This week, join Martin Stringer and his journalists guests Louise Elliott, parliamentary reporter for CBC Radio, and John Geddes, Ottawa bureau chief for Maclean’s.
1. The Crisis in Attawapiskat:
The country’s attention is focused on the northern Ontario First Nations community of 1,800, which declared a state of emergency a month ago, faced with sub-zero temperatures and scores of residents living in tents and uninsulated shacks and trailers.
While the Canadian Red Cross dispatched emergency aid of heaters, blankets and sleeping bags to the community, in Ottawa a political firestorm erupted.
The opposition parties call the situation a national disgrace. The Harper government says it’s not happy about how $90 million transferred to the community were spent, and has called in third-party management of the band’s finances.
• What should we make of it all?
• What about the government’s handling of the whole matter?
• What about the larger issue of living conditions facing native communities across the country?
2. Thumbs Down on Kyoto?
The COP17 United Nations meeting on climate change has started in Durban. Environment minister Peter Kent is headed to South Africa for meetings next week amidst reports Canada is preparing to announce it will withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.
The government has neither confirmed nor denied those reports, but Kent says “Kyoto is in the past.”
• What IS the Canadian position?
• What about reports Canada is actively lobbying other countries to scrap efforts to launch the second round of Kyoto?
• Is this all any surprise? What does it mean for the global climate?
• Politically, how is it all playing out?
3. Search and Rescue for the Defence Minister:
Newly-released Defence Department e-mails seem to contradict Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s argument that he was being given a search-and-rescue demonstration when he used a military Cormorant helicopter to shuttle him from a Newfoundland fishing camp to a government Challenger jet, which then took him to a political event.
• Is the minister in troubled waters?
• Who will come to his rescue?
4. Crime bill stumbles:
As the government rapidly passed its massive omnibus crime bill through another stage in the House of Commons this week, a series of amendments it wanted to have included in the bill were found by the Speaker of the House of Commons to be out of order..
• What happened?
• Any lessons to be learned here?
Also, Martin speaks with South Africa’s High Commissioner to Canada, Mohau Pheko, about the U.N. summit on climate change in Durban. What should we expect out of it? And, speaking on behalf of the host country, what role does she see Canada playing at the negotiations?
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.