3 min

More questions of secrecy

Following debate in the House on Bill C-11, which seeks to reform the refugee laws in this country (and stay tuned to Xtra.ca for more on that), Members’ Statements got underway. Scott Brison gave one of them:

Madame Speaker, the 270 kilometre-long Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is home to the highest tides in the world, where 100 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay twice per day, an amount greater than the combined total of all the world's freshwater rivers.
The Bay of Fundy is the sole Canadian entry remaining among the 28 finalists in the third and final phase of the new seven wonders of nature contest. Over one billion votes are expected to be cast before voting ends and the winner is announced in November 2011.
Visitors to my home in Cheverie have stared in bewilderment at a bare sea floor which just hours earlier had been a sea of waves lapping along the shoreline. However the Bay of Fundy is more than just high tides. It is the home of 300-million-year-old fossils at sites such as Blue Beach and Joggins. It is one of the world's most diverse marine environments.
I urge all members and all Canadians to cast their votes at www.votemyfundy.com to make the Bay of Fundy one of the new seven wonders of nature.

Michael Ignatieff started off Question Period with a real question that wasn’t about the latest bit of salacious scandal – amazing! He was instead asking after the upcoming spring offensive in Kandahar – are we participating in it? Because we don’t know anything about what’s going on. The Americans can tell their population, but apparently not the Canadians. The Parliamentary Secretary for defence, Laurie Hawn, spoke about the need to protect the troops and sharing information that doesn’t violate security, but as Ignatieff pointed out in his supplemental, there did seem to be a government-wide ban on sharing information, which got John Baird up to angrily tout our “decisive” role in Afghanistan.

But then it was back to Rahim Jaffer and his lobbying activities. David McGuinty, Christiane Gagnon, Carole Freeman, Jack Layton (after a first question about George Galloway), Siobhan Coady and Anita Neville. It took the Bloc’s Claude Bachand to break the cycle and get back to serious business – the torture allegations coming out of Afghanistan. When the Bloc’s Johanne Deschamps asked about that G8 development ministers' meeting going on in Halifax, the Conservative Parliamentary Secretary for international cooperation, Jim Abbott, got up to say plainly that Canada wouldn’t be funding abortion – and well, all hell broke loose from there.

There were a couple of other noteworthy exchanges – when Joe Comartin and later Maria Mourani asked after the anti-terror legislation the government plans to reintroduce, despite the former head of CSIS saying it’s a very bad idea. Rob Nicholson talked about how this was what law enforcement in this country needed and both the NDP and the Bloc were apparently terror-lovers because their parties stood in the way of fighting crime. Really? Was that really necessary? And when Joyce Murray pointed out that her Access to Information requests on the Canada Pavilion fiasco at the Olympics came back with blank pages, James Moore indignantly warned her not to play politics with the Olympics (as though the Conservatives never have – really!).

Oh, and the “Culture of Deceit” drinking game tallied up to nine on Monday. (Should I start a pool?)

Sartorially speaking, Rona Ambrose has been on a roll of late, largely by actually wearing tailored outfits that work with her figure (rather than some of the baggy travesties she had taken to wearing last year). Yesterday it was a fitted short dress of the palest grey shade, under a blue-grey jacket. There was also a preponderance of leather jackets of various shades – red for Maria Minna, terra cotta for Christiane Gagnon and orange for Marlene Jennings. An E for effort needs to go to Scott Andrews for his blue and pink striped shirt with the coral pink tie and navy suit – it didn’t quite work, but he was so close. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports an unsuitable chunky-cut light grey jacket with three-quarter sleeves and ruffled collar, paired with dark grey trousers, but I couldn’t get a glimpse at her shoes.

As part of the Liberals’ new rural engagement strategy, Michael Ignatieff unveiled the party’s new food policy. This goes along with their promise to attract more doctors and health-care workers to the rural regions through student debt forgiveness. No doubt this is also part of a strategy to blunt any damage their re-engagement on the long-gun registry may cause them among rural voters.

The government unveiled a bill to give two new advance polling days during elections to help combat the slide in voter turnout. Which will of course totally help stem the tide of civic disengagement and the slide in public participation with the political process. Totally.

Up today – Debate on Bill C-11 continues. And James Moore is hosting the world premiere of the new Paul Gross movie, Gunless. On the big screen, and not on his iPod (where he totally watches TV and not on a TV, yo!).
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