Quebec
4 min

Getting the message straight

While swine flu tries valiantly to cause the same level of panic that bird flu did some three years ago, other political goings-on in Ottawa are raising a few eyebrows. Like what went down with Lawrence Cannon in Question Period on Friday.

Now, normally Fridays are pretty quiet, and it’s the b-team in the House – mostly the backbenchers getting their chance in the spotlight, and it’s usually the opposition House Leaders taking the place of the party leaders in lead questions. Like the way that Libby Davies took on the great flag pin fiasco.

But when Lawrence Canon – one of the few designated Cabinet babysitters – stood up to take a question on the recent Federal Court decision ordering Canada to repatriate Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay, Cannon decided to really play politics and try to link footage of a thirteen year-old Khadr building bombs to the recent death of a female soldier by an IED in Kandahar province, some eight or so years later. Because apparently Cannon is klassy like that. (He later recanted the remarks, but still).

Add to that, Cannon and his department tried to tell the media different things about the government’s decision whether or not to appeal that same court decision, which most observers says is pretty airtight, legally speaking. It seems that while Cannon was telling the Commons that they were likely to appeal, his spokesperson said that no decision had been made. A short time later she said no, the minister’s comments stood. And then a short time after that she said no, they were still going to decide what to do. How much do we want to bet that they’re going to drag out this decision process for the full thirty days?

Elsewhere, a government report has surfaced that accuses Harper of inflaming the whole issue with the shortage of medical isotopes in November of 2007 with his partisan remarks of calling Linda Keen a Liberal-appointee. Harper’s spokesperson says that he was just telling the truth – Keen was a Liberal appointee, so what’s the problem. Except that Harper made a partisan issue of it, apparently declared himself a nuclear safety expert and assured us that the reactor was safe (wasn’t his degree in economics, not nuclear physics?) and opting to have Keen demoted by Parliamentary order. Because hey, the Prime Minister knows that there’s a time and a place for crass partisan politics.

Up today: a Liberal opposition day, where it looks like they’ll be taking on the Canada-US border, almost certainly in light of Janet Napolitano’s comments regarding 9/11 terrorists coming from Canada. Also, a vote on the NDP’s opposition day motion from last week regarding credit cards, which I believe the Liberals are supporting (in spirit only, mind you).

Also, this is going to be a short week for the Commons, which won’t be sitting on Friday in order to accommodate the Liberal’s convention in Vancouver, which starts on Thursday and runs until Sunday.