By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 0 Comments
You might have thought that the auditor general’s report and the KPMG audit amounted to a repudiation of the Harper government’s accounting for the F-35. Gary Goodyear would like to assure you otherwise.
“I can tell you the F-35 is another file – now we see KPMG come out with a report that couldn’t be more plain and simple – that Conservatives were dead right and that those planes would cost $9 billion and that the service contract for 20 years would be $16 billion.”
Granted, this is all a bit confusing, but let’s go over this one more time. The stated acquisition cost does, indeed, remain at $9 billion: that’s the budget the government says it will adhere to in purchasing new fighter jets. But $16 billion was once thought to be the total cost for acquisition and maintenance—in March 2011, the government tabled an estimate of $14.7 billion. The KPMG audit, meanwhile, identified $15.2 billion in “sustainment” costs, in addition to that $9 billion for acquisition.
But the “life-cycle” cost estimate was a particular concern of the auditor general and here, so far as the math is concerned, is the real trouble.
Treasury Board policies require consideration of all relevant costs over the useful life of equipment, not just the initial acquisition or basic contract cost. Careful planning and full costing are needed to ensure that all of the elements required to provide the needed capability come together in a timely and predictable way and that adequate funds are available to support the equipment over the long term. We examined whether National Defence conducted full life-cycle costing related to its Next Generation Fighter Capability project and whether cost estimates were complete, supported, and validated, using the best information available at the time. Estimating future full life-cycle costs for military equipment, especially the F-35, is challenging…
We have a number of observations regarding the life-cycle costing for the F-35. First, costs have not been fully presented in relation to the life of the aircraft. The estimated life expectancy of the F-35 is about 8,000 flying hours, or about 36 years based on predicted usage. National Defence plans to operate the fleet for at least that long. It is able to estimate costs over 36 years. We recognize that long-term estimates are highly sensitive to assumptions about future costs as well as to currency exchange rates. However, in presenting costs to government decision makers and to Parliament, National Defence estimated life-cycle costs over 20 years. This practice understates operating, personnel, and sustainment costs, as well as some capital costs, because the time period is shorter than the aircraft’s estimated life expectancy. The JSF Program Office provided National Defence with projected sustainment costs over 36 years…
We also have significant concerns about the completeness of cost information provided to parliamentarians. In March 2011, National Defence responded publicly to the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report. This response did not include estimated operating, personnel, or ongoing training costs (Exhibit 2.6). Also, we observed that National Defence told parliamentarians that cost data provided by US authorities had been validated by US experts and partner countries, which was not accurate at the time. At the time of its response, National Defence knew the costs were likely to increase but did not so inform parliamentarians.
As Andrew Coyne has pointed out, National Defence agreed with the auditor general in 2010, on a separate file, that life-cycle costing was appropriate.
As noted above, in responding to the parliamentary budget officer, the government tabled an estimate of $14.7 billion over 20 years for capital, acquisition and sustainment costs.
According to the auditor general, National Defence had an internal estimate in June 2010 that covered capital, acquisition, maintenance, personnel and operating costs over 20 years. That estimate came to $25.1 billion. (Andrew has noted that a $25 billion estimate was briefly, and fleetingly, acknowledged in June 2010, only to disappear from the debate soon thereafter.)
According to KPMG, an estimate that covers capital, acquisition, maintenance, personnel, operating and development costs comes to $45.8 billion over 42 years.
So we have three sets of numbers: $15 to $16 billion over 20 years (the publicly debated cost), $25.1 billion over 20 years (National Defence’s internal estimate) and $45.8 billion over 42 years (the KPMG estimate).
But as Andrew has argued, it is difficult to compare the KPMG estimate to the previously acknowledged estimate because the KPMG audit includes money and time for development. If you remove the development figures from the KPMG audit, you get an estimate of $45.2 billion over 30 years.
For the sake of comparison, it is probably most accurate to say that the stated cost has gone from $15 to $16 billion over 20 years to $45.2 billion over 30 years. (Peter MacKay’s office has waded into this debate and Colin Horgan has parsed it here.)
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
“The majority of my constituents are well aware that personally, I have consistently maintained a pro-life stance on this matter,” Goodyear said in an email. “However I made a promise in the last election that our government and I would not reopen debate as currently there is no appetite in Canada to revisit this highly personal and divisive issue. Therefore, I will not vote in favour of M-312.”
