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August 2017

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I came home from work today with an Amazon delivery at my door. There were two items actually, one is a birthday present for Meganne (which immediately triggered the "oh my gawd, what I am going to do about her birthday in two days" fear, more on that later) and the second was a book that I totally forgot that I had ordered. The Constitution in a Hall of Mirrors: Canada At 150 by David E. Smith. This will be the third book of Smith's that I own, each one (and I am sure that this one will be no exception) has earned a special place on my bookshelf; no one writes about the Canadian parliament like Professor Smith!

I just finished the forward and had to share the last paragraphs in it because I think it is a beautiful way to open a book on the Canadian constitution:

In April 1660, as he was about to depart France, where for nearly a decade he had sought refuge during the Interregnum, Charles II proclaimed his faith in parliamentary government. A wise commitment in light of past events, the king's pronouncement signalled more than self-interest, for it acknowledged the central importance of the Crown and Parliament-- even more, the Crown-in-Parliament-- to the future governing of the United Kingdom and, as was to transpire, the settler colonies, including Canada. "We do assure you ... that none of our predecessors have had a greater esteem of parliaments than we have ... we do believe them to be so vital a part of the constitution of the kingdom and so necessary for the government of it that we ever know neither prince nor people can be in any tolerable degree happy without them."

Echoing that royal testament, I have dedicated this book to senators and members of Parliament, upon whose support and service the people of Canada depend in the era of politics now unfolding.

British Parliament

Thursday, 17 August 2017 04:21 pm
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This clip from a session of the House of Commons back in 2013 in which Rory Stewart and Jacob Rees-Mogg debate human rights makes me super jealous of the Mother Parliament. Canadian parliament cannot hold a candle to this level of debate and civility. It is an awesome debate as well, certainly worth a watch.

Status of Legislation I

Saturday, 13 May 2017 11:57 pm
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42nd Parliament, 1st Session
29th Canadian Ministry | 3 December 2015 - Present

Click the links for LEGISinfo page for each piece of proposed legislation. 
Information is current as of 14 May 2017.

StageGovernment BillsOther Bills
Senate Pre-study
At Second Reading
Consideration in Committee
Consideration of Committee Report  
At Third Reading

House of Commons
StageGovernment BillsOther Bills
Senate Bills Awaiting First Reading 
At Second Reading
Consideration in Committee
At Report Stage
At Third Reading 
Consideration of Amendments made by the Senate

Awaiting Royal Assent
Author's note: this is a copy of a letter that was sent to the Kellie Leitch campaign after I received a package in the mail from them with a colourful (and smelly) brochure covered in Leitch's terrible positions on made-up issues. Enjoy.

Dear Dr. Kellie Leitch:

I would first like to thank you for sending me your recent mail-out. How you received my address is actually a mystery to me because I joined the Conservative party through a completely different candidate than yourself. At any rate, I am actually grateful because your package included this pre-paid postage envelop which allowed me to send this letter to you with no cost to myself.

I find everything about your leadership campaign to be troubling. Not just for the Conservative party but for Canada as a whole. Your attempt to stir up discontent aimed directly at our immigration and refugees system is entirely off of the mark of what Canadians are expecting from a party seeking to be in government within the next three years. Additionally, your messaging (while being generous, may be coming from a good place) is actually a dog whistle for dangerous people who believe in extremely racist and bigoted ideas and are always on the lookout for someone in a suit to justify their terrible schemes.

As you have mentioned time and time again during the campaign, you are an educated individual and you clearly must have a reasonable head on your shoulders. However, this is not evident in the content of your campaign. It is troubling to me personally that an educated person such as yourself could even think of expressing the hateful and misinformed messages that you have done during the course of this leadership campaign. It leads me to think that either you are careerist politician who saw a window of support in tapping into these dangerous notions or you actually believe the things you say, in which case you are a terrible person.

I do not want to think that you are a terrible person-- I certainly did not believe that when you were a minister in the Harper government. I am inclined to lean toward you being a careerist politician who will do anything to gain a little support over their rivals. Even if it means tapping into violence and hate. That is a problem and for that reason I will not be supporting you in this leadership race. You are, in all honesty, fighting for the last ranking on my ballot with Brad Trost. For that, you should feel bad. A medical doctor and an effective cabinet minister going head-to-head with a soc-con loser like Trost; you did this to yourself.

Yours in conservatism,
PenlessEJ (obviously I signed with my real name)
Dear Justin Trudeau:

I get it, governing is tough. It is hard to set national priorities and to follow through to make sure that they get actioned while ensuring that Canadians feel satisfied in the government working for them. This is not new information however, you might recall that a former member of your cabinet (also a former leader of the party which you now lead) was criticised for making this observation plain during a leadership race by the then Conservative government. It might not be on point to come out and admit that your job is hard (something, something leadership) but the fact is that we all understand, it is certainly not an easy job.

Which is why we could understand why your government would not be able to advance electoral reform before the next election, we get that governing and setting priorities is tough. Look, we have a crisis developing at the national level, and the election of Donald Trump to the south of us as President of the United States should be taken as a sign that we need to take the pains of the middle class more seriously in Canada. Certainly no one would slight you for putting economic prosperity, job security and national unity above electoral reform.

But here is the rub. Rather than stand up in the House of Commons as a leader among your own peers and admit that a promise is consciously being broken you chose to blame Canadians for your own shortcomings. You chose to ignore the very poignant and informative report from a committee that you struck personally to review the issue at hand. You chose to throw not one but two junior female cabinet ministers under the bus. I personally cannot be mad at you for breaking a promise that frankly I never supported in the first place, but I can and am mad at you for continuing your path of lying and blatant disregard for the facts at hand.

The fact is, Prime Minister, that it is clear to everyone (save perhaps for those elected under your banner) that you never really wanted a consensus on electoral reform. Worse off, you never really had a plan. Leadership demands a vision, and you Sir, did not have any sort of vision for electoral reform aside from locking in an election victory under first past the post. And, to add insult to injury, you chose to put two junior female ministers in charge of a file that you never had any intention of completing, all of the while claiming to be a feminist and parading your gender balanced cabinet for all of Canada and indeed the world to see. This is low ball politics and straight up, Canadians demanded and thought that they were getting more from you.

Governments break promises. It is as sure as the sun rising and setting each day. It is hard to set national priorities and the realities of Monday are certainly not the same as Tuesday, which is why we have leadership at the federal level and have top office holders who are charged with making these tough decisions regarding the prioritization of national projects. However, governments do not have to lie. Governments do not have to create grand facades of progressiveness only to tear them down when the rubber hits the road. Your government has consistently failed to meet any sort of expectations that you yourself established during your run for leader of the Liberal Party, your election against Stephen Harper and your Throne Speech that entrenched sunny ways into the new approach. For that I and many Canadians are not just angry but disappointed, let down and disillusioned.

God save the Queen,