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Catch a Con? It's a frantic fishing season on the Ottawa River

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The walleye are running in the Ottawa River.

Just below Parliament Hill, fishermen and fisherwomen are lining the banks of the river and casting their real and artificial worms into the turbulent waters.

They hope to catch some of Canada's tastiest freshwater fish.

The spring walleye are small. One fisherman reports that they average about 15 centimeters.

That's a good thing, because the regulations require fisher-folk to throw back all walleye over 40cm. Those large fish are the good breeders and are necessary to the continued survival of the species.

If you don't know what walleye are, you might have heard of pickerel, a misnomer frequently applied to the walleye in Canada.

The true pickerel are actually small members of the pike family. Americans sometimes fish for them, but they are shunned by Canadians in the know, who consider them to be of little sport and not very good at the table.

In Quebec, both Anglos and Francos call the walleye "doré" for its gold-brown colour.

French restaurants in Montreal have been serving doré amandine for generations. It is a true local delicacy.

Chinese restaurants particularly appreciate the sweet taste of freshwater fish and none is better than the walleye. Throughout central Canada, Chinese eateries often feature doré / walleye / pickerel steamed with black bean sauce.

This is the best time of year to catch walleye in the Ottawa.

Later on, there will be only the large (illegal) ones, and when it gets warmer the only sport is offered by less sought-after species such as catfish and carp.

Frantic end-run of parliamentary season

The folks who are intensely trying to fill their creel baskets (or plastic bags) with fish are blithely unaware that there is another sort of intensity happening just up the river bank.

We're in the frantic end-run period of this parliamentary season.

With a mere four weeks left until the summer break, the government has laid on extended sittings, until midnight from Monday through Thursday, in order to push through its agenda. (One of the key items on the government's agenda is Bill C-60 -- read more on that here.) 

And even with that extra time, it continues to impose time allocation on debate at a record rate.

It is also a very intense period, politically, what with the Duffy business and the damning 'robocall' Federal Court decision. To add to the government's woes, on Monday another embattled Harper appointee, Arthur Porter, a privy council member and former head of a key CSIS watchdog, was arrested in Panama on multiple charges and now faces extradition to Canada. 

In a few days, former Guelph Conservative staffer Michael Sona's robocall-related court case will resume, and on Tuesday the Chief Electoral Officer testifies before a House Committee.

In the Senate, they're actually considering making the Committee meeting on the Duffy (and Wallin) matter open to the public.

Like Sona, it seems Duffy feels somewhat "thrown under the bus" and appears to want the public to heart what he has to say. (Does the PMO want the public to hear what he has to say? Not likely.)

It's not only walleye, or whatever you want to call these fish, getting caught in Ottawa these days. Stay tuned for the next four weeks. 

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