By John Geddes - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 0 Comments
How many senators did Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoint in 2012? How many years does the government allow, in its latest plan, for “development and acquisition” of F-35 fighter jets? How many premiers, provincial and territorial, attended the November economic summit in Halifax? (Hint: Saskatchewan’s just phoned in.)
In all cases, the answer is an even dozen. But for our purposes here—in this third annual installment of a year-capping look back—we’re interested in 12 only as the number of months in the calendar. Select just a single story for each, and 2012 might almost begin to show some semblance of coherence.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Earlier this month—the evening that Peter Van Loan got very mad at Nathan Cullen, actually—I sat down with Bob Rae. Here is an abridged and edited transcript of our conversation.
First of all, how do you look back on the last year for the Liberal party?
We started with the very successful convention in January, which I think had the largest attendance of any non-leadership convention we’d ever had. We had a lot of people there, a lot of enthusiasm. And then went on from there to the creation of the supporter class. That went well. We’re now well over 40,000 and that number will grow. We’re going to have potentially the largest electorate for the selection of the new leader that we’ve ever had. Then getting the leadership underway, in terms of my decision not to run, getting other people out there running. I think that’s gone well. We’ve now got a full field of potential candidates. We’ve got others that are still weighing whether they’re going to run or not, but it’s going to be a very big field.
Broadly speaking, I have seen my job as the interim leader as initially doing everything I can to make sure the party gets the message about the need to rebuild, to take reorganization seriously and to maintain our presence in the House of Commons, to make sure that we’re there, we’re an effective team. Morale is good, people are participating and I think we’ve succeeded. I never anticipated that, with being the interim leader, you’re going to make some huge breakthrough. My view all the way through was, we’ve got to make sure we’re still in the game, that we’re present, active, relevant to the debates and the discussions and that what we have to say is respected. And I think that’s been the case. And I think the notion that the NDP had that they were just going to be able to waltz in and just ignore the Liberals, don’t have to worry about that, that’s over, I think clearly we’re still there. And we’re not just still there, but in terms of public opinion, we’re doing better, we’re more strongly placed than since the last election. And from that point of view for us, I think it’s been a positive year. It’s been a year of reconstruction.
You yourself, over the last, it seems to me, couple months, have come forward and put some policy discussions out there. Carbon pricing, the gas tax, this week with the tax credits. Do you see your role as something to put ideas on the table? To be advancing ideas? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 10:05 PM - 0 Comments
John Geddes observes Peter MacKay’s no good, very bad day.
He might have made it easier to hear his answers without wincing had he just admitted to past mistakes. Failing that mature, obvious response, he might have clung to a fragment of dignity by resolving at least not to drag Canadian men and women in uniform into it.
But no. His couldn’t restrain himself. He couldn’t resist bringing up his concern for the troops when pointedly asked if he had any regrets about his past harsh words toward critics who raised what turned out to be entirely valid concerns about the F-35 program.
Andrew Coyne fumes at the latest attempt to present the numbers more charitably.
The new line, as expressed in government documents and repeated by the Defence minister, Peter MacKay, is that the planes will cost $45.8-billion “over 42 years.” Not 20 years, or 30 years, but 42 years. And then the spin: it was a billion dollars a year before, it’s pretty much a billion dollars a years now. So you see? Nothing’s changed. Except it isn’t 42 years. Not in any comparable sense. The 20 years used in previous cost estimates was the (supposed) service life of the planes: that is, how long they’re expected to be in use, after delivery. KMPG’s report, as I said, assumed a service life of 30 years. So to compare apples to apples, you would have to say the planes are now projected to cost $45-billion over 30 years.
How does the government get 42 years? By adding in 12 years for “development and acquisition,” from the decision to acquire the planes in 2010 to the delivery of the last plane in 2022. No previous estimate included development costs. And indeed they add next to nothing to the total: just $565-million. But by tacking on another 12 years, they allow the government to spread the cost over a much longer time frame, and make the annual cost of the planes seem much lower than it is.
