments in relation to foreign investment entities and non-resident trusts, and to provide for the bijural expression of the provisions of that Act 

Status:
Second Reading March 29, 2007


C-34 An Act to provide for jurisdiction over education on First Nation lands in British Columbia

Status:
Royal Assent December 12


C-35 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (reverse onus in bail hearings for firearm-related offences) 

Status:
Referred to special legislative committee, March 27, 2007

This bill requires those charged with gun crimes prove why they should be granted bail before trial.

C-36 An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act 

Status:
Royal Assent May 3, 2007


C-37 An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters

Status:
Royal Assent March 29, 2007

This bill, among other things, lowers the legal minimum mortgage downpayment consumers have to make on a home.

C-38 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 2, 2006-2007) 

Status:
Royal Assent December 12

Main estimates

C-39 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 3, 2006-2007)

Status:
Royal Assent December 12

Supplementary estimates

C-40 An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and to make related amendments to other Acts 

Status:
Third reading, April 25, 2007

C-41 An Act to amend the Competition Act 

Status:
Second Reading February 27

C-42 An Act to amend the Quarantine Act 

Status:
Referred to the Health committee March 29

C-43 An Act to provide for consultations with electors on their preferences for appointments to the Senate

Status:
Second reading April 20, 2007

This bill will allow for Elections Canada to hold votes to select candidates to fill Senate vacancies in province-wide races.

C-44 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act

Status:
Sent to aboriginal affairs committee February 21, 2007

This law will remove a controversial section of the act that provides an exemption for aboriginal Canadians. 

C-45 An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries

Status:
Second Reading February 23, 2007

C-46 — The Minister of Labour — An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations 

Status:
Royal Assent April 18, 2007

This bill was designed to end the labour dispute at CN Rail. 

C-47 The Minister of Industry — An Act respecting the protection of marks related to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and protection against certain misleading business associations and making a related amendment to the Trade-marks Act 

Status:
Introduced March 2, 2007

C-48 — The Minister of Justice — An Act to amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption 

Passed in the House April 30, 2007 

C-49 — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 4, 2006-2007) 

Royal Assent March 29, 2007

C-50 — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2008 (Appropriation Act No. 1, 2007-2008) 

Royal Assent March 29, 2007

C-51 — The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development — An Act to give effect to the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and to make a consequential amendment to another Act 

Introduced March 22, 2007 

C-52 — The Minister of Finance — An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007 

Second Reading March 30, 2007 

This is the budget implementation bill. 

C-53 — The Minister of Foreign Affairs — An Act to implement the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) 

Introduced March 30, 2007 

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