Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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INSIDE POLITICS I
Afghan detainee issue only piece of larger problematic puzzle for Harper

There's a disturbing pattern of a government that would rather blindfold its critics and keep Canadians guessing as to its actions than be accountable for them.


  
House Speaker's decision on Afghan documents to test Parliament's wil

PM Stephen Harper would not be Prime Minister if he was not adept at playing all the angles to his advantage and the latest Parliamentary test of wills has the potential makings of a Conservative electoral opportunity.


  
Environment major area where voters part ways with Conservative government

Indeed, a case can be made that a persistent Conservative blind spot to the environment has done more to lead the party to a minority dead end in Quebec and elsewhere than clumsy marketing


  
You call that recalibration?

A week after the return of Parliament, the Conservatives and the Liberals remain more or less deadlocked in voting intentions, with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois in a holding pattern.


  
Harper's running on a public opinion treadmill

Like a plant whose buds fail to open, his government is consistently failing to thrive in the polls. It could be that the Conservative party was uprooted from opposition too quickly for its own good.


  
Duceppe scrambles to avoid head-on collision with Bouchard

It is too early to tell whether Lucien Bouchard's public tiff with the PQ is just a one-off from a bored political retiree or the embryo of a game-changer for Quebec politics.


  
Conservative elected Senate promise a poison pill for Parliamentary democracy

With a Senate opposition majority bolstered by electoral victories, the risks of legislative gridlock between the two Houses of Parliament would be increased rather than the opposite.


  
Politicians have been making promises on child care for more than a quarter century

Watching Michael Ignatieff these days is like watching a movie rerun, in the dubious expectation of a different ending.


  
Cabinet shuffle did not justify closing

With the main players at Finance, Environment, Foreign Affairs and Defence, all staying put, the ripple effect of the makeover will be localized rather than widespread


  
Life's gone out of federal politics in Quebec

The result is an environment that is almost completely devoid of passion about and faith in the conventional political process.


  
For the first time, serious ministerial damage extends deep inside first tier of Harper's Cabinet

At the same time, the bills the government ran up to deal with the recession are about to come in.


  
Government losing credibility battle on Afghan detainees

While the current Prime Minister has a well-deserved reputation for pushing back aggressively when under attack, Stephen Harper has—in this—been empowered by a weak-kneed Liberal opposition.


  
Afghan torture probe about to run on empty

To all intents and purposes, an opposition-controlled Parliamentary investigation has been successfully hijacked by the government's spin doctors.


  
Hard to believe Harper, ministers left out of loop on Afghan file

Richard Colvin, among others, was supposed to be their eyes and ears in Afghanistan.


  
Federal Conservative party is no longer radioactive in Quebec

That's the main message from last week's byelection foursome. As a result, it is no longer a given that Quebecers will again stand in the way of a Conservative majority in the next general election.


  
Unanimous House motion on Quebec immigrants does not change substance of debate

But in the future, the competing aspirations of Quebec francophones are more likely to erode the consensus that underlies Bill 101 than the House of Commons or even the Supreme Court.


  
Federal Liberal playbook on Quebec out of date

Michael Ignatieff has so far demonstrated no capacity to rewrite it on his own. Filling the Quebec intellectual vacuum at the top of the Liberal pyramid should be an absolute priority.


  
PM seeks Supreme Court's advice on constitutionality of plan to create national securities regulator

This reference comes at a time when sovereignty has been steadily running out of steam; it will be a test of the recent resilience of federalism in Quebec.


  
Ignatieff may not have dodged election bullet

It does not mean Conservative strategists will be burning the midnight oil to engineer their own defeat, but it does mean Stephen Harper has no cause to bend over backward to avoid an election


  

Parliamentary Calendar
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
A preview of Parliamentary precinct renos March 30, 2015

Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist's rendering of what the outside of the Sir John A. Macdonald building will look like when construction is complete. A new addition has been built, connected to the main heritage space by a glass atrium. Public Works says work wraps up this month, aside from a few finishing touches.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A cut-away view at the glass-walled atrium that will connect the historic Sir John A. Macdonald building space, formerly the Old Bank of Montreal building, to its annex addition.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist's rendering of the interior of the Sir John A. Macdonald building's historic space, which used to house bank tellers and will soon host special Parliamentary events.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A look at the multi-purpose room space that will be located in the new addition to the Sir John A. Macdonald building.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A digital overhead shot of the West Block as it will look after construction. The building’s courtyard is topped by a glass-domed roof.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
The temporary House Chamber will be in an infill inside West Block’s courtyard, but MPs will be able to access the space without stepping outside, as the entire courtyard will be topped with a glass-domed roof.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist’s rendering of the inside of the temporary House Chamber to be located in West Block’s courtyard.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A rendering of a lobby area to be located near the West Block’s temporary House Chamber.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
The House of Commons is set to add 30 new MPs after this year's election, meaning 30 new seats are needed in the Chamber. Pictured is a prototype of the new seating arrangement, which will be installed in the current Chamber after this year's election. West Block's temporary House Chamber will accommodate all 338 MPs.
Photograph by Public Works
A prototype of the new seating arrangement was set up in the House Chamber last year for some MPs to test out. Having theatre-style seats in the back two rows of the Chamber will allow 30 more MPs to sit in the current House Chamber.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A blueprint of plans for the West Block, including the temporary House Chamber, which will be converted to committee space when renovations to Centre Block are complete. Workers have to dig down about two storeys to build up a foundation to support this new addition.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
West Block will have fully renovated committee rooms once complete, similar in appearance to this rendering.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A view of part of the Wellington Building’s lobby, set to include a green wall.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist’s drawing of a common space to be located in the Wellington Building.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An example of what the Wellington Building’s committee rooms will look like, of which there will be 10 total.

MICHAEL DE ADDER'S TAKE