After hearing from several NDP MPs that they weren’t going to allow the government to simply reinstate all of their bills in the place on the Order Paper where they left off before prorogation, because Stephen Harper shouldn’t be rewarded for his actions, along comes their leader, Jack Layton, to throw a wrench in their indignation. Yesterday, Layton sent out a press release asking Harper to bring Parliament back by the 25th, and he would support the Conservatives in reinstating those bills. No matter that there was a list of bills that his very MPs told me they were glad to see the backs of. So much for punishing Harper.
Oh, and come the 25th, when there will be a number of rallies staged across the country to protest prorogation, where will the NDP MPs be? In Ottawa, “back to work” as the Liberals are planning to be? No – they’ll be at those rallies instead. And this makes me a bit uncomfortable because I’m not sure it’s making the right statement. It turns those rallies into these overtly leftist protests, when it’s my understanding that they’re designed to be non-partisan, where Canadians from all political stripes can show their anger at the abuse of power and process demonstrated by the government. If only NDP MPs show up at them – and they’re going to speak – it starts to make the rallies look more partisan, which might just defeat their spirit.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the earthquake in Haiti is going to give the government just what it needed – a change of message. In fact, if I were really, really cynical, I would say that they are probably thankful for said earthquake because it not only changed the channel for them – and it makes them look responsive and decisive in the process, and you know they’re milking that when they start setting up photo ops to show just how hard they’re working on this issue, and how they’ve even invited Her Excellency and Haiti’s charge d’affaires as a courtesy – aren’t they doing a great job everyone?
After all, they tried changing the channel last week with new revelations of security threats to this country, and that didn’t work. The Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt pointed out that a government so concerned about security wouldn’t reveal three-year-old documents on Afghan detainees, but suddenly they were very forthcoming about these new security threats, and it doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out just why that is. And yes, they had photo ops (and bad, woodenly-acted video releases) on that too, but it didn’t take. And Haiti, however, is taking, and suddenly virtually no one is talking prorogation any longer.
Her Excellency, meanwhile, has been extremely emotional over this issue, but is really putting a face to those Haitian-Canadians who are feeling helpless as they are unable to reach family and friends affected. She broke down and gave a tearful statement yesterday afternoon, which was quite moving.
On possibly the worst day ever to release such information – because it’s going to be left in the dust of the Haiti stories – the Parliamentary Budget Officer released his latest set of figures yesterday, so that the opposition had something to work with for their pre-budget consultations. And no, it seems that Jim Flaherty’s math doesn’t quite add up.
Also, the Conservatives’ spending millions of dollars on advertising their Economic Action Plan™ doesn’t contravene conflict of interest laws by a technicality on the definition of “personhood.” Nothing, so far as I’ve seen, on the spirit of said rules however.