The “attack statement” before Question Period on Tuesday was courtesy of Conservative MP Chris Warkentin, who blasted the plans of Liberal Senator Mac Harb’s plan to introduce a bill to ban the seal hunt. This was one of their recurring themes throughout Question Period, and has been for a couple of days now. Because they’re standing up for the remains of the sealing industry in this country, don’t you know?
Err, except that the Liberals that they’re trying to attack are actually probably even more supportive of the seal hunt than the Conservatives are. Labrador MP Todd Russell actually goes out onto the ice floes every year to do the traditional hunt with his family. (Russell is aboriginal, by the way). Meanwhile, it seems like Harb’s bill didn’t get anyone to second it when he introduced it, so it’s going to be dead on arrival – not that it stopped his (few) supporters from having a press conference about it.
Of course, if I were Harb, I’d be watching my back. His fellow Senator, Céline Hervieux-Payette, is a big supporter of the seal hunt, and she defends it vociferously every year. The first time I’d even hear of her, she made the news because this American family had written the Canadian Senate to say that they loved Canada but wouldn’t visit us so long as we kept killing baby seals. Hervieux-Payette responded with a letter that categorised the ongoing human rights abuses the Americans were engaged in. In other words, don’t cross her on this issue.
And perhaps best not to use it as a way of trying to attack the Liberals.
The bulk of Question Period had to do with questions around the $3 billion “slush fund” in the estimates, and Ignatieff is making threatening noises that if Harper doesn’t build some accountability into it, then it just might not be supported. This of course sets up a test for Ignatieff to see if he has the will to bring down the Harper government at this point, despite the shared desire to get the stimulus money flowing. Ignatieff is also saying that while he respects the Senate’s independence, he wants his Senators there to not break up the budget implementation bill into two parts for separate study in committee, but to pass it quickly.
There were a few other questions on Harper’s apparent contradiction of his statements on the Afghan mission – at one point, Bob Rae even goading Harper to answer when Peter MacKay would have otherwise – as well as challenges to the softwood lumber agreement, the forestry sector and several on First Nations issues.
After Question Period, the votes took place on the amendments to the budget implementation bill. Everyone knew how it was going to go down – the Liberals were going to vote with the government, and the Bloc and NDP would vote against them, and that would be that. So they voted on the first batch of amendments, and they were defeated. But normally, in these kinds of events, after the first couple of standing votes, the whips just stand up and say that their party votes the same as the previous vote, and they record the same scores, and it speeds up the process.
But not this time. The NDP, making a point, refused to give consent to that, so they had standing votes on each group of amendments, for well over an hour. The scrums after Question Period were called off as everyone grew tired of waiting (myself included). So much for those interview plans.
Sartorial snaps went to both Hedy Fry, for her black jacket with the banded collar, and Alexander Mendes, whose blue top under her black jacket reinforces the fact that she is almost always well turned out. Conservative cabinet ministers Diane Ablonczy and Bev Oda were demonstrating on the proper use of the colour orange – Ablonczy’s pale orange shirt with light brown jacket works with her skin tone. Oda’s darker orange top and jacket do not work for her skin tone. In fact, Ablonczy is one of the few people in the House who can actually pull off orange and make it work. Perhaps the others should just give up and not try.
But the style citation, hands down, goes to Megan Leslie, a habitual offender, for her notion that somehow it’s acceptable for someone to actually wear mint-green shoes. That she chose to pair them with a grey suit and a bright pink top was enough to make me break out into hives. So. Very. Wrong.
Up today – third reading of C-10, so that it can be sent up to the Senate.
And for those of you who didn’t happen to catch This Hour Has 22 Minutes last night, I can only say this – “You've got to be smugger.” Enjoy.