Bill C-25 may have passed, but its ghost still lingers on in the Senate. Specifically, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette has filed a complaint against Bob Fife at CTV around his reporting of the issue – specifically claims he made about Liberal senators allegedly holding up the bill. Hervieux-Payette cites Senate transcripts, and the Canadian Press story on the issue (which you may remember was one that actually gave the story rather than became another vector for “Ignatieff is a weak leader” talk) – which appeared on CTV’s website – in direct contrast with Fife’s reporting on that same day. And it’s interesting to see how it’s laid out. (I’d personally add Jane Taber to that same complaint for her repeating of government mistruths, but that’s another story).
This is a very interesting development. I mean, CTV is developing quite a history of coverage which isn’t exactly fair and balanced when it comes to the political scene (and witness the incident with Stéphane Dion’s false start interview and Mike Duffy, who wound up in the Senate for his good work). And I’m glad that the Senator is speaking out about it. That said, there is also a very worrying side to this. Is it acceptable for Parliamentarians to complain about unfair coverage? Where does it infringe upon the notions of journalistic independence? Granted, our Broadcast Standards watchdogs don’t usually do much when they do find that coverage has been unfair (witness the mere gentlest of a wrist-slap CTV received for the Dion incident) so it’s not like it’s much of a threat to journalistic independence. But CTV does deserve to be called out for their clearly biased coverage, and good on the Senator for stepping up to do so.
Just before Question Period, Jack Layton stood up to decry the sexist heckling going on in the House – possibly in response to the way that Carolyn Bennett was shouted down during her question on Tuesday.
Ignatieff kicked off Question Period with questions about H1N1 – in relation to partisan advertising – which Harper saw no contradiction between spending on advertising on H1N1 and the Economic Action Plan™. For his final supplemental, Ignatieff raised the heckling Bennett received, which Harper said that he saw it go down and he “didn’t see it that way.” Um, okay.
Bennett was up next, and while not being shouted down, there was still a large degree of heckling. She asked about the lack of vaccine trials in Canada, and how that relates to pregnant women. The Health Minister assured her that both versions of the vaccine were safe. When Bennett asked about the communications plan around the vaccine, Aglukkaq assured her that they were using Facebook and Twitter to get the information out. Facebook and Twitter? Well, then. I guess we the media can pack it in and go home now since they can reduce these complex issues into 140 characters.
When the Bloc asked about the ethical questions surrounding Senator Housakos, John Baird asserted, “We’ve been the most ethical government in terms of political fundraising.” Also, the chocolate ration has been doubled from four grammes to two. Doubleplusgood!
On the subject of partisan advertising, Baird also asserted that it was their job to report back to Canadians on all the good work they were doing. Questions about the suspiciously high amounts of funding that Tony Clement’s riding has been receiving were met with reassurances that it was all done with the support of the government of Ontario. When the Bloc’s Bernard Bigras asked a question of the “Minister of Big Oil,” the Government House Leader stood up to say that there was no Minister of Big Oil in the cabinet.
Sartorially speaking, it was a pretty good day in the House. I was especially a fan of Kirsty Duncan’s blue panelled jacket, and Lisa Raitt’s red top with the plunging neckline under a black leather jacket. Also deserving of snaps was Hedy Fry’s maroon suit paired with a colourful floral collared shirt. But with the good comes the bad – like Chris Charlton’s eyesore of a bright yellow jacket. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a nicely tailored black suit, but it was over a bile yellow top that made me cringe. But yay – black heels and not those awful greige ones!
Elsewhere, Harper announced that he’s finally going to take a trip to China and India – only about three years too late. The special Commons committee on Afghanistan will now be investigating those allegations surrounding Afghan detainees. And the Conservatives came up with another useless and generic tough-on-crime measure – obviously because they’re still trying to change the channel from the questions on their own ethical spending habits.