By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
Shortly after Conservative Brian Jean had stood to accuse the New Democrats of advocating for a “job killing carbon tax” and Conservative MP Scott Armstrong had stood to say that “the policy of the NDP is to go south to recruit foreign criminals to come to Canada” and Conservative MP David Wilks had stood and claimed to possess “a long list of attacks on Canadian interests from the NDP” and Conservative MP Robert Sopuck had stood and ventured that the NDP leader “leader rejects sound science and works hard to kill Canadian jobs” and Conservative MP James Bezan stood and said Thomas Mulcair had “attacked Canadian jobs, attacked Canada’s national interests and took up the cause of a convicted cop shooter” and shortly before Justice Minister Rob Nicholson stood and declared that “New Democrats are never on” the side of victims of crime, Stephen Harper stood and declared himself quite disappointed with Mr. Mulcair’s tone.
“Mr. Speaker, Peter Penashue broke… the… law,” Mr. Mulcair had enunciated, now pausing for effect. “If our law and order Prime Minister considers Peter Penashue, a known lawbreaker, to be the best Conservative MP, what does that say about the rest of his caucus?”
In fairness, Mr. Harper had not said that Mr. Penashue was the best member of the Conservative caucus, rather that he was the best MP that the riding of Labrador had ever had. Though perhaps that description too raises questions about how the Prime Minister measures quality.
Regardless, Mr. Harper was now profoundly saddened. “Mr. Speaker, obviously, I disagree with that categorization,” the Prime Minister sighed. “I am sad, but not surprised, to hear that kind of negative campaign from the—”
He could not finish because the New Democrats had burst out laughing.
The Speaker called for order and returned the floor to Mr. Harper.
“Mr. Speaker, in Labrador, Minister Penashue,” the Prime Minister continued, apparently still struggling to come to grips with the reality of Mr. Penashue’s resignation, “will be able to point to a record of respecting his promises, working against the federal long gun registry and for such things as the Trans-Labrador Highway, the Lower Churchill project and obviously for the strong record that he has presented to the people of Labrador.”
So Mr. Penashue might not have rightfully won a seat in the House of Commons, but at least while he had it, some things happened that the people of Labrador might have reason to be happy about.
The House proceeded to other matters, but after Rob Nicholson had declared his concern for the victims of crime, Bob Rae detected a segue back to Mr. Penashue.
“Mr. Speaker, the victims of the latest Conservative crime are the people of Labrador. Those are the victims we need to stand up for,” Mr. Rae ventured. “It is now clear that there was a completely orchestrated-from-central-casting resignation by the minister. Peter Penashue held press conferences. He used government money to hold press conferences. He placed ads. The Conservative Party transferred money to the riding association in Labrador. The entire thing was orchestrated by the Prime Minister of Canada and orchestrated by the Conservative Party of Canada.”
There was not a question here, but the Prime Minister stood anyway.
“Mr. Speaker, the member for Labrador has taken the correct action,” Mr. Harper said. “The people of Labrador will decide.”
But, once more, the Prime Minister was besmirched.
“They will have the difference between that kind of negative, ugly campaign,” he said, drawing laughs from the Liberals, “and, on the other side, a record of positive achievement for the people of Labrador by minister Penashue and, obviously, we will respect the decision of the people of Labrador.”
Mr. Rae saw another segue.
“Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wants to see ugly, he and his cabinet colleagues should simply look in the mirror and assess their own conduct—”
The Conservatives groaned their displeasure. The Speaker called for order.
“I do not think we need to make those kinds of personal characterizations,” Speaker Scheer suggested. “It is certainly not adding to the debate today.”
Mr. Rae pleaded innocence. “Mr. Speaker, if looking in the mirror produces unacceptable results,” he offered, “it is hardly the fault of the people who are asking the questions.”
The interim Liberal leader again failed to register a question, but the Prime Minister stood again nonetheless.
“Mr. Speaker, I think the real problem is the positions that the Liberal Party of Canada has on issues that matter to the people of Labrador,” Mr. Harper ventured. “The people of Labrador value the seal hunt; they value investments in their infrastructure and in their Internet; and they certainly value the Lower Churchill hydroelectric electric project.”
The questions about the former minister persisted and it was Pierre Poilievre who took up the cause of defending his honour.
“Mr. Speaker, in anybody’s mind, writing cheques for nearly $50,000 is a clear admission that Conservatives broke just about every law in the book during the Labrador campaign and that they knew they broke them,” Liberal MP Gerry Byrne charged. “With that said, the Prime Minister also knows that sanctions with serious consequences remain inevitable against Mr. Penashue and his party. With absolutely nothing left to lose under those circumstances, a byelection is about to be called to try to dull some of that reality. Does the Prime Minister really feel that holding a byelection could ever trump the rule of law in Canada and that the process of justice might actually be able to be turned off for a byelection?”
