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Press conference double bill

There were not one, but two summer press conferences taking place yesterday. The first was the Liberal press conference of the day, once again starring Scott Brison, and the topic was Conservatives cutting the funding to summer festivals, such as Caribana, Toronto Pride and FrancoFollies in Montreal. Brison said that with $12 million still unspent in the Marquee Tourism Event Program, he’d like to see those groups get their funding retroactively restored – and that’s a figure that would eliminate Toronto Pride’s deficit.

Jack Layton held a press conference a short while later, where he called for compromise on the census issue and extended an invitation to Harper to meet with him, so they can do wonderful things like amend Section 31 of the Census Act and eliminate the threat of jail time while keeping the long-form mandatory. Yeah, good luck with that, considering that this scrapping is apparently one of Harper’s personal pet projects.

During the Q&A portion, the topic of vandalism to the Wikipedia page regarding the F-35 fighters being traced back to a DND computer was brought up. Layton said that such action was akin to a totalitarian regime rewriting history – really? Isn’t that pretty much like invoking Godwin’s Law and calling your opponents Nazis? The party then issued a strongly worded press release on the subject.

Layton also covered the issues of the problems at the RCMP – confusing the issue of just what constitutes civilian oversight in the process – as well as the Enbridge pipeline spill and wondering why Alberta wants to ship its raw bitumen to the States when jobs would be created in Canada by upgrading it here – even though that would also increase our carbon emissions, not that it was a consideration I’m sure.

Poor Tilly O’Neill-Gordon, Conservative MP for Miramichi. All those dastardly Liberal MLAs want to claim credit for plans to expand the local prison, rather than let her claim it. The nerve!

A Quebec asbestos company is trying to lay the blame on Michael Ignatieff for the decision by Chinese investors to pull out of a deal to try to reopen one of two asbestos mines left in the country. It’s largely being called a far-fetched theory.

The Conference Board of Canada says that we might come out of deficit a year earlier than expected. Provided, of course, that commodity prices stay high and there isn’t a second global economic downturn, and all those various and sundry other caveats.

This weekend – the Liberal Express heads out to Atlantic Canada. Should Tilly O’Neill-Gordon be nervous about that too?

PS – I’m not usually a big election prognosticator – mostly because I suck at it – but during Power & Politics last night, Kady O’Malley reminded me of something that got me wondering. The auditor general is due to come out with a report on stimulus spending this autumn. It seems to me that the government would probably like to engineer an election before that comes out. Why? So if it shows that it was nothing but one giant gong show – and let’s face it, it’s almost certainly going to show that – then they have either the cover of no longer being in charge, and letting the Liberals (or whoever might form an alternative government) wear it; or if the Conservatives are returned to office, well, nobody will be in any shape to fight another election over it, and they can let it quietly die while other stories come up to take its place. It’s almost genius, if it were true.
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