3 min

By-election results to ponder

The three by-elections happened last night, and the results were very interesting. While the Conservatives held on to Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, which was expected, the Liberals took Winnipeg-North from the NDP, which was unexpected. As for Vaughan, that’s where it got interesting. Yes, Julian Fantino won it – but it was a close call. This despite all the talk that because Fantino was a “star candidate” it would be a Conservative landslide. So perhaps this will mean that all the headlines shouting “Ignatieff’s Leadership in Peril!” or “Liberal Party in Trouble!” may be blunted.

Just before question period, Larry Bagnell gave a statement about the passing of Canadian funny man Leslie Nielsen – and said nobody should call him Shirley.

Ralph Goodale kicked off QP with questions about F-35s and recent revelations about likely higher security costs around them. This segued to a question about Nortel pensioners, where Tony Clement tried to accuse the Liberals of not standing up for aerospace jobs in Montreal, and why didn’t Liberals from Montreal stand up? And then Marc Garneau did, asking about F-35s and whether there would actually be economic spinoffs, and Clement couldn’t quite recover with a comeback. Gilles Duceppe and Bernard Bigras asked about greenhouse gas emissions, and Thomas Mulcair and Jack Harris asked about whether Canada had handed over child detainees to Afghan authorities – something Lawrence Cannon wouldn’t answer.

For round two, Joyce Murray asked about revelations that Canada was lobbying the US Congress to keep the oil sands out of their environmental regulations, and Gerry Byrne continued to call Diane Finley out about pension changes. Duceppe got up for a second round, asking about the child detainee issue, and Daniel Paillé asked about federal-Quebec negotiations on tax harmonization. And Siobhan Coady and Marcel Proulx asked some very specific questions about why the government’s story about that mine stock didn’t add up, but John Baird wouldn’t answer direct questions.

The remainder of QP saw questions about American regulations on the oil sands, the proposed national securities regulator, a rather engaging takedown by Bob Rae on the child detainee issue, the Canada Health Act, official languages regulations, and the failure rate of the citizenship test (where Jason Kenney alleged that people were simply buying answers and cheating before he came along).

Sartorially speaking, it was a pretty dull day. I’ll give snaps to Judy Foote for her grey check-patterned jacket and skirt with a black top. And for a style citation, I’ll remind Cathy McLeod that a woman with her body type should never wear turtlenecks. Ever. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a grey top and trousers with a bright pink sweater and big yellow necklace, which all ended up working well.

After question period, the Speaker ruled that there was indeed a breach of privilege with the leak of those pre-budget reports by a Conservative staffer. The matter will be going to a committee to determine what the next step will be.

While Stockwell Day clamps down on what he says is bureaucratic overspending on travel and hospitality, it appears that ministerial staff are far, far worse – especially when it comes to things like taking taxis.

Bob Rae writes about the need to extend our mission in Afghanistan (in a training role).

Here’s a glimpse at what a hypothetical elected Senate may look like.

Speaking of the Senate, the Liberal members may or may not have made a “procedural error” in there being a vote called on Bill C-311, but that doesn’t mean that the Conservative members aren’t being disingenuous in their excuses for killing the bill without study.

Some WikiLeaks revelations – CSIS was “vigorously harassing” Hezbollah members in Canada, the Americans don’t take kindly to the limits our courts place on CSIS, and part of the problem of democratizing Afghanistan is President Karzai’s brother.

And former wives from the Bountiful polygamous community are testifying at the BC trial, where the Crown hopes to prove that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children.
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