Quebec
3 min

Reverberations from Gaza

Even before Question Period started, the reverberations of the Israeli storming of the flotilla headed for Gaza were being felt in the House of Commons. NDP MP Bill Siksay stood up to give a Members’ Statement on the situation and to call for an investigation into what happened.

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats are shocked and deeply saddened by the unacceptable loss of life and injuries sustained as a result of the raid by Israeli forces against the Freedom Flotilla of ships bringing aid to Gaza.
Our leader joins other international leaders in the call for an urgent and independent investigation into this terrible incident that jeopardizes the pursuit of peace in the region. He also calls on our Prime Minister to immediately lend Canada's voice to the rapidly growing call for this inquiry.
This violence further underlines the urgent need for a negotiated peace and resolution to the crisis in Gaza. New Democrats further call on the Canadian government to work with the international community to find an end to loss of life in this region.
Speaking personally, I hope that our Prime Minister took the opportunity he had today on the world stage to strongly express those concerns directly to the Prime Minister of Israel.
I extend my profound sympathy to the families of those who died and call on Israel to immediately release all those detained in this incident in international waters. Respect for those who seek peace must be fundamental to actions of all governments.

When Question Period began, Michael Ignatieff began by asking after the cost of the G8/G20 security costs, to which John Baird reiterated that this is money that must be spent. When asked why climate change wasn’t on the agenda, when other world leaders had come to Ottawa to ask just that, Baird insisted that what was important at the G20 was the economy. Scott Brison followed up on the same topic and pointed out all the many things that the billion-dollar security cost could pay for – not that it changed Baird’s answer.

Gilles Duceppe asked after the delays in the Firearms Commissioner’s report, but was told by the parliamentary secretary for public safety that the RCMP didn’t table it until October 9th – which contradicts the documents that were obtained under Access to Information. Maria Mourani continued this line of questioning, and Jack Layton returned to the question of the G20 security costs, mocking the Conservatives for being afraid of Liberal propaganda (as was their excuse for not using army troops to assist in security).

From there, David McGuinty asked about a moratorium on drilling in the Beaufort Sea, Alexandra Mendes asked after the report on the gun registry, Francine Lalonde asked after the Gaza flotilla raid, and Daniel Paillé, predictably, hammered away after the national securities regulator proposal. Wayne Easter decried Tony Clement’s breach of Treasury Board guidelines with his little infomercial, and Siobhan Coady asked whether we taxpayers might recover the $2.1 million paid out to Brian Mulroney now that it’s been determined that he had a business relationship with Karlheinz Schreiber after all.

More questions on the BP oil spill and the Canadian ramifications, the aborted snow crab harvest, the ongoing isotope crisis in this country, the Bill C-9 omnibus provisions, safe abortions for women in developing countries, and slaughterhouses in this country. And as you might guess, only predictable talking points were delivered by the government instead of answers.

Sartorially speaking, snaps definitely go out to Libby Davies for her lovely black dress with the white patterning and the black sweater over it. I was also fond of Kirsty Duncan’s tailored plum jacket with the brooch-like clasp at the top. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for a rather awful yellowish jacket with pastel florals. Sure, her teal blue top picked up colours from those floral patterns, but it didn’t make the jacket any better. Also, Raymode Folco’s bright blue sweater over a bright yellow top was mixing primary colours a little too much. I remain concerned over Lisa Raitt’s descent toward frumpiness, with her blue sweater over a loose black top and trousers. Her saving grace was her fierce red and black heels. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a green and grey paisley-ish dress (which was a great cut) with a black jacket, paired with those unfortunate greige heels.

After Question Period, NDP MP Olivia Chow rose to call for a motion on reinstating queer rights into the Citizenship Guide. (More on that story here).

Just before that happened, the Speaker delivered a ruling which stated that the term “token Quebecker” was no long allowed in the Chamber, as it is being used as an insult – which is, of course, unparliamentary.

The Oliphant Commission report on Mulroney-Schreiber has been handed down, and while there aren’t a lot of answers, he basically concluded that he didn’t believe most of what Mulroney told him. He also handed down 25 recommendations for tightening ethics rules for parliamentarians, which I’m sure will start collecting dust on the shelf, right next to the recommendations from the Gomery Commission. Oh, and the Conservatives? Conspicuously silent, not that it’s a big surprise.

And the CBC’s Alison Crawford looks a little closer into the issue of MPs' travel and the cost of their jobs on their families.
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