2 min

Tributes and the empty desk

In the event that you missed it yesterday,
the fall sitting opened with a tribute to Jack Layton in the House of Commons.
With his desk sitting empty for the day, tributes were made by Nycole Turmel,
Harper, Rae, Louis Plamondon and Elizabeth May, followed by remarks of thanks
by Olivia Chow and a moment of silence called by the Speaker.

The government has given notice that it will introduce back-to-work legislation if Air Canada employees go on strike. Could we
see yet another filibuster? Are we ready to go through that once more?

Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk gave
an accounting of his air travel to the press yesterday, saying that in most
cases, the Challenger jets would have flown empty because the pilots needed
flying time to keep their qualifying hours, and that’s why they tried to
coordinate some of the flights to accommodate those kinds of flights. Meanwhile,
given the way that CTV calculated the costs, and the costs that the DND has said
are a more accurate reflection of what it takes to fly the Challenger jets, it
makes one wonder how much we’re simply feeding into a media-generated
controversy with little reflection in reality (not that it would ever happen).

Jason Kenney and John Baird put their signatures on the Ottawa Protocol to combat anti-Semitism on behalf of the government.

Thomas Mulcair says that NDP membership
levels in Quebec are stacked against him, and he wants the party to help him
rectify that. Romeo Saganash, also from a Quebec riding and who has officially
declared his intention to run for the leadership, dismisses those concerns. Oh,
and the party has no plans to run a recruitment drive in Quebec. Does this mean
that Mulcair won’t run after all?

And the government renamed 111 Sussex, or “Old
City Hall,” as the Diefenbaker Building here in Ottawa. Most of us had
been expecting a “Queen Elizabeth II Building,” but really, the Diefenbaker
renaming fits in with the theme that Harper and company have been
building toward: the 1950s version of conservative Canada that they’re
trying to bring back and make attractive once again. No doubt we can expect
more of said “Chief” era glorification to go along with royal monikers in the
months and years to come.

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