University of Toronto
3 min

Catchphrases from the zeitgeist tape

Michael Ignatieff kicked off Wednesday’s question period with a trio of questions about pensions, while Harper touted all the great things they’d done for seniors, like income splitting for pensioners! Martha Hall Findlay had an exchange with Diane Ablonczy over a potential perimeter security agreement, Gilles Duceppe was on again about tax harmonization, Daniel Paillé changed topics a bit to talk about tax havens, and Jack Layton returned to the topic of pensions and expanding the CPP, wondering why the government wouldn’t adopt the New Democrat plan? (Err, because then you’d take credit, and where would that leave Harper? Just saying…) And he made a joke about “egg management fees,” which Tony Clement later picked up on – just to show us that they watch television too.

Round two kicked off with John McCallum castigating the government over its treatment of the nuclear industry – especially AECL. Marc Garneau challenged government claims on imperilled contracts around the F-35 deal and was met with bad Star Trek puns and questions about his commitment to the troops (even though Garneau, unlike MacKay, has actually worn the uniform). Jean Dorion asked what the government meant about “stability” in Egypt, Richard Nadeau asked about the condemnation of Heritage Canada by the official languages commissioner, Dan McTeague asked about the CRTC decision on usage-based billing on the internet, and Judy Foote asked about cuts to Service Canada community centres in rural Canada.

Round three saw questions about the thickening US border, genetically engineered alfalfa, Bill C-32 on copyright reform, more on usage-based billing, questions from Rob Oliphant on the impact on small business of the new visa requirements for the UAE, seniors, and *Moral Panic Alert* – Canada Post's comparison-shopping site had an ad for Erotic Boutique. And yes, this came from Liberal Bonnie Crombie, because, apparently, she had nothing better to do. (In the scrums in the foyer after QP, Ignatieff said that while he was an “absolute fan of lacy lingerie,” he felt it was inappropriate on Canada Post’s website.)

Sartorially speaking, I’m not sure I saw anything particularly snap-worthy; however, I have plenty of style citations to hand out. Like to Yasmin Ratansi’s bad faded-orange jacket, Chris Charlton’s fluorescent-yellow jacket with a black top and trousers, echoed by Michelle Simpson (albeit not as fluorescent). Please, enough with the yellow and black!

Elsewhere, the government has decided to quadruple the fees paid for pardons, going to $631 from $150 – after already having raised them up from $50. This is all done in the name of “cost recovery,” and Vic Toews odiously justifies this in the name of stopping people like Graham James and Karla Homolka. When the Elizabeth Fry Society raised concerns, he accused them of echoing the Liberal position “to the comma.” Seriously not cool.

Maclean’s takes a closer look at that American report on border security. Also, the report is “unlikely” to come up when Harper and Obama meet on Friday.

Opposition parties are up in arms about the government’s plans to reappoint some of the more controversial figures on the board of Rights & Democracy.

The Military Police Complaints Commission is wrapping up its look into Afghan torture allegations; the main accusation is that the military police didn’t want to ask any “inconvenient” questions about torture.

Oh, look – more links to demonstrate the partisan nature of those latest Canada’s Economic Action Plan™ ads, which go hand in hand with the latest round of attack ads.

And finally, something everyone (and most especially journalists out there) should read about the cognitive linguistics of covering news – and especially politics – and what happens when We The Media don’t actually deconstruct the language that we’re repeating when we report on it.

Up today – Harper will be skipping question period to accompany the governor general to make an announcement about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year.
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