Braid said he’s opposed because, “It’s important to me that women’s rights are considered and respected in this debate. “I believe my position represents the majority position of my constituents. A woman should have control over the decisions she makes with respect to her own body,’’ he said in an interview.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 4:59 PM - 0 Comments
In celebrating Norman Bethune, Tony Clement at least has company in the likes of Chuck Strahl, Michael Chong, Lawrence Cannon and Gary Goodyear. Last year, the Canadian Mint released a commemorative coin to mark the 75th anniversary of Dr. Bethune’s invention of the blood transfusion vehicle. In 2007, the Harper government created the Norman Bethune Health Research Scholarships Program that allows for Chinese students to pursue PhDs in Canada.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 8:01 AM - 0 Comments
During debate in the House on Tuesday of an NDP motion concerning the value of science, Bruce Hyer asked Gary Goodyear, the minister of state for science, if he believed in evolution (Mr. Goodyear’s views on evolution were sort of a thing a few years ago).
Mr. Goodyear responded that “what I would recommend to the honourable member is that when he tightens that towel around his neck at nighttime that he not do it for more than 20 seconds. It actually ends up causing cerebral anoxia that leaves permanent brain damage.”
Elizabeth May then rose on a point of order after QP yesterday and suggested this was unparliamentary because it seemed to be a reference to “deviant sexual practices” (presumably autoerotic asphyxiation).
Mr. Goodyear then rose on a point of order to explain that he was not referring to autoerotic asphyxiation, he was only implying that Mr. Hyer might suffer from brain damage. Nonetheless, he withdrew the comment.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 6:22 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Apparently something of a fussy TV critic, Thomas Mulcair seemed not to appreciate the Stephen Harper’s demeanour during last night’s showing of “The Prime Minister & The Queen (And The Continent That Is Like A Plane That Is Running Out Of Runway).”
“Mr. Speaker, last night in London” Mr. Mulcair reported, seeming to sound out the city’s name in a certain la-de-da tone, “the Prime Minister mused about catastrophic events about to hit the Canadian economy. He laughed about Canadians having to face the most volatile stock market since the Great Depression.”
There were groans from the government benches.
On the matter of the stock market, the Prime Minister did seem to smile, perhaps in hopes of projecting reassurance or confidence or so as not to scare the Boomers watching at home who are fretting about their RRSPs. Mr. Harper did also seem to acknowledge that the last time Peter Mansbridge asked him about the markets, the Prime Minister had perhaps not expressed himself that well. But to suggest he had openly guffawed seems to apply a loose measure of frivolity.
In any event, the leader of the opposition was most interested in whether the Prime Minister had a plan for the next recession. And, if so, what was in that plan. To answer this stood Peter Van Loan, the Government House leader having apparently come away quite moved by last night’s broadcast. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 4:22 PM - 6 Comments
As to the NDP’s concern, the government’s position seems to be that the official opposition is completely wrong. From Gary Goodyear’s answers during QP this afternoon.
Mr. Speaker, the NDP is flat wrong again. It is quite unfortunate that whoever is helping the member did not do his or her math before the NDP members decided to go on with these tactics. The fact is that in 2007, 2008 and 2009 funds were drawn from government resources, just like we said in the budget, and then from subsequent public accounts. I would recommend that the member consult the public accounts…
Mr. Speaker, I would highly recommend the member give up his day job. The Public Accounts of Canada are certified by the Comptroller General and the Auditor General. The facts are very clear. The funds for the Perimeter Institute are consistent with the government’s commitments. The question here remains. Why has the NDP chosen to attack this world-class institution to score cheap political points, and then be flat wrong? That member should apologize to the Comptroller General of Canada for an insulting attack.
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 - Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 1:07 PM - 0 Comments
Shortly after the clock passed midnight, a dozen Conservatives sang happy birthday to their colleague, David Sweet. His birthday had actually just passed—he was born on June 24, 1957—so the gesture was a bit belated. But perhaps owing to the pizza party the Prime Minister had apparently been hosting, the government side seemed a jovial bunch, eager to find fun wherever it could be found.
