Bob Rae
2 min

Layton abstains, Harper survives

It was the Liberals’ opposition day, and they brought forward their motion of non-confidence in the government. It failed – 144 to 117 (the NDP abstained, they want it known), so no election just yet.

When Question Period began, Ignatieff used his confidence motion to attack the competence of the government. Harper talked about Bill C-50 for Employment Insurance reform. Ignatieff returned by asking why Harper was unable to compromise or cooperate, to which Harper talked about his great economic stewardship, but invited the Liberals to table their own economic suggestions in the House (as if they’ve actually listened to the Liberals when they did propose measures).

Duceppe was back on tax harmonisation in Quebec (which Harper pointed out that the terms of the harmonisation agreements with Ontario and BC are different), while Jack Layton was after further clarification on our pull-out date of 2011 from Afghanistan (which Harper gave him), and questions about the inquiry into torture revelations in the country and the apparent muzzling of a former diplomat (which Peter MacKay told him that his facts were entirely wrong).

Gerard Kennedy asked for clarity about the actual job creation figures, which Jim Flaherty assured him had exceeded expectations. Kennedy retorted that the jobs estimate was for next year – not this year, which helps no one. Hedy Fry decried the imbalance of infrastructure funds to BC, and then went on to denounce the new Olympic logos that look suspiciously like the Conservative party logo. Gary Lunn denied any interference, and for good measure called the Liberals unpatriotic, especially after they “picketed Tim Horton’s.”

Carolyn Bennett brought up the American attacks on Canadian health care (as she was in Washington to defend it at a US Senate Committee hearing). Leona Aglukkaq brought up a quote from Bob Rae about staying out of the debate. Olivia Chow asked about the resources used by the Toronto Port Authority to host a fundraiser for Lisa Raitt, though John Baird assured her that such use of resources weren’t permitted. Paul Szabo followed up with further information about Raitt’s use of a registered lobbyist for fundraising, but Baird simply repeated his previous response.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go to Carolyn Bennett for her blue Haida-patterned black vest over a white collared shit. Style citations go out to Tony Clement for his black-flecked orange tie over a yellow shirt, and Rona Ambrose for her high-necked grey jacket with the three-quarter-length sleeves. While it deserves mention that it was actually tailored (which is a nice change from the baggy clothes she was wearing), the elements didn’t work well together, nor did the red beaded necklaces she was wearing. And looking at Hedy Fry’s dress (above), I think it’s something that only she could pull off.

Elsewhere, Gordon Landon – the former candidate from Markham-Unionville – now says that he resigned and was not fired, but that while he remains a Conservative, he couldn’t abide by the PMO’s policies. It’s still not any better for the Conservatives, but it’s certainly an interesting twist.

Up today: NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Liberal Senator Sharon Carstairs are holding a press conference in Winnipeg to update progress on their respective bills on Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR), which aims to provide cheap generic HIV and AIDS meds to poor countries.

This weekend: There’s a meeting of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party on Sunday, and Denis Coderre is even making nice on Facebook, going so far as to call for party unity. In other words, there’s going to be a whole lotta damage control and a lot of photo ops of just how unified they really are.