By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 0 Comments
From the Conservative MP’s statement to the House on Monday.
Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal party asked Canadians for a mandate to implement a job-killing carbon tax, they flatly rejected it. No matter to the NDP leader; he is ignoring Canadians’ position and is peddling a similar, more expensive carbon tax.
The Liberal party’s 2008 platform included a carbon tax. In that election, the Liberals won 30.2% of the popular vote.
At the same time, 55.8% of Canadians—the combined popular vote for the Conservatives and NDP in 2008—voted for platforms that included cap-and-trade. And what the NDP is proposing now is cap-and-trade.
Mr. Rickford was first elected as a Conservative in 2008, so presumably he is familiar with the platform the party put forward that year and what the Harper government then said and did about pursuing cap-and-trade through 2009.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:41 PM - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister’s Office has released the above photo of today’s meeting. Seated to the Prime Minister’s right is Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and to Mr. Duncan’s right is National Chief Shawn Atleo. Beside Mr. Atleo are Treasury Board President Tony Clement and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. To Mr. Harper’s left are Greg Rickford, parliamentary secretary to Mr. Duncan, and Mr. Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright.
According to the PMO, the Prime Minister will be attending for the duration of today’s meetings. A news conference with someone from the government side is expected after the meeting concludes. Mr. Atleo is not scheduled to meet with the media.
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, October 29, 2012 at 9:05 AM - 0 Comments
Conservative MPs made 23 references to a “carbon tax” in the House on Friday. Two other references were made by Liberal MP Scott Brison, who offered the following to Conservative MP Greg Rickford.
Mr. Speaker, the honourable member sought my advice and so I will give it to him.My advice would be that the honourable member go to the website of the Department of the Environment and go back to 2008 where the Conservative government promised to do exactly what the New Democrat platform promised to do, which was to bring in a cap and trade system to Canada.
My advice for those Conservative members is to realize that before the NDP ever put a cap and trade system in its platform, Conservative government policy was to have a cap and trade system. However, the Conservatives did not call it “a carbon tax on everything”; they called it a “cap and trade system”.
I say it is on their website, but there is probably some 19-year-old pimply-faced fellow in the basement of Conservative Party headquarters working on taking that off right now. Some guy who just put down his Hayek books is rushing to the computer to try to eliminate the fact that the Conservatives had a big fat carbon tax on everything. That was Conservative policy. That is where the NDP picked it up.
Here again is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM - 0 Comments
The only thing more fun than a cabinet shuffle is speculating about a cabinet shuffle. The Star, Huffington Post, CBC and Postmedia have your first guesses, including mentions of Peter MacKay, Bev Oda, Julian Fantino, Christian Paradis, John Duncan, Peter Kent, Vic Toews, Maxime Bernier, Denis Lebel, Rob Nicholson, Jason Kenney, James Moore, John Baird, Chris Alexander, Michelle Rempel, Candice Hoeppner, Kellie Leitch, James Rajotte and Greg Rickford.
That leaves just 144 Conservatives (excluding the Prime Minister) left to be speculated about between now and whenever Mr. Harper goes to Rideau. Actually, 145 if you include the stuffed dog that participated in last week’s C-38 vote marathon.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peter Julian, head nodding and bobbing for emphasis, began with a harangue for the government’s F-35 fixation. Heritage Minister James Moore, today’s stand-in for the Prime Minister, enjoyed the opportunity to explain the difference between those who Support The Troops and those who do not.
This though was mere prelude to the matter of Old Age Security. “Everything is about choices and priorities, and the choice of F-35 is a bad choice,” Mr. Julian said by way of segue. “Another bad choice, of course, is the reduction of Old Age Security for Canadians.”
And this was mere prelude to Wayne Marston standing and reviewing, in his quiet, folksy way, the story so far. ”Mr. Speaker, first the Conservatives said that OAS was unsustainable and needed to be cut. On Friday, the Finance Minister said that changes to OAS would be delayed until 2020 or 2025. Then a government spokesperson said the finance minister is wrong,” Mr. Marston recounted.
This was merely the short version—leaving out both the Prime Minister’s triumphant speech in Davos at the start of this three-week saga and the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s rebuke this weekend. But, of course, this was mere prelude to the question that still hangs over all of this. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Last week, the NDP criticized Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu after Mr. Boisvenu suggested convicted murders be given rope and allowed to decide for themselves whether they wanted to live. Pat Martin referred to the Senator using a bad word.
On Monday, Conservative MP Greg Rickford rose before Question Period and reported those events to the House as follows.
The NDP wants to silence victims, urging a well-known victims’ advocate to stop speaking out about Canada’s justice system.
Mr. Martin has now apologized for his curse.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 5:52 PM - 21 Comments
The Scene. Shortly before the start of Question Period this afternoon, Conservative backbencher Patrick Brown rose to repeat his side’s line that the NDP is too “disunited” to govern. A moment later, Conservative backbencher Greg Rickford rose to lament that the NDP, in punishing two MPs who defied the party’s decision to whip a vote on the gun registry, was also too committed to enforcing unity.
