Bob Rae
2 min

The real out Conservative

For those of you who’ve read the Xtra editorial on the outing of John Baird (and if you haven’t, take a gander), I have to make one respectful correction to my esteemed editor's piece – there is, in fact, one out voice in the federal Conservative caucus. Senator Nancy Ruth, while a fairly Red Tory and feminist crusader, is nevertheless an openly lesbian member of that caucus. Yes, it’s a lone out voice, but she has spoken before of never really fitting in, and she has spoken out whenever the party’s social conservatism gets a little excessive (such as during the Toronto Pride funding flap). But as my editor pointed out, it’s too bad that Baird can’t follow her lead.

In what was a shocking development to me, it seems that the Conservatives have shelved the HIV pilot vaccine-manufacturing facility they had planned. Seriously? After they committed all that money to the vaccine research program – even shifting funds away from ground-level HIV/AIDS work to do so? And now they shelve the facility they were planning on? Bob Rae said if Parliament were sitting, they would have to answer questions about this. Indeed – and let’s hope this doesn’t fall off the agenda when the House does come back.

The Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt delves a little deeper into Ignatieff’s statement yesterday about ensuring that Harper’s born-again commitment to maternal and child health includes access to contraception and abortion. It turns out that not every Liberal is happy about it, and perhaps Ignatieff had good reason to be concerned.

On the subject of Ignatieff’s foreign aid roundtable, it seems that the Afghan ambassador was none too pleased by some of Ignatieff’s comments.

A constitutional expert who appeared at the “unofficial” Afghan committee hearing yesterday urged the opposition members to censure the Conservatives by citing them for contempt of Parliament. Could this be some great drama when the House resumes?

The government is signalling that they want unanimous consent to work through the March and Easter breaks – after all, there are working days to be made up for after prorogation. So now they’re getting serious on the value of the Parliament? Or do they just see their poll numbers continuing to plummet?

That meeting yesterday of a former finance minister, deputy minister and the Parliamentary Budget Officer for that pre-budget debate? Pretty much poured cold water over everything Jim Flaherty has been saying lately. Not that it’s a big surprise.

The NDP dialled the snark up to eleven and sent out this release about the Liberals’ roundtable on white-collar crime yesterday.

Up today: The Liberal Roundtables du jour are one on public safety in the morning, with MPs Dominic LeBlanc and Mark Holland, followed by one on the environment in the afternoon with MP David McGuinty.  Later, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae are having another “virtual town hall,” this time on the topic of Canada and the World. Politicians using new media to reach out to Canadians? Who would have thought?

PS: Remember Conservative MP Brad Trost, who bitched to pro-life sites about Toronto Pride getting funding? Looks like he just got spoofed online.
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