Harper loosens the leash
There is a link, of sorts, between various political news events this week -- ministerial discretion.
Industry Minister Jim Prentice is being applauded for using his discretion to block the sale of Radarsat-2 to an American firm.
But Immigration Minister Diane Finley is under fire for an attempt to gain more powers of discretion over who gets to stay in Canada.
And there was a star-studded event on Parliament Hill today, in which celebrities denounced plans to give the Heritage Minister more discretion over financing of Canadian films.
What do the three stories have in common? They're all about ministers using their power -- for good or ill, depending on your point of view.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has never been accused of leaving his ministers on a long leash. So this is an interesting, even ironic trend. And it corresponds with what seems to be a slight increase in cabinet ministers making public appearances.
One of the most notable was Defence Minister Peter MacKay, doing a lengthy appearance on CBC TV's The National this week, taking and answering questions from the public.
Given how much this government has tried to give CBC the back of its hand, making clear its favouritism for CTV, this was definitely a break in the normal protocol. Does it all point to Harper trusting his cabinet more these days?
Update: Chantal Hébert sees ministers on the loose too, and calls it the "Bob Rae" effect - a bid to match the Liberals' team talk with a Conservative A-squad.