Maclean's: Having led the Conservative party to a majority government, with the Liberal party lying bloodied and dying at his feet, Stephen Harper saw the breadth of his domain and wept, for he had no more worlds to conquer. Twenty-four hours before Canada went to the polls, I went on BBC Radio International to explain to a very pleasant radio personality with excellent diction why Canada was having yet another election.
CBC: How can there be an almost nine-point difference in the Conservative vote between Ipsos Reid and Ekos? Or more than four points for the Greens between Ekos and Nanos, and more than five for the Liberals between Ipsos and Nanos? If the pollsters are so far apart, how can we rely on their interpretation of what is happening "out there" in the Canadian electorate?
The Globe: Somewhere out there is an Auditor-General’s report about how the Conservatives used wads of taxpayer cash for political pork instead of the G8 summit in Huntsville, Ont. That report will not be released until after the election.
CBC: Canada Votes 2011. If you missed the leaders' debate from last night, watch it here. I thought the format was quite good, allowing for some interesting one on one exchanges between Harper and Ignatieff, Layton and Ignatieff, etc. Consensus seems to be that this was not much of a game changer; judge for yourselves.
CBC: International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda's apology for ordering a Canadian International Development Agency document altered to deny Kairos federal funding has raised the profile of the organization — a long-established faith-based foreign aid agency that saw its government funding cut with the stroke of a pen. This week, the embattled minister backtracked on previous statements in which she said Toronto-based Kairos had lost its funding because the group's work no longer fit with CIDA's objectives — suggesting she was acting on her department's recommendation.
The Star: It has usually been an implicit rule of minority Parliaments that they tend to endure for as long as none of their protagonists has an obvious edge on the others. That accounts both for the relative longevity of Stephen Harper’s two minority regimes as well as the Prime Minister’s 2008 decision to take matters into his own hands in the hope of taking advantage of a weak Liberal adversary. Given that no party is on a roll in the polls, logic would dictate that one of the four leaders blink before the 40th Parliament is brought over the election brink at the time of the March budget.
The Globe: A new study ranks Canada dead last in an international comparison of freedom-of-information laws — a hard fall after many years being judged a global model in openness. The study by a pair of British academics looked at the effectiveness of freedom-of-information laws in five parliamentary democracies: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The Star: Even before he had to fend off rumours of an imminent departure from federal politics on Wednesday, Peter MacKay already had some key attributes of a lame duck minister. On a week when the top file in his department has been front and centre at home and abroad, the defence minister spent more time denying that he would soon follow Jim Prentice out of politics than manning the frontline in the debate over the follow-up to the Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan. By all accounts, MacKay was not so much missing in action as kept out of it.
The Globe: The United States’ failure to recognize the lesser culpability of juveniles, at every stage of the incarceration and trial of Canadian Omar Khadr, shows that country’s military-justice system in a poor light. The jury’s sentence of 40 years – on top of the eight Mr. Khadr already served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – takes the breath away. Mr. Khadr was, by the evidence of the U.S. justice department, no older than 11 when his parents left Canada and began raising him in the terrorist camps of al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan.
National Post: When an Ontario judge struck down three sections of the country's prostitution laws last month as unconstitutional, the reaction from Ottawa was very familiar to those with long memories. The Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, declared himself "very concerned," and federal lawyers moved swiftly to salvage the law.