As luck would have it, they had all been summoned to the House of Commons at this late hour for a vote—specifically on an NDP-authored motion to delay moving forward with Bill C-6 for another six months. The official filibustering of this particular piece of particularly contentious legislation had commenced some 27 hours earlier. What began on Thursday was now moving into Saturday. Except that, so far as the reality within these four walls is measured, with the House having not yet adjourned for the day, this was still Thursday. Indeed, there in the middle of the room sat the four-sided calendar, reminding all who could see it that here they remained trapped in June 23. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 5:58 PM - 0 Comments
Science and technology minister Gary Goodyear was at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto to fulfill a commitment the feds made in their most recent budget: he launched a review of Canada’s policies regarding business R&D. As David Akin points out in his Sun Media column today, the problem is simple enough: Canadian researchers are far better at producing new ideas than Canadian businesses are at implementing them. (Here’s a column I wrote in which John Manley expounds on similar themes.) Far too much effort has gone in recent years into fine-tuning (read “fiddling clumsily with”) the research that goes on in university laboratories. This review attempts to get things right: it looks at the very substantial federal aid on offer to businesses that want to engage in R&D, and asks why so little of that assistance is taken up and why it hasn’t produced a culture of constant innovation.
My very strong hunch is that Canadian industry doesn’t need more help so much as it needs to be made to worry, through a set of policies designed to expose Canada more directly to global competition. So I like this quote from John Manley in David’s column: “Quite frankly, if there is an innovation problem in Canada, that’s the responsibility of the management and boards of directors here in Canada.” I’m really pleased to see that UofT president David Naylor is on Goodyear’s panel; he’s good at the kind of blunt talk that will be needed.
There’s another guy on the panel who will not be familiar to just about anybody, but should be. His name is Arvind Gupta, he runs an organization called MITACS, and I’ve had a story about him ready to run for the past couple of weeks in one of our upcoming university issues. We’ve plucked that story out of our queue so you can read about Gupta now. Here it is after the jump. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 3, 2010 at 6:09 PM - 28 Comments
The Scene. Dominic LeBlanc stood and did as so many great rhetoricians have done before him. In this moment, he stood and sought solace in a complicated law that governs the professional behaviour of elected officials.
“Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest Act specifically states that a public office holder is in a conflict of interest when he or she exercises an official power, duty or function that provides an opportunity to further the private interests of their friends,” Mr. LeBlanc stated.
And so the echoes were sufficiently stirred.
Funny thing about this Gaffer Affair, the longer it remains with us, the more substantive it becomes. What once was a simple tale of well-endowed prostitutes and illicit narcotics is now something to do with the Conflict of Interest Act, a 13-page code of conduct that is understood by perhaps one person in the capital. This is progress. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 6:11 PM - 17 Comments
The Scene. Mark Holland walked out into the foyer and, surrounded by cameras, gamely tried to explain that he was not particularly interested in the cocaine and hookers, that this was about much more fundamental matters of governance and accountability. A short while later, Libby Davies, in sandals, strode out and, surrounded by microphones, attempted to parse the difference between the Conflict of Interest Code and the Conflict of Interest Act. The assembled reporters gamely pretended to be interested.
Alas, Day whatever-this-is of whatever we’re calling this crisis (“The Gaffer Affair” seems both a tidy and au courant moniker) passed without much more in the way of insight. Which is perhaps precisely the problem. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:51 PM - 16 Comments
The first one to collapse was Procedure and House Affairs. where a motion to investigate the Conservative Party’s in-and-out electoral financing scheme led to meeting after meeting after meeting of government members running down the clock to prevent the vote from being called. Eventually, the opposition parties got fed up and ousted the chair — at the time, one Gary Goodyear, since ascended to the ranks of junior cabinet minister — which really did not go over well at all, particularly for Joe Preston, who was elected to take Goodyear’s place, despite his vehement protestations. After accusing the opposition of forcing him into indentured servitude, which made for a truly touching acceptance speech, Preston reluctantly took the chair, and adjourned the meeting, which turned out to be the last one the committee would hold until well into the next year.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 9, 2009 at 10:29 AM - 68 Comments
Reluctant partisan Mike Duffy explains the necessity of his travel on the public dime.
“You look at Holland College in P.E.I., they got $8.5 million this year,” said Duffy. “People say why do you travel? It’s because you need cards to play and chips to use.”
Duffy builds his chips up by traveling to MP’s ridings, meeting people, giving speeches and making friends.
“So I’m going to ask the minister of science Gary Goodyear to look favourably upon Holland College. He has a zillion applications and I say, ‘gee Gary, would you take a personal interest. I think it has merit. Will you look at that and see what you can do,” said Duffy. “So when Holland College comes up they get $8.5 million. They’re going to build some new buildings, take down some substandard housing and rearrange things and do it in a way that will substantially change your impression of Charlottetown.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 6:29 PM - 74 Comments
So that silence descended today once it became clear that Todd Russell (left) was opening Question Period with something of such seriousness.
