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3 min

Turnabout is fair play

Oh, the cruel ironies. After spending the past couple of months trotting out a quote out of context about Ignatieff musing that they would have to raise taxes, the tables turned today.

Question Period had, until this point, been chugging along at its usual clip, with an even bigger focus on EI reform from all three opposition parties, with forays into the new deficit numbers and Jim Flaherty’s problems with math (as he also ran deficits under the guise of “balanced budgets” when he was the Finance Minister for Ontario). And for the most part, the answers were all pretty stock (to the Liberals – you said we’d have to raise taxes; to the Bloc – you’re irresponsible; to the NDP – you voted against these measures in the budget). And on it went.

But then, nearly at the end of the day, Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale stands up and declares that they have it on the record – that during Question Period that very day, Harper stood up and said that they wouldn’t bring in a new budget until they had to raise taxes. Which of course meant that Harper should stand up and declare which taxes he would raise and by how much – the very same questions they mockingly pose to Ignatieff every single day.

Turnabout is, after all, fair play.

Harper stood up and denied knowledge of such a quote, and said that they wouldn’t raise taxes, unlike the Liberals. And after Question Period, a Conservative flack was handing out photocopies in the foyer with the quote in question which said “What we are not going to do is, every two or three months, come up with another economic policy, another budget until we need to raise taxes.”

But funny thing – if it’s perfectly fine for the Conservatives to continually take quotes out of context, then why not the Liberals? Is what is good for the goose also not good for the gander? I fear that this is only the beginning of a whole lot of tit-for-tat coming.

On the sartorial front, it was a pretty good day in the Commons, with almost no horrible ensembles to be seen. Okay, so Albina Guarnieri still needs to burn that boxy yellow jacket of hers, and perhaps the NDP’s Peter Julian should rethink the shiny gold jacket, but overall things weren’t eye-searingly horrible today. On the positive side, the Bloc’s Johanne Deschamps once again proves that she rocks the androgynous suit look, and it was a fantastic combination of the tightly tailored navy jacket, the black trousers and a grey vest, all with a crisp white shirt. The only thing missing from complete androgyny was the tie (though she has rocked those in the past). Also noteworthy was the off-white suit and blue tie of Conservative Brian Jean, and Marlene Jennings’ long dark denim jacket, which looked far less casual than Monday’s outfit. (For those of you wondering, the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports an aqua blue ruffled top under a darker grey pantsuit, with shoes that were of a lighter grey tone – so not wholly inappropriate for a change).

Her Excellency is getting flack from the animal rights crowd for her publicly eating the raw heart of a freshly killed seal as part of a protest against the European Union’s decision to ban seal products. (To see the footage of Jean helping gut the seal, click here and selected the “Gov. Gen eats seal heart” video).

Elsewhere, the environment commissioner says that the government’s estimated cuts to greenhouse gasses are off by as much as half – kind of like the way they grossly miscalculated the deficit. I’m starting to wonder if Conservative ministers might have problems with numeracy. And over in the Senate, the Liberals have introduced a bill to limit political advertising in the non-writ periods. The Conservatives, predictably, are calling it “undemocratic” and an “assault on free speech.” The Liberal senators’ argument is that it closes a loophole in this era of (supposed) fixed election dates – and that it makes them accountable for their advertising spending. But given that it’s a Senate bill in a minority Parliament, I doubt this bill will live long enough to see the light of day.

And in case you were wondering about the medical isotope shortage, former CNSC Chair Linda Keen – yes, the same Linda Keen the Conservatives fired during the last shortage – says this time around it’s not a regulatory issue, but an issue of an old reactor, and that it’s worse than the last shut-down. And I’m also betting that she’s revelling in the fact that now she can actually speak out about the issue.