There were a few interesting talking points unveiled during Thursday’s Question Period, and if the rule of thumb is three times makes it a trend, then today may be what makes it official.
From the Liberals, they’ve come out swinging against the new Conservative meme of “Ignatieff wants to raise taxes!” To that end, they now spend one of their questions to enumerate all the ways in which the Conservatives raised taxes so far in their time in office – from raising the personal income tax rate (only to then drop it back to the previous level and calling it a “tax cut”), to their decision to tax income trusts, they’re certainly trying to give it as good as they’re getting it.
As for the Conservatives, they’ve introduced a new retcon into their talking points, which began when Harper came back on Wednesday. This particular retcon is their assertion that they run surpluses in the good times in order to be able to afford to intervene in the bad times. Wait, huh? This from the party that used to declare that surpluses were immoral because it meant that Canadians were being “over-taxed?” And the same party who loathes government intervention (unless of course it is to ban same-sex marriage)? Now they’re all for both? Since when?
And if the meme against the Liberals is currently that they want to raise taxes, then the new Conservative meme against the Bloc is that they are now soft on child trafficking. No, seriously. Yesterday, a Conservative Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years), passed Second Reading with all parties except the Bloc voting for it. And so yesterday, no matter what the Bloc stood up to say, the new response from the government was that the Bloc didn’t care about children, so why did that particular issue matter either.
Yes, this is the level to which debate has sunk.
The Liberals have also started picking up on the theme of credit card fees, which used to be an almost exclusive NDP hobbyhorse. That was also the subject of the NDP’s opposition day motion, which the Liberals were supporting in spirit, even if they had some problems with the particulars (as the NDP apparently were adopting a years-old piece of draft American legislation, calling it Obama-certified, and saying we should run with it, even though the situation with our banks is vastly different).
But perhaps the biggest sign of just how low the debate sunk was the scandal that NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus uncovered, about how the Canadian flag pins sold in the Parliamentary gift shop were made in China! That’s right – politics is once again reduced to flag pins. The Treasury Board President said he’d look into the matter, and in the supplemental, the Heritage Minister said that the Parliamentary gift shop is the domain of the Speaker and the Board of Internal Economy. The Speaker, incidentally, warned Angus against the use of props in the House, as Angus angrily waved a bag full of the pins around during his question.
Sartorial snaps go out again to Lisa Raitt, for the pale green linen jacket she was wearing, over the white linen trousers. By George, I think she’s finally kicked that habit of unflattering, boxy jackets and is well on her way to style maven-dom. In the curious category was Bloc MP Nicole Demers’ gold lamé jacket (I kid you not), but the style citation goes to Liberal MP Anita Neville, who wore a terribly unflattering white-trimmed mustard-coloured twin-set. It especially looked bad when seen next to Marlene Jennings’ orange leather jacket. And what was habitual offender Megan Leslie wearing? A smart light grey pantsuit – with shiny teal-green shoes. *sighs*