We tried our best to make this week’s edition of Open Sources Guelph an all-Canadian affair, and there’s so much to talk about this week in terms of Canadian politics as well, but as last week proved, the best laid plans.... Parliament was back in session and there are about four or five number one priorities before the Trudeau government right off the bat, but it's doubtful that one of those priorities wasn’t torture, however a lawsuit on that issue is proceeding just the same. Also proceeding are protests south of the border against an oil pipeline in North Dakota, which is another whole legal mess brewing. And finally, we’ll talk about civility, or a lack thereof, from our elected politicians.
This Thursday, September 22, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:
1) Return of the Fed-i. It was back to work for the House of Commons this week as Members of Parliament returned to Ottawa after a summer of engagement and barbeques with constituents. There’s a whole lot of work in front of the federal government this fall including a sputtering economy, a new carbon tax, electoral reform, and ongoing issues with resettling refugees and proposed new tours for Canadian peacekeepers. Despite their own internal dysfunctions, the opposition parties were ready to pounce, and with Justin Trudeau and Co. coming up on one year in power, the criticism’s only going to get louder. (More on that later.) We’ll talk about how the first week of school went for our elected officials.
2) Torture Scorn. $100 million can buy a lot of things, but it won’t likely buy forgiveness from Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin for being tortured by Canadian security agencies in Syria to the point of confessing to ridiculous charges like being Osama bin Laden's "left-hand man” or plotting to blow up Parliament Hill. A lot attention’s raised lately about how provisions of Bill C-51 are still in place, but an order issued by former public safety minister Vic Toews in 2009 allowing law enforcement agencies to act on intelligence gathered from torturing suspects is still in effect. Is it time for Canada to turn over the rock and look at our own torture ugliness underneath?
3) Take This Pipe and Smoke It. While there are pipeline issues up here in Canada, First Nations people in North Dakota are in the midst of their own fierce anti-pipeline protest. The Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, N.D. has been challenged by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who argue that the $3.8 billion project poses a threat to local water supplies and endangers sites that are sacred to the community, and while federal agencies have stepped in to put a pause on construction, the protest is far from over. Can the demands of the pipeline be reconciled with the concerns of the Sioux, and are we looking into a dark mirror for our own pipeline future?
4) Back to the Sewer? Yes, Parliament is back this week, but what about the behaviour of Parliamentarians, did their summer off let them get it out of their system, or are they going to be as bad as they want to be? In a CBC article, Eric Grenier looked at House Speaker Geoff Regan’s attempt to keep servility in play in the House, not an easy task given "Shovegate" in the spring, but Grenier discovered something interesting: 100 per cent of the MPs reprimanded by Regan were men, and 32 per cent of the MPs being heckled were women. Heckling is a tradition in the House, but is it getting over the top, and maybe, a little sexist?
Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.