By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
Perhaps the F-35 is best understood as a Senate with wings. Or perhaps the Senate is the F-35 that we mistakenly assigned to guard our democracy.
Either way, they are both now easy jokes.
“Mr. Speaker, yet another report from the United States is raising disturbing questions about the F-35,” Thomas Mulcair reported at the outset this afternoon. “Serious problems have been identified with the aircraft’s radar, helmet and cockpit design. Pilots report that the plane is actually incapable of flying through clouds.”
The New Democrats laughed.
“Who knew that this was one of the requirements,” Mr. Mulcair quipped.
The New Democrats laughed again.
“Worse yet, the former head of the U.S. Navy is now suggesting that the F-35A, the model Conservatives plan to buy, should be scrapped entirely,” the NDP leader concluded. “Will the Prime Minister give a straightforward answer? Will he admit that he has made a mistake and agree to full, open and honest competition to replace the CF-18, yes or no?”
The Prime Minister would do no such thing.
“Mr. Speaker,” Mr. Harper declared, “the government has been very clear.”
Indeed. Mr. Harper’s government has been very clear. And not just once on this file, but twice. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM - 0 Comments
Mitchel Raphael celebrates the season with the Opposition
The NDP held their annual holiday party in the Hall of Honour. Great lighting, booze bars, an oyster bar and food stations were spread over the Hall and and adjoining meeting rooms. It was one of the best parties held on the Hill.
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 - Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM - 0 Comments
Canada Day video greetings from Jason Kenney, Ted Opitz, Cheryl Gallant, Peggy Nash, Jinny Sims, Colin Carrie, Joyce Murray, Wayne Marston, Craig Scott, John Weston, Ralph Goodale, Elizabeth May, Robert Chisholm, Claude Gravelle, Christine Moore, Laurin Liu, Ray Boughen, James Lunney, Russ Hiebert, Jack Harris, Peter Braid, Steven Blaney, Randy Kamp and, expressing their best wishes in rather similar words, Daryl Kramp, James Bezan, Randy Hoback, Diane Finley, Ed Holder, Ryan Leef, Bob Zimmer, Dave MacKenzie,John Carmichael, Bal Gosal, Costas Menegakis and Parm Gill.
After the jump, a video from the Prime Minister and statements from Thomas Mulcair and Bob Rae. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 6:18 PM - 0 CommentsThe Scene. For the second time in two days, Jason Kenney was compelled to objectively explain for the opposition the extent of the Harper government’s unparalleled greatness.
“Mr. Speaker,” the Immigration Minister declared, “the reality is that no government in the modern history of Canada has done more to invest in giving the equipment necessary to our men and women in uniform.”
The general concept of “modern history” is said to describe all time since the end of the Middle Ages, or something like the last 500 years. In that sense, the governments that saw this country through the first and second world wars might quibble with Mr. Kenney’s presumption of peerlessness. If, on the other hand, Mr. Kenney meant something like “recent history,” he might be right. Of course, it might also be noted that none of this country’s other recent governments have spent so long at war.
“The government has consistently reacted to support our men and women in uniform, giving them the modern equipment that they need,” Mr. Kenney continued, “and at every step of the way, the NDP and Liberals have opposed our efforts.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 4, 2012 at 4:11 PM - 0 Comments
Following an exchange this afternoon between the NDP’s Christine Moore and Associate Minister of Defence Julian Fantino, the NDP’s Matthew Kellway goes for the joke.
Mr. Speaker, with responses like that from our colleagues, it is no wonder the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is “tired of procurement problems”. She should join the club. It is big and we are getting jackets made.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Megan Leslie sought clarity. The government side, she explained, had retroactively changed a report to Parliament. In the first version of the report, the cabinet had approved the purchase of the F-35. In the second version, the cabinet had not approved the purchase of the F-35. What, she essentially asked, gives?
