It was quite a day for drama on the Hill. Not only did the Prime Minister deliver a speech about the economic update that was full of rather grandiose claims about the economy (Stimulus spending is 90 percent committed! 4000 projects under way!), but while the Liberals declared that this economic report card merited a fail, there was a minor eruption in their ranks in Quebec.
In a rather stunning hissy fit, Ignatieff’s Quebec lieutenant, Denis Coderre, resigned his post as said lieutenant and as defence critic, and was absent from the House. That he may also have taken some key organisers with him could be the bigger bout of damage for the party.
“This is another great day in the life of the Leader of the Opposition,” Ignatieff quipped in the scrums that followed, but did offer that he wasn’t planning on naming another Quebec lieutenant for the time being.
When I arrived on the Hill right before Members’ Statements, I witnessed Liberal MP (and honorary drag queen) Hedy Fry scrumming about the extradition of BC’s “pot prince” Marc Emery to the States, and this government’s policy of picking and choosing which Canadians it chooses to help abroad. “A Canadian is a Canadian,” she stated.
As Members’ Statements began, the NDP’s Bill Siksay had one immediately to offer:
Mr. Speaker, on October 19 in Montreal, Svend Robinson, the former MP for Burnaby—Douglas, will be honoured by the Conseil québécois des gais et lesbiennes with their Grand Prix. This honour recognizes Svend's outstanding and courageous leadership over many decades in support of the full equality of members of the GLBTTQ community.
On September 18 at a fundraiser for the Qmunity Centre, Vancouver's GLBTTQ community centre, the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame, was launched. Founded by Paul Therien, the Queer Hall of Fame's first five inductees were the Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau, marking the 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality, Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewkesbury, freedom of speech activist Janine Fuller, Dogwood Monarchist Society founder ted northe and Vancouver fundraiser and entertainer extraordinaire, Robert Kaiser, better known as Joan-E.
Congratulations to all these great community leaders.
Once Question Period started, Ignatieff disputed the government’s 90 percent! claims, saying their own research showed it was more like twelve percent. Baird talked up the 90 percent figure, talked about contracts tendered, but didn’t quite back up his figures. I will also note that when Jack Layton asked critical questions, Baird has stopped calling him a socialist and mocking him with his usual bombast. In fact, Baird’s answers were almost subdued. But I suppose that’s not such a surprise considering that Layton has vowed to prop up the government.
(Incidentally, the Liberals unveiled their non-confidence motion for later this week. It reads, “That this House has lost confidence in the government.”)
Baird, incidentally, tried to come up with some really interesting justifications for the inconsistent figures during the scrums after Question Period.
Sartorial snaps go to Hedy Fry for her fierce leopard-print dress, and Lisa Raitt for her pink leather jacket over a low-cut black top. Also, Rob Clarke deserves a snap or two for his fuchsia shirt and tie. Style citations go to Bev Oda for the dark green autumnal-themed floral jacket she was wearing over an orange dress and scarf. You’re not an autumn – those colours don’t work for you. Also, Brad Trost’s greige suit, shirt and tie were probably a reflection of the colour of the kind of mediocrity that I’m sure he’d prefer Canadians to display (since Pride parades are too colourful for him). The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports all the right colours – a dark grey suit and a plum top, with heels. Yes, heels! I didn’t think I’d see the day. That said, the jacket was waaaay too short, but hey – props for effort.
Elsewhere, the government now claims that they declared Suaad Hagi Mohamud an impostor because she gave “contradictory” statements, and couldn’t name Lake Ontario, or say what the TTC stood for. Um, sure. It’s a nice story, but it could have used a vampire.
Up today: NDP MP Bill Siksay holds a press conference about the case of Adil Charkaoui and his security certificate. You can read more about it in my interview with Siksay here.