“Mr. Speaker, imagine that you, your child or your grandmother has H1N1. Imagine people who live in fear at the spread of this disease. Imagine being a community leader or health worker pleading for help, trying to prepare and too often doing so on your own,” he began, speaking evenly and deliberately. “What message does it send a person, their people and their community when the government will not send medicine but will send body bags? Will the Minister of Health own up to her responsibilities and apologize for this shameful incompetence?”
There were some grumbles and groans from the government side.
The Health Minister was otherwise engaged, so it was John Baird sent up to offer a response.
“Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with the member for Labrador,” he said. “What happened in recent events is unacceptable. It is incredibly insensitive and offensive. The Minister of Health has ordered her department to conduct a thorough and immediate inquiry into this matter and the results of that inquiry will be made public.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 6:15 PM - 61 Comments
The Scene. Having not had the opportunity a day earlier to add his unique voice to the discussion, Conservative Gord Brown stood a few minutes before Question Period with a bulletin.
“Mr. Speaker, throughout my great riding of Leeds-Grenville there are shovels in the ground, there are roads, sewers and other infrastructure works being built and repaired and folks are looking forward to the future. Everywhere I travelled in my riding this summer the people told me they are pleased with the direction our government has taken to help position Canada to face tomorrow,” he reported. “My constituents have one message: ‘Remain focused on the economy and do not have an expensive and unnecessary election.’ ”
No doubt. Our last exercise in electoral representation cost the national treasury some $280 million. Even with a drop in the price of oil, another one might add approximately the same to our already overdrawn account.
Mind you, that surely pales in comparison to the cost of sending several dozen men and women to Ottawa after each election so that they might stand in their places every so often and repeat the rote partisan rhetoric of the day.
Not that one should fuss too much over the numbers. For who among us, really, can put a price on precious democracy?
Imagine Adoption: Gary Goodyear's wife on the payroll – and the company they co-own is on the creditor list.
By kadyomalley - Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 10:12 PM - 43 Comments
The 16 employees of the bankrupt agency included Valerie Goodyear, wife of federal cabinet minister and Cambridge MP Gary Goodyear.
In a written statement yesterday, Gary Goodyear said his wife helped place children with families and wasn’t involved with the agency’s finances. He also said he has never been involved with its operations. [...]
In an agency newsletter last year, Valerie Goodyear was described as co-ordinator of its African adoption programs.
A profile said she had been to Ethiopia three times and was one of the agency’s first employees.
In the same newsletter, photographs showed Gary Goodyear and other local politicians alongside Susan Hayhow at a ribbon-cutting to mark the agency’s move to new offices.
He is also quoted in a story accompanying the photos.
“This is a wonderful group of people,” Gary Goodyear reportedly said. “I want to congratulate Sue (Hayhow) and her team on the most excellent work and incredible progress.“
The agency newsletter can be found on the Imagine Adoption website.
The Record reports that bankruptcy officials are “trying to determine why the agency was renting three properties in Cambridge with payment obligations of $13,000 a month,” and notes that only one of the three — “the location at 780 King Street East … was used for agency offices.”
ITQ checked the public registry for MPs, and found a disclosure summary for Gary Goodyear, filed earlier this year. In it, he states that he and his wife are co-owners of Constant Energy Ltd. — the same “private real estate holding firm” listed as the landlord of one of those three properties.
Who needs the House of Commons when you've got dogs, ponies and Mike Duffy? Liveblogging the PM's Travelling Budget Report Roadshow
By kadyomalley - Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM - 75 Comments
Sadly, ITQ was not able to hitch the last train to Cambridge in order to be there to liveblog the stimultastic spectacular set to get underway later this morning, so she’ll just have to watch it on television like everyone else. Including, as far as we can tell, the finance minister, which seems odd, since it is his report after all.
That’s not going to stop her from sharing her thoughts on the staging of today’s event, as well as – of course – the actual numbers, presuming there actually are any of those and this isn’t just an upbeat recap of the last three months of #ottawaspends announcements that CanWest’s David Akin has been so diligently twittering. The fact that there’s no lockup for reporters lucky enough to be there to cover it in person strongly suggests the latter, but we’ll see.
Anyway, I’ll keep my running commentary up here in the main post, but feel free to use the comment thread to add your own thoughts. In the meantime, here’s a quick reminder of what the parliamentary budget office was hoping to see in these quarterly reports.
