On Monday, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson presented the first Speech from the Throne on behalf of newly-annointed Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. Among the hilights, Clarkson announced that Martin’s government, along with pledging to conduct more free votes in House of Commons, promised to appoint a new independent ethics commissioner. In an attempt to shore up the Liberal vote in Canada’s major centres, Martin also promised billions more in funding for urban municipalities across the country.
Martin was long on promises but short on specifics, pledging more millions towards various social programs, the military, healthcare, aboriginals, and naturally, the environment (pun intended). On top of committing $3.5 billion towards cleaning up cess pools nationwide over the next 10 years, including another $500 million for the cleanup of sites such as the Sydney Tar Ponds, the Martin government also renewed their vow to implement the Kyoto Protocol in full. So much for addressing western alienation…
Kyoto here to stay
New Prime Minister Paul Martin reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to Kyoto protocols in yesterday’s throne speech. The speech also promised better funding to help commercialize technology, and support to develop foreign export markets to lessen dependence on the U.S.
“The government of Canada will respect its commitments to the Kyoto accord on climate change in a way that produces long-term and enduring results while maintaining a strong and growing economy,” Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson read from the speech.
“It will do so by developing an equitable national plan, in partnership with provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders.
“We have begun and we will persevere. And we will go beyond Kyoto to strengthen our environmental stewardship.”
Alberta and the nation’s big energy producers have previously expressed concern that Kyoto ratification will make Canada less competitive, a move that could hamper development and hinder job creation.
Today we see Prime Minister Martin pressing forward with his plan to attack the apparent democratic deficit in Canada. The most recent of his initiatives is to subject judicial nominations to some level of scrutiny by MP’s. While I think this is a great idea, I doubt in practice is will have much effect on who PM Martin actually appoints. Nor do I see this move to be welcomed by the judiciary, who I imagine enjoy (maybe enjoy is a bit strong, but certainly favour) the lack of scrutiny currently paid to these types of appointments.
MPs will vet top-court nominees, Liberal says
Ottawa â€” Judges nominated to the Supreme Court of Canada will face scrutiny from House of Commons committees, says Liberal MP Roger Gallaway, the man Prime Minister Paul Martin has placed in charge of democratic reform.
Mr. Gallaway, parliamentary secretary for democratic reform, warned Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and other sitting judges who oppose the idea to â€œremember their proper roles, one of which is to avoid comment on political or parliamentary affairs.???
Mr. Gallaway also took aim at public servants, suggesting they were dismissive of the role of MPs during the 10-year ChrÃ©tien government.
â€œMr. Martin has said in matters of policy formulation and choice he trusts the judgment of members over that of departmental officials,??? he said.
â€œThe door is now open for House members and committees to push civil servants back to their proper role of administration of the law, and not the creation of it or engaging the public in debate.???
I noticed during my ritual morning perusal of Alberta dailies on the web that the provincial Liberal Party has come to the shocking conclusion that they lack popularity amongst voters in the province.
Sparked by the imminent defection of present Liberal leader Ken Nicol to the Paul Martin team, the few who still vote Liberal in the province and admit it have been throwing around ideas about how to salvage the party from the province’s political scrap heap. Suggesting that it is mere optics that are the problem, some have suggested that a name change will be the remedy that will deliver the Liberals to the promised land.
Prehaps it isn’t finding WMD that we should be concerned with in Iraq. I suspect over the next few months we’ll see more bombs like this one,
Iraqi govt. papers: Saddam bribed Chirac
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 28 (UPI) — Documents from Saddam Hussein’s oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.
French diplomats have dismissed any suggestion their foreign policy was influenced by payments from Saddam, but some European diplomats have long suspected France’s steadfast opposition to the war was less moral than monetary.
“Oil runs thicker than blood,” is how one former ambassador put his suspicions about the French motives for opposing action against Saddam.