New Democratic Party
3 min

QP: Misrepresenting what private members’ business means

With news of the Conservatives’ plans
to introduce a hiring tax credit tomorrow, the NDP decided to hammer on about a
jobs plan to get the Conservatives to admit that they were following the plan
set out by the NDP in their platform. No dice. The first go around was Nycole Turmel
versus Shelly Glover, who was answering in her capacity as parliamentary
secretary to the minister of finance, as neither Harper nor Flaherty were in
the House today. Glover hinted that they should wait for the next phase of
Canada’s Economic Action Plan™, but little more than that. Christian Paradis
took the French questions, oddly enough (considering that Glover is perfectly
bilingual), and assured us that the NDP would raise taxes. Peggy Nash tried
again, and Shelly Glover reminded us that the NDP voted against the measures in
the budget. Bob Rae asked about the coming increase in “payroll taxes” (read EI
premiums), to which Diane Finely touted their commitment to balancing the EI
fund. Rae asked why we were continuing with perimeter security
negotiations in the face of increased US protectionism, to which John Baird
reminded us that the Liberals were once upon a time against free trade. Rae’s
final question was about the Conservatives’ decision to try to summon a
sitting judge before a parliamentary committee, to which Dean Del Mastro
insisted that it was only an invitation and not a summons (which, as Rae
pointed out, would breach the independence of the judiciary in this country).

Round two kicked off with Thomas Mulcair
asking about bank profits over job creation (Glover: Economic Action Plan™!
Paradis: 600,000 net new jobs!). Libby Davies asked a rhetorical question about
her party’s job creation plan (Glover: A hiring credit is in the next phase of
the Economic Action Plan™, but you voted against it). Tarik Brahmi and Matthew
Kellway both asked about the Canadian Press story about MacKay being kept in
the dark over Afghan decisions (MacKay: I take no lessons from the NDP). And
Pierre-Luc Dusseault asked about MacKay’s challenger flights (MacKay: That CTV
report was wrong and they’ve corrected it). Kirsty Duncan and Marc Garneau
asked about the newly discovered hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic
(Kent: We’re continuing to monitor and have banned ozone-depleting
substances), and Geoff Regan asked about Baird’s business cards in a rather
straight manner this time (Baird: I didn’t order 10,000, they don’t have
actual gold on them, and the word “Canada” is actually on them). Charlie Angus
and Alexandre Boulerice asked their usual questions about Tony Clement and the
G8 legacy spending, while Anne Minh-Thu Quach asked about the Franklin border
crossing (Hoeppner: Safe and secure borders FTW!).

And then we come to round three, where both
Françoise Boivin and Jinny Sims each asked questions on Conservative private members’ bills (a motion on debating abortion and a bill on removing the hate
speech provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act) as though they were
government policy, or a government that has lost control of its caucus. Um, no.
And Rob Nicholson (rightfully, for once) smacked them down by reminding them
that these are private members’ initiatives. Which then raises the
question – in the NDP, does all private members’ business have to be vetted by
the party authorities, thus removing any and all autonomy from the members to
either initiate debate or action on causes that are dear to them or their
constituents? Or does all private members’ business come from on high, distributed to MPs to champion, like critic portfolios? Because that’s the
implication they are making to Canadians, and it should be a cause for

The rest of round three saw questions on
search-and-rescue response times, more on the ozone hole in the Arctic (this
time with bonus robotic delivery!), what the Insite decision means for other
cities looking to open facilities (Aglukkaq: We’re focused on prevention!), seniors'
poverty, the HST and Tim Hudak’s position on it, and aid for those affected by high tides in the Gaspésie.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Patrick Brown for his pink shirt and tie with a dark grey suit, and Candice
 for her pink satin top with a light grey suit and skirt. Style
citations go out to habitual offender Chris Charlton for her fluorescent-yellow
jacket with a black-and-white top and black trousers (just when I was certain
she’d stopped wearing fluorescents, let alone the problem of yellow and black),
and Jean Rousseau for a blindingly orange shirt with a dark brown suit and
beige tie. I remind you that just because you’re a member of the NDP, it
doesn’t mean you can wear orange. Consider yourselves warned.

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