Shortly after the caucus meetings broke yesterday, Liberals Ralph Goodale, David McGuinty and Judy Foote held an end-of-session press conference. The overwhelming message? That the government really didn’t do anything they talked about in their post-prorogation throne speech, and that the Liberals have been proposing actual policy (such as home care, pension and education) instead. The assembled press wanted to know why they weren’t climbing in the polls – or at the very least bringing down a government that was as bad as they described – but they didn’t really give answers to those questions.
Just before question period, new MPs Robert Sopuck and Julian Fantino were brought in, and took their places in the nosebleeds of the backbenches.
Michael Ignatieff kicked off QP with questions about healthcare, to which the prime minister said that he always used public healthcare and intimated that Michael Ignatieff had not. Dominic LeBlanc followed up by asking Peter MacKay about all those contradictions on the F-35 fighters, but MacKay didn’t answer. Gilles Duceppe asked about shoreline protection following climate-related high tides that hit the lower St Lawrence, and Claude Guimond and Raynald Blais followed up by asking about the damage to the wharfs and harbours in the area. Jack Layton asked after productivity, the lack of a manufacturing jobs strategy and the credit card code.
Round two saw John McKay ask about Bev Oda’s possibly being in contempt of Parliament over the KAIROS defunding issue (which Oda obfuscated in answering), Frank Valeriote asked about cabinet hiding the truth on the KAIROS decision (a reference to Jason Kenney bragging to an Israeli newspaper about the decision?), while Judy Foote asked about the lack of pre-budget consultations in the wake of the leaked report. Jean Dorion asked after the potential perimeter agreement, Paule Brunelle about oil subsidies versus green energy, Francis Scarpaleggia about CMHC rules around seniors' housing, and Anthony Rota about an anti-fraud centre’s funding being cut. Julian Fantino got his first suck-up question, which was a robotic recitation of lame tough-on-crime talking points.
From there (and it was actually getting hard to follow just what was going on by this point) were questions on Brian Mulroney repaying the settlement that it's been proved he didn’t deserve, the Valcartier aqueducts, census costs, an EI pilot project, cutbacks to Canada Post’s rural service, an Iranian detainee, youth unemployment, and third-world diseases among Aboriginals (even though I’m pretty sure diabetes is not a third-world disease, but it was mentioned).
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Christiane Gagnon for her plum jacket with the grey skirt with a subtle plum patterning, and Cathy McLeod for wearing a blue top that was the proper cut for her, along with a black jacket. The style citation goes out to Randy Hoback for his light greige suit with a pink tie and a brown and white polar-bear-themed tie. Also, a citation and a glance askance at Anthony Rota for his naff Xmas-themed tie. (Guys, it’s not cute.) And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a cute black dress.
Elsewhere, alleged political considerations have seen the defeated Liberal candidate in Vaughan, Tony Genco, fired from his position as chair of the local hospital board. Apparently Julian Fantino made a big deal of getting federal infrastructure money for the hospital in his campaign, and apparently the rest of the board doesn’t want Genco to be an excuse for the government to deny it.
Two more of Christian Paradis’ staffers have been found to have interfered in access-to-information requests. That’s now a total of three, officially making this a trend.
And at the Liberal Christmas party, Michael Ignatieff did not lead the band for a rousing rendition of classic rock tunes, but he did lead a solo chorus of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” because apparently Canadians (and especially the media) are desperate for our political leaders to sing and dance for us.