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3 min

Last shout

The MPs are all gone for the summer, but not without one last hurrah on Friday’s Question Period, which was actually well attended, since there were votes an hour after it finished.

Ron Oliphant stood up to speak on National Aboriginal Day:

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to recognize National Aboriginal Day this Sunday, June 21, as we kick off 11 days to celebrate Canada.
Appropriately, we begin this celebration with an acknowledgement of Canada's first nations, Inuit and Métis people, recognizing their primacy in this great land.
The 11-day celebration will continue with Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27 and Canada Day on July 1.
Sunday is an opportunity to express our great pride in the rich and diverse cultures that thrive among aboriginal peoples, as they gather to celebrate their past, present and future through stories, song, dance, theatre and sacred ceremonies.
National Aboriginal Day also gives all Canadians the chance to pause and to reflect on work still undone, the opportunity to commit again to justice and dignity for first nations, Métis and Inuit people and to their full participation in the economic, social and cultural prosperity of this great country.

A few minutes later, Scott Brison stood up to pay tribute to Canon Davies, a constituent of his:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to pay tribute to Canon “Sid” Davies as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of his ordination.
Canon Davies is better known to Nova Scotians simply as “Sid”. And for the last 30 years, Sid has called the Valley his home. He has and continues to serve the community as a leader and as a mentor, inspiring us with his energy, hard work and wise counsel. In its tribute to Sid, St. John's Church said it best:
Canon Davies is a most remarkable man—faithful and diligent in his priestly duties; energetic and wise in his work in the wider community; and a sterling example of what it is to be a “muscular Christian”.
Sid has received many honours, including an award from the VON for being the most outstanding volunteer in Canada, and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology.
The parish of Cornwallis will honour Sid once against next Wednesday. I congratulate Sid on this momentous occasion. He is truly the salt of the earth.

But most of all, Members from all parties stood up to pay tribute to Don Newman, who was in the gallery for his last day on the job before his retirement. Michael Ignatieff said it best when he said “A generation of Canadians have grown up with Don as the great explainer. He is tough, fair and balanced. From health insurance to Watergate to Meech Lake, he has accurately interpreted the events that have marked our history. Thanks to him, Canadians have a better understanding of their government and their political system. Bravo. Don brought honour to his profession and insight to his fellow citizens.”

Friday also saw the Aga Khan – the 49th hereditary imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims – was mad the fifth honorary Canadian citizen in this country’s history for his humanitarian work.

On the isotope front, the Natural Resources minister has named a panel to examine “all options” regarding the isotope supply, which could include re-starting work on the MAPLE reactors. Work, according to the engineers working on them, which was only about four months away from completion that would have seen them licensed and up and running, if they are to be believed. In fact, they say that AECL didn’t even consult with them when they pulled the plug on the project – which sounds all the more suspicious.

The medical community, meanwhile, is “confused and frustrated” at the Health Minister’s decision to spend $28 million to research alternative ways to produce the necessary isotopes, even though such research would take in excess of five years before seeing any results and, well, the crisis is happening now. And speaking of alternative methods, the Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, wants to build a new research reactor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and he’s hoping to get expedited approvals to have it built within three years. I’d wish him luck, but also say that if the four-month timeline on repairing the MAPLEs proves correct, then maybe a new research reactor in Saskatchewan can go back to doing actual research rather than simply producing isotopes.

Elsewhere, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin grades her own performance as she approaches the ten-year mark of her time as Chief Justice, and she basically declares the fears of “judicial activism” being dead. Of course, I don’t think they’re all that dead, and some people would argue that’s actually a very bad thing – that we need judges to take a more active hand when or Parliament lets us down.

Up today: the Senate is still sitting for another couple of days, finishing up work on a few more bills to try and get them passed before the summer, so I’m tempted to drop in on Senate Question Period (extra-rare Monday edition) just to check it out.