In response, the Prime Minister offered clarity. Or at least the word “clear.” “Mr. Speaker, again, the government has not signed a contract for the purchase of these aircraft,” he said. “We have been clear,” he added, that the government will wait for the results of further investigation before making a decision.
Ms. Leslie, with the withering tone of her generation, tried to clarify the situation. “Mr. Speaker, the official excuse is it was a typographical error,” she mocked. “The Conservatives want us to believe that someone typed the word ‘definitions’ when they actually meant to type two words ‘options analysis.’ Are there any other typographical errors about the F-35s that the government would like to make the House aware of? For example, when it told Parliament that the plane would cost $14.7 billion but cabinet thought the plane would cost $10 billion more, was that just a typing error?”
“Sarcasm,” moaned a voice from the Conservative side.
The Prime Minister stood and pronounced the matter not just clear, but very clear. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, April 27, 2012 at 1:51 PM - 0 Comments
And why others are sitting in the back row of the House
The Hill’s version of ‘The Biggest Loser’
Conservative MP John Weston always cycles in Ottawa. Even when it’s the dead of winter—he simply uses snow tires. He is a fitness buff who runs marathons and has a black belt in tae kwon do. Weston has recently been sporting bow ties in homage to Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon congressman who is a strong supporter of cycling initiatives. The Conservative MP is currently pushing for a “National Health and Fitness Day.” He has put forward a motion that says: “Canada by nature offers abundant recreational and fitness opportunities through such things as our mountains, oceans, lakes, forests and parks; we as Canadians could therefore be the healthiest and fittest people on Earth.” The motion aims to combat the “growing concern over chronic disease.” Weston says MPs can set examples, especially when it comes to child obesity. He is working closely with NDP MP Peter Stoffer and Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan on health initiatives, including the Bike Day on the Hill on May 9. The three are also promoting weekly running and swimming sessions for MPs. On the swimming front, they got Conservative MP John Cummins to take his first-ever swimming lesson and Conservative MP Joy Smith went into the water for the first time in her life. (Smith had a swimming tragedy in her family.) Green party Leader Elizabeth May is also part of the group and says Smith told her, “If I can do it, so can you.” The group encourages each other regardless of skill, although it is acknowledged that Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow is one of the more fit participants and one of the best swimmers.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Here again is the roster for Thomas Mulcair’s shadow cabinet. What to make of it? Here are several observations.
-First, the obviously big promotions go to Megan Leslie (who stays with environment, but becomes a deputy leader) and Nathan Cullen (who becomes House leader). Both are confident, impressive, fresh-faced MPs who are quick on their feet and under the age of 40 (Mr. Cullen’s 40th birthday is in July). Very interesting to see them put not just in prominent positions, but positions of leadership. Your premature, baseless, futile, wild-eyed “next leader of the NDP” speculation probably starts somewhere here.
-That’s a rather large number of people with titles: 78 out of a caucus of 102. Granted, the Conservative cabinet numbers 39 and the Prime Minister named another 28 parliamentary secretaries, so the sides are somewhat close to even. Put the two teams together and they represent just less than half of the House.
-The shadow ministers of finance, justice, human resources, transport, aboriginal affairs, public works, industry, immigration and the environment—nine of the top files—are women.
-All of the elected leadership candidates—Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar, Mr. Cullen, Robert Chisholm, Romeo Saganash and Peggy Nash—were placed in prominent spots. Of the 13 NDP MPs who endorsed Brian Topp, 10 of them—Charmaine Borg, Jean Crowder, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Yvon Godin, Francoise Boivin, Jinny Simms, Jasbir Sandhu, Kennedy Stewart and Alexandre Boulerice—were put in critic roles. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 5:44 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “They knew it.”
What did they know? They knew the cost of purchasing the F-35 would be higher than they had let on. This much, Thomas Mulcair explained, had now been proven by the Auditor General.
“Why,” the leader of the opposition thus asked, “did the Conservatives deliberately gave false information to Parliament and Canadians?”
