The Liberals have officially come out against Bill S-10, the Conservative drug bill. “This bill isn’t tough on crime, it’s dumb on crime,” Ignatieff says. Not that this is a big surprise, but it’s nice to have it clear that they’re against it. This now leaves the question as to whether they’ll vote against it in full numbers or if the Conservatives will just leave it on the Order Paper to use as a cudgel because they know it won’t pass.
Just before QP started, there were a couple of notable statements. Hedy Fry spoke about the success of Vancouver’s HIV prevention programs, citing a New York Times article. Libby Davies also made a statement about the Annual Women’s Memorial March.
Michael Ignatieff’s lead questions for QP were pretty lacklustre, with the usual back-and-forth with Harper about corporate tax cuts, but things really heated up when Scott Brison got up to talk about increases in “payroll taxes” (EI premiums) versus the corporate tax cuts, and suddenly Harper got up (unusual, and perhaps an indication about how close the questions hit home), and the pair started trading quotes from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business on which taxes they were concerned about. For the Bloc, Gilles Duceppe, Paule Brunelle and Bernard Bigras were all asking about those contaminated nuclear turbines being transported down the St Lawrence Seaway, while Jack Layton asked about the TSX/LSE merger.
Marc Garneau kicked off round two with questions on tax harmonization (usually the Bloc’s schtick), while Mark Holland got into it with Vic Toews about the costs of the Conservatives’ justice plans. Daniel Paillé asked about the TSX merger from the perspective of the Montreal exchange’s veto; Robert Carrier asked about mortgage penalties; Judy Foote asked about childcare; and Raymonde Folco asked about extending the stimulus for social housing programs.
Round three saw questions on workers who were laid off shortly after they served as a human backdrop for a Conservative minister, the manufacturing sector, partisan appointments, the perimeter security agreement, cuts to the coast guard, search and rescue helicopters, that west coast tanker ban, security contracts with Afghan warlords, and the aboriginal business pilot program.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Hedy Fry’s chocolate velvet jacket and skirt and Ralph Goodale’s lovely purple tie. Style citations go out to habitual offender Chris Charlton for her fluorescent yellow jacket with black top and trousers, and there's a rare citation for Diane Ablonczy, who is normally quite stylish, but in this case had a bad brown suit with a mustard turtleneck that did not work.
Scott Brison’s Liberal opposition day motion on corporate tax cuts, by the way, passed a vote of 149 to 134, with Bloc and NDP support (not that it’s a binding vote, but hey, symbolic victories, right?).
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett showcases her secular, gender-neutral national anthem lyrics, achieved simply by alternating key English and French lines.
Maclean’s satirist Scott Feschuk rips into Tony Clement’s fake birthday long-form census.