Meanwhile, here are the exchanges between Thomas Mulcair, Bob Rae and the Prime Minister during QP this afternoon. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 7:23 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The leader of the opposition had asked again for the Prime Minister to account for the government’s fraught relationship with the F-35 and the Prime Minister had again reassured the leader of the opposition of the government’s intent to follow a “seven-point” plan. And Mr. Mulcair was apparently ready for this.
“Mr. Speaker, instead of following their seven-point program, they should inspire themselves with 12-point programs,” the NDP leader offered, “and start by admitting they have a problem.”
This drew some desk-thumping from the New Democrats. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Will the Minister of National Defence finally admit that the jig is up,” Matthew Kellway asked, “admit he was wrong and hold an open competition?”
So the latest in jet fighter technology was damned with the language of Elizabethan times. Alas, the Defence Minister did not stand here to proclaim himself besmirched. Instead, Rona Ambrose stood to impart the talking points.
“Mr. Speaker, as you know, the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat has been set up to ensure transparency and due diligence is done before the decision is made to replace our CF-18s,” she explained. “We are committed to completing its seven-point plan and moving forward with our comprehensive and transparent approach to replacing our aging CF-18 aircraft.”
For good measure, Ms. Ambrose added a pre-emptive explanation for the decidedly larger price tag that is still to be released publicly. “When including more years in operations and maintenance cost estimates,” she said, “it goes without saying that the dollar figure will be proportionately higher.”
That such stuff went without saying seems largely to be problem here.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 5:39 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. In succession, Susan Truppe, the parliamentary secretary for the status of women, Bloc MP Jean-Francois Fortin, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Conservative MP Shelly Glover stood in the moments immediately preceding Question Period to mark the anniversary of the massacre at l’École polytechnique de Montréal. At the conclusion of Ms. Glover’s remarks, all members stood and a moment of silence was observed.
The Speaker then called for oral questions. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM - 0 Comments
Shortly after 10am this morning, the House had a little talk about yesterday’s unpleasantness.
Bob Rae: Mr. Speaker, I do not quite know when the appropriate moment would be to say something on this subject, but it is a little hard for us to carry on the normal business of the House without referring to the somewhat unusual transaction that took place on the floor of the House yesterday. I wonder if those who were involved in it would care to perhaps indicate their regret at what took place and the fact that we need to continue for the next several days in the House with a greater degree of civility and willingness to engage in public discourse without insulting each other.
Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to address that point. Yesterday I went to speak to the opposition House leader with the intention of discussing my concerns with the point of order that had been raised related to a mistake that had been made by the Deputy Speaker during Tuesday night’s vote. I know that mistakes happen. The Deputy Speaker is new and I am sure he is going to do a very good job, but I thought it was inappropriate for the New Democrats to raise a point of order relying on that mistake and somehow suggest it was the responsibility of the government. To do that was inappropriate. It put me in a very difficult position. I did not wish, in defending the government, to be critical of the Deputy Speaker and I tried very delicately to dance around the point. Mr. Speaker, you ruled appropriately in the circumstances. I acknowledge that I used an inappropriate word when I was discussing this matter with the opposition House leader. I should not have done that and I apologize for that. I would expect the opposition House leader to do the same and I hope that at this point we can move forward and get on with the important business that Canadians want us to do.
Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Toronto Centre for his intervention and some of the words from the government House leader with respect to his apology. You and I will be having a conversation quite shortly, so any other more official statement coming from the official opposition is a bit premature, until you and I have spoken in private. Then we will get back to the House forthwith.
Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I trespass on this very tentatively, but recall that the history of the length between these benches was to be two sword lengths. We would like the notion to be figurative. We do not like the notion that someone from one side of the House would march across to the other side. I can only conclude the hon. government House leader is a sore winner. I hope we will never see this sort of thing again.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 10:16 AM - 0 Comments
Shortly after Question Period concluded, the Speaker formally called for yelling. All those in favour of the motion were invited to yell yea. All those opposed were invited to yell nay.
Technically, one supposes, the members need not yell yea or nay. They could nearly say so aloud. But democracy is not for the quiet. And so on one side they yelled yea and on the other side they yelled nay, the NDP’s Peter Julian seeming to particularly enjoy this (holding his yell for an extra beat or two). The Speaker made a judgement as to who had yelled most and then, inevitably, at least five members of whichever side had lost stood to demonstrate their desire for a formal standing vote to be recorded for the sake of posterity.
