Just a couple of hours before news hit the wires that there will be a reduced number of vaccines available last week, Bob Rae stood up in the House and asked whether the government understands whether their delays in ordering and distributing the H1N1 vaccines is costing lives. Tony Clement – no longer the Health Minister, it should be noted – stood up to deliver Leona Aglukkaq’s usual media lines about working with the Chief Pubic Health Officer, and provinces and territories, and so on. Rae tried to get an answer three times, and it was in his final answer that Tony Clement pleaded to the Liberals to “work with us,” and to stop fear mongering. “We’re all in this together.”
David McGuinty followed up to ask about the confusing messages being delivered about H1N1. Aglukkaq stood up this time to tell Canadians that the Conservative government has been providing “real leadership” on the issue. Wow – really? And do you realise that just saying something doesn’t make it true?
Leading off for the Bloc, Pierre Paquette asked about the Suzuki Foundation report on GHG targets. Christian Paradis – who is not the Environment minister – said that the report advocates carbon taxes. But the report says a lot more than that, and there was discussion about it in the Environment committee that morning – including how the newspaper reports weren’t entirely truthful, and the report showed that Alberta’s economy would in fact still grow – possibly still be the fastest growing in Canada under these proposed – just not as fast as they have been lately (though considering that the Alberta economy was actually overheated going into the recession, that may not be such a bad thing either).
When Marcel Proulx asked about more ethical questions raised by Senator Housakos activities, Baird declared that “the Liberal Party was once a party of grand visions, and now it just throws mud.” Um, remind me about any grand visions that your party has ever had. Bonnie Crombie asked about why it was that when she asked for a private meeting with Canada Post (as she was the new critic for crown corporations), a staffer from Baird’s office insisted that the meeting wouldn’t go forward without being present. Baird’s Minister of State said that his office would be happy to speak to Crombie. But Crombie was being clever – in her supplemental, she said that crown corporations were supposed to operate at arm’s length, and this proves that the Conservatives have been micromanaging. So perhaps it’s not such a stretch to suggest that there is indeed a connection between the supposedly “arm’s length” Federal Bridges Corporation and the contract awarded to Senator Housakos’ company. Baird called the accusation “fact free.”
I also learned something new yesterday – apparently MPs can ask a committee chair a question in Question Period – even if it’s an opposition chair and not one from the government. Who knew?
In case you were wondering, the Conservative tough-on-crime meme of the day was auto theft. Bill C-46, however, as been sitting on the Order Paper in the Senate, thanks to the government, so they have no one to blame but themselves that it’s being delayed. What’s that? This is just a distraction from their scandal-of-the-day siege? Of course it is, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still point out their logical inconsistencies.
On the sartorial front, snaps go out to Hedy Fry for that lovely black top with the white floral embroidery along the sleeves. But there were a lot of missteps. Such as the return of Diane Finley’s WTF jacket. Or how Diane Ablonczy should be reminded that she shouldn’t wear jackets with such high collars because it makes her neck completely disappear. And I’m not a fan of the way that people wear Persian rugs as scarves, like France Bonsant. And Alex Atamanenko was one confusing mess of clashing colours and a tie for which “too busy” doesn’t begin to describe how bad it was. Suits shouldn’t be that hard.
Elsewhere, Harper was in Vancouver to receive an award for all the work he’s doing on behalf of the disabled, especially with the Registered Disability Savings Plan. Meanwhile, John Baird’s minions delivered three boxes of documents to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, apparently figuring that it was just as good to bury him in paper as it was to stonewall him. Meanwhile they still can’t even give ballpark figures as to how much money they’ve actually spent, but hey – they’re the most “transparent” and “accountable” government in all of history, don’t you know!