The banter between gay MPs Scott Brison and
John Baird enlivened an otherwise dull Friday question period.
It happened after news hit the wires that Baird tried
to order business cards that were gold-embossed, English-only, and omitted both
the name of the Foreign Affairs Building – the Lester B Pearson building, for
those of you keeping score – and the Canada wordmark.
Brison, not one to miss an opportunity for
a bit of comment, got first crack in QP. (CBC video here).
Canadians are struggling just to get by, Conservative ministers are abusing
private jet privileges, and they're using helicopters
to pick them up from fishing trips. Now we learn that the foreign
minister insists on
having golden business cards. This despite the fact that using gold
on business cards breaks treasury board rules because it's too expensive. Why
is the minister breaking government rules? Why is he giving taxpayers the
Speaker, when I arrived at Parliament this morning, I was deeply disturbed that
the president of the treasury board wasn't here to take this question. I
remember a time, Mr Speaker, when the Liberal Party of Canada used to think big
on foreign affairs. They'd think about big issues around the world. When it
came to Canada and domestic issues, they'd think about big issues, and now
they've been returned to the time when they're dealing with $400 in business
cards. That's exactly why Canadians have them sitting in the far corner.
Speaker, it seems to be quite the quid pro quo going on over there. The foreign
minister gives the treasury board minister a $50 million
slush fund for his riding. Then the treasury board minister lets the
foreign minister break the rules to get his golden business cards. This is a
very expensive game of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. When
Canadians are struggling just to get by, why are Conservative ministers
showering each other with gold? Why the golden showers, Mr Speaker?
Baird: Yes, Mr
Speaker, I sat down with the president of the treasury board, and I said, Have I
got a deal for you. I'll give you $50 million worth of infrastructure funds if
you give me $400 worth of business cards.
And in the event you haven't seen the video, Baird could not keep a straight face. While Paul Dewar gave outrage over unilingualism
later in QP, suggesting that Baird also include Braille on his card (to which
Xtra’s Rob Salerno quipped over the Twitter Machine, “That’s what embossing is for”), Liberal
Scott Simms also was up and made reference to “the honourable goldmember” in
relation to the same topic.
In the scrums after QP, when asked about the
golden shower comment, Brison said the following:
I’m a country
guy. I don’t know how you interpret these kinds of things, but I’m not that
sophisticated in that regard. But I certainly wouldn’t want to piss off the
minister. But beyond that, I got to tell you, though, the waste and excess of
this government seems endless, and John Baird is the minister of foreign affairs. He’s not the minister of bling, and to insist on breaking Treasury
Board rules so that he can have golden business cards at a time when too many
Canadians are unemployed, too many Canadians are struggling, speaks to the
arrogance and the out-of-touch nature of this government.
In other words, feigning ignorance while
the assembled media tried to get him to acknowledge the other meaning of “golden
shower,” because apparently We the Media can’t leave a joke alone.
Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this: