The Liberal tactic of the day was to use Members’ Statements to list off the groups opposed to the government’s elimination of the long-form census. With a vote on their opposition day motion just hours away, it was their attempt at trying to force the government. Not that it helped. When Michael Ignatieff got up to hector the prime minister about the 350 groups opposed to its elimination, Harper just repeated the same old tired talking points about how threatening Canadians was bad, and how he was going to treat Canadians like adults over the issue. Um, okay. When do we get to start having adult conversations about public policy in this country as opposed to heated rhetoric designed to elicit emotional reactions? Because that would be a good start.
Dominic LeBlanc got up to ask about those other countries concerned about the escalating costs of the F-35 fighter jets, Gilles Duceppe and Michel Guimond asked about those looming stimulus deadlines (Harper: “You voted against the Economic Action Plan.” Um, adult conversations, anyone?), and Jack Layton brought up the plight of seniors and the unemployed in the face of massive G20 overspending (Harper: “We’re proud of lowering taxes!”)
Siobhan Coady and Dan McTeague talked G20 numbers with Vic Toews, who refuted everything they threw at him, Robert Bouchard asked about the census, while Yves Lessard and Josée Beaudin asked after EI programs coming to an end (and apparently the government is willing to show some flexibility in the forthcoming rate hike). Then came the Liberal rapid-fire spending priority questions – seniors, caregivers, post-secondary education and childcare, all contrasted against G20 overspending.
The first government suck-up question of the day was a plant for Rob Nicholson to announce that they would be appealing the Ontario Superior Court decision on prostitution. Peter Stoffer asked about the privacy nightmare in the Veterans' Affairs department and was nearly shouted down by the Conservatives. QP then ended off with several questions on the transport of nuclear materials down the St Lawrence Seaway, the rail monopoly, dredging Sydney Harbour, the imprisoned Iranian blogger and that new immigration policy group spreading fear.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Kirsty Duncan for her cool lace-like black jacket, to Ruby Dhalla for her tailored black-and-white dress, as well as to Mario Silva for his indigo-hued plaid shirt with a superbly tailored grey suit and purple tie. Half-points go to Cathy McLeod, who had a great jacket but a black top of a poor cut for her body type. Style citations go out to Martha Hall Findlay’s distressing floral jacket. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a loose cream top with a pleated grey skirt and fairly cool knee-high greyish boots.
The votes took place later in the evening, and small surprise, the opposition passed its census motion – not that it’s going to matter, as the government will ignore the results. And Canada’s Most Intellectually Bankrupt MP, Shelly Glover, was as classy as ever in waving her passport around when she stood up to vote – a reference to Gilles Duceppe’s musing that instead of jailing people who didn’t fill out their census forms, the government could refuse them services, such as passports – which the government spin-machine then turned into threats to take away passports. Other MPs insisted she be thrown out for using props in the House. At the end of the votes last night, the House passed a unanimous motion to condemn Maclean’s magazine for its “Canada’s most corrupt province” cover about Quebec – only it took them two tries, because on the first try, Quebec independent MP André Arthur shouted no, but as soon as he left, they tried again. Classy, guys. Classy.
And Her Excellency gave her military farewell as Canada’s Commander-in-Chief yesterday. She also bid the country thanks on her official blog as her time as Governor General draws to a close. Also revealed – that Harper was willing to go to the Queen if Jean denied him his prorogation in 2008 – not that Her Majesty would be particularly predisposed to overriding Her Excellency.