With a few of these final formalities dispatched with, the Speaker called for the members—all those duly elected to be here given 30 minutes to report to the House to spend the next seven hours expressing their respective wills on Bill C-45, the second budget implementation act of 2012.
Out in the foyer, as the dull digital tone that now stands in for the ringing of actual bells chimed over and over, Bob Rae attempted to explain to a cluster of reporters what could be hoped to be accomplished by what was about to happen.
“Well, you know, we want to inflict, frankly, as much damage and make the government realize this is just a crazy way to do public business,” he said. “We’re happy to discuss navigable waters. We’re happy to discuss the tax credit policy of the government. We’re happy to discuss what their approach is to small business. We just think these things have to be dealt with in a way that respects the House and respects the democratic process. And we just don’t see that in the approach that’s being taken by the government. They are pushing any approach that’s being taken by any other parliament in the world much, much, much further. In fact, if you go back to many of the principles of parliamentary democracy, they’re opposed to this joining together of several measures in one bill. In some states in the United States, to do that is actually unconstitutional.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
The House of Commons is filling up—the Prime Minister seems to have brought a large stack of paperwork to keep him busy—and voting on C-45 will soon commence. We’ll be here until the end to observer all the sights, sounds, thrills and chills of democracy in motion (specifically the motion of standing and sitting down repeatedly).
3:43pm. The party whips have been duly applauded and the Speaker is now calling the first vote. Thomas Mulcair receives a round of applause as he leads the votes in favour.
3:45pm. If you’d like to follow along with the commentary from the floor, our list of MPs on Twitter is here.
3:47pm. Mr. Harper receives a round of applause as he leads the nays.
3:51pm. The first vote goes to the nays, 156-134.
3:56pm. Michelle Rempel, Pierre Poilievre, Randy Kamp, Mark Adler, Bob Rae, Vic Toews and Ruth Ellen Brosseau are using the time to sign Christmas cards. Greg Rickford is reading Sports Illustrated. Denis Lebel is going through some paperwork. Megan Leslie and Nathan Cullen are fiddling with their iPads.
3:58pm. The second notes goes to the nays, 147-134. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Thomas Mulcair charged into the afternoon with a litany of concerns.
“Mr. Speaker, last quarter, Canadian economic growth slowed to a rate of just six-tenths of one per cent,” he reported. “Conservatives have now missed their own economic growth targets three quarters in a row. They have had to downgrade their economic growth forecast for 2012 by nearly a third and it is now widely expected that the Bank of Canada will have to downgrade its own economic forecast as well. The Minister of Finance announced new economic numbers just three weeks ago. Does the minister still stand by those numbers today, or will we have to downgrade his economic projections yet again?”
The Minister of Finance was not in the House, so John Baird stood to handle this one. But first, a nod to the expectant royal couple.
“Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not first stand up and extend our congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the announcement coming from Burn’s House earlier today,” enthused the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Conservatives duly applauded.
At the far end of the room, Bob Rae leaned forward and put his head in his hands. Ralph Goodale patted him on the shoulder.
A mostly—particularly—dull and witless afternoon proceeded with little or no progress to report on much of anything. There was though at least one reasonable question. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae laments for the Harper government’s approach.
Canada is in the process of isolating itself — and only putting forward monologues that are fuelled by polls and short-sighted partisanship, and which abandon our basic values of dialogue, peace and unity.
This is not where most Canadians want us to be as a country. David Cameron and President Obama were on the phone with President Abbas, and are reaching out to Arab and Israeli leaders in the hopes of finding a solution. Canada should be picking up the phone as well, but it may be a while before we get an answer. It’s not always what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
The chief negotiator for the Palestinians says Canada has disqualified itself from the peace process. And while Britain and others react strongly to news of new Israeli settlements, the Globe reports a more muted response from the Harper government.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 5:11 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. For as long as humans have possessed language it has been generally true that few good conversations involve the phrase “fecal contamination.”
