The Speaker of the Commons, Peter Milliken, has ruled, and Parliament, not the government, is supreme. He has given the parties two weeks to work out a compromise for the delivery of those Afghan detainee documents, or else he’ll declare it an issue of breach of privilege. But will the government bring the House down over it, declare an election, or challenge it any way? I doubt it. Their pattern tends to be to sulk about it for a while, grumble about coalitions and generally be bullies, but I’m sure they’ll comply in the bare minimum way.
But first the business of the day. During the Members’ Statements for the past few days, the Conservatives have been doing an awful lot of bellyaching about the Liberals’ whipped vote on the long-gun registry vote. You’d almost think they’ve never had to deal with a whipped vote. Oh, wait…
When Question Period began, Michael Ignatieff hammered Harper on Monday’s comments on not funding safe abortions as part of their G8 commitment to maternal and child health. Why a different policy for Canada compared to abroad? Harper was clever in his answers, however, and brought up Ignatieff’s failed vote in the House on the topic, accused him of dividing his own caucus and starting a “culture war.” When Bob Rae asked if this policy similarly applied to women who are raped as a means of waging war in places like the Congo, Harper talked about the “range of initiatives” that are available to be funded, but Canada was only going to fund those that united the country. Erm, helping rape victims is divisive? Really?
That left it up to Gilles Duceppe and his MPs to bring up the whole Jaffer affair (four cabinet ministers implicated and counting now!). Layton was back to the abortion issue, and then it was back to Jaffer and the lobbying questions – Anita Neville, David McGuinty, Pat Martin, and – oh, wait. That’s it? Fewest Jaffer/Guergis questions in weeks!
Then it was on to questions about the forestry industry, pine beetle infestations, agro-stability funding, drilling “relief wells,” consulting on EI for fishermen in New Brunswick, detainee documents, funding status of women programs – all kinds of substantive and not-salacious questions. Amazing!
For those of you keeping score, the “Culture of Deceit” drinking game was at either nine or 10 – I wasn’t sure if Bob Rae repeated it twice, or if that was an issue of translation.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go to Lisa Raitt’s long white jacket over her black top and trousers. I was a little unsure of Diane Finley’s coral pink top and jacket with the black trim, and Bryon Wilfert’s black leather jacket (though snaps for the effort). The style citation again goes to Chris Charlton for another of her fluorescent jackets. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a chic grey military-cut jacket, which I was a big fan of – and best of all, nothing that clashed!
Elsewhere, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has tallied the costs for all those “tough on crime” measures the government is proposing, and he’s come up with a price tag that’s between $7 and $10 billion dollars – and most of it will be on the backs of the provinces. Suddenly I’m looking forward to today’s Question Period…
Up today – it’s an NDP opposition day, with a motion on the Investment Act, followed by third reading debate on Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, which we’ve heard a fair deal about.
Then it’s the famous “All Party Party,” hosted by the NDP’s Peter Stoffer, which I’m looking forward to attending before A Taste for Life.