With Harper off in Mumbai, appearing on their version of So You Think You Can Dance (to clap while they danced around him), things in the House were a bit on the sedate side. Plenty of empty seats dotted the rows – especially the Conservative front bench, and Ignatieff was away, as was Layton.
Bonnie Crombie brought up Shelly Glover’s branded water bottles during Member’s Statements, which resulted in a few exasperated outbursts from the government backbenches.
Carolyn Bennett led off Question Period with questions about why the vaccine rollout was now being extended by twelve weeks – well into February, which misses the estimated peak of the outbreak. Oops. Leona Aglukkaq didn’t offer much other than her usual talking points about how great of a job they were doing – even when the question was about the need to provide money and resources for adequate translation of materials.
Both Gilles Duceppe and Thomas Mulcair asked about the climate change file, with more stalled negotiations at the APEC summit and the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations. Christian Paradis, and later Mark Warawa, both provided stock answers about how the government was focused on the economy.
Marcel Proulx got up to ask about the latest round of allegations concerning Senator Housakos. When Pierre Poilievre got up to respond, Ralph Goodale called out “Horse feathers!” as a heckle.
There was a Mexican delegation in the Speaker’s Gallery, and when the Bloc’s Thierry St-Cyr asked Jason Kenney a question about his repeated assertions that the Quebec government asked for the visa restrictions on Mexicans, it certainly got their attention. Kenney said that in his discussions with the Quebec government, he made it clear the visa restrictions were their only tool, and that it would save the Quebec government tens of millions of dollars from all those “false claimants.” I couldn’t quite gauge the delegation’s reaction.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Alexandra Mendes for her orange/brown knitted jacket and skirt with the brown turtleneck, as it worked very well on her. Also deserving of praise was Bonnie Cromie’s chocolate dress and velvet jacket, as was Glenn Thibeault’s orange shirt with a brown suit and grey tie. The style citation goes out to Josée Verner for that melon-pink jacket, which works against her skin tone rather horribly. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a rather vile mustard top and sweater, which needs to be burned so that it can never again be inflicted upon us.
In the Hill Times, there’s a look at how Harper’s iron-fisted control over messaging has ground down the Press Gallery. Remind me why Canadians aren’t getting upset about this?
Over in Maclean’s, Andrew Coyne talks about the need for a monarchy, and he’s right about its function in our system of government. Coyne figures that the real issue is its distance from us, and proposes to get one of the lesser royals to start a new branch of the dynasty in Canada. I’m not sure that’s the solution – given that we’ve created a pretty unique institution with our Governor General, but it’s a good read.
And as the CRTC began their hearings into the Broadcast Act (and the chairman was getting frustrated with both sides), a group of Canadian actors did descend upon the Hill to demand that six percent of all gross revenues for the broadcasters be spent on Canadian dramas in prime time slots. Charlie Angus was the only MP who came out to speak (and sadly, there was no sign of Grace Park. Alas!)