Handy Headlines For May 24 2006

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The CBC’s Version of the Stompin’ Tom Debacle

Music icon stomps on CBC

…Canadian musical legend Stompin’ Tom Connors is furious at the CBC, accusing the broadcaster of snubbing his new musical special.

…He estimates that he’s out $200,000 after producing a special he said the network wanted.

…The show was submitted earlier this year. Edwards said he went through weeks of runaround before finally being told the CBC was going to pass.

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Premier repays a favour

…Greg Sorbara helped to make Dalton McGuinty premier in 2003.

…Yesterday, McGuinty repaid the favour.

…Sorbara — a key architect of the Liberals’ landslide victory and the man who recruited their candidates, raised their money and coined their winning slogan “choose change” — defied pundits and political opponents by returning to cabinet as finance minister.

…Despite being written off by some after he was forced to resign on Oct. 11, 2005, when he was named in the search warrant used by the RCMP in their criminal probe of Royal Group Technologies, he is again Ontario treasurer.

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How The Cabinet was Shuffled

…In one fell swoop, McGuinty brought back his most trusted lieutenant, Greg Sorbara, to cabinet for a second go-round as finance minister, and moved the well-regarded Dwight Duncan from the treasury back to the arduous post of energy minister.

…The premier also yesterday kept rookie minister Donna Cansfield in cabinet, moving her from energy to transportation. That allowed McGuinty to finally demote the weak-performing Harinder Takhar to a new job as minister of small business and entrepreneurship.

Related Story:

Reprimanded minister shuffled from transportation to small business

As consolation prizes go, former transportation minister Harinder Takhar knew he could have done a lot worse than be appointed yesterday as minister of the newly created small business and entrepreneurship portfolio.

After all, Integrity Commissioner Coulter Osborne had reprimanded the Mississauga Centre MPP earlier this year for “egregiously reckless” and “negligent” behaviour.

Takhar also had the dubious distinction of being the first cabinet minister in Ontario history to receive an official reprimand from the ethics commissioner for breaking the Members Integrity Act.

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Same-sex marriage opponents hope vote will turn tide

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s surprise decision to call a snap vote last week on extending Canada’s military commitment in Afghanistan has some people wondering: Could he do the same with his election promise to hold a vote in Parliament on whether to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage?

…Groups on both sides of the issue are devoting the bulk of their energy for now on buttonholing MPs, 63 of whom were elected for the first time in January and whose views on the issue have never been tested in a vote. There have been two receptions in the last month on Parliament Hill, sponsored by anti-gay-marriage advocates.

…Harper has not, however, breathed a public word about the issue in weeks, leaving those inside and outside government speculating about whether he wants a vote before the next election, or whether he would prefer to go to the polls with his promise still on the table.

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Opposition to fight for appointments watchdog

OTTAWA – If New Democratic Party and Liberal MPs prevail, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not get away with scrapping the public appointments commission just because opposition MPs rejected his choice as top patronage watchdog.

…MPs from both parties say they will insist on establishment of the anti-patronage commission regardless of Harper’s ‘‘fit of pique’’ after Calgary oilman Gwyn Morgan’s appointment was rejected during clause-by-clause committee consideration next month of Bill C-2, the proposed federal accountability act.

…’‘We aren’t going to let Mr. Harper unilateralally scrap this commendable idea because he couldn’t get his guy as the chair,’’ said NDP MP Pat Martin.

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