Presumably this was Mr. Rickford’s way of protesting his own government’s decision to whip this week’s vote on asbestos exports. Hopefully his caucus leadership won’t too severely punish him for so bravely asserting the independence of individual MPs.
Immediately thereafter, the Speaker then called for oral questions and the official opposition sent up Joe Comartin, Mr. Comartin having apparently discovered an example of irony that he was eager to share with everyone. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 2:21 PM - 2 Comments
In light of a short-lived NDP motion on Old Age Security eligibility, Kevin Milligan reviews the practical principles at play.
So, we had twenty years of contributory Old Age Security taxes — but that ended 40 years ago. Assuming work started at age 18, this means no one under age 58 today has ever paid any explicit Old Age Security taxes — and those over age 58 paid explicit taxes only for a fraction of their working lives. Moreover, the proportion of people who never paid the explicit tax will only grow in the future as younger generations reach age 65 with increasingly less work exposure to the 1952-1971 window. This renders the argument about a tax-benefit linkage much weaker for Old Age Security than for the Canada Pension Plan.
A refinement of the argument posits implicit linkages between a lifetime of paying taxes into general revenues and the pension benefits that flow at older ages. This argument seems sound in general, but I find it hard to distinguish why we should impose residency requirements on Old Age Security but not other public benefits or public spending. Why restrict Old Age Security to long-term residents but not public health insurance? What makes Old Age Security so different?
Kady O’Malley notes the relatively symbolic nature of private members’ motions and the fact that—among other plausibly controversial motions—a motion to change Old Age Security requirements was put forward by a Conservative MP in 2004. Nonetheless, Conservative MPs Dean Del Mastro, Kyle Seeback, Greg Rickford and Cathy McLeod have moved quickly to reassure their constituents that they are entirely opposed to this recklessness.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM - 16 Comments
The Scene. In an attempt perhaps to preempt the Prime Minister’s dismissal, Bob Rae attempted a preface. ”The Prime Minister is constantly saying that those of us who quote the Auditor General are not telling the truth,” Mr. Rae posited. “So let me simply quote the Auditor General very directly with respect to the activities of the President of the Treasury Board and ask him one simple question.”
With the parameters thus set, the interim Liberal leader proceeded. ”The Auditor General said that he found what the government did ‘unusual and troubling,’ ” he reported. “I would like to ask the Prime Minister, is the Auditor General telling the truth when he says those words?”
Would it surprise you to learn that the Prime Minister sidestepped the specifics of this question? If so, you should be commended on the open-hearted naïveté with which you approach the world. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Rae encourages May
On the first day back, Green Leader Elizabeth May… found herself
Rae encourages May
On the first day back, Green Leader Elizabeth May found herself in the last seat of the House. Seat 308 is where NDP MP Peter Stoffer used to sit. Liberal Leader Bob Rae turned around to May and told her that when he was first an MP decades ago it was his seat and that “in 32 years you can be where I am.” Last week also saw MPs busy moving offices. NDP deputy leader Libby Davies is getting a bigger office and is taking her desk with her. It once belonged to former prime minister Joe Clark and has a secret drawer. “I’ll drag it down the corridor myself if I have to,” said the Vancouver MP. Some parliamentarians were still being sworn in the day before the House resumed. One of them was Bloc MP Maria Mourani, who saw her party reduced to four seats. She jokes that at least she can say that 25 per cent of her party is female and a visible minority. (Mourani is Lebanese.) She feels the Bloc is now like cartoon characters Astérix and Obélix, two Gauls in a small village battling the Roman Empire. The day of his swearing in, the daughter of NDP MP Malcolm Allen went into labour. That meant his wife and family stayed with daughter Gillian Sheldrick and all Allen had for a supportive audience was a lone staffer. Keegan Sheldrick is Allen’s first grandchild.
NDP needs a bigger bar
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM - 93 Comments
Mr. Harper’s closing pitch to a crowd in Sault Ste Marie this morning.
We’re coming to many areas of the country that have been unrepresented in government for some time. And one of the things we say is look at what we just went through in the recession and isn’t it a shame that it took Tony Clement down in Muskoka, Greg Rickford up in Kenora, to identify the kind of priorities we need here in Sault Ste Marie. You know, when there are serious economic issues facing communities and facing people in northern Ontario, they do not need MPs whose simple view is they’re going to vote against everything. We don’t need MPs whose whole goal is to just work with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois on arrangements against the government. We need people who are going to work with the government and with the people in this area to make things actually happen for this area.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7:07 PM - 99 Comments
The Scene. Bev Oda stood this to day to audibly commit various words to the official record. Really, it was the least she could do.
