It was a very busy parliamentary day yesterday, with Jack Layton decrying tax havens, more allegations of paying lobbyists for government contracts for the West Block reconstruction, and diversions around the tale of Christian Paradis’s missing coat (the value of which was initially said to be some $5,400, until he produced a receipt that pegged it at $600). Yeah, it was one of those days.
Michael Ignatieff kicked off question period by asking about the government’s spending priorities versus Nortel pensioners who are about to lose everything. Harper insisted these were the result of a court settlement, so not his problem. Ignatieff switched tracks, which was then picked up by Denis Coderre about the revelations on lobbying for the West Block contracts, which had Harper and Rona Ambrose trying to discredit the people involved. Gilles Duceppe asked about greenhouse gas targets (Harper: We’re setting objectives!), Bernard Bigras asked about a Coast Guard ship being leased out to oil companies for exploration purposes (Gail Shea: It’s part of a partnership, and hey, we totally respect the science they deliver!), and Jack Layton used his first question to condemn the attack by North Korea before moving onto questions of the lack of a vote on the Afghan mission.
Round two began with Bonnie Crombie asking about the missing coat and the fundraisers and construction contracts alluded to in the morning, while Geoff Regan and Vic Toews played out a proxy version of the Vaughan by-election. *sigh* Michel Bachand asked about military contracts like the F-35s, Michel Guimond about the Quebec City arena, Dominic LeBlanc about the F-35s and Yasmin Ratansi about pensions.
From there, questions returned to the leased icebreaker, the West Block contracts, stimulus-spending deadlines, the loss of Edmonton’s Expo 2017 bid funding, PEI ferry service, access for First Nations to a park that has appropriated lands, and Vale’s plans to close its Thompson, Manitoba, mine.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Bonnie Crombie for her really well cut black jacket with the white shirt beneath, and I also quite liked Mike Savage’s brilliant purple tie. Style citations go out to repeat offender Chris Charlton for wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket with a black top and trousers (that’s a double foul for those keeping score). The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a long dark-grey top (think short-dress long) with a very wide belt, over black trousers. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it, either.
After question period, there was a lengthy discussion on a question of privilege after it was revealed that a Conservative backbencher’s staff leaked a pre-budget consultation report to lobbyists. During that discussion, Scott Brison wondered why the Conservative whip’s office did nothing for days when they learned about the leak, which is a very good question.
Also, the Liberals’ opposition day motion on scrapping the F-35 fighter jet contract was voted on and defeated by the Conservative-Bloc coalition. What’s that? Yeah, I’m tired of coalition jokes too.
Scott Brison’s constituency office was vandalized, with the windows broken.
Senator Elaine McCoy – who is made of awesome – posted about Bill C-311’s death in the Senate. She was the co-sponsor of the bill, but she also reminds us that this was simply a reporting bill like the previous Kyoto bill, which the government has successfully ignored (despite court challenges) to date.
Apparently two thirds of Canadians support the idea of an elected Senate. I’d also be willing to bet that far more than two thirds of Canadians have no idea what the Senate actually does and why it does what it does.
Apparently the Federal and BC governments can’t agree on a definition of polygamy for that trial that’s just begun. Oy!
And finally, even the EU is decrying the decision to scrap the long-form census. Seriously!