Hey everyone–I'm going to be up on Parliament Hill to see what everyone is doing up there for World AIDS Day – how many people mention it in Members' Statements, who asks about it during Question Period, and so on.
Normally the Canadian AIDS Society hosts a breakfast on the Hill for the occasion, but this year they're not, citing the fact that it's too soon after Parliament resumed to get a good response from MPs, but they are hosting a fundraising dinner in town later this evening.
13.55 – I'm here in the Press Gallery, listening to Joe Volpe talking about the fiscal update. Members' Statements are due to begin in around five minutes. I'm not seeing very many red ribbons on MPs, though "reformed" homophobe Tom Lukiwski is sporting one.
13.59 – Have just been moved from the Press Gallery to the first row of the Public Gallery (reserved for press) as the former gallery is expected to be "packed" today with full-time members.
14.01 – Members' Statements are beginning, and oh look, the Conservatives are denouncing the talk of coalition.
14.04 – Liberal health critic Carolyn Bennett is here, wearing a red ribbon pin. No statements about World AIDS Day yet.
14.06 – Carolyn Bennett is up to talk about World AIDS Day, talking about the irony that this year's theme is "leadership" while this government doesn't show it, and that they cut the funding for Ontario alone by 17%, while ignoring the evidence around the effectiveness of Insite in Vancouver.
14.10 – Today's drinking game: "socialist-separatist alliance."
14.13 – More red ribbons showing up, but most on the government side, including the front bench. All three Opposition leaders are wearing them, though Harper is not.
14.17 – A Conservative member just invoked the spectre of Tommy Douglas. Really?
14.18 – Question Period begins, and Dion is asking if Harper believes he still has the confidence of the House. For his first supplemental, Dion brings up Harper's own words on minority governments from when he was opposition leader.
14.21 – OMG! Don Newman is here! (Sorry – Parliament geek fanboy moment).
14.23 – Jim Flaherty just used the phrase "deal with the devil." It really is one of those days.
14.25 – Gilles Duceppe is up. Another question of how can we trust this government.
14.30 – Jack Layton is up to ask about trusting a Prime Minister wh refuses to act in an economic crisis. Harper responds by asking why people should trust a leader willing to fold his party into another one.
It really is pretty raucous in here today.
14.35 – The Liberals' second round starts off with Marlene Jennings talking about hidden numbers and counting unsold assets. Flaherty is apparently having a flashback to the seventies.
14.37 – Scott Brison accuses Flaherty of hypocrisy by doing what he said he wouldn't – manufacturing a surplus just to say he has one. Flaherty responds to the accusation of "cooking the books" with talking about the friendship "cooking" in the opposition benches.
14.43 – It's hot up in the gallery. Also, as uncomfortable as the earphones are in the Press Gallery, I'm missing them as the ones in the public gallery are basically phone handsets which you need to hold in the crook of your shoulder if you want to take notes (or liveblog).
14.48 – "Secret Bloc-NDP cabal." Drink!
14.50 – Thomas Mulcair vs Vic Toews on pay equity. In his supplemental, when Mulcair says he'll read out a part of the fiscal update, someone in the government benches shouts out "read the whole thing!"
14.53 – A question from the Bloc on Kyoto.
14.55 – Natural Resources minister Lisa Raitt responds to a question on forestry, and hey, her jacket isn't entirely hideous or too boxy for a change.
14.59 – "Bloc-NDP cartel." Drink!
15.01 – Bill Casey gets up to talk about equalisation, and whether Nova Scotia and Newfoundland will be excepted from the caps announced in the Fiscal Update.
15.03 – And that concludes Question Period. The galleries are emptying out. No questions on HIV/AIDS funding.
Normally the benches start emptying out at this point, but other than the party leaders, the opposition members seem to be staying put. The government MPs, however, are starting to filter out.