Already under fire for partisan activities under his aegis of immigration minister, there is new trouble brewing for Jason Kenney. The revelation that he gave a “minister’s award for excellence” that bore a big Conservative logo has sent the opposition parties into a bloodthirsty frenzy. What’s especially galling is that Kenney is saying our system works through this kind of partisanship; he’s the minister and a Conservative MP, so deal with it. But that’s not the case. One of the biggest fundamental disconnections that this government perpetuates is the blurring of lines between party and government; that’s a very big problem. It’s not just that they’re a Conservative government for Conservatives. It’s that this all becomes uncomfortably close to one-party statism. We already know that their plan is to crush and grind all opposition parties under their boots, and that they treat harshly those who dissent. Kenney’s latest breach is all the more proof that this government has completely undermined parliamentary democracy. Sadly, however, the question now becomes which staffer’s head will roll over this one.
After numerous statements on International Women's Day by MPs of all stripes (though fewer by Conservatives), Michael Ignatieff began question period by going after the government about its secrecy. He moved on to the In & Out affair by drawing Nigel Wright, the PM’s new chief of staff, into the controversy. Gilles Duceppe and Carole Freeman went after Jason Kenney for his partisan activities. Libby Davies and Carol Hughes took turns on Kenney and In & Out during an all-female NDP QP.
Round two saw Joyce Murray and Bonnie Crombie ask about In & Out issues. The House started getting raucous to the point of being obnoxious, and I normally have a high tolerance for that sort of thing. Justin Trudeau asked about Jason Kenney’s partisan activities (breaking what I thought would be an all-female Liberal QP). Claude DeBellefeuille continued on about In & Out, Monique Guay and Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac asked about Ben Ali’s yet-unfrozen assets; Siobhan Coady and Jean-Claude D’Amours questioned Christiane Ouimet’s severance package; and Hedy Fry and Marlene Jennings asked why Bev Oda couldn’t answer questions for herself (which Oda did on the final question, only to give a non-answer).
Round three saw questions on women and the CPP, delays in the Guaranteed Income Supplement, comments Lawrence Cannon made about the status of women committee’s “not being serious,” a report on poverty, a meeting with Dene First Nations, women in prisons and the Mackenzie gas pipeline.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa Raitt for her fitted pink leather jacket with the grey trousers and to Justin Trudeau for his grey suit with pink shirt and pink-and-silver striped tie. It was also noted that Rona Ambrose was wearing a CARE Canada “Walk in Her Shoes” T-shirt under her jacket. Style citations go out to Stockwell Day for a brown suit with an awful white-collared tan shirt and blue striped tie and to Bev Oda for her boxy moss jacket.
The head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission had a minor meltdown about the “anti-nuclear industry” and what he feels is fear-mongering over the issue of shipping decommissioned generators through the St Lawrence Seaway.
The Conservatives are crying victory over a deportation order for one Tamil migrant. There is no evidence that he actually committed any atrocities as a Tamil Tiger; the order was issued because he admitted to being a member, although he might have been coerced.
The Nobel laureate who helped ban landmines is calling out the government over its foot-dragging on the prohibition of cluster munitions; she points to American opposition to such a ban as a probable reason.
Finally, in a video you need to watch, author John Pepall discusses his book Against Reform, which should be required reading for every Canadian. He takes down some of the biggest myths about the reform our system supposedly needs; he feels these myths point to a fundamental lack of understanding of our governmental system, which is the real issue that needs reforming.