With the Liberals having decided to cancel the F-35 sole-source process (remember, the contract won’t actually be signed until something like 2013), in the face of the auditor general’s damning report on the way the Chinook helicopter purchase was handled, Michael Ignatieff led off Question Period by asking about running an actual competition for replacement fighter jets. Stephen Harper responded by warning Ignatieff about playing political games “with the lives of our men and women in uniform.” Because that’s his job, and he doesn’t want the competition. Dominic LeBlanc followed up with more questions about the Chinook helicopter process.
Gilles Duceppe and Diane Bourgeois returned to yesterday’s accusations about Mafia connections with the Christian Paradis fundraiser story. In response, John Baird accused Bloc MPs of going to cocktail fundraisers with FLQ members. (Chantal Hébert told Susan Delacourt that the only FLQ cocktails she knows of are the Molotov sorts.) Jack Layton returned to the question of the Chinook helicopter, and how that contracting process related to the F-35 fighters, though Harper insisted they were separate processes.
Marlene Jennings asked about plans for new prisons to be built in Conservative ridings, Mark Holland after the G20 costs, and Daniel Paillé took a day off from asking about the national securities regulator and inquired instead about a new hire at the Bank of Canada that is another potential Nigel Wright-esque conflict of interest. Serge Ménard had a very interesting line of questioning concerning house arrest – the law says that it only applies to sentences under two years, which by definition doesn’t include violent offenders, and if a judge handed down such a sentence for a violent offence, it would be appealed. So what was Nicholson’s problem with them? Nicholson went off on a tangent about keeping serious, violent criminals behind bars. But they already are – which was Ménard’s point.
Siobhan Coady asked about billions spent on outside consultants, which actually unhinged Flaherty (at which point Denis Coderre turned to Coady and said, “It’s working”). Navdeep Bains went on about a specific contract, and then Scott Brison decided to be clever and lambaste Flaherty with questions about “respect for taxpayers” and the Conservative “gravy train,” taking a line from Rob Ford in Toronto. The latter cracked Flaherty up enough to throw him off more than Coady had. There were more questions on stimulus deadlines (which Strahl says he’ll be flexible about now), Nortel pensions, that fresh batch of dead ducks in the tar sands tailing ponds, Hurricane Igor's damage to national parks, and problems with the government’s latest refugee bill.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Judy Foote for her short grey dress with a black jacket, and Olivia Chow for her smart eggplant suit and skirt with a purple top. Style citations go out to both Diane Bourgeois and Randy Hoback for their decision to wear black and yellow. (Really people – just stop.) I will make the observation that only Hedy Fry can wear leopard print and get away with it. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch is happy to report that tailored black dress that looks so fantastic on her.
Here’s an interesting discussion on the healthcare debate, which also debunks some of the myths about “rising, out-of-control” costs.
Different federal politicians are taking different lessons from the Rob Ford win in Toronto.
The Toronto Star has a closer look at the situation of whistleblowers in the public service, given the resignation of the Public Service Integrity Commissioner.
And on the day that a (flawed, by many accounts) Liberal Private Member's bill on ethical mining practices went down to defeat, there are suggestions that it was mining interests that helped get KAIROS de-funded, as opposed to accusations of being anti-Semitic. An interesting turn of events.