University of Toronto
2 min

Parliament returns

Parliament comes back today – yay! I’m very excited because what can I say? I’ve missed them over the summer. And we’ll get to see them all in Question Period again.

Now, some say that it won’t last the week – that we may have an election call as early as Friday, given that’s when the Conservatives plan to have their confidence vote on the Home Renovation Tax Credit. But given that the Bloc has signalled that they’re willing to support that particular measure, the call is unlikely to go ahead this week.

And while the Conservatives finally plan to table their own EI reform proposals (something they apparently couldn’t do with the EI “working group”), all eyes turn to Jack Layton as to whether or not he’ll support those plans to stave off an election. And he’s been making conciliatory noises, saying that an election isn’t inevitable. Mind you, he’s still talking tough with his list of demands, but he hasn’t yet started just which ones are enough to keep the government going before going to the polls (and his party is one that can least afford an election right now, so he has a vested interested in Making Parliament Work™ for the time being).

And while the Conservatives are already campaigning against an imaginary coalition, Ignatieff has come out firmly against forming one, going so far as to say that he could have been Prime Minister already if he wanted to go that route, and yet he’s turned it down. And that is a good point – but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t collectively be disappointed by this ridiculous demonising of coalition politics when they are actually perfectly legal and democratic in a Westminster-style democracy.

There were two examples of the best and worst of the Senate yesterday. On the one hand, Senator Colin Kenney, chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence spoke truth to power and said that we’re not achieving our goals in Afghanistan, and we should substantially reduce our efforts there – limiting them to training Afghan soldiers – since things aren’t getting any better. On the other hand, it has been revealed that there is a very disturbing financial situation left behind by Patrick Brazeau when he was National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples before being appointed to the Senate nine months ago. While Kenney doesn’t have to fear repercussions for speaking truth to power, Brazeau is protected from the consequences of his actions at CAP, and since Harper did the moronic thing of appointing someone in his thirties to the Senate rather than someone who is at the end of their career (under a promise that he’ll totally only sit eight years – really!), Brazeau is now set for the next forty or so years. It does sadly cut both ways.

And finally, thanks to Access to Information requests made by The Canadian Press, it looks like Diane Ablonczy was actually removed from the Marquee Tourism Events Program file after the Toronto Pride funding “fiasco.” Added to that, Maclean’s Kady O’Malley puts together the timeline, including Charles McVety’s involvement, and she found an awful lot of coincidences.

Up today: Not only is Parliament back, but Michael Ignatieff also plans to address the Canadian Club of Ottawa over the noon hour. Could he be unveiling some kind of economic policy that he plans to run on in an election, or a similar policy position? The topic is apparently “Canada’s place in the world,” which seems to be a narrative he wants to build the next election around. Maybe we’ll get a few more tidbits of just what his platform might be.