Perhaps that’s why the Prime Minister stepped aside this afternoon to let Gerry Ritz respond to the bulk of questions; of the six questions he might’ve otherwise been expect to take, Mr. Harper rose to respond to only two. Or maybe this was some attempt to make up for Mr. Ritz’s initial absence when last the House was seized with the matter of suspect beef.
At issue today was how we handle our cow carcasses: specifically whether our attitude toward the presence of “spinal cord/dura-mater” depends on whether Canadian or Japanese citizens are expected to ingest the resulting hamburgers.
“Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the CFIA has confirmed that meat sold in Canada is as safe as that is exported to other markets, including Japan,” Mr. Harper attempted to reassure the House. “Indeed, it is the Canadian law in this regard.”
Nycole Turmel was unconvinced. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae talks to Tom Clark about putting a price on carbon.
Tom Clark: But I want to move on to one other thing here and that is the question of whether we should be putting a price on carbon so that at some point down the road the government can move towards either a cap and trade system or a carbon tax. What do you think? What would you encourage your party to decide on that? Should Alberta…some form of carbon tax?
Bob Rae: Alberta and British Columbia have already indicated that they’re pricing carbon. That’s what BC is doing, Alberta is doing it. There are other provinces that are considering doing it. I thought Mr. Harper was in favour of that. I’ve heard Mr. Harper and many ministers; John Baird when he was Energy Minister, others saying that a price on carbon was a good idea. To me, I don’t know how we send signals to the marketplace about how we need to conserve energy going forward unless we have a coordinated approach to carbon pricing. Ironically now, it’s the producing provinces in Alberta and British Columbia that are leading the way in terms of saying yes we need to send a signal, so is Quebec saying the same thing. I think there is a very powerful consensus growing in the country that we need to have a national federal-provincial approach to the pricing of carbon. I hope it very much that the premiers and the prime minister can agree on this in the months and years ahead.
See previously: Bob Rae steps up to defend carbon pricing
By John Geddes - Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM - 0 Comments
With many federal departments quietly coping with budget cuts (as we’re reminded by the Parliamentary Budget Officer going to court to try to find out more about exactly how they’re managing it), the possibility of new infrastructure spending offers a rare whiff of fresh money in the air around Parliament Hill.
This week the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is holding what it calls its “advocacy days” (i.e., lobbying days) here, bringing more than 100 politicians from cities and towns to Ottawa to “build relationships” (i.e., apply pressure) with federal politicians and bureaucrats.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 4:49 PM - 0 Comments
A statement from the Liberal MP.
“As Member of Parliament for Ottawa South I would like to unreservedly and unequivocally apologize for comments which I made with respect to Parliamentary colleagues from the province of Alberta. My words in no way reflect the views of my party or leader, and I offer my apology to them as well as my colleagues from Alberta.
I hold all Parliamentarians in high esteem, and I regret my choice of words, as I can understand the offence they have caused.
I have offered my resignation as energy and natural resources critic to my leader, and he has accepted. I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents in the House of Commons.”
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 1:13 AM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae in conversation with Paul Wells
“The House is much more partisan, scripted place and I don’t think it’s an improvement. I think it’s a deterioration in the quality of parliamentary life. I really do. I think things are getting worse.”
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 1:12 AM - 0 Comments
He may be the leader of the third party, but everything goes quiet when he rises to speak
Shortly after Bob Rae was first elected in 1978, John Diefenbaker, the former prime minister who remained a MP until his death in 1979 at the age of 83, imparted two pieces of advice: “Don’t take any s–t from anybody,” and “Go for the throat every time.”
These might be words to live by, but Rae looked elsewhere for inspiration—to Allan MacEachen, the legendary Liberal, and Tommy Douglas, the patron saint of the NDP. MacEachen was a commanding presence who taught Rae you couldn’t be yelling all the time, that you had to have “more than one gear.” Douglas was disciplined and practical. He cracked jokes and didn’t hold grudges. And it was Douglas who told him to eschew notes when speaking in the House. “Because as soon as you start to do it, he says, you lose all the spontaneity and all the effect,” Rae recalls.
