Ralph Goodale
2 min

Happy Birthday, Mr. Prime Minister!

It was widely reported that on the morning of his fiftieth birthday, the Prime Minister found the lawn of 24 Sussex Drive covered in pink flamingos. He was game, played along long enough for his staff to sing him the traditional song in front of the press, and then disappeared back into the house. Hopefully, no chairs were kicked over, and the staff will retain their jobs.

Harper wasn’t present in the House either – he was off to Toronto to meet with Dalton McGuinty to announce the deal to save Chrysler. In fact, the Commons was very much like a Friday – mostly the b-team out, with a few more cabinet ministers in place than just designated babysitters.

For some reason, Jim Flaherty was easily flustered during his responses, and started snapping back at Ralph Goodale rather than delivering his talking points – at one point, even being cautioned by the Speaker for his referring to Goodale by name (which is against protocol). And when John Baird stood to recite his same old talking points, the Liberal benches cried “Booooring!” At least someone said it.

While much of the debate revolved around the Chrysler deal, Liberal Kirsty Duncan made sure that swine flu H1N1 virus didn’t completely escape mention. What I hadn’t realised until today is that Duncan has a PhD in medical geography, is a leading international expert in influenza pandemics and she literally wrote the book on the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak. She definitely knows her stuff – it’s no wonder that she is sharing the load on this file with the health critic, Carolyn Bennett (who is medical doctor).

Much as there wasn’t much drama in the House, there was little style of note. Marlene Jennings was in jeans and a blazer, which seemed remarkably causal – but also added to the Friday atmosphere. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a perfectly good light grey pantsuit with a white top – ruined by those awful shiny teal-green shoes she is so fond of wearing even though they have no business being worn by anyone over the age of seven.

The reports from Vancouver are starting to roll in, and so far, Michael Ignatieff has thanked Harper for all his hard work in uniting the Liberal party, and Jean Chrétien thinks that we should head into an election sooner than later, no matter that some of the others in the party still think that they should wait until autumn, if not until after next year’s budget, so that the party can continue to rebuild its coffers.

As previously stated, the House won’t be sitting today in deference to the Liberal convention, and I’m sure that Monday, they’ll all be energised and either overtired or wired from the weekend – take your pick. Nevertheless, I’m sure that Monday’s Question Period will be a lot more exciting than Thursday’s ended up being.