Morning buzz: What's making news the day the House was to resume
1. Will public outrage abate? Prorogation has run its course and the issue will die down, according to Ipsos-Reid president Darrell Bricker. But, he predicts, it may get a little worse for the Harper government before it gets better.
These are his findings from his firm's latest national survey. In some ways, the new Ipsos-Reid poll confirms what the EKOS poll showed last week - that Michael Ignatieff's Liberals are on the charge. While EKOS HAS the two man parties tied, the Ipsos-Reid poll has the Conservatives maintaining a tenuous lead - 34 per cent for Stephen Harper's Tories compared to 31 per cent for the Liberals, which represents a seven-point increase from their dark days in November. The Conservatives, meanwhile, have dropped three points since then.
The last survey has the NDP at 17 per cent, the Bloc at 9 per cent and the Green Party at 8 per cent.
"The reason that Tory support is dropping is because the PM is out there, by himself on a topic [prorogation]that the public associates with his worst tendencies - scheming politics," Mr. Bricker told The Globe. "We saw the same thing just before the coalition fiasco a year of so ago."
Mr. Bricker's poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between Jan. 19 and 21.
The Prime Minister's decision to shut down Parliament during the Olympic Games and come back with a Throne Speech and budget in early March has continued to dog him. Many political observers and insiders believe the government was taken off guard by the concern and anger of Canadians over this move. Indeed, the EKOS poll had found that despite the view that the government responded appropriately and quickly to the Haitian earthquake crisis, Canadians are still upset about the House not being back in session today.
But Mr. Bricker thinks that this Canadian anger will abate, which is the first good news the Tories have heard on this topic for a few week.: "The issue will die down once the agenda starts to fill up again," he says. "That's when the House gets back and we see both a budget and a [Speech from the Throne]" He says, too, that the "key to the prorogation issue is that it isn't about prorogation."
"It's about the PM playing politics," he says.
Last week, The Globe set up an audio comment feature to find out what you think about prorogation. Here's the first sample:
2. The weekend flight from Haiti. The 24 orphans who landed in Canada early yesterday morning on a humanitarian flight organized by Air Canada and the government had arrived at the Port-au-Prince airport with nothing - flimsy sleeveless shirts, flip-flops and little else. And so it's not surprising that these children were amazed with the amount of food and other items they were givenon the plane, including a knapsack, a blanket and pillow, a stuffed animal for comfort and amenity bags that include socks, an eye-mask, body lotion and a toothbrush and toothpaste.
There were heartbreaking stories about just how tightly these children held on to what they were given. Volunteer caregiver Mary O'Neill was in charge of two siblings, 10 and 9. She said that she could "barely lift" their knapsacks, so stuffed were they with items - blankets, pillows, fruit, juice boxes and in one case, three amenity kits. She gave up trying to explain to them that they didn't need to keep all the stuff. "Their life experience to day told them they most certainly would," she said this morning.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says there are about 66 other Haitian orphans whose cases have been approved. They should be arriving in Canada within the week.
3. Today's conference, questions and a fundraiser. There is much going on around the Haiti file today, including a major international conference of ministers in Montreal hosted by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending, too. At this meeting, ministers will receive an update on what is happening right now in Haiti and how aid can be better co-ordinated. The Montreal conference is also intended to lay the groundwork for a much larger meeting of world leaders on the Haitian reconstruction effort.
At 2 p.m. ET, in lieu of Question Period in the House, The Globe has invited Haiti expert Stephen Baranyi of the University of Ottawa to take your questions about the role Canada and the international community should play in helping reconstruction.
Then here in Ottawa, Hill staffers, lobbyists, consultants, journalists and MPs (presumably the Liberals and NDP who are working today despite prorogation) are holding a fundraiser for Haiti tonight - a $20 donation gets you in the door.
And while there's no George Clooney, Madonna or Nelly Furtado, the " Hill Helps Haiti" event features some Hill stars, including Liberal Justin Trudeau, the NDP's Paul Dewar, local Tory MP Royal Galipeau and Bloc MP Michel Guimond. The three co-hosts are CTV's Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife, Global National's anchor Kevin Newman and CBC radio's Ottawa Morning host Kathleen Petty.
(Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)