Prisons, propaganda and a pastor: Politics on TV: Thursday, Oct. 11 edition

Who said what on Thursday's political shows

Message of the day

“This is clearly a Harper propaganda campaign.”

Questions not answered

  • How will the government respond to the rise in self-harm and suicide attempts in prisons?


Power & Politics featured an exclusive report that shows self-harm and suicide attempts in prisons have tripled, especially in regions where overcrowding is an issue. Evan Solomon spoke to Pierre Poilievre, who said the government is taking action on mental health issues and ensuring new prisoners receive a psychological assessment within 90 days of arrival. John McKay called the results the logical outcome of the government’s “tough on crime” policies. Jack Harris said that access to programming in prisons is at an all-time low and he accused the government of mismanaging the file.

Government advertising:

In the wake of that Canadian Press article on the government’s $64-million advertising budget, Evan Solomon spoke to an MP panel consisting of Andrew Saxton, Linda Duncan and Wayne Easter. Saxton said it’s important for people to know what programs are available. He added that at least the government’s spending is going to advertising rather than to lining the pockets of their friends, à la sponsorship scandal. Duncan said this advertising was not necessarily like awareness ads for H1N1 vaccinations. Easter noted that if you go to the EAP website, everything starts with “The Harper government…” and that the figures it presents are not necessarily fact.

Tainted meat:

On Power & Politics, Hannah Thibedeau reported that XL Foods will be allowed a limited restart but no meat will leave the plant until CFIA is confident everything is safe. Two additional CFIA inspectors will be deployed to the plant. Alberta premier Alison Redford has rejected the call for a public inquiry.

Over on Power Play, Peggy Nash said Parliament must get to the bottom of how cuts are affecting food safety. John McCallum said the plant lacks a culture of safety, and that if there’s not enough inspectors, he’s not confident they’ll be able to resolve the issue. Andrew Saxton trotted out the “700 new inspectors” talking point.

Economic imbalance:

Don Martin spoke to former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge about the “tilt” in the economy between manufacturing and resource extraction. Dodge said the government could stabilize the tilt. For example, Dodge said an east-west pipeline would bring western oil prices to the east (which is currently paying world prices) and provide processing opportunities. He noted that once the oil reaches tidewater, it’s just as cheap to ship it to Asia from the East as it is from the West.

Free speech:

With Pastor Terry Jones barred from Canada (because of his criminal record for disturbing the peace), Evan Solomon spoke to his would-be debate partner. Imam Steve Rockwell said Jones should explain to the world why he burned the Qur’an. Rockwell added that if Jones is unable to come to Canada, he will go to Florida to debate.

Harper’s trip to Sengal:

CTV correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian reported that Harper was briefed about security concerns in the region — food shortages and instability that can be a ripe recruitment ground for terrorist groups. The CBC’s Terry Milewski said Harper was touting new educational funding for vocational training. Harper heads to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday.

Mexican ambassador:

Don Martin spoke to Mexican Ambassador Francisco Javier Barrio Terrazas. Terrazas said trade between Canada and Mexico is on track for $40 billion this year from $20 billion five years ago. He noted that students and business people are avoiding Canada because of visa requirements, which are influencing tourism. Terrazas also offered a fun bit of trivia: In 2003, Canada imported 25,000 litres of tequila per year. Last year, it was almost 2½ million litres.

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