2 min

Symbolic victories

Peggy Nash is hailing the “symbolic
” of the unanimous vote on her opposition day motion. Err, except, if
the government agrees with you, you’re doing it wrong. Remember, you’re
supposed to use opposition day motions to show why the government doesn’t
deserve to have the purse strings loosened. You’re supposed to say why
they’re going about it all wrong, rather than calling for a bunch of vague
spending promises that they can then turn around and make a bunch of other
vague promises about, which they’re doing with this new hiring tax credit. And
worst of all, now the NDP claims victory – symbolic or otherwise
for said tax
credit, claiming that it's now “leading the way on the economy.” I’m
sorry, but no. This “everybody wins but most especially me” attitude is not the
way parliamentary democracy operates. It makes a complete mockery of the
purpose of vigorous debate that our system is dependent upon.

As for the Liberal opposition day motion
calling for a national strategy on suicide prevention? While on the one hand
they get a bit of a pass for being the third party, it’s still not doing what
an opposition day motion is supposed to – which is hold the government to account. Yes,
it was an important debate to have, and now they, too, can say that the
government voted with them on this non-binding motion. So they have a moral
victory that they can hold over the government when they don’t do anything
substantive on the question of suicide prevention in the country other than
tout pre-existing programs. But it wasn’t holding the government to account.
And that’s a problem.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, the
vice-president of Lockheed Martin says we’ll be getting the new F-35s for even
 than we budgeted. Really! Have we mentioned all evidence to the contrary?

Included in yesterday’s budget
implementation bill is the provision to phase out the per-vote subsidy, which
could have a definite effect on political culture in Canada as it becomes more
about fundraising.

It looks like we’re about to sign a reduced perimeter security agreement with the States – it's not nearly as sweeping as
previously envisioned but still has a billion dollar price tag. And you can
bet that once more in QP today, Bob Rae will wonder why we’re bothering to sign
it if we’re facing yet more protectionist measures from US legislators.

Bob Dechert, of the “flirtatious email”
affair a few weeks ago, is now chairing consultations on the new Office
for International Religious Freedom. Seriously.

Peter Julian has removed himself from the
NDP leadership race. Thomas Mulcair’s backers say he’ll announce his leadership
bid next week.

And the mayor of Huntsville is unhappy that
his emails to Tony Clement are now in the public domain. He’s going to go back
to having these conversations by phone in order to avoid access-to-information laws. So
I guess that’s our object lesson from this whole affair, which is sad.

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