While we’re dealing with budget debates (shockingly, the Liberal sub-amendment was defeated) and Harper deciding to cancel debate on the throne speech, what is the big story of the day? It's Harper's deciding to take off to Boston with his daughter to watch a hockey game. But don’t worry: he’s totally going to make a token payment back to the treasury for the equivalent cost of his flight and the tickets. It seems to me that we’ve heard this story before. It’s not the first time that Harper has taken the Challenger jet for private business. Harper usually pays a token economy-fare rate, which doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of a Challenger flight. But hey, respecting taxpayers and all of that, right?
The hackers who hit the Conservative website earlier this week did more damage than previously suspected, by pulling the lists of the party's online donors. The hackers say it was simply a hack of opportunity and that the other parties didn’t have the same vulnerability.
Here’s more about those search-and-rescue centre closures, an issue that dominated question period yesterday.
Paul Wells gets an answer to his query about what the government has already quietly claimed as cuts under the current budget: the departments can’t tell him because staff and stakeholders have yet to be told. Assuming they ever do. And so, the plot thickens again.
What’s that? Conservative MPs and senators have been meeting with shipyard lobbyists, despite the government telling them to stay away? You don’t say!
As we prepare our pullout from Kandahar province in Afghanistan, Brian Stewart looks back on the mission. He says that we were offered another province to deal with, such as Herat, but foreign affairs officials, including Conservative MP Chris Alexander, turned it down as being not big or bold enough a mission for us. Stewart says this bit of knowledge has gone largely unnoticed, though it has been out there.
Danny Williams has broken his silence (well, relatively speaking) and has weighed in on the issues of hydro and the Lower Churchill (which the federal government is going to be giving a loan guarantee for). He said that the Conservatives are too hung up on Quebec, which is blocking plans for an east-west energy grid, at the expense of smaller regions.
Bob Rae, who has doubts about the constitutionality of the current Senate-reform bills, says that the plans as they stand also screw provinces such as Alberta and BC because of the seat distribution. That’s something even the Conservatives know they would need a constitutional amendment to deal with. (Really, they would have to for any changes to the Senate.)
And Peter MacKay fires back at the one member/one vote proposal at the party’s upcoming convention.