At the Federal Court, where a francophone group is challenging the long-form census decision, documents submitted by the government show that they’ve actually admitted that the data collected by a voluntary national survey would be unusable by many federal institutions. So, in other words, Tony Clement has once again been caught in a lie when he said that everything was going to be fine. Not that he’ll admit it, and he keeps building up straw men and red herrings about coercion, jail time and questions that never existed on the census.
The former chief statistician remarks that without credible data (which the voluntary national survey is not capable of delivering), the whole department might as well not exist. And given the way that Tony Clement is questioning his emeritus role, this does start sounding a bit like a longer-term plan to get rid of them, doesn’t it?
A few hours after Jim Flaherty gave what Scott Brison described as a photo op in lieu of a report card on the Economic Action Plan, Question Period was largely welling around those economic questions – corporate tax cuts in the face of massive deficits, overspending on things like the G20 summit, the rigid deadlines on stimulus spending in the face of delays. Ralph Goodale, Alexandra Mendes, Gilles Duceppe, Michel Guimond, Carole Freeman, Thomas Mulcair, Scott Brison, Siobhan Coady… Like I said – it was well into the second round of questions.
But then came the non sequitur deflections, from Vic Toews of all people. When those questionable G20 expenses were mentioned, he would stand up and accuse the Liberals of denigrating Toronto. No, seriously. WTF? At least one MP looked up to the gallery with an incredulous expression while Toews rattled on. (Aaron Wherry suspects this was all one brilliant joke.)
From there were questions on the census (Tony Clement predictably responded with his favourite red herrings), cultural exemptions with potential trade deals with the EU (Gerald Keddy: “It’s a complicated agreement,” which would have sounded condescending if he wasn’t reading off his prepared lines), Conservative appointees at Rights & Democracy (Deepak Obhrai: It’s an “arm’s length organization” – really!), another go at asking if those New Veterans Charter changes would be retroactive to 2006 (once again, no answer), electronic health records and why food inspection isn’t as stringent on imports as it is on Canadian products.
Sartorially speaking, snaps and the Megan Leslie outfit watch are one and the same today, as she deserves high praise for her stylish black dress, paired with fishnet stockings and black heels. Well done! Also, I had much love for Libby Davies’ knee-high boots and Lisa Raitt’s snakeskin heels. A style citation, however, is issued for John Weston and his awful yellow tie, paired with a black jacket and navy shirt. No. Just…no.
Vic Toews and Rob Nicholson, crime-fighting duo that they are, are set to unleash a whole bunch of new (moral panic) anti-crime bills back upon the House. That must mean it’s time for an election, so that they can claim the opposition held them up – right?
Here’s a video retrospective on Her Excellency’s time in office.
And there are now a few details about the installment ceremony for the new Governor General on Friday, with a bunch of new symbolism that is outside of the usual traditions.
Up today – it’s the Liberals’ first opposition day of the fall sitting, and it’s a motion on restoring a long-form census. And while it’s not binding, it’s a warm-up to their Private Member's Bill coming shortly thereafter.