The Prime Minister stood here, shrugged and dismissed it all. “Mr. Speaker, I do not accept these conclusions of the opposition leader,” Mr. Harper said, without elaborating. The Auditor General had, Mr. Harper explained, made “certain findings” and “identified the need for greater supervision.” The government accepted this much.
Switching to English, Mr. Mulcair was sharp and stinging in response. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 12:38 PM - 0 Comments
The New Democrats want an apology.
“We see a clear trend — from the G8 fiasco to the F35s — of these Conservatives hiding information from Canadians,” said New Democrat MP Matthew Kellway (Beaches-East York). “Canadians expect a government that is upfront, but Conservatives deliberately misled Parliament. They should apologize to Canadians.”
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM - 0 Comments
NDP Christine Moore, who had endorsed Paul Dewar, has moved to Peggy Nash.
Rathika Sitsabaiesen, who hadn’t endorsed any of the candidates, has now pledged her support for Ms. Nash.
Hélène Laverdière, who was supporting Mr. Dewar, has moved to Thomas Mulcair.It’s not clear that this is the case.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 12:21 PM - 0 Comments
In yesterday’s update, I also neglected to mention David Christopherson, who endorsed Thomas Mulcair on Friday.
Here are the latest standings. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 4:36 PM - 0 Comments
Defence Minister Peter MacKay responds to the suggestion, from the NDP’s Christine Moore, that he desired to use the F-35 fighter jets as his personal taxi service.
Mr. Speaker, to show just how informed the member is about the aircraft, there is only one seat in an F-35, so I could not take it as a taxi if I wanted to.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM - 0 Comments
Under questioning again yesterday about the purchase of F-35 fighter jets, Julian Fantino offered the following in response to the NDP’s Christine Moore.
The one thing that should be stated in the House is for NDP members to state categorically that they do not support our military, that they do not support our men and women, that they do not support our airmen and women. That is really the theme here.
After QP, Ms. Moore rose on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, during question period, in response to my question, the Associate Minister of National Defence said that I do not care about the well-being of the Canadian armed forces. I would like to inform the minister that I served in the Canadian armed forces for three years and I can honestly say that I care a great deal. I would like to offer him the opportunity to withdraw his comments.
Ms. Moore apparently served as a physician assistant.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:42 PM - 28 Comments
The Scene. Peter MacKay stepped out into the foyer just long enough to turn and walk up the stairs. The small horde of reporters that had been waiting for him were left to shout questions at his retreating figure. For the record, the back of his head had no comment.
“I would suggest to the minister, if he’s open to advice,” the NDP’s David Christopherson offered to a different gaggle of reporters a few minutes later, “that he get to a microphone fast and come clean and tell the true story and then ask for forgiveness.”
It is often said that with great power comes great responsibility and maybe that was even true at some point. At it is, it would be more accurate to say that with great power one is afforded the authority to decide what one wants to take responsibility for. And that modern power means, and depends on, doing everything to avoid ever saying sorry. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 23, 2011 at 3:42 PM - 19 Comments
The latest development in our national crisis of official air travel protocol involves the Defence Minister using a Challenger jet to fly to a lobster-related celebration (the Pictou Lobster Carnival perhaps?) in his riding. Peter MacKay continued to take questions from the opposition this morning in regards to the use of a search-and-rescue helicopter to pick him up from a fishing trip, but questions about the lobster festival were handled by House leader Peter Van Loan. Mr. Van Loan’s first response to the NDP’s Christine Moore was as follows.
Mr. Speaker, taxpayers expect government officials to conduct the nation’s business at a reasonable cost. It is something that our government takes very seriously. I want to be clear. Our use of government aircraft by our ministers is always in compliance with policy. We do follow the policies. And we have reduced the use of government aircraft significantly, as we have said. When we look at Challenger use by the Liberals who spoke earlier about this issue, we have reduced our use 80% since they abused them as personal limousines constantly. We only use them for government business.