In keeping with the government side’s “operational decision,” John Baird stood to take the first two questions asked of the International Cooperation Minister this afternoon, but then the Liberals asked generally about the functioning of Canada’s development agency. Here Ms. Oda motioned to Mr. Baird that she could take this one and so she stood and mouthed various platitudes.
Then though, Liberal Anita Neville stood with her supplementary, wondering if, while she had the minister’s attention, she might ask some questions specific to the handling of KAIROS. And so she did. And so Ms. Oda apparently felt compelled to stand again. What followed from her had absolutely and precisely nothing to do with the particular issue at hand. But she spoke words. And she did so while standing. And that was apparently more than enough for members of the government side to leap up and applaud her when she’d finished.
Less enthusiastic was the response to another day of questions about how the Conservatives funded their campaign for high office in 2006. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM - 0 Comments
We know, because we’ve been told, that the next governor general is a non-partisan. But other facets of his history and personality are so far less understood.
For instance, though it was not noted in the official release announcing his appointment, in the third paragraph of the attached four-paragraph backgrounder we learn that Mr. Johnston, who was introduced to the country as a respected academic, began his post-secondary studies at Harvard. Granted, while at Harvard, he played “ice hockey,” as they call it there. But still, Harvard.
This is obviously confusing, for if we have learned anything at all over the last four and a half years it’s that the name of that American educational institution is only to be invoked or referenced in the derisive sense, for the purposes of mocking another’s character or intellect.
To wit. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 10:00 AM - 6 Comments
The first shot in the coming Tory war to define their opponent
In the coded language of official Ottawa, they are known as SO31s. It’s a reference to Standing Order 31 of Parliament, which allows that 15 minutes be set aside before question period each day for MPs to stand in the House and make brief remarks about a subject of their choosing. For the most part, members use the time to salute constituents, celebrate charitable causes, mourn sad occasions or pontificate on matters of national or international importance.
When they still had Stéphane Dion to kick around, the Conservative government took great pleasure in mocking the former Liberal leader before he rose to ask another awkwardly worded question of the Prime Minister. And though they waited a few days before doing likewise with Dion’s successor, a steady succession of Conservative backbenchers has been sent up to denigrate Michael Ignatieff or his party since he took the leader’s chair. Indeed, despite an attempt recently by the Speaker to limit personal attacks during this time, government MPs have used more than 100 of these statements to needle the Liberal side in the 12 weeks since Parliament returned in January—a concerted campaign that reached a particular low when Ron Cannan rose on the afternoon of April 20 and attempted to segue from a preceding statement of condolence by Liberal Maurizio Bevilacqua about the deadly Italian earthquake.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 15, 2009 at 2:57 PM - 62 Comments
Excluding those born outside Canada, the following Conservative MPs have lived, studied or worked outside the country.
Jim Flaherty, Lisa Raitt, Brian Jean, Russ Hiebert, Jason Kenney, Maurice Vellacott, Mike Allen, Ray Boughen, Barry Devolin, Garry Breitkreuz, Ed Holder, Randy Kamp, Pierre Lemieux, Ben Lobb, Phil McColeman, Cathy McLeod, Scott Reid, Greg Rickford, Andrew Saxton and John Weston.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 30, 2009 at 6:42 PM - 45 Comments
The Scene. In preemptive move, the government side sent up another of its backbenchers before Question Period—this one named Greg Rickford—to report on the latest outrageousness of the Liberal leader.
“Mr. Speaker, Canada’s auto industry directly employs over 150,000 Canadians and another 340,000 indirectly … half a million Canadians and their families depend on the health and viability of this industry and are looking to their leaders to ensure that Canada remains a strong part of the North American automotive industry through these economic times,” Rickford began. “That is why it is absolutely shameful that the leader of the opposition has turned up his nose to auto sector workers by saying: ‘No voter in B.C. wants to throw money into the auto sector and neither do I.’”
To Rickford’s credit, this was not entirely incorrect. Mr. Ignatieff did speak those 16 words. And one assumes it was by innocent omission that the Conservative failed to note the two preceding sentences. ”I don’t believe in bailouts,” Mr. Ignatieff reportedly said. “What I believe in is fully-refundable loan packages for industries that give you a business plan that will restore them to profitability.”
Undaunted by such details, Rickford went on. “I wonder if he would repeat the same sentiment at a town hall meeting in Ontario,” he whined. “I am sure he has more savvy than that. He has shown time and time again that he is more than willing to flip-flop on the content of his message to suit whatever audience he is speaking to, whether it be in Saanich, St. Catharines or at his home in Harvard.”
This last bit was, apparently, meant as a put-down. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 7:34 PM - 24 Comments
The Scene. “Mr. Speaker,” Chuck Strahl said the other day, scolding Todd Russell, the typically loud Liberal from Labrador, “there is that old saying on the preacher’s note, ‘unsure of point, must yell louder.’”
It was a witty retort. And a remarkably candid explanation of how this government has apparently decided to approach this moment of economic crisis, unwinnable war and newly emboldened opposition. Continue…