3 min

Just use your vacation time

First thing in the morning yesterday, Michael Ignatieff, along with Ujjal Dosanjh and Marlene Jennings went to a house in Gatineau to announce their party’s plan on homecare for sick or elderly family members. And it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise to anyone, considering that they really ramped up the homecare narrative back in the summer. In response, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley called a press conference to say that her government feels people can use their vacation time for homecare, and that the best plan is for them to keep taxes low. Um, really?

Ignatieff then raised it during Question Period. And how did Harper respond? By pointing out that there’s a guy with a cigarette in the pamphlet, which mean the Liberals now endorse smoking! As if Diane Finley doesn’t smoke like a chimney… Marlene Jennings then stood up and said that she has been a caregiver, and how could the government not care about homecare? Diane Finley touted about expanded eligibility for compassionate care benefits.

Gilles Duceppe and Carole Freeman then asked after the whole Christian Paradis/access-to-information issue, which Harper and Baird shrugged off. (Note: John Geddes calls this situation postmodern.) Thomas Mulcair asked after corporate takeovers; Tony Clement and John Baird assured him they were monitoring the situation around Potash Canada.

Wayne Easter and Denis Coderre carried on the Paradis file (Baird: Liberals did it too), Michel Guimond kept up on the issue of stimulus deadlines, while Claude Bachand went after the new revelations around Afghan detainee abuse allegations. Dominic LeBlanc went after Nigel Wright’s aerospace connections; Baird assured him that the Ethics Commissioner said he was a-okay.

There were more questions on Nigel Wright, Afghan detainees, census complaints, the Panama trade deal with their status as a tax haven, and WTO complaints around the Abitibi Bowater settlement. Rob Oliphant kept up on Peter MacKay about snubbing that imam (MacKay avoided issuing an apology), and the final questions were around the Veteran’s Charter, and credentials recognition for immigrants.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Claude Bachand for the brilliant teal and black striped tie he wore with a black suit, which popped effectively. Style citations go out to Stephen Harper, for a salmon-tinged shirt that was an awful shade to be paired with a burnt orange tie and light brown suit. Also, Joyce Murray for her faded red jacket and an early-'80s-inspired greyish patterned top. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a loose grey short-sleeved top under a three-quarter sleeve grey jacket, with black trousers and those greige heels, which I will admit did work with the outfit.

When asked about the government’s bill on eliminating the “volume discount” on time served for multiple murders, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says, “I hope there are no examples” of this having happened. Because this is simply a moral panic bill designed to make them look like they’re doing something.

More veterans are coming forward to say their files have been improperly accessed. The Privacy Commissioner has announced that she’ll be doing an audit on the department.

Pollsters wondered if Canada could have a Tea Party-style movement here, so they set out to find out. Their findings? Sure, it could happen, but there would be no centralizing ideology behind it. But didn’t we already have our Tea Party movement, called the Reform Party? On the same topic, Susan Delacourt notes what pollster Nik Nanos has to say on the current state of politics in Canada. Elsewhere, economist Stephen Gordon laments that the path to power in Canada is now paved with stupidity, because it’s only about sounding right, not being right. (h/t Aaron Wherry)

The government apparently has a plan about mothers and children in global war zones. Does this happen to ignore child soldiers, who are inconvenient for their narrative? *cough*Omar Khadr*cough*

The Privacy Commissioner’s wireless audit has turned up a number of lapses in the government’s commitment to privacy protection, and one of them is the use of BlackBerry PIN-to-PIN messaging, which can be hacked. The not-so-ironic part? Bureaucrats have been using PIN-to-PIN messaging to avoid leaving a paper trail that can be requested by an access to information request. Some loophole.

Minority language groups have learned that the official languages commissioner can only slap the wrists of cabinet for the census decision, not reverse it. That still leaves the Federal Court.

And in the Vancouver Sun, criminologist John Lowman spells out the big ideological divide in figuring out our prostitution laws: radical-feminism versus liberal-feminism, one sex-negative, the other focused on harm reduction.
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