There was a swarm of pro-lifers on the Hill, getting soaked in the sudden rain. May 14th – the anniversary of the passage of Trudeau’s C-150 omnibus bill, was not only just about decriminalising homosexuality, but it also led to things like contraception and abortion in this country, and the pro-lifers held their own demonstration, first outside the PMO in the Langevin Block (thus blocking all the traffic on Wellington street), and later moving over to the Parliamentary lawn.
Inside the House, no one stood up to give any statements about C-150 decriminalising homosexuality (as I was hoping at least someone would), but the Bloc’s Johanne Deschamps stood up to recognise the date for a woman’s right to choose. All three opposition parties gave it an ovation. The Conservatives remained seated, and did not clap.
When Question Period got underway, there was no Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition to start things off. Instead, Ralph Goodale kicked it off, bring up EI reform and scolding the government for their comments on the opposition proposal. And normally, in the absence of the Prime Minister, the relevant minister would get up to answer. But it was not a normal day, and instead Tony Clement rose to let us know that we already have a generous EI system, and in his supplemental, said that Scott Brison argued that payroll taxes were bad. Brison didn’t look too worried.
Shortly after, the Liberal whip, Roger Cuzner, got up and accused Diane Finley of being like the ShamWow salesman with her talking points (not that she was delivering any on this day) – and that Canadians weren’t buying. Only instead of Finley responding, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minster of Fisheries and Oceans got up to talk about how his minister was going to help the lobster fishers in this downturn.
“Let them eat lobster!” heckled one Liberal, and I have to award snaps for actually using a Marie Antoinette reference correctly.
Finley, in fact, until nearly a half hour into Question Period when Liberal Mike Savage got up and called her out for her “misleading” statement about people working 45 days to get a year’s worth of benefits under the Liberal proposal. Finley did get up, and extolled the virtues of just how much liquid the ShamWow could soak up. Oh, no, wait – she actually talked about how the proposal would just raise payroll taxes, which were of course bad. Talking about the ShamWow would perhaps have been more substantive, however.
When Jack Layton raised the topic of EI reform, Tony Clement accused him of trying to resurrect the coalition, which Canadians didn’t want. When Bob Rae indicated in his supplemental on the issue of Sri Lanka that he wasn’t pleased by Bev Oda’s response, Stockwell Day heckled “Do you want us to invade?” Clearly Day hasn’t been paying attention to things like Sri Lanka’s upcoming IMF loans, which can be used as coercive means to achieve compliance. And Sukh Dhaliwal had the best slam in his question on infrastructure spending, when he stated, “shovels in the ground have remained shovels in the shed.” Nice job!
Sartorial snaps go out to Johanne Deschamps for the wide-collared white shirt with the circular patterns under her very tailored steel-grey suit. The style citation goes out to Cheryl Gallant for the greenish-blue leather jacket she stuffed herself into, with the pink scarf peeking out of the collar. It wasn’t pretty.
Elsewhere, Ruby! The Musical continues, with new allegations that one of her accusers has a history of making these kinds of allegations, while others are raising some very serious concerns about the role that Jason Kenney has played in all of this, and how it may taint the whole proceeding. Also, remember the $3 billion “slush fund” that the Conservatives were ready to fight an election over? Well, it seems like money from that fund has been going to things other than job-creating infrastructure projects – like Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, or the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority, and even with those allocations, just over half of that “emergency” money has been spent by this point. In other words, their whole reasoning for getting it out in that unaccountable rush was a lot of hot air.
The photos from last night’s Parliamentarian of the Year Awards are now up, and you can see for yourselves just how unflattering “Best Rookie” Megan Leslie’s pumpkin wrap-dress was, and how Rob Oliphant is one smooth operator.