4 min

Incompetence or dishonesty at work?

During Question Period, Michael Ignatieff again began on the issue of freezing corporate tax cuts, and Stephen Harper responded by talking about Canada’s growth rate in the latest OECD report. But Bob Rae was up with the hot topic of the day – the new estimated costs of providing security for the G8 and G20 summits, which is now looking like it’ll be close to a billion dollars – more than security for the entire Olympics cost. Vic Toews, classy guy that he is, decided it was best to accuse the Liberals – and later the NDP – that they didn’t believe in security. Um, huh? The biggest source of concern is the line item in the budget for said security costs were a mere $179 million, and now it was $930 billion. Was this incompetence or dishonesty at work? Toews, predictably, stayed classy.

Gilles Duceppe and Daniel Paillé of the Bloc were both, predictably, steamed that the government has moved ahead with their plans to implement a single national securities regulator in this country – over the protests of Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba – but Harper kept telling them it was a voluntary program that 10 other provinces and territories had no problem with. And Jack Layton was back on the cost of the G8/G20 security, noting a billion dollars could buy a lot of other things, and he moved on to the topic of tax subsidies for oil companies, which Harper said the previous Liberal government had a schedule of elimination about.

Lise Zarac again asked about the abortion issue, and Larry Bagnell again asked specific questions on Canadian plans to clean up any oil spills in the Beaufort Sea or the Arctic Ocean – given that there are foreign drilling permits off the coast of Greenland for example – and he once again got a non-answer from Christian Paradis. Michel Guimond asked about the issue of cabinet ministers at committees, and Government House Leader Jay Hill said that it was implemented because the mean opposition committee members were bullying and intimidating those poor helpless staffers. Marlene Jennings was having none of that, and accused the government of being the real bully.

Liberal Brian Murphy asked why provisions against mortgage fraud and stock manipulation weren’t in the white-collar crime bill, but Rob Nicholson said the bill sends the right message. Um, but if it’s leaving out these particular issues that we’ve seen problems with, then how can that be sending the right message? The rest of the questions involved the G20 costs, abortion, long-guns, crown corporation sales, and another question from Liberal Navdeep Bains regarding new information on why Toronto Pride wasn’t being funded – but were informed by the government that the article he was basing the information on was full of inaccurate information.

Sartorially speaking, it was a lot of summer suits, which I’m sure everyone was cursing given the record-breaking muggy heat of Ottawa, but I’m giving snaps to Judy Foote, whose black sleeveless slip dress was not only fitted, but the white piping accentuated her figure in the right way. Well done! Not so good were Sylvie Boucher’s low-cut cream with zebra-stripes dress (which would have been better if the honourable member could wear a proper fitting bra), Lynne Yelich’s white jacket with small black polka dots and Stockwell Day’s light-tan suit with the dark-tan shirt and tie – which contrasted badly with his orangeish fake tan. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a long green patterned top over a grey skirt, with those hated greige heels.

Later on, the Conservatives proposed to allow the Auditor General to do the performance audit she’s been asking to do – but with conditions, including voluntary disclosures by MPs of their expenses.

Panellists at a Queen’s University conference pondered the relevance of the Senate – but most of them missed the underlying points and fundamental construction of our bicameral federal system. It mystifies me that people are so quick to propose dumping the Senate or start proposing radical changes when they’re incapable of seeing it in the larger context.

And the Royal Society of Canada – this country’s top academic minds – thinks the government should go ahead and fund those safe abortions in the developing world, as well as providing modern contraception that will not only prevent pregnancy, but help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Funny, you’d think this kind of logic might appeal to the government – but oh, wait. Ideology trumps logic and sound science. How silly of me to have forgotten.

Up today – the President of Mexico is in town, and he’ll address a joint session of Parliament in the House of Commons this morning. He’ll then have a working lunch with the prime minister, meet with Michael Ignatieff and then pay a visit to Her Excellency.

PS – Calgary got top marks as an eco-city? Really? Land of insanely poor population density, urban sprawl and suburbs as far as the eye can see, two SUVs in every driveway, water use abuses like nobody’s business as everyone tries to get an Ontario-green lawn in a climate that is virtually a desert – not to mention all the water-intensive golf courses? Or the fact that their per-capita energy usage is insanely bad, and their electricity is virtually all coal fired? What planet were these surveyors living on?
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