INSTAUPDATE WITH COLOUR, Y’ALL:
Colleague Madan from CityTV is on location in Cambridge, and sends along these pre-show tidbits from the front:
Here’s the scene: dozens of seniors lined up early this am outside the armenian community ctr in cambridge. They were brought into the main auditorium, seated in amphitheatre style… A made-for-tv event to be moderated by mike duffy. There are 2 giant screens on each side of PM.
He describes the scene as “part informercial, part Oprah”. WHEE!
Oh, and it’s not clear whether the PM will take questions from reporters, but ITQ is sure that the above mentioned seniors will grill him during the town hall session. Senator Duffy, meanwhile, is to be referred to as the “master of ceremonies”, which suggests that the organizers — I’m assuming the party is picking up at least part of the tab for this event — are finally getting into the spirit of things. Really, if you’re stuck on probation and statutorily required to provide updates to a sure-to-be-unwowed opposition, you may as well have some fun with it, right?
Okay, so I should probably give y’all a heads up, on the off chance that there are any readers out there unfamiliar with the concept of Harper Standard Time. Although this event was supposed to get underway at 11:00 a.m., I don’t think anyone is expecting him to take the stage before 11:15 a.m. at the absolute earliest, which would probably mark a new personal best as far as prime ministerial punctuality.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:43 PM - 38 Comments
Canadian Press previews tomorrow’s economic progress report.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to present a rosy picture of his Conservative government’s handling of the recession Thursday in a slick made-for-TV presentation designed to forestall a quick summer election.
The planned event in the southwestern Ontario industrial city of Cambridge will feature the Prime Minister releasing the government’s report on the effectiveness of government policies at the Armenian Community Centre.
The presentation will be moderated by Senator Mike Duffy, a former television journalist, and feature Harper, flanked by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and Gary Goodyear, the local MP and Minister of State for Science. It will include a staged interview segment between Harper and Duffy.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 11:27 AM - 137 Comments
Gary Goodyear makes another friend in the academic world.
Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said that universities need to be a place where controversial ideas can be debated, and that this kind of political interference to curry favour with a group of voters is unprecedented in Canada and blow to academic freedom.
“The action of the Minister of Science and Technology contacting the president of SSHRC to express political concerns is not something we have seen in this country since the McCarthy period,” he said.
Mr. Turk said that Mr. Goodyear should resign.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 6:12 PM - 18 Comments
The Scene. The afternoon’s session began with the rare seven-part question.
“Mr. Speaker,” said Liberal David McGuinty, “I have several questions for the Prime Minister.”
Did the documents, he wondered, belong personally to the Natural Resources Minister? When did she realize they were missing? Did she inform her deputy minister? If so, when? What secret information did they contain? What commercial information may have been revealed? And, finally, would the government be taking action against the television network that was, previously and inadvertently, in possession of said documents?
Not surprisingly, the Prime Minister chose to answer none of these queries.
“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “as I said yesterday, the minister had reasonable expectations that these documents would be kept secret. The minister has acted accordingly, and I support the minister in her actions.”
Even less surprisingly, Mr. McGuinty did not then decide to cease with his examination. “Mr. Speaker, secret documents are those that ‘could reasonably be expected to cause serious injury to the national interest,’” he posited. “We are told these documents contain information on AECL’s financial status, indebtedness, contractual undertakings, obligations, lawsuits and details surrounding its bid for the supply of nuclear power in Ontario. They also deal with the critical issue of medical isotopes for medical testing. Can the Prime Minister explain how the release of this information could not be reasonably expected to cause serious injury to the national interest?”
The Prime Minister returned to his previous point. Then he revived his new favourite trick.
“Let me quote for the member opposite the editorial today in the Toronto Star which says that the minister offered her resignation,” he said. “The Prime Minister rightly refused to accept it. It is time for the opposition to move on to more substantive issues.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 7:11 PM - 26 Comments
The Scene. The good news for the Finance Minister was this: a full 45 minutes of Question Period passed this day without a single query about a federal deficit that may now be on track to total upwards of $170 billion. Not until after QP, surrounded by reporters, did the increasingly gaping hole in the national treasury come up. At which point, Jim Flaherty’s response was as follows.
“Well, you know, economists at TD and economists at the other banks are entitled to their view. I’m sure different economists will have different views. All of them were on average more optimistic than I was in the budget in January but they’re on the low side of the private sector forecasters right now.”
