University of Toronto
3 min

Ignatieff “missed nothing” being away

During Members’ Statements, NDP MP Bill Siksay spoke up to speak about the commitment to put the same resources put toward the Olympics to ending homelessness.

Mr. Speaker, the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games just ended and there is a new movement that is calling Canadians to take the incredible spirit shown in support of the games and assume a new challenge.
“Two Worlds – Share the Gold” was launched at First United Church Mission, in Vancouver. It calls for harnessing the same talents, the same enthusiasm, the same resources that went into hosting the games and directing them to ending homelessness as it relates to poverty, emotional trauma, addiction and mental health.
I was honoured to participate in the launch, which brought together supporters and opponents of the Olympics to make a joint call for this new commitment. Just as significant financial resources, the political will of all three levels of government and the efforts of thousands of volunteers came to be focused on putting on the games, Share the Gold organizers are challenging political, community and business leaders to organize to address the Olympian challenge of homelessness.
Ending homelessness now, now demands our attention. Let us rise to the challenge and share the gold.

After having his upcoming “thinkers’ conference” mocked, Michael Ignatieff got up to ask whether Suzanne Terpanier, the widow of the former head of Rights & Democracy, would be allowed to testify. John Baird, the designated spokesminsiter for the government, assured the House that she would be. Ignatieff then asked whether the government engineered the crisis in order to eliminate Rights & Democracy altogether (possibly to replace it with a similar organisation in Harper’s image that he’s announced his intention to create). Baird assured him this was not the case.

Wayne Easter was up on the airport tantrums of Conservative Ministers. Jean-Pierre Blackburn stood up to explain that he never demanded any privilege at the airport. Gilles Duceppe asked after the HST compensation negotiations once again. Jack Layton wanted to extend his congratulations to the Americans for getting health care, and wanted to know if the government was willing to go to the next step and go for pharmacare. John Baird talked about how much health care transfers went up in this budget. Layton followed up on the family planning issue.

Lise Zarac followed up on family planning, and Oda reassured her that they weren’t closing any doors, but wouldn’t open the abortion debate, and Ujjal Dosanjh asked after the Afghan detainee issue, and was reminded of Justice Iacobucci’s review of the documents. Siobhan Coady asked after the government spending on advertising and self-promotion, to which Stockwell Day claimed they spent less than the Liberals did in 2002. Paul Dewar asked why the President of Rights & Democracy couldn’t make themselves available to the Foreign Affairs committee? Deepak Obhrai obfuscated by talking about the committee schedule. The Bloc’s Francine Lalonde after the same question, and Obhrai repeated his obfuscation, possibly word-for-word. And Megan Leslie asked why the minister was rejecting Libby Davies’ housing strategy bill. Ed Komarnicki spoke about all of their great consultations.

Sartorially speaking, I thought that the Minister for Tequila had a lovely pink tie with black dots across it. Liberal Scott Simms also knows that he’s an autumn and can work with it – in this case, an orange shirt and orange striped tie with a tan brown suit. I was curious about the yellow scarf that Bill Siksay had draped around his neck during his Members’ Statement, that complimented his yellow shirt and pink tie, but when the scarf disappeared later on in the day, I am forced to wonder if it was perhaps symbolic of something, or was a prop. The style citation goes out to Lisa Raitt for a red jacket that was a bit too garish a colour on her. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a crisp white collared shirt with black slacks or a skirt (I couldn’t quite tell from my vantage), and accessorised with a patterned blue scarf that tied at the neck and was almost long enough to be a tie. I’m not crazy about most scarves, but I’ll give Leslie this one.

Remember when the Conservatives came into office on the white horse of accountability, transparency and ending patronage? Funny how once again they’re defending the way that a company they’re cosy with in Calgary has just been awarded a sole-source contract for building temporary offices in Haiti.

And Stockwell Day hints that there may be cuts to the number of civil servants in the coming years, but no cuts to their benefits. And I say sure, but think about the problems that not having sufficient staff is going to cause down the road…

Up today – it’s the final Liberal opposition day of the supply period, and they’re going with a motion on including the “full range of family planning” with regards to the whole maternal and child health G8 issue. They don’t use the word abortion in the motion, but it’s the elephant in the room.
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