Today on our Wednesdays with @Kady live chat:- Last week, the words "mission creep" started finding their way into opposition talking points, after military leaders disclosing not just one but now three occasions where Canadian Forces on the ground "training" Iraqi soldiers have had to return fire in defence against ISIS fighters. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has expressed his pride in this work, saying more than once that Canadian soldiers will shoot to kill when confronted by the enemy. And yet other allies (including the U.S. and the U.K.) doing similar work training Iraqis on the ground are not disclosing any firefights they've been in — only Canada. What's driving all this?
- Two pieces of anti-terrorism legislation are topping the Commons agenda as MPs return: a bill introduced last fall to give CSIS more powers is set for time allocation as the government seeks to speed its passage, while a new bill will be introduced Friday, the Harper government says, to give police and security forces more powers for surveillance and preventative detention of terror suspects. How essential are the new powers? Has the government found the right balance between Canadians' rights and security? Should the latest revealations from the Snowden document leak about Canadian surveillance activities give legislators pause?
- Since MPs last gathered, world oil prices and the Canadian dollar have taken a synchronized dive. Finance Minister Joe Oliver postponed the federal budget until at least April, as non-synchronized messaging emerged from the Harper cabinet and caucus room about whether program spending should be cut or the $3 billion contingency fund be drawn, in an effort to keep the Conservatives' balanced budget promises. What do you make of the Tories' messaging and response to the fast-changing fiscal circumstances they now find themselves in, with only months to go before the next election?
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