Here are the makings of a master of the House.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM - 0 Comments
The Interactive Commons is now updated with data through November 8. While the Prime Minister was away, John Baird (22 responses since the last report) and Pierre Poilievre (21 responses since the last report) played and Diane Finley (98 responses total this fall) has now been up more than any other member of the Conservative side.
In terms of asking, Thomas Mulcair still leads Bob Rae (82 questions to 62 questions), but Mr. Rae has proved nearly as verbose (having spoken 3,117 words in QP to Mr. Mulcair’s 3,207).
Fun fact: Conservative MP David Tilson and NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault, both committee chairs, are the only MPs to both ask and respond to at least one question so far this fall.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 4:56 PM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae was in Toronto today to deliver a speech on energy policy. Included in that was a defence of putting a price on carbon.
I also want to say today, to everyone in this room, that we have to move the discussion along with respect to this question of carbon pricing. Do you know who’s providing the leadership today on carbon pricing? The province of British Columbia. And the province of Alberta. They’re not afraid to talk about carbon pricing. They’re not afraid to use market mechanisms to force innovation and more conservation. They’re not afraid to send the right messages to markets. They’ve done that. They’ve moved ahead of the game. The Conference of CEOs, under the leadership of John Manley, has said exactly the same thing. We have to send a signal to the markets about the price of carbon going forward and we have to do it in a way that, once again, will force producers and force the industry to become more innovative. And that’s a more effective way to do it than, and this is really ironic coming from a so-called Conservative government, the kind of centralized, command-and-control regulatory approach which now seems to be the vogue in Ottawa.
Now, you and I both know our shared experiences as a country in trying to have a national conversation on this question of carbon taxing or cap-and-trade—either technique, either method of trying to create a signal to the markets about price. But I’m here to tell you that if we don’t send a signal to the markets about price, the market won’t take us seriously when it comes to conservation and the market won’t take us seriously when it comes to greening the economy and the world won’t take us seriously when it comes to those things.
What’s more, the industry itself is asking for this. Talk to a CEO of any major energy company in Canada and they will tell you we need to know what prices are going to be and what government policies are going to be in order for us to make and justify the investments to our shareholders that we know we have to make. Two projects right now on carbon capture, two separate major projects on carbon capture, have been put on hold by two major companies for the simple reason that there is no signal to the market. That’s wrong.
But I know full well that anyone who steps up to the plate and says this is something we have to do and at the same time provide for tax cuts to lower and middle income people, provide for real cuts in income taxes, make sure that regions that are badly effected are helped and not hurt, it’s quite possible to do it, but anyone who suggests it will immediately have their head blown off. But, having my head blown off many times, I don’t mind. What I do mind is the absence of national leadership. What I do mind is the fact that the provinces are getting together, and getting together again at the end of this month, they’re going to be talking about the need for a national energy strategy. They, themselves, are taking steps to move forward. The province of Ontario, the province of Manitoba, the province of Nova Scotia, they all want to move forward. Quebec wants to move forward. It already is ahead of the federal government when it comes to setting targets and getting there and sending signals to market. So the federal government is hiding under its chair while that conference is going on. And the federal government is hiding under its chair when the national industry and the CEOs of this country are looking for leadership. And they don’t find it.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:23 PM - 0 Comments
The official readout of the Prime Minister’s conversation with Barack Obama.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke tonight from India with the President of the United States, Barack Obama. The Prime Minister extended his sincere congratulations to the President on his victory and wished him well on his second term.
During their conversation, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama underlined the deep friendship that exists between Canada and the US – a relationship underpinned by the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world as well as close collaboration internationally on peace and security.
During the call, the Prime Minister conveyed that he looks forward to continuing to work with the President on initiatives vital to both countries. In the context of the global economic situation, Prime Minister Harper used the opportunity to convey to the President the importance of the White House and Congress working together to tackle the US fiscal situation.
Speaking with reporters after QP today, Bob Rae was unimpressed with the suggestion that the Prime Minister would be stressing the need to work cooperatively.