Somewhere in this distance, or perhaps only in Mr. Poilievre’s head, a string quartet began to play the national anthem.
“Mr. Speaker, there they go, launching a nasty, negative campaign full of slurs,” he sighed. “Never did a slur create a job. Never did a slur protect a traditional aboriginal way of life that Peter Penashue has fought for.”
The anthem swelled. Watching at home, mothers gathered their children to listen. In office towers, business halted. In the fields, plowing ceased. Tears trickled down the cheeks of grown men.
“Never did a slur help a school child in a remote community have access to the world through high-speed Internet, the way Peter Penashue delivered. Never did a slur protect CFB Goose Bay,” Mr. Poilievre continued. “Slurs do not do that, but Peter Penashue did.”
And lo was the nation stirred and lo did all who heard Mr. Poilievre now rush to Labrador, cheques in hand and the Elections Act in mind, to donate the maximum allowable funds to Mr. Penashue’s re-election campaign.
For sure, Mr. Poilievre was so very right. And thus it is to wonder why so many others waste so much of their and our time with such empty words.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM - 0 Comments
The Globe finds that several Conservative MPs are a mere 98% or 99% loyal to the party line. Upon being presented with the findings, Government Whip Gordon O’Connor salutes his side’s democratic nature.
“I guess in principle, we’re more democratic than the other parties, basically,” Mr. O’Connor said in an interview with the Globe and Mail. “I’m not going to get out there and toot our horn, but if you actually check in Parliament, we have the most freedom as backbenchers.”
The maverickiest maverick, James Bezan, broke with the majority of the Conservative caucus a remarkable… 1.42% of the time.
As the Globe notes at the bottom of its story, most of the “divisive votes” had to do with private members’ motions and bills proposed by opposition MPs (the exception being Stephen Woodworth’s motion on the legal definition of life).
Nick Taylor-Vaisey rains on Mr. O’Connor’s parade here and it’s also worth noting, again, that the Conservatives came to office with a commitment that all votes except those on budget bills would be free votes.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The CBC reports that three Conservative MPs put their concerns about the Nexen deal in writing.
A third Conservative MP, LaVar Payne of Medicine Hat, Alta., wrote to Paradis Aug. 21, 2012 to raise “grave” concern about the human rights record of China — calling it “far from stellar.” “It is my belief that Canadian laws must prevail, and that if we were to allow a state-owned company of a foreign nation that brutally represses its own citizens to buy a strategic asset here, we would be setting a very dangerous precedent,” he wrote. He also flagged potential problems with the “lack of environmental concern” by the regime in Beijing.
“I do believe that the Chinese administration has little to no regard for environmental preservation, and this is another area of concern,” he said.
That actually makes four MPs who are on record as objecting after James Bezan’s objections were disclosed last November.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Before yesterday’s incident, the most recent confrontation in the House might have been when Conservative MP Royal Galipeau confronted Liberal MP David McGuinty. A couple weeks before that, Liberal MP Anita Neville and Conservative MP James Bezan seem to have had an an acrimonious encounter of some sort as well.
Further back in history are a few more colourful incidents.
On the afternoon of February 4, 1997, Reform MP Darrel Stinson challenged Liberal MP John Cannis to a fight in the House.
On April 15, 1999, Liberal MP Steve Mahoney accused Mr. Stinson of challenging him to a fight outside the House.
And on April 17, 2002, Keith Martin briefly seized the ceremonial mace. A lengthy debate on the incident followed a few days later. Mr. Martin was ultimately forced to appear at the bar of the House and apologize.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM - 0 Comments
“The dismissal of a reporter from the Selkirk Record was an independent decision made by her publisher.”
“The story in iPolitics is misleading and has taken my replies to Ms. Winzoski out of context. The fact is that Ms. Winzoski’s correspondence was specifically about the Canada-China Foreign Investment Partnership and Protection Agreement (FIPA). Inadvertently, my office forwarded her my reply on the China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) and Nexen deal. When my staff realized they had sent the wrong reply, they issued a recall and sent her my response on FIPA.”
“These are two different issues. My reply on Canada-China FIPA was taken out of context and implied that I had changed my position on CNOOC. I fully support FIPA and ensuring Canadian businesses and their investments in China are protected. I stand by my comments opposing the CNOOC purchase of Nexen and have expressed my concerns to Minister Paradis and cabinet. Minister Paradis will make his decision in due course based upon Canadian laws and what’s in the best interest for Canada.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 10:21 AM - 0 Comments
Within this tale of small town politics, is the news that James Bezan briefly objected CNOOC’s proposed acquisition of Nexen.
