While the break week in the Commons gets underway, with MPs back in their constituencies glad-handing and helping people with their passport applications and immigration issues, there are still a few niggling things from last week that have yet to be mentioned.
For one, the Speaker has been attempting to tone down the attack statements that certain Conservatives have been making during the daily Members’ Statements. On Thursday he started cutting anyone off who made those statements, and after Question Period, he made a ruling that he wasn’t going to take it any longer, because those statements are such that members can’t respond to attacks as in debate. No matter how much Pierre Poilievre tried to claim that it was an attack on democracy.
Well, despite the Thursday smackdown, several Conservatives on Friday were pushing their luck while Andrew Scheer was in the chair in Milliken’s stead. First Tim Uppal tried and got shut down. Then Dean Del Maestro ridiculed the Speaker on top of making attacks in his, and he managed to mostly get all the way through. And near the end, Leon Benoit was clever, using “someone” in all the slams, and finally named the “someone” as the Liberal leader in his final sentence. Let’s hope that when the House returns next Monday, that Milliken smacks them down if they try to be that cute again.
Elsewhere, on Thursday night, Harper made a behind-closed doors speech for the “true believers” at a forum hosted by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, which is a fancy name for the conservative think-tank run by Preston Manning. In his speech, Harper excoriated the Liberals, ridiculed Barack Obama for his raising taxes on the highest brackets, and even went after libertarians, many of whom find their homes in the Conservative party. One attendee went so far as to say that the condescension was dripping from Harper. But hey, he’s an “economist” and the smartest guy in the room, remember? But given these attitudes and the way his policies are not resonating with his base, perhaps we can hope that this signals a new revolt fomenting in the ranks.
And finally, I’m still in a bit of a rage over the way the budget went down, but there were some pretty awesome speeches in the Senate as it happened. Senator Tommy Banks said that this is pretty much the kind of behaviour that got Charles I beheaded. Senator Elaine McCoy – who I now have mad respect for – theorises that the Commons has such contempt for the Senate because they just roll over and take it, citing the fact that the government dedicated a new national cemetery before the bill had even passed – something that should be unthinkable. I’m hoping that what’s gone down has put a bit of fire back into the Senate to start taking back their power, but I fear that the attacks coming their way aren’t going to be pretty.