I only hope that President Obama is able to get along with other parties and is able to work constructively with other parties than Mr. Harper has proven to be the entire time that he’s been Prime Minister. In my experience in politics, I’ve never, never dealt with a first minister who is less interested in the opinions of other parties, who is less interested in working in cooperation with other parties and who is more determined to run the House like it’s some kind of one-party show. So I hope that President Obama learns from someone else. Of course we want, all the world wants Congress and the presidency to come together on some of these critical economic questions but Mr. Harper is in absolutely no position to give lectures to the President of the United States about how to get along with others. Even in his report cards from Grade 2 and 3, teachers were expressing concern about Mr. Harper’s inability to get along with other kids.
Mr. Rae then confessed that he made this last bit up.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 5:14 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Rosane Doré Lefebrve wondered if the Public Safety Minister, given yesterday’s tone, might like to apologize to the family of Ashley Smith. The New Democrats present stood to applaud this suggestion.
Vic Toews stood and reported to the House as follows.
“Mr. Speaker, let me be clear on what I said,” he said. “This is a very sad case and our thoughts go out to Ms. Smith’s family. Some of the behaviour seen in these videos is absolutely unacceptable. Our government has directed Correctional Service Canada to fully co-operate with the coroner’s inquest.”
Ms. Doré Lefebrve was not impressed. ”Mr. Speaker, this is not really an apology, but that’s probably all he is capable of doing,” she scolded.
There were groans from the government side.
Hopefully Mr. Toews’ aim yesterday was not to scare opposition MPs away from this subject. It seemed, instead, to have had the opposite effect. Where on Tuesday afternoon, the case of Ashley Smith was not raised until the ninth opportunity, today it was the subject of five of the first eight questions. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The House went quiet.
Thomas Mulcair had concluded a sharp exchange with John Baird and Peggy Nash had just needled the government side about the price of shipping armoured limousines and now Bob Rae was on his feet. And suddenly all was very quiet. Not so much because of Mr. Rae—though here he held the House—but of what he had to say.
“Mr. Speaker, in indicating on Friday that the government was doing a complete reversal of its previous position at the Ashley Smith inquest, the government did not tell us what exactly has changed in the government’s position,” the interim Liberal leader posited. “There have now been a number of reports from the correctional investigator, indicating that the Ashley Smith death was not alone, was not a singular act, and in fact there are dozens of people who have died while in custody and who have committed suicide. I would like to ask the government, can it please explain to the House what exactly has changed over the last few days that has caused the government to change its position at the coroner’s inquest?”
Horrible reality has a way of chastening the residents of this place. Suddenly all is solemn. It is as if everyone collectively recognizes that we are no longer joking around here. Indeed, there is no greater demonstration of how far this place can stray from the world beyond these walls than the difference in volume that is heard when something like death—the realest of matters—is invoked. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 5:01 AM - 0 Comments
A star-studded photo gallery by Mitchel Raphael
The 2012 Press Gallery Dinner was a night of glamour and mock awards.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM - 0 Comments
The House is scheduled to be on break for the week of November 12 and the New Democrats and Liberals are thus concerned that the government’s schedule for study of C-45 does not allow committees sufficient time to properly review the bill. A motion from Marc Garneau that would’ve instructed the committees to meet through the break week failed to receive unanimous consent in the House.
Here is Bob Rae’s exchange with the Prime Minister this afternoon.
Bob Rae. Mr. Speaker, in the discussion on the omnibus legislation, it is now clear that because of the short week next week and because of the break the week after, the committees to which all these bills and measures have been referred will have very little time to deal with the substantive matters before them. Would the Prime Minister agree that it would be a much better idea if the House were to direct the committees to meet during the break week so that these substantive measures can be dealt with?
Stephen Harper. Mr. Speaker, traditionally I do not get involved in procedural matters and committees are the masters of their own business. As is very well known, the government tabled the budget in March of this year, with a range of very important measures for the strength of the Canadian economy. We are in a period once again of some global slowdown and we need to be doing everything we can to keep our economy moving forward. I know these things have been before Parliament for a very long time so obviously I would encourage all members to continue their study of them and to act expeditiously in a way that is in the interests of jobs and growth.
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM - 0 Comments
The Travers Debates were held recently at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It…
The Travers Debates were held recently at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It was a fundraiser for the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship named after Toronto Star columnist Jim Travers, who died in 2011.