Politics of Canada
3 min

Perhaps they should have offered cookies for telling the truth?

Outside the House of Commons, a group of Girl Guides were handing out cookies in the foyer, no doubt there to mark the 100th anniversary of the Guides in Canada. Inside, Liberal MP Glenn Pearson touched off the first of several tributes to the OPP officer who was killed in the line of duty.

And when Question Period arrived, Michael Ignatieff started off with the Afghan detainee damage control strategy documents the CBC revealed on Monday. And Harper downplayed the documents saying they helped lead to an enhanced detainee transfer agreement. Dominic LeBlanc picked up that torch, and Rob Nicholson trotted out the line about “legally available documents” and said Justice Iacobucci would take care of everything, so trust them. Gilles Duceppe wanted to talk about national securities regulators, but Layton quickly brought it back to the detainees. And so did Judy Foote and Ujjal Dosanjh. When Rob Nicholson moaned that nothing would satisfy Dosanjh, the opposition benches shouted – in near-perfect unison – “the truth!”

In the event you missed it, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer got a $500 fine in exchange for having his cocaine possession charges dropped. This made it into Question Period when Liberal Anita Neville brought it up – how does a “tough on crime” government respond to this admittedly light sentence – to much howling from the government benches. Rob Nicholson called it an “irresponsible” question, later clarifying that it was irresponsible because it was during the appeal period. Nevertheless – Conservatives were not happy to hear about it. (Meanwhile, sensible people are looking at this as proof of why the government should drop its obsession with mandatory minimum sentences).

I’m going to hold off on handing out any sartorial snaps and cut right to the style citations instead. Diane Ablonczy? The mustard turtleneck doesn’t work for your body type aside from the fact that it’s an awful colour on you. Diane Finley? That WTF black jacket with the white trim – the too-short, too high-waisted, three-quarter-sleeve mess  – needs to have the scissors taken to it. Stockwell Day? The teal blue shirt does not go with a chocolate brown suit and tie. Jeff Watson was being a total rebel – possibly in violation of House rules, as he wore a black suit jacket over a white shirt and dark-grey v-necked sweater vest – and no tie! *gasp!* Meanwhile, the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports its optimism dashed. At first glance – a flatteringly cut mauve top under a chocolate jacket with a pink flower on the lapel – and I approved. But then she stood up, and the pleated grey skirt worried me. And then she moved away from her desk and revealed the lighter mauve tights and dark mauve shoes. The shoes were funky and cool – but those tights were a bit too samey-samey with the similar colours and were overdone. Nice effort, nothing overtly clashing – but still work to be done.

The Harper government survived its first budget votes with the NDP and Bloc sub-amendments to the budget both failing. The main vote is yet to come.

Minister of State for the Status of Women Helena Guergis isn’t standing by the plans to make the national anthem more gender neutral. And in the event you missed it, my interview with Senator Nancy Ruth – one of the plan’s prime boosters – is here.

Remember that mention in the Throne Speech on improved measures to help single-parent families? Looks like it’ll be more headache and harm than good. But there couldn’t possibly be anything ideological behind that little sneak attack now, could there?

And down the hall in the Senate, the Conservatives turned down the opportunity to control the legal and constitutional affairs committee – though they have taken over the national security and defence committee. Senator Joan Fraser continues to chair the legal committee – which is good news, because she’s quite awesome and smacks down the justice minister but good – but I am largely convinced they didn’t take over that committee for the sole purpose of keeping a Senate scapegoat in their partisan pockets.

Up today – after an emotional visit to her ancestral home in Jacmel, Haiti, Her Excellency is making a state visit to the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

And oh, look – the CBC found yet another document which shows the government focusing on its political messaging rather than dealing with the detainee issue as an issue. Guess what’ll be first up in Question Period tomorrow?
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