The flags were at half-mast, and the NDP were mostly all wearing black armbands to mark the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job. And with the desks in the Commons officially two-and-a-half sword-lengths apart, I have little doubt that it’s helped to reduce workplace fatalities among MPs.
It was the dismal new EI figures that had Ignatieff leading off Question Period, and for a change, Harper was there as well for the face-off. Not that he had anything new to say, mind you, other than just another tired line about Ignatieff musing about raising taxes.
There was a little more about the swine flu outbreak again, but unfortunately today, Leona Aglukkaq’s answers didn’t make a lot of coherent sense, other than the fact that she wasn’t banging on the “at least we won’t raise taxes” drum like her colleagues were.
Bob Rae inquired about the government’s “policy” of selectively assisting Canadians accused of crimes abroad, only to have Deepak Obhrai remind the House that this government has made human rights a priority. Really? Huh – I’ll have to double-check that. And I mean, it’s not like they’re ignoring the rule of law in their own country, right? Oh, wait…
There were a few other issues – Thomas Mulcair wanting to ensure that the CPP investment board didn’t get bonuses this year, Mark Holland asking about the imminent closure of prison farms, Charlie Angus’ outrage over made-in-China Canada Flag Pins continuing to day three, and Keith Martin inquiring about Insite. None of it, however, was particularly explosive.
Sartorial snaps go out to Kirsty Duncan for the blue and black panelled tailored jacket she was wearing, which was possibly her best look to date. Keep it up! I was also a fan of Liberal Alexandra Mendes’ red-leaf patterned black top, and Carolyn Bennett’s navy suit and above-the-knee skirt. The style citation goes out to Liberal frontbencher Albina Guarnieri for her big, boxy fuchsia jacket. It needed to be tailored at the very least, and perhaps toned down with a complimentary colour elsewhere. And Megan Leslie outfit watch today reports a great medium-grey pantsuit with a fuchsia top – ruined by the shiny teal-green shoes that have no business being worn by an adult.
A second vacancy has opened up in the Commons, as long-time Nova Scotia (and current Independent) MP Bill Casey resigned today to take up a post as a senior liaison between his province’s government in Ottawa. Casey had previously announced that he wasn’t going to seek re-election, and this job may not be very long-lasting, as the premier who appointed him is due to head into an election within weeks – possibly even days. But Casey, who stood up to the Conservatives over their broken promises over the Atlantic accords and was kicked out for it, was an MP who broke the mode in the current “Sheeple” tendency, and that’s a good thing. The resignation may also be a good thing for Elizabeth May – Casey’s riding was right next door to May’s Central Nova, and in the event that a by-election is called before a general election (the Prime Minister has six months to do so), then she’ll very likely run there.
Immigration minister Jason Kenney wants new guidebooks drawn up for new Canadians, because the current ones were written in 1997, and he feels they’re “indicative of a completely insipid view of Canada.” I’m sure he also feels that they’re far too big-L Liberal too for his taste and the new ones will likely be full of Conservative blue. (There was a very revealing interview with Kenney in the current issue of Maclean’s, where he also seems to have a hard time not sounding like he’s looking to tinker with a multiculturalism system that is currently functioning very well).
And while it’s not federal news, it should be noted that Alberta is finally putting sexual orientation into its human rights legislation. They’re still the last province to do so, and oh look – the new law also says that parents can pull their children out of class to protect them from any material they may find objectionable. Like sexual orientation, or evolution. Thanks, Alberta, for proving that we’re still not a fully progressive country just yet!