With it being World AIDS Day today, the denizens of the Hill were lining up yesterday to have red ribbons pinned on them by the Canadian AIDS Society. Her Excellency sent out a message about AIDS and human rights. And most MPs did wear their ribbons into the Chamber.
The Chamber, however, was agitated as Michael Ignatieff led off Question Period on Harper’s rather odious accusations that the opposition was somehow maligning the troops. Tempers quickly flared across both sides of the aisle, and at one point, Conservative whip Gordon O’Connor had to actually get up out of his seat and wander through the Conservative benches to settle them down – especially Vic Toews, who had turned a shade approaching puce in all his yelling.
John Baird, meanwhile, was answering the lead questions in place of the Prime Minister, to which David McGuinty would heckle “What does this have to do with transport?” Of course, being that Defence, Foreign Affairs or the mission to Afghanistan do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport when last checked.
Peter MacKay did answer the questions from those who weren’t party leaders – though perhaps it might be a bit much to suggest that he actually answered any questions. He struck back continually rather than give an answer – especially when it came to questions by Ujjal Dosanjh, who was accused repeatedly of saying the testimony of the Generals Three as “morally weak and legally flimsy.” Except that Dosanjh had been quoting from a Toronto Star columnist – oops. When confronted with questions about abuses to Access to Information laws when it came to the files on those Afghan detainee transfers, MacKay touted all of the quarterly reports, appearances before committees and questions answered in the House on the topic of the Afghan mission, Marlene Jennings turned to her compatriots and loudly scoffed “Clearly not!”
(Incidentally, the Liberals put out their own timeline on the whole detainee transfers issue, which is a good refresher if nothing else).
There were questions on the environment, on the HST, and on the fact that less than one percent of allocated housing money had actually been spent. But perhaps more instructive was how Gary Lunn decided that Peter MacKay’s strategy was working so well that when faced with tough questions on the tendering process for the construction of the Canada Pavilion for the Vancouver Olympics, he accused the Liberals of not supporting our athletes – and he did it with a straight face. Seriously.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Olivia Chow for her perfectly tailored grey suit and skirt, and I was intrigued by Josée Verner’s black dress (with white piping) that had this rather sixties go-go flavour to it – especially with the knee-high boots. Style citations go out to Martha Hall Findlay for her moonstone yellow jacket with the three-quarter sleeves – a repeat offence – and Cathy McLeod needs to remember that vertical zigzag stripes have the very same effect as straight vertical stripes. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a shockingly nice black dress with strappy black heels. I can scarcely believe it – a coordinated outfit (even if it was all black, which is almost cheating).
Her Excellency will spend her week packing as she prepares for a series of State Visits to Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica.