Join Martin Stringer and his journalist guests: David Akin, national bureau chief for Sun Media, and Susan Lunn, parliamentary reporter for CBC Radio.
1. The Speaker Rules:
House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken handed down two rulings Thursday. Both found a prima facie case of breached privilege against MPs.
First, he found the government had not made available complete information about the costs of its jet fighter purchase plans, its corporate tax cuts, and its numerous crime bills. In the second. he found International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda had left contradictory impressions in her explanations of an altered document to cancel funding for the international aid group KAIROS.
* How serious are these findings?
* Where does it all go next?
* What are the possible outcomes?
2. Costing the Fighters:
Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page also released a report this week that concludes the Harper government’s proposed purchase of 65 new F-35 stealth jet fighters would cost at least $11 billion more than the estimated price tag of $16 to $18 billion. The government contests his figures.
* How damaging is the PBO report?
3. Election, What Election?
* Are we headed for a spring election, triggered by the budget in two week’s time?
* Or might it be triggered by a standalone confidence vote, tabled by the Liberals?
* What are the different parties strategies?
* Can an election be avoided?
Also, Martin speaks with Conservative MP Michael Chong about his Private Member’s Motion M-517. Passed by the House of Commons last June, it aims at making reforms to Question Period. Chong hopes to make the daily “QP” more democratic, civilized, meaningful and responsive to Canadians and their MPs.
* Has the bill stalled?
* Will we ever see meaningful reform to the most public part of parliamentary life – both revered and reviled by Canadians?
Having covered the Canadian political scene for more than 25 years, Martin is as politically astute as he is savvy. He joined CPAC in 1996 and has covered leadership races, political conventions and federal elections, serving as PrimeTime Politics’ Hill correspondent daily and host of the show’s Friday edition. Martin began his career as a reporter for CBC Radio in Quebec City and also worked for seven years as national and international producer for CBC Radio’s flagship show, As It Happens.