4 min

Perhaps the problem is decentralisation

Before Question Period, Liberal Rob Oliphant had a Member’s Statement regarding a constituent who received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and took the opportunity to plug Liberal plans for child care.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Ava Gomes, an early childhood educator in the Blue Wave Child Care Centre in Don Valley West. Ms. Gomes is a recipient of the Prime Minister's award for teaching excellence and excellence in early childhood education.
Ava goes beyond her regular duties to provide one-on-one attention to children. She participates with them in their extra activities, sends home creative projects and motivates her students through skits, props and music.
A parent of one of her students said it best: "Every day Ava builds [my daughter's] confidence, fosters her independence, makes her feel special. Like Ava, her classroom is warm and inviting…. Every morning [my daughter] wakes up excited and inspired to learn."
This award recognizes not only Ms. Gomes but also the importance of early childhood education. Liberals recognize this point very well. That is why any future Liberal government will be committed to a national child care program.
I congratulate Ava on this tremendous achievement and for inspiring students at the most critical moment of their lives.

During Question Period, Bob Rae took the lead to once again ask about the H1N1 vaccine, and questions as to what will change in order to get some million Canadians vaccinated per day in order to beat the pandemic’s peak at the end of November. Harper trotted out the usual lines, and said it was rolling out faster than provinces could handle. But when he also said that Canada had the highest per capita vaccinations in the world, Marlene Jennings corrected him during her question in that it is in fact Australia that has the highest per capita vaccinations, and in her supplemental, added that China is rolling out their vaccines faster.

When asked how many vaccinations have actually taken place, they gave no response. When asked about the lack of communication for those who don’t speak English or French, they gave no response until the supplemental, at which point the Minister basically said it was the responsibility of the provinces or territories, and look how great Nunavut was doing it.

In fact, reports that the provinces have been slow to roll out vaccines because the vaccine rolled out earlier than expected raises questions, but far more fundamental ones. It was best said on Power & Politics, and that is the fact that we are living in one of the most decentralised federations on the planet, and this lack of coordination is a symptom of that. And who has been ideologically wed to the idea of gutting the powers of the federal government? Why, that would be Stephen Harper, author or the infamous firewall document from Alberta, and whose very slow programme of increasing federal spending in order to reduce the fiscal capacity for implementation of future programmes is being underreported.

Gilles Duceppe asked about another Senator with some potentially questionable political donations, and Jack Layton asked about our delays in getting greenhouse gas emissions caps. Ken Dryden also raised the question as to why the Olympic Torch relay is going through so many more Conservative ridings than opposition ridings – 90-some Conservative, to 20-some Liberal. Quite a difference. James Moore denied that the government had anything to do with it – but of course he would.

Sartorially speaking, I’m almost surprised to say that I’m giving snaps to Judy Wasylycia-Leis for her inspired green leather jacket which complemented her copper hair brilliantly (and she had said hair appropriately styled as well). Good show! On the benches opposite, the citation goes out to Helena Guergis for her hideous ruffled yellow top under a grey jacket. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a ruffled magenta top under a black jacket that looked fairly decent (for a change).

There is a lot of soul-searching happening in the wake of the gun registry vote on Wednesday, and nowhere more so than in the Liberal Party, apparently. Apparently Albina Guarnieri abstained from the vote, but she had her own ideas for reforming the registry law to take the criminal sting out of not registering, but it never made it through caucus approval under the Martin government in time. The party is apparently looking at reviving that idea, but it may be too late – unless, perhaps, they can mobilise action for it during the committee stage of the current bill.
As for that report on the registry that Peter Van Loan still hasn’t tabled in the House, well, Van Loan was pretty evasive about it to the press (and if you’ll watch the video or read the transcript of the scrum, it was pretty telling. At one point a reporter had to remind him that he wasn’t in Question Period – ouch!). He wanted to try to frame it that despite it the fact that another report shows the number of times the registry is being used is up, it’s doesn’t include the number of times the long gun portion is accessed.

Poor Lisa Raitt – will she ever get a break? The Toronto Star is now looking into her questionable expenses from when she was the CEO of the Toronto Port Authority, and she signed off on some things she probably shouldn’t have – like her own expenses. There are a number of unanswered questions, which should be looked into – especially if this government is as concerned about transparency and ethics as they claim to be.

The Star also looks at how Camilla has slowly been winning over people through her very tasteful and understated style, which she has rapidly been making her own, in the face of her predecessor’s ghost. The Royal Couple visited Dundurn Castle, and Charles toured some winemaking operations in the Niagara region.
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