3 min

Bring me the head of the finance minister!

As MPs filed into the Commons, they found bright, dollar store bags on their desks. Inside were bags marked with biohazard symbols, along with packages of flavoured tobacco products next to a similar candy package – all about the push to limit flavoured tobacco products that are targeting children. Throughout Question Period, a few of the MPs could be seen eating the candy, though I thankfully didn’t witness anyone trying any of the tobacco products.

About two-thirds of the way through Members’ Statements, Liberal Brian Murphy stood up and sounded off about the Conservatives’ “plan” to raise taxes, including the way they already raised income taxes in their first year in office (actual fact), and the traditional lines of demanding to know which taxes they intended to raise and by how much. When Conservative Larry Miller stood up immediately following to read his prepared statement on how Ignatieff wanted to raise taxes, the absurdity of it all was quite rich.

Question Period focused largely on the deficit revelations from yesterday, and it only took Ignatieff’s second question before he demanded the resignation of Jim Flaherty for his utter lack of credibility on the file – especially as a mere six months ago he said that we would be in surplus, despite all indications to the contrary.

Now, while demanding the resignation of a minister is pretty customary theatre in these parts, one has to wonder what good it would really do, as we all know that this is a government of one, and that individual ministers are just window dressing. It’s highly doubtful that Flaherty has had control on his portfolio since, well, most of the time Harper has been Prime Minister. He’s a straw man, so firing him will have no real effect.

That said, there is also the fact that ministerial responsibility has been sorely lacking in this government, and a minister of the crown that blunders so badly in their math skills is suspect to begin with, and for the sake of their own credibility, they should at least offer to fall on their swords. The Prime Minister, of course, can always refuse to accept it, but symbolism counts for a lot in politics, and it is being ignored.

Much later in Question Period, Bloc MP Réal Ménard asked about the bill the Conservatives tabled just before the break week which would allow police to photograph and fingerprint suspects before they’ve been charged, and pointed out the basic civil liberties problems with this. Standing in for the Justice Minister, MP Rob Moore simply stood up to give a stock answer about how they were standing up against criminals. But! Civil liberties! Right – those are apparently for people who are “soft on crime.”

There was one very telling sign as to just how raucous the day really was, which was the way in which Ignatieff stood up for another go-around near the end of Question Period – something that almost never happens. This time, he demanded to know that, since Flaherty said the deficit would be $50 billion or more, how much more it would be? Harper – again rising to respond this late in the game, which was unusual – gave a talking point about the manageability of this deficit in the face of a global recession.

Sartorially speaking, there wasn’t really anything snap-worthy, though Lynne Yelich gets a nod for improvement, with her white jacket with faded greenish-brown foliage printed across it, paired with brown trousers. Style citations go out to Stockwell Day, whose tan suit was too light for his skin tone (which looks like he’s spent too much time in a tanning bed), while Olivia Chow’s gold jacket over pink shirt with popped collar wasn’t too pleasing either. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a bubblegum pink sweater worn over her greige dress, paired with grey shoes. It didn’t exactly clash, but it didn’t exactly go well together either, but at least it didn’t sear my retinas.

If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with Ruby! The Musical, then it seems that one of the former employers of one of the caregivers in questions has cast all kinds of new doubt on her credibility, including the fact that she made similar (and also apparently baseless) accusations against him and his family, for which the facts don’t stand up. Not that I’m saying the Dhalla family is blameless, but this does continue to cast more doubt into the accusations.

Over in Alberta, they’re pressing ahead with Bill 44 with only minor revisions – clarifying that parent’s can’t take them before the Human Rights tribunal if the offending discussions on sex, religion or sexual orientation come up in an “incidental” manner. Ooh, because that’s going to really stop the hard-core nutcases out there.

It looks like the timeline for the shutdown of the Chalk River reactor is more along the lines of three months, as they’ve now discovered the source of the leak, though they’ve also identified other areas of corrosion that need repair. And after all Janet Napolitano’s moronic bluster about the threat of terrorists in Canada, the Ottawa bureau chief of Maclean’s gives the most deliciously sarcastic blog post about how apparently the real front in the war on terror will be the maternity wards that give birth to the “home grown” terrorists.