The NDP and Conservative parties each released a new series of pre-writ election ads yesterday. The NDP ads talk about how “Ottawa is broken” and how they’re going to stop the partisan games to Get Things Done™ for Canadians. Ironically, this becomes a partisan game the moment they declare victory for getting said things done. The Conservatives released a soft-and-fuzzy ad, with Harper talking about how great Canada is, as well as another one that attacks Ignatieff’s “tax hikes.” You’d almost swear there was an actual campaign going on.
Monday’s question period kicked off with Michael Ignatieff and Marc Garneau asking about the charges laid against the Conservatives in the In & Out scheme (not to be confused with the crappy Kevin Kline film). As Stephen Harper wasn’t in the House, Pierre Poilievre answered all questions on the matter; he assured everyone in smooth, dulcet tones that because this was a five-year-old accounting dispute and the charges were just administrative, this was not a big deal. Gilles Duceppe was more interested in questioning how the government could institute a freeze on Moammar Gadhafi’s assets in one fell swoop but not do the same for the Ben Ali family's. Jean Dorion followed up with questions on the evacuation of Canadians from Libya. Jack Layton returned to the In & Out issue and finished by moving on to the Oda Affair.
Round two kicked off with Judy Foote asking who gave Bev Oda the orders to change the Kairos document. Bob Rae followed up by asking what happened in the two-month period between the time the department okayed the extension of Kairos's funding and Bev Oda ordered that it be cut. Johanne Deschamps picked up on the Oda questions, and Claude DeBellefeuille returned to the In & Out scheme. Scott Brison asked about the hidden price tags on the Conservative agenda, while Joe Volpe brought up some very interesting email exchanges between Christiane Ouimet – the former public safety integrity commissioner – and the PMO. That could get very interesting.
Round three saw questions on government help for green companies, fuel prices versus the competition bureau, Senator Larry Smith as a symptom of the same mentality that created the In & Out scheme, the latest G8/G20 crackdown report (Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has said in response there will be no public inquiry), access to information guidelines, damage caused by the high tides along the St Lawrence Seaway, and that odious case of the Manitoba judge who didn’t sentence a rapist because the victim dressed suggestively.
Sartorially speaking, a lot of MPs were sporting black scarves emblazoned with “Be Fair to Rare” in recognition of Rare Disease Day. Otherwise, it was a fairly blah day, but I’ll give snaps to Alexandra Mendes for her chocolate leather jacket and skirt with a toffee-coloured top and Scott Brison for his grey suit with a red gingham shirt and navy tie. Style citations go out to habitual offender Chris Charlton for her fluorescent yellow jacket with a black top and trousers and Daryl Kramp for his rather twee yellow and pale-blue plaid tie.
In an interview with Lawrence Martin for ipolitics.ca (caution – pay wall), Michael Ignatieff spoke about setting up a “people’s question period” that would allow ordinary Canadians to ask cabinet ministers unfiltered questions online each week. Ignatieff also vowed to restore the long-form census, fix the access to information system and look at online voting.
Apparently, someone has been arrested for threatening to bomb 24 Sussex.