ITQ Committee Lookahead Thingy – Update for Thursday, May 1, 2008

It’s back to PAC for the ITQ liveblogger, who is apparently unable to resist the lure of its siren song.

On the agenda today: the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which sprung, fully formed, from the forehead of then-Treasury Minister John Baird during the making of the Federal Accountability (in Theory) Act. Unfortunately, nobody – not even the government – seems to know what, exactly, what this strange and marvellous creature – who, for your files, is named Kevin Page, and seems to operate under the aegis of the Library of Parliament – will actually do, now that we’ve got him.

Over in West Block, Kai Eide, the newly appointed United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, meets with members of the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission. In an interview with Voice of America earlier this week, Eide called for more cooperation amongst NATO partners, and better coordination of aid delivery – but insisted that the Afghan government must take the lead role, putting him somewhat at odds with the recommendations of the Manley Report, and, by extension, current Canadian policy.

The international community can never play a leading
role in this respect,” he told VOA.”As with the military campaign, it is not the
internationals who will win the hearts and minds of Afghans. It is the
Afghans themselves. That we must understand and I am not sure it is
fully understood everywhere.” It’s a position that should make for a fascinating discussion, particularly if the government hasn’t done its homework on Eide, and has prepared its members’ talking points on the assumption that he supports the three-D approach – diplomacy, development and defence – that represents the government’s best chance to maintain even the current level of popular support for the mission in Canada.

Other notes:

In what can only be seen as a brazen attempt to pander to the Inkless demographic, the Industry committee continues its examination of the state of Canadian science and technology, including – yes, Colleague Wells – research and development. Dare we hope for a guest liveblogging? (No, probably not, but we can dream.)

Hey, wasn’t it just last week that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was hauled before Official Languages to explain how they screwed up the broadcast of the Canadian Music Awards, right around the same time that another committee was putting the finishing touches on its report on the future of public broadcasting in Canada? Well, they’re back.

The Ethics committee – which, now that the Mulroney hearings are over, we should probably go back to calling the Privacy committee – will find out whether Treasury Board Chief Information Officer Ken Cochrane shares its members’ view that the current Privacy Act is in need of reform

Hmm, three opposition motions at the Agriculture committee? That could be interesting. Our bet: Revenge of the Wheat Board, and maybe tobacco farmers, too.

Look, francophones and other minority language communities! At Official Languages! Who would have thought this day would come? And, in a related bulletin from the Department of When Committee Worlds Collide, the Official Languages Commissioner is over at Status of Women discussing – oh, come on, do I really have to tell you? – gender budgets.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.