After question period yesterday, Speaker Milliken handed down his rulings on two breaches of privilege: Scott Brison’s motion on the government's hiding costing data on bills and the case of Bev Oda misleading the House. In both cases, Milliken ruled against the Conservatives. These cases will now go before the Procedure and House Affairs committee, which will make recommendations to the House on how to proceed. This could include finding the government (or Oda herself) in contempt of Parliament. There was an attempt to bring Oda before the bar of the House to answer for charges of contempt, but the Speaker ruled it out of order.
The Speaker gave the government until the 21st to deal with Scott Brison's motion. Just to remind you, that’s the day before the budget drops. I’ll let your imagination fill in what this means for the electoral calculus from that point on. Suffice to say, things are heating up. These issues will occupy the committee throughout next week; this was slated to be a constituency week for MPs, but those lucky committee members will now stay in Ottawa. This is the second and third time the Speaker has found a prima facie breach of privilege against this government. With the Liberals hammering hard on the government’s ethical record and its disrespect of democracy, this will strengthen the narrative they want to push in the next election, whenever that may be. (Incidentally, here are the government’s new talking points on these rulings.)
Another raucous QP (albeit not quite as obnoxious as it was on Tuesday) was started off by Michael Ignatieff asking Harper about the damage his government was doing to democracy; Harper responded with, Who cares about democracy? You should focus on the economy. Well, maybe not in so many words, but you get the drift. When Justin Trudeau got up to ask Jason Kenney about his partisan fundraising activities, Kenney tried to turn the tables by asking Trudeau about his paid speaking engagements. Gilles Duceppe asked about the In & Out affair before Thierry St-Cyr continued the assault on Jason Kenney. Libby Davies went back to In & Out before Olivia Chow went back to Kenney. You get the picture.
Round two kicked off with Judy Foote and Dominic LeBlanc asking about In & Out. This was followed by Paule Brunelle questioning the transport of nuclear turbines along the St Lawrence Seaway, Bernard Bigras asking about climate research, and Scott Brison asking about the cost of those justice bills. When Marc Garneau finished the round with a question about the cost of the F-35 fighters, he compared the competitive bidding process to shopping for a new car.
Round three saw questions on shots to the head in hockey, the TSX merger, Christiane Ouimet, poverty, veterans and a Canadian trapped in Spain with medical issues.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Megan Leslie for her fitted black dress and Maxime Bernier for his charcoal suit, lavender shirt and purple striped tie. Style citations go out to Yasmin Ratansi for her orange shirt and dark-green suit with floral side panels, Robert Bouchard and Ron Cannan for their fluorescent blue shirts (seriously guys, the '80s are over) and James Moore for his awful green-and-brown striped tie that clashed with his grey suit and blue shirt.
Elsewhere, Rahim Jaffer says he wants an apology from the Commons committee that investigated his activities and found that he could be in contempt of Parliament.
It looks like the Conservatives are going try another go at having numerous MPs showcase infrastructure programs and will provide event-in-a-box advice. Because they have to change the channel somehow.