In contrast to yesterday, both Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty were in the House today for Question Period, and so Michael Ignatieff gave it another go – Harper said one thing, Flaherty said another. Whose word are we to believe? Harper says a budget is a budget. So, if that’s set in stone, and the facts of this economic crisis change daily, does that mean the government won’t adapt either? Apparently Harper isn’t going to change his plans weekly.
In the second round of questions, the Liberals had four separate BC MPs up to ask various questions about the economic situation in their province – Ujjal Dosanjh, Joyce Murray (who knows the importance of tailored jackets), Hedy Fry (wearing a delicious chocolate crushed velvet jacket and skirt), and Keith Martin. But this was the round where things started to get rowdy. Jason Kenny and James Moore were heckling Dosanjh about how he ran the BC economy as premier. When Flaherty responded to him, he talked about the “synchronised global recession” – which got Liberal hecklers to come up with every clever synchronised joke they could muster.
The Bloc’s Carole Lavallée asked about why the reports into arts funding aren’t being published. Heritage Minister James Moore answered by listing how much he’s funding programmes. When Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez followed up by saying that less than one percent of slashed arts funding has been reinstated in this budget – Vic Toews heckled across the aisle “Who wrote those questions?” (referencing the whole Krista Erickson debacle during Brian Mulroney’s appearance before the Ethics committee last year). Incidentally, you can hear more about Moore defending himself in the Heritage committee meeting here.
Bob Rae asked if Canada is participating in any discussions about what’ll happen to detainees (like Omar Khadr) once Guanatamo Bay is shut down? The Minister said no. Mike Savage asked that if the average EI payment is $331 per week, at what level does it become “too lucrative” in the Minister’s estimation. Diane Finley obfuscated.
In all, there were no real fireworks moments in today’s Question Period, though it’s starting to get a bit more vocal once again.
Also in the news – former Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Joe Clark weigh in on the budget, and they’re not big fans. Also, Brian Mulroney thinks the Bank of Canada governor’s predictions are too rosy. The former Prime Ministers were in Toronto shooting the Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister competition.
Sartorial snaps today go to Rob Oliphant’s purple shirt and tie, and Justin Trudeau’s pink shirt and lavender tie. (Trudeau’s sleek new haircut is still looking very sharp, incidentally). Lisa Raitt’s jacket had a waist today, but it was a bit too long and it was on the verge of looking like a smock. But at least she’s getting better! Also – Irwin Cotler only needs elbow patches on his jacket to completely look like some Ivy League professor.
But today’s fashion citation goes out to Liberal backbencher Kristy Duncan. While Duncan is in the nosebleeds of the Commons, her penchant for blocky primary colours is getting a touch frightening. Today it was green velvet, but yesterday is was red and formless. Also, she needs to do something with her hair, because it’s not quite working for her. Perhaps we need to nudge Hedy in her direction, and put her to work?