Parliament as victim…

    Feb 26, 2015

 CBC News – Chris Hall
In the Conservative war on terror, the first casualty is Parliament – Public approval still no substitute for public scrutiny 

C-51 or the anti-terrorist bill has passed its second reading in the House after forced closure of the debate.  Now it goes to the Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security, likewise anticipated to a brief stop – three days of expert testimony – en route to passage before the House shuts down in June.  In the article, CBC News National Affairs Editor offers his assessment of the haste.   Related article: Toronto Star – Editorial (Feb. 26, 2015)   Parliament should give Harper’s flawed anti-terror bill the scrutiny it merits   Related article: Toronto Star  – Haroon Siddiqui    Being stupid in the endless war on terrorism

 National Newswatch – Michael Tutton, Canadian Press
New Canadian jail looks at ways of keeping out drug drones flying overhead

Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility opened on Feb. 8 and authorities are now looking for ways to detect the over flight of drones capable of dropping drugs and other contraband into the prison from the air.  The 100 cell prison wants its own drones and some sort of detection system.  The detection systems are mostly available from private companies.

Globe and Mail – Ian Simpson
Legal marijuana possession arrives in D.C. amid wrangle with Congress

Possession of small amounts of marijuana – up to two ounces or six plants –  in Washington, DC, became legal today after a considerable wangle between local officials and the US Congress.  Initiative 71, a public plebiscite, passed with 65% favourable vote.  Though the sale of marijuana is still illegal, you can transfer up to an ounce.   Washington state, Alaska and Colorado now with the Capital Region permit the use and sale of marijuana.   Related article: CBC News – Meagan Fitzpatrick   Marijuana legalization off to messy start in Washington

 Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Coyne, National Post
No point pretending the Reform Act can revive Canada’s Pretend Parliament 

Coyne is commenting on the private member’s bill proposed by Michael Chong – The Reform Act, calculated to return power to the individual MP in the government process.  The bill initially attempted “to remove the legal requirement that every candidate for every party be approved by the party leader before he can stand for office; set out the terms and procedures under which a caucus might vote to remove the leader; and grant to members of caucus alone the power to expel or readmit a member from their midst.”  Though the bill passed its third reading, it has been gutted, thinks Coyne, to the point of futility in its reform agenda.  Related article: Ottawa Citizen –   Dylan Robertson, Ottawa Citizen    Michael Chong’s Reform Act wins Commons approval

Toronto Star – Robin Levinson King
Trans rights bill amendment would bar trans people from public washrooms 

Bill C-279 seeks to add transgendered rights to the Human Rights Acts.  The Bill has been in the Senate for almost two years and critics think that the Senate wants to send the bill back to the Commons by delays until the next election.  Senator Donald Plett, a former President of the Conservative Party, has proposed that the legislation be amended “to exclude federal “sex-specific” facilities like crisis facilities, washrooms, changing rooms and correctional facilities.”