University of Toronto
2 min

The troublesome terms

Those troublesome terms of reference for Justice Iacobucci were the talk of the Hill, and Bob Rae kicked off Question Period by asking after them. (Michael Ignatieff is not on the Hill this week – he’s off consulting with Canadians). John Baird was the designated spokesminister for the government and gave the usual platitudes about just how great Iacobucci is. Ujjal Dosanjh followed up, pointing out that Iacobucci is now just another lawyer hired by a government, rather than being given the mandate to conduct a full public inquiry. The Bloc’s Claude Bachand and the NDP’s Jack Harris also asked after this issue later in QP.

(Incidentally, the CBC’s Kady O’Malley takes a deeper look into Justice Iacobucci’s terms of reference and finds even more hidden Orwellian goodies inside.)

Gilles Duceppe was busy pointing out that the government used to be in favour of deregulating the banks, while Lawrence Cannon talked up how great the budget was. Jack Layton asked about job figures in the manufacturing sector, while John Baird responded by… talking up how great the budget was – and ooh, they’re “focused like a laser.” Well, then. I’m really confident now.

The Liberals’ Kirsty Duncan asked after food safety, the Bloc’s Serge Ménard asked after tough-on-crime sentences and that ignored research (Rob Nicholson changed the topic by accusing the Bloc of supporting child trafficking). Anita Neville quoted air transportation safety regulations that Helena Guergis broke during her Charlottetown meltdown, along with the number of prominent Conservatives denouncing her. John Baird reiterated that her “sincere apology” should be enough. John McCallum implored the government to tell the truth, that they are indeed raising taxes on things like air travel, income trusts and EI premiums – to which Ted Menzies claimed it was the Liberals who would raise taxes.

Roger Cuzner asked after the cuts made to internet access to those who don’t have regular access. Gary Goodyear said the Liberals tried to shut it down first, and that 80 percent of Canadians have internet at home – which isn’t the point. Considering the sheer volume of services moving online these days, this should be a warning sign about cutting off access to necessary services for these people.

Sartorial snaps go out to Martha Hall Findlay for her fitted black dress with the scoop neck and the fabric gathers. I was impressed. I also liked Lisa Raitt’s blue-collared shirt under a black leather jacket. On the style citation side, Brian Jean needs a haircut. Badly. Dear James Moore: take your jackets to a tailor. You are not wearing a sack. Thanks!

The Green Party is raising the issue of newspaper ownership in Canada, with the sale of the CanWest chain in the offing and the apparent rejection of the creditors to allow the breakup of the empire. The Greens are pointing out the demise of the local newspaper in this country and its deleterious effect on democracy – and they’re right. At least one party is recognizing this fact. (Meanwhile, it sounds like free news content online is dead for mainstream outlets. It will be interesting to see how the industry continues to evolve).

Up today – Michael Ignatieff continues his town-hall tour, this time talking Aboriginal issues in Winnipeg.
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