I would like to note that I am strongly opposed to this deal, and I have raised my concerns directly with Cabinet as well as with the Prime Minister. As I have stated to my colleagues in Cabinet, due to China’s dismal record on human rights and freedoms, I take particular exception to allowing a state-owned company from China to purchase a Canadian company…
As a Conservative, I am in favor of keeping markets open in Canada, however I do not support allowing state-owned and state-controlled enterprises to take over publicly traded Canadian companies, as these state-owned and controlled business [sic] are not on the same level playing field as other free enterprising corporate entities.
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 - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM - 0 Comments
Four Conservative MPs go to the Manitoba legislature to take issue with the Manitoba government.
Inside the house, Glover, Smith, Bezan and Hoeppner sat together stone-faced on a sofa on the floor of the chamber behind the Tory benches watching question period, when the immigration issue took centre stage. They either smiled or nodded their heads when their provincial counterparts defended Ottawa’s decision to manage the immigration program. They had to sit in the house because they could not get passes for the public gallery.
Smith said she and her colleagues had no choice other than to come to the legislature instead of holding a press briefing at constituency offices or another location. ”Today the MPs are coming in to straighten the story out,” Smith said. ”The story has been totally misleading. It’s scaring people. We have to get that story straight.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 1:55 PM - 0 Comments
The vote broke along party lines—New Democrats voting in favour; Conservatives, Liberals, the four Bloc MPs and Elizabeth May voting against—save for three exceptions. Conservative MPs James Bezan, Blake Richards and Brad Trost voted in favour.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:06 AM - 0 Comments
The International Association of Firefighters arrived in Ottawa and held a reception at the…
The International Association of Firefighters arrived in Ottawa and held a reception at the Delta Hotel.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 25, 2011 at 6:55 PM - 140 Comments
Whatever else was discussed within the walls of the House of Commons these last 14 months, the 40th Parliament was about Parliament. From its unprecedented start to its unprecedented end, here was a debate about our democracy—how it works, why it exists and what it means. These were the questions this place wrestled with each day. There are the questions now, implicitly or explicitly, laid before the public.
The events of this day are thus now open to interpretation. By one understanding, a majority of the people’s representatives expressed their lack of confidence in the those representatives who presently form the people’s government, thus compelling the government to resign and the Governor General to call for a general vote of the people. By another understanding, the Liberals conspired with the socialists and separatists to defeat Stephen Harper’s government and force an unnecessary and dangerous election.
Or understand what happened today as a concession. From all sides. An admission of defeat on the part of the 40th Parliament and a plea to the public to sort out what are wildly divergent views on the proper functioning of Parliamentary democracy.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 12:25 PM - 35 Comments
On Monday, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Michael Ignatieff had warned against “splitting the Filipino vote” in Winnipeg-North or at least that the Liberal leader had said “voters in Winnipeg North deserve a ‘straight-up’ campaign free from attempts to split the Filipino vote.”
On Tuesday, the Conservative candidate in Winnipeg-North expressed her disappointment. The Free Press editorial board deemed Mr. Ignatieff comments “an insult to voters in general and Filipinos in particular.” The Conservative government sent up a backbencher before QP to deem his comments both “insulting and offensive” and to call on the Liberal leader to apologize. And radio host Charles Adler added his unique brand of sanctimony.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM - 0 Comments
Perhaps for the sake of history, someone with the Liberal research team apparently thought it necessary to record James Bezan’s gun registry video. And so here again, now with the added cache that someone seemingly would rather this not be seen, is Mr. Bezan, atop a horse, explaining the upcoming vote on Bill C-391.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:18 PM - 0 Comments
Alas, it was perhaps too good to last. As of this moment, it appears Mr. Bezan’s video on the gun registry vote has disappeared from YouTube. If anyone somehow made a copy before it was lost, do please share it with the class.
In the meantime, here is some archival footage of Mr. Bezan and his trusty steed.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 10:09 AM - 0 Comments
Conservative backbencher James Bezan has a horse named Woody. He has a video camera (or at least knows someone who does). And he has some things he would like to say to you about Bill C-391. This is what happens when those three facts are resolved with each other.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, June 11, 2010 at 4:30 PM - 5 Comments
The Canadian Vintners Association was on the Hill to allow MPs to sample some…
The Canadian Vintners Association was on the Hill to allow MPs to sample some wine. There were wines from Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and one table from Nova Scotia. Below, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson (right).
