Saskatchewan
2 min

Black armbands for democracy

Before question period, Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett noted that it was Dress Colourfully for Democracy Day; she added that perhaps a black armband would have been more appropriate given this government’s continued undermining of our democracy. Libby Davies also made a statement about animal cruelty.

As QP got underway, Senator Doug Finley took a seat in the Senate gallery while Ralph Goodale began asking questions on the In & Out affair. After Goodale reached his crescendo by asking whether Finley and Gerstein should step aside while the matter was before the courts, John Baird responded by taking the low road as he reminded Canadians of the money the Liberals had to repay after the sponsorship scandal. Marc Garneau followed up by asking about the government’s practice of rebranding the Government of Canada as the “Harper Government.” (It's being called a "direction" and is not a formal directive.) Stockwell Day assured him that this was common practice with all governments. Really! Gilles Duceppe and Thierry St-Cyr asked about the Jason Kenney issue; Kenney himself stood to answer. Thomas Mulcair returned to In & Out with a focus on information obtained by a CBC investigation; one riding was able to get $34,000 in reimbursements while spending only $12,000 of its own money. Olivia Chow also got in a question about Kenney’s fundraising activities.

Round two saw Wayne Easter and Lise Zarac asking more about In & Out and Carole Freeman drawing comparisons between former mint president David Dingwall and disgraced former public service integrity commissioner Christiane Ouimet. Claude Bachand asked about the rumour that we’ll be training Afghan soldiers outside of Kabul; Peter MacKay offered a really low blow in return. Martha Hall Findlay returned to the Kenney issue, and Siobhan Coady questioned a situation that Diane Ablonczy had found herself in with the ethics commissioner. It turned out to be a bit of a non-starter.

Round three saw questions on the Senate review of the Canada Health Act; the access to information documents concerning the federal government’s decision not to fund the Quebec City arena, which have come back largely redacted; the deadline on requested costing documents; the Afghan mission extension; severance pay; the freezing of Ben Ali’s assets; and something about railways and crops.

Sartorially speaking, although it was Dress Colourfully for Democracy Day, I won't read too much into the fact that most everyone wore grey or charcoal. Nothing really in the way of snaps, but I will call out Stockwell DayPatrick Brown and Megan Leslie for all making the wrong decision when it comes to pairing yellow with black. Just stop.

It looks like the Liberals are contemplating a non-confidence motion in advance of the budget, possibly triggered by Scott Brison’s privilege motion on government secrecy.

The Globe and Mail looks at the attendance records of MPs and doesn’t like what it finds. And yet, people bitch about senators not showing up; in fact, attendance is taken and they don’t get paid if they miss a certain number of days.

There is talk in the opposition of encouraging our government to ally itself with the Libyan rebels trying to oust Gadhafi.

The Conservatives' constantly playing up the need to militarize our Arctic is drawing criticism from experts who say that there is no threat to our sovereignty; Harper's posing with warships, submarines and fighter jets in the North is painting a false picture of the situation. Because the Harper government would never use the military for its own partisan ends. Ever.
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