The media reports are full of stories that confirm what the Liberals have been saying – that the Conservative spending for infrastructure projects has disproportionately favoured Conservative ridings. The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the CBC, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald in conjunction with the Ottawa Citizen have all said the same thing – that there is a noticeable difference once you crunch the numbers. (Harper’s press secretary, by the way, accused the Press Gallery of using numbers provided by the Liberals, which the bureau chief of the Globe quickly smacked down).
And so, during Members’ Statements, Scott Brison spoke on the needs for an expansion to the East Hants rink in his riding. He says that a project was announced in Peter MacKay’s riding without the necessary local engagement, whereas the one in his riding is shovel-ready and has the municipal and provincial engagement in place.
Madam Speaker, the East Hants Sportsplex in Lantz, Nova Scotia needs an expansion.
The local population has doubled over the last decade. Families are being turned away due to lack of ice time. The high school cannot get ice time for their hockey team. Public skating is limited to only once a week. The Halifax Chronicle Herald has written about the much-needed expansion. CBC has also aired a story on the project.
Municipal and provincial governments support the expansion project. It is shovel-ready. The planning is complete. East Hants has committed $3.5 million to the project. Nova Scotia has committed $5.6 million to the project. Project organizers have applied for federal funding. They met with the regional minister.
To date there has been nothing but silence from the Conservatives. The residents of East Hants pay the same taxes voters in Conservative ridings pay.
Why is funding for a project in the defence minister's riding announced in the absence of any municipal partnership? Why are the people of East Hants being treated as second-rate citizens by the Conservative government just for exercising their democratic rights as citizens?
Why are his residents being punished because they didn’t vote Conservative? (Isn’t that answer self-evident?)
Ralph Goodale led off Question Period, asking about all those “phoney cheques,” pork projects, and partisan advertising – when will it stop? Harper responded by talking up the Economic Action Plan™, and that they wanted to inform the public about the good news. Gerard Kennedy asked about the infrastructure spending later on – this file is now his baby – and Tony Clement assured Canadians that they were distributing funds fairly and equitably, and kept bringing up Ontario Liberal deputy premier George Smitherman to back up his claims.
Gilles Duceppe once again asked after white-collar crime, and Jack Layton asked about pension reform. When Paul Szabo asked about the way in which Lisa Raitt was operating in contravention to the Prime Minister’s guidelines on ethics for public office holders, after a lobbyist registered to lobby her office organised a fundraiser for her, the Government House Leader assured Canadians that their government was committed to transparency and accountability. Also, the chocolate ration was doubled this week from four grammes to two. Doubleplusgood!
Anita Neville, Bob Rae and Jack Harris continued to ask about the Colvin Reports, and once again they received zero answers.
Sartorially speaking, it was pretty dull in the House, though there were a couple of missteps. Siobhan Coady’s floral scarf wrapped around a black turtleneck did her no favours as it just served to make her head look too small for her body. But of the cut of Diane Finley’s outfit, I must simply ask: WTF?
The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a short-sleeved magenta top (possibly a dress – I couldn’t quite tell) that was buttoned to the top with a collar, worn with a huge brooch. I’m not convinced by the look.
Elsewhere, Bill C-25 received Royal Assent yesterday, so the government can hopefully stop their campaign about disinformation about the role of the Senate as it relates to this bill. And over in Slovenia, it seems that Her Excellency is steering clear of a future Head of State flap, which is probably for the best.