Bloc MP Christiane Gagnon.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 3, 2010 at 11:28 PM - 28 Comments
The Sun wonders tonight whether there might be any dispute over the possibility of Bloc MPs reviewing secret documents. Jay Hill’s response that no decisions have been made seems more a statement of fact than a suggestion of trouble, but then James Bezan—though in what capacity he is permitted to speak for the government side is unclear—goes ahead and invokes the Queen.
Bloc MPs would “have to swear allegiance to Canada and the Queen” if they want access to sensitive information, said Manitoba Tory MP James Bezan. “If they are not prepared to do that, then I don’t see any way that we can give them the documents,” he said.
This Queen bit, mind you, is perfectly moot, seeing as how all Bloc MPs would have had to pledge such allegiance to take their seats in the House anyway. This archival footage of Gilles Duceppe with the makings of a fine mullet should explain things.
Your other standard oaths of office are here. Feel free to swear yourself in at home.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 34 Comments
On the 11th day of the 11th month, statements of remembrance from Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton, Glen Pearson, Ujjal Dosanjh, James Bezan, Ruby Dhalla, Hedy Fry, Martha Hall Findlay, Peter Stoffer and Mark Holland.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 5, 2009 at 12:49 PM - 8 Comments
Conservative James Bezan takes to YouTube to demand Michael Ignatieff apologize to Ukrainians, inadvertently reveals he does not know how to pronounce the word “Bolshoi.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 11:04 AM - 10 Comments
The Winnipeg Press Fress reports that the Conservatives will soon be sending out video versions of their highly acclaimed political flyers, the first one featuring noted non-partisan and reluctant senator Mike Duffy. But, notes the Free Press, Conservative MP James Bezan is way ahead of the technological curve, having already set-up his own YouTube channel.
Bezan, the Conservative MP from Selkirk-Interlake, has launched his own YouTube channel and has three episodes so far.
The introductory video comes complete with Bezan riding up on his horse, Woody, and has him delivering an afternoon-nap inducing statistical profile of his riding.
That video is at least twice as entertaining as described. Better still might be Bezan’s Blair Witch-inspired look at Harrington Lake. That bold step forward for Canadian cinema after the jump. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 11:32 AM - 23 Comments
Glen Pearson on another moment from yesterday, this one just before Question Period.
Today’s developments almost bordered on irreverence. Prior to Ignatieff giving his statement, another Conservative clone rose in the House to speak of his unsuitability for leadership. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the Liberal leader got up and delivered a deeply reflective statement on the death of the three Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan yesterday. The House grew silent, not just because of the subject because of Ignatieff’s beautiful phrasing and heartfelt delivery. He reminded all of us that it was we who sent these soldiers to war. He spoke of the deep despondency and the burden faced by the soldiers’ families and that such a load should never be faced by them alone, but also by those very politicians who sent the soldiers in harms way. Put simply, it was a beautiful tribute and received the standing ovation it deserved.
Not sooner had Ignatieff sat down that another Conservative stood up for the last statement before QP and unleashed his torrent at the Liberal leader. To people of finer senses it was jarring. I know that Conservative. He’s a decent man and wants to help others. But he was told to get up and read a speech written by someone else. The entire House just wanted him to sit down and be quiet. His intervention was highly unsuitable and out if place. During one of our finer moments in the House, a man permitted himself to become a patsy for the party and demeaned a meaningful moment and the soldiers’ memory in the process.
For the record, here’s that exchange. Continue…
By kadyomalley - Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 9:28 AM - 0 Comments
So apparently, the Globe and Mail has managed to “obtain” a copy of the now-infamous at-this-point-can-it-really-still-be-called-secret list of proposals for cutbacks at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. That would be the same document, of course, that the Agriculture committee – or the opposition members thereof, at least demanded from the government at the onset of those two days of emergency hearings earlier this week.
(The transcripts aren’t yet available, but for background, check out the ITQ coverage from Monday night, when a half-hour organizational meeting turned into a three hour hearing, complete with a full slate of government-solicited witnesses from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the following morning, when the union showed up to give its distinctly different version of events.)
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 10:57 AM - 0 Comments
So while the Globe advances the Berner/Couillard story on several fronts this weekend (see below), the Post opts for a single story. And then manages to bury the lede. For convenience, here’s the third sentence: “But a slim majority, 55%, also want the RCMP to investigate whether Mr. Bernier breached national security, and they want the Mounties to delve into his relationship with Julie Couillard, according to a new poll.”
Support for an RCMP investigation is highest in Alberta and only in Atlantic Canada did support fall below 50%.
And yet, Ipsos Reid’s John Wright manages to make lemonade of it all. “If anything, this may have been the linchpin for changing the face of the government and actually getting on with the business of government.” Continue…