By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 0 Comments
Why they skipped Poutine Week
There is always something to celebrate in the office of government House leader Peter Van Loan. His staff looks up what is special for each day on Hallmark’s theultimateholidaysite.com as well as thenibble.com, which has a food holiday for every day of the year. For National Croissant Day last month, one staffer had to go to two Tim Hortons outlets to get enough for everyone. For International Pancake Day, Van Loan prefers Estonian pancakes that are closer to crepes. On National Gingerbread Day, Van Loan takes matters into his own hands, whipping up batches himself using a Martha Stewart recipe. Last week was Montreal Poutine Week, but the office chose to not observe that one. “We stand in solidarity with the St. Albert cheese factory,” quipped one staffer. The factory, which is just southeast of Ottawa and a major supplier of poutine’s essential ingredient, cheese curds, burned down as poutine festivities got underway.
Ron Paul vs. RuPaul
Calgary Tory MP Michelle Rempel, a rising star in question period, was recently asked by a journalist what she thought of former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul coming to Ottawa as part of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy’s conference in March. Rempel diplomatically said she respects “a diversity of opinions.” The truth is that Rempel prefers RuPaul over Ron Paul. She is a huge fan of the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has drag queens compete to become America’s next drag superstar. She watched last year’s season, which included contestants Jiggly Caliente, Madame LaQueer and Sharon Needles. The new season began on Jan. 28, but because she has only basic cable in Ottawa, Rempel asked her sister to record the show so she can catch up.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM - 0 Comments
The ethics commissioner issued two more compliance orders yesterday concerning letters sent to the CRTC, this time by parliamentary secretaries Eve Adams and Colin Carrie. Both rulings come to the same conclusion.
It is improper for you to have written a letter of support to a tribunal in relation to its decision-making. Writing such a letter would be improper regardless of whether or not you explicitly identified yourself as a parliamentary secretary.
When Jim Flaherty wrote to the CRTC and was reprimanded by the ethics commissioner, the Finance Minister blamed the “oversight” that his ministerial title had been listed under his signature on the letter—essentially arguing that he was permitted to send such a letter so long as he didn’t explicitly identify himself as the finance minister in doing so.
The commissioner’s rulings on Ms. Adams and Mr. Carrie suggest to me that’s not the standard to be applied. I’ve asked the commissioner’s office for clarity and will pass along whatever I receive in response.
Update 11:44am. A note from the ethics commissioner’s office.
While the wording of the orders differs, the interpretation and application of the rules is the same. The Commissioner is of the view that the provision of the Conflict of Interest Act applies in these instances regardless of whether Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries use their titles or not.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Conservative MP for Mississauga-Brampton South stood before Question Period to lament the NDP’s support for cap-and-trade.
Mr. Speaker, I had the great pleasure of meeting with my constituents and neighbours last week in Mississauga and hearing about their extreme opposition to the NDP’s $21 billion carbon tax, a tax which won a new friend and a new foe last week. The new foe is President Barack Obama’s administration, whose press secretary told reporters that: “We would never propose a carbon tax and have no intention of proposing one. Our focus right now is on economic growth and job creation.”
That much is true. President Obama’s press secretary did say those words. But cap-and-trade is what the NDP has proposed. And President Obama previously proposed a cap-and-trade system. The use of the word “would” probably requires further explanation, but it could be read to suggest that the Obama administration still recognizes a distinction between cap-and-trade and a carbon tax. (A distinction the Conservatives no longer acknowledge.)
This is good news for middle class families, but the carbon tax does have at least one new supporter: Exxon, the gas station company. While NDP members align themselves with big oil, Conservatives will continue aligning themselves with families, and fighting for middle class families. The NDP’s Exxon-backed $21 billion carbon tax: our money; their pockets.
Here is the real trouble. Exxon does indeed support a carbon tax. But Exxon expressly supports a carbon tax over the alternative of cap-and-trade. The company actually lobbied against cap-and-trade when it was being considered in Washington three years ago. So Exxon and the NDP actually have opposite positions: Exxon has voiced for support for a carbon tax and actively opposed cap-and-trade, while the NDP has proposed cap-and-trade and rejected a carbon tax.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM - 0 Comments
By my count, 57 Conservative MPs have used the phrase “carbon tax” in the House of Commons since the House returned on September 17 (a total of 12 sitting days). The prize for the most-prodigious talking-point spouter goes to Shelly Glover, who has referenced the phrase eight times (for the purposes of this study, I’m not counting multiple uses of the phrase in the same intervention). Peter Van Loan, Kellie Leitch and the Prime Minister himself have made seven interventions that included the phrase. Eve Adams is coming on strong though, using the phrase four times just yesterday.
If my math is correct, that leaves 105 Conservative MPs—excluding the Speaker—who have yet to demonstrate their loyalty to the cause.
Here, again, is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 30, 2012 at 10:11 AM - 0 Comments
Moments after Thomas Mulcair was declared the new leader of the NDP, the Conservative party sent its supporters a series of talking points that deemed him an “opportunist” with a “divise personality,” who would unleash “dangerous experiments” upon the country and put “Canadian families and their jobs at risk.” The next day, the Prime Minister called Mr. Mulcair to congratulate him and to say he “looked forward to their dealings together.” And yesterday, Mr. Harper stood in the House and publicly congratulated Mr. Mulcair at the first opportunity.
Also yesterday, Craig Scott, the newly elected MP for Toronto-Danforth, formally took his seat in the House of Commons. Ten minutes later, the Conservatives sent Eve Adams up to demand that Mr. Scott be “disciplined” by the NDP for “radical soft on crime comments” he had apparently once made. A half hour later, Mr. Scott asked his first question and, in response, Heritage Minister James Moore took the opportunity, “on behalf of all members of the House,” to “welcome” Mr. Scott.
(Afterwards, Mr. Scott stood on a point of order to suggest that Ms. Adams was out of line. Ms. Adams then stood, welcomed Mr. Scott—”Happy first day”—and said “no smear was intended.” She then suggested he should apologize and explained that she was only trying to bring attention to the NDP’s “hug-a-thug attitude.”)
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 24, 2012 at 3:48 PM - 0 Comments
Michael Sona, an executive assistant in the office of Conservative MP Eve Adams, has either resigned or been fired. And that may or may not have something to do with Elections Canada’s investigation into fraudulent calls made during the last federal election.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 17 Comments
Steven Fletcher, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the member’s question.
John Baird, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to my friend from northern Ontario that I do not agree with the premise of his question.
Ed Fast, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question.
Stephen Harper, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, I completely disagree with the premise of that question.
Denis Lebel, Oct. 18. Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question.
John Baird, Oct. 17. Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to that member or to the House that I categorically reject the premise of the member’s question.
Brent Rathgeber, Oct. 17. Mr. Speaker, I absolutely disagree with the premise of that question.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 6:51 PM - 34 Comments
The Scene. “I don’t believe,” the Prime Minister once declared, “that any taxes are good taxes.” Most everything Stephen Harper says is sure to be contested by at least a couple people, but on this point all parties now seem mostly to agree. Even if they do make a great show still of objecting to each other.
“Mr. Speaker,” the NDP’s Libby Davies began this afternoon, not bothering to pause for her colleagues’ applause and talking fast, “the Conservatives’ reckless policy of corporate tax cuts has helped gut our country’s manufacturing sector. The Conservatives do not mind helping profitable oil companies and the big banks just love the handouts that they get, but there has been no benefit for the manufacturing sector, and now we have lost hundreds of thousands of good jobs. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ontario, with even Mr. Hudak saying as much. Will the Prime Minister wake up, see the evidence and cancel his next round of pointless corporate tax giveaways?”
The Prime Minister stood to respond, but a rejoinder had already been tabled moments before by Conservative MP Eve Adams. ”The last thing Canada’s families need now,” she had warned the House, “is the NDP’s massive job-killing tax hikes that would cost jobs and hurt our economy.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 5:16 PM - 5 Comments
The Harper government has released the list of 28 parliamentary secretary appointments. I count eight new MPs: Eve Adams, Chris Alexander (who replaces Laurie Hawn at defence), Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Robert Goguen, Kellie Leitch, Chungsen Leung, Michelle Rempel and Susan Truppe.