Socialist International
3 min

Constructing a bogus narrative

The House may be on a break this week for Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Week, but there’s still plenty of political drama to be had in the form of four by-elections across the country – one in BC, two in Quebec, and one in Nova Scotia, all to replace MPs who resigned. And while there may be different narratives in each particular race, there is still an overarching narrative of ridiculousness that pervades it.

That ridiculousness is the way the Conservatives are trying to frame these by-elections as some sort of “test” of Ignatieff’s leadership. Seriously. Even though the Liberals haven’t been competitive in any of these four ridings in the past. In fact, the closest they came was a very distant second in Hochelaga (behind Réal Ménard at the time). And granted, it does sound a bit sad that they’re looking to increase their voter share from the last election in those ridings – even though by-elections are notorious for people not turning up to them. But seriously – how can they be a “test” if they’ve never been competitive in them to begin with? (That said, how much do we want to bet the Globe and Mail – and Jane Taber specifically – will go to town with this “test” narrative?)

Friday in the House, Mario Silva made a statement on Toronto’s bid for the Pam Ann – err, Pan-Am games bid – just a few hours before Toronto won.

Madam Speaker, since 1951 the Pan American Games have brought athletes from across the Americas together in the spirit of competition and excellence.
The most recent host city, Rio de Janeiro, welcomed over 5,000 athletes and saw the participation of 42 countries. These numbers will only grow each time the games are held.
Toronto is up against the fine cities of Lima and Bogotá, but we are also confident of the excellence of our outstanding bid.
The greater Toronto area would benefit enormously from hosting the games. Upward of 15,000 jobs would be created and economic benefits in the range of $2 billion would mean improvements in public transit, revitalized sports infrastructure and the construction of affordable housing.
This bid is a significant opportunity to show our many attributes to our neighbours across the Americas and indeed around the world.
Along with all residents of Toronto and my colleagues here in Parliament, I would like to congratulate and thank the many individuals who put together our bid for the games. Their hard work and dedication is appreciated. We share their excitement today as we wait for the announcement.

The NDP’s Libby Davies also had a statement about the pension system.

Madam Speaker, seniors in east Vancouver, the self-employed and those approaching retirement worry about the future as they watch their pension plans fall apart. Many seniors in our community live in poverty and it is even harder to get by during this economic recession.
The problems with Canada's pension system are serious and they must be fixed.
The NDP has introduced a comprehensive plan to reform Canada's pension program. We want to see a national pension insurance program to protect workers' pensions from company shortfalls, an increase to contributions to CPP benefits, and something which I think is especially important, a significant increase in the guaranteed income supplement to a level that will eliminate seniors' poverty. The seniors of east Vancouver desperately need this.
It is high time the income security of seniors was made a top priority. I call on the government to move swiftly to adopt these proposals. They are affordable, responsible and simply the right things to do.

Davies later led off the NDP’s questions in Question Period about people being thrown out of work and who can’t get EI. She was assured that the Economic Action Plan™ is indeed working – why doesn’t she listen when they tell her that? She later moved to the questions on the HST, which was met by a question as to why the NDP voted against Conservative tax cuts.

Rob Oliphant asked a question later on regarding the New Veterans’ Charter, and why it wasn’t being implemented. The Parliamentary Secretary, Greg Kerr, told him that any problems were because of Liberal cuts. His supplemental was about people suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms. Kerr responded with a platitude about the importance of veterans.

Not to be left out, Mario Silva asked a question about governance in Haiti, which he got a response from Lawrence Cannon about the importance of good governance. He got a second round, where he spoke of the troubling action of the country having removed its president. Cannon again assured him that he has spoken to the country’s president, and that he was satisfied with the course of action.

The Royal Tour on the weekend took the couple to the Olympic Village, where Charles got his environmentalism on. Sunday, they took part in a Victoria Anglican church service before taking the rest of the day off. They head to Ottawa today, where they will be staying at Rideau Hall with Her Excellency.
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