Er. Well, don’t get too worried about that $170 billion then. Indeed, it could be worse. For sure, it might be worse.
That though will be for whoever the Finance Minister is in 2014. Mr. Flaherty, no fool, will have surely bequeathed the position to someone else by then. Denis Coderre, say. Or Thomas Mulcair. Or Pierre Poilievre. Or whoever Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe decides to let handle the books.
In the meantime, the bad news for Mr. Flaherty was this: even without, apparently, the time to prepare some questions about our increasing indebtitude, the opposition still arrived for Question Period ready to press all sorts of issues said to demonstrate some failing or another in the minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 7:17 PM - 20 Comments
The Scene. The Prime Minister and Industry Minister were elsewhere and the latter’s parliamentary secretary had been given a rather short script from which to read so it eventually fell to John Baird to explain the government’s purchase today of a rather troubled automobile manufacturer. Only the Transport Minister didn’t want to talk about what he could do to put Ralph Goodale in a new PT Cruiser, he wanted to talk ominously about what Michael Ignatieff may or may not do if or when he becomes prime minister.
“Boooring! Boooring!” sang a voice from the Liberal side as Baird dutifully repeated a series of lines the Conservatives have been singing for two weeks now.
Switching from faux outrage, the minister next attempted to assuage his audience with comedy. “Mr. Speaker, the one remarkable thing that has happened over the last four or five months is that the Prime Minister has put aside partisan politics,” Baird quipped, the Liberal side loudly recognizing his joke with hearty laughter.
Then it was Jim Flaherty’s turn, the Finance Minister rising to scowl and stew and sigh, grimace and growl and grumble, swatting and swiping as he mocked the Liberal house leader and wondered aloud why the Liberal finance critic wasn’t driving a domestic.
And then, climactically, it was Jack Layton who stood and wondered dramatically about the generous incentives allegedly afforded managers of the Canadian Pension Plan. ”Are you,” he asked, poignantly, “kidding me?”
It is by such standards that Leona Aglukkaq has emerged as something of a star this week. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 5:36 PM - 7 Comments
The Scene. Ralph Goodale stood to applause and chants of his first name, a garish tie hanging from his neck. With Michael Ignatieff away, it was the Liberal house leader’s privilege to lead the official opposition’s interrogation of the government side.
Goodale is, in various ways, the epitome of a parliamentarian, or at least the living embodiment of the sort of politician many must imagine when they think of this place. First elected in 1974, three months shy of his 25th birthday, he was defeated in 1979, 1980 and 1988, only to return in 1993. Reelected another five times, his service now stands at some 7,445 days. He’s held seven ministerial portfolios and, for the past two years, possessed the title of house leader for Her Majesty’s opposition. He is a blustery, partisan, fast-talking Prairie boy from Wascana, a frequent heckler well-schooled in the ways and means of legislation and procedure and equipped by now with a long memory for otherwise forgotten votes and policies.
But if Mr. Ignatieff operates here with a scalpel, Mr. Goodale tends to prefer a sledgehammer. And so the absence of the former and prominence of the latter surely made what followed foreseeable and ultimately familiar. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 3:29 PM - 34 Comments
Meet John K. Bell. He’s the Cambridge businessman who asked Michael Ignatieff a question yesterday that prompted an answer that may or may not be the single most controversial thing any Canadian politician in recorded history has ever said.
John and I chatted this afternoon. Our conversation after the jump. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 6:03 PM - 106 Comments
From the Conservative MP’s statement before QP.
Mr. Speaker, recently we saw an attempt to ridicule the presumed beliefs of a member of this House and the belief of millions of Canadians in a creator. Certain individuals in the media and the scientific community have exposed their own arrogance and intolerance of beliefs contrary to their own. Any scientist who declares that the theory of evolution is a fact has already abandoned the foundations of science. For science establishes fact through the study of things observable and reproducible. Since origins can neither be reproduced nor observed, they remain the realm of hypothesis.
In science, it is perfectly acceptable to make assumptions when we do not have all the facts, but it is never acceptable to forget our assumptions. Given the modern evidence unavailable to Darwin, advanced models of plate techtonics, polonium radiohalos, polystratic fossils, I am prepared to believe that Darwin would be willing to re-examine his assumptions.
The evolutionists may disagree, but neither can produce Darwin as a witness to prove his point. The evolutionists may genuinely see his ancestor in a monkey, but many modern scientists interpret